The Echo of Creation

Parallels between Old Norse Cosmogony and Eschatology




Old Norse Myth, cosmogony, eschatology, sacrifice, sound, murder, creation, Heimdall, Gjallarhorn, Ymir


The article explores the idea of an echo, both literal and structural, that connects Old Norse cosmogony and eschatology. The motif of a bellowing sound or cry appears in cosmogony in the figure of Ymir, “Crier”, who is killed by the Æsir, and from his body the world is created. During the eschatological events the booming sound recurs when Heimdallr blows his horn shortly before the Æsir themselves are killed by their adversaries. A cry is also emitted by Óðinn when he sacrifices himself on the Cosmic Tree. The booming bellow is thus associated with death, especially in the context of implicit or explicit sacrifice.

The structural resonance between cosmogony and eschatology is composed of a series of five motifs that reappear in the same sequence at both liminal moments. The eschatology seems to be structurally a repetition of the cosmogony, but with inverted roles: the victims are the gods and the sacrificers are the giants, which is the inverse of the situation during cosmogony. The present analysis sheds light on the sacrificial pattern hidden behind the two events, and helps contextualize the motif of the mighty sound that reappears at both moments in the cosmic history.




How to Cite

Kozák, J. A. (2021). The Echo of Creation: Parallels between Old Norse Cosmogony and Eschatology. Temenos - Nordic Journal for the Study of Religion, 57(1), 103–26.