5 Duir 2003
I've figured it out!
I've pored over maps and descriptions of the Nine Worlds until my head spun. Joshua tried to figure it out, too, and he said it was like thinking in non-Euclidean geometry. Niflheim, is to the north of Midgard, but it's on a lower level. Jotunheim is also to the north of Midgard, but somehow has a border with Asgard.....as does Muspellheim, which is a long sloping forest called Myrkwood. Vanaheim has a border with Asgard, somehow, that's all water; both Vanaheim and Midgard are islands; there's nothing to the east of Midgard unless you're like Thorsson and arbitrarily stick Jotunheim in the east instead of the north where it's supposed to be. Bifrost goes up to Asgard from Midgard and the Helvegr goes down.
When you try to draw it, none of it makes a damn bit of sense. Some people draw it on three levels, like three disks revolving around the world tree. Thorsson, who has obviously never been there (or he wouldn't be referring to the worlds in Jungian terms like, "Ljossalfheim is the land of the intellect....") has them on a horizontal plane around a vertical axis. Yet people who've been there tell me that it isn't nearly so molecular as he'd wish. But the three disks skew borders that are supposed to be there, and there's all this trouble over what's on what disk. People said things to me like, "The geography is fanciful; don't take it too seriously; it could change at any time," and other unhelpful things like that. Except all the descriptions, ancient and modern, had the feel of the blind men and the elephant. Everyone describing - quite accurately - one small portion, yet no one having the big picture. I was sure that there was, somewhere, a big picture.
So I stared and figured, and read, and then finally I saw it. Actually, I don't think that I figured it out at all. I think Hel relented and showed me her map. The secret is that the Nine Worlds are arranged in a big sunwise spiral around Yggdrasil the World Tree, sloping from Asgard to Helheim. I drew it wrong at first - damn spatial dyslexia - and had to redraw it sunwise, and then it all fit perfectly. There's no question about what's on the "level" of each world, because none of them are exactly on the level with any other, but slightly higher or lower. There's nothing to the east of Midgard because......Midgard is in the east! Niflheim and Jotunheim are both in the north, one above the other. The waters and the forests spill over the edge of the spiral, from one to the next, and the borders all work. Midgard is between Muspellheim and Niflheim....but not directly on the spiral.
Now I just have to applique and embroider this big spiraling map onto my spirit cloak. What a job. Phew. And I'm still not sure how many halls there are in Asgard, and who they belong to....