Now Norse creation is not quite so tidy as the Christian, if only because there are a heck of a lot more intelligences being created: Giants, Gods, Dwarfs, Elves, humans, etc. In my last post we talked a little bit about Ymir and Buri's descendents leading to Odin and the creation of Midgard from Ymir's body. (Gives new meaning to the expression "over my dead body" doesn't it?) Ymir himself is sprung from the great melt when Múspellheim and Niflheim met after the big bang, and like Audumla the Cow, his creation is somewhat spontaneous, without credit to any other intelligence.
The Prose Edda (Gylfaginning, Chapter V) says:
when the breath of heat met the rime, so that it melted and dripped, life was quickened from the yeast-drops, by the power of that which sent the heat, and became a man's form. And that man is named YmirThen in answer to how Ymir is nourished it goes on to say (Chapter VI):
"Straightway after the rime dripped, there sprang from it the cow called Audumla; four streams of milk ran from her udders, and she nourished Ymir." Then asked Gangleri: "Wherewithal was the cow nourished?" And Hárr made answer: "She licked the ice-blocks, which were salty; and the first day that she licked the blocks, there came forth from the blocks in the evening a man's hair; the second day, a man's head; the third day the whole man was there. He is named Búri: he was fair of feature, great and mighty.I suppose you could say that the gods themselves (Buri being the father of Bor who is the father of Odin) were unearthed after the big bang, as we might dig up fossils. Spontaneously made by the force of the explosion. It's also kind of interesting to note that all life so far has come from/risen out of the water, something that science today has determined to be absolutely essential to life and goes in search of on other planets today in the hope of finding other spontaneous life forms. It isn't really all that surprising that an ancient culture would find it essential as well, early man knew what it needed, and the Norse people made a very good living through mastery of the seas, but nowhere in the Christian Genesis does life seem quite so connected to water as we see in these myths.
All of this creation, and we haven't even gotten to MAN yet. You see what I mean about not being quite so tidy? But don't worry, we're almost there. You'll get to see Askr and Embla in Part II!
**image of Askr and Embla on the Faroe Islands Stamp from Wiki Commons. I'd post an Adam and Eve image, but frankly I think a lot of them are ugly. Maybe I'll dig one up I actually like for the next post :)