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The Dragon Nidhogg

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Forums -> Norse Paganism -> The Dragon Nidhogg

The Dragon Nidhogg
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 1

Nidhogg is the name of the dragon/serpent known for inhabiting the world of Niflheim, coiling around the well of Hvergelmir (from which all waters are supposed to flow), and chewing on the roots of the World Tree (Yggdrasil). The only times when it is not viciously attacking the roots, and forcing the tree to decay and regrow, is when it is feeding upon the corpses of the dead at the shores of Nastrond(Hence why Nidhogg often gets the names: "lower one", "full of hatred", "dread biter") and when wyrd is spoken by a volva. Oh, and when he pauses to send hateful messages up the tree via Ratatosk (the squirrel) to the Eagle sitting at the top, or when in turn Ratatosk brings him a hateful message back from said Eagle.

" Nidhogg is the chthonic counterpart of the aquatic serpent Iormungand, but unlike her, and all preceding Rkkr beings, the origins of Nidhogg are totally obscure. The dragon, like the World Tree on which it chews, appears to have arisen out of Wyrd itself, having no creation, no creator. Suggesting at least that they both began their existence so remotely in the subconscious that they have gone beyond the need for any explanation. Certainly, Nidhogg has gone beyond the need for definition. It is beyond gender, it is neither feminine, nor masculine, but not like the undivided lunar nature of Hela, or the androgynous solar nature of Loki. Instead, its nature is so incomprehensible, so chaotic, that it is simply beyond any such definition.Consequently the element associated with Nidhogg is Chaos ."
(http://shadowlight.gydja.com/nidhogg.html)

Nidhogg is not the only serpent down there either, though certainly the most well known and monstrous. I think somewhere back I wrote a thread on all the inhabitants involved with Yggdrasil, and listed the names of a few other serpents. Along with Nidhogg, four stags (named Dainn, Duneyr, Dvalinn and Durathor) gnaw the leaves/bark of the World Tree. This eventually shakes it to its core during Ragnarok, which is when Nidhogg supposedly comes up from Niflheim, bringing the dead into battle. However, it suggests that Nidhogg continues on after Ragnarok, and is not one of the beings who is killed in battle.

Nidhogg really has no personal descriptions, no descriptions of how it appears, as a lot of it is vague and unclear- left up for personal interpretation. Symbolism involving Nidhogg interests me. I had heard someone theorize that Nidhogg was meant to represent evil, and that by Nidhogg living on after Ragnarok it meant evil was still, and would always be, eternal and involved in the world. However, I really think that's looking at it from a black/white perspective. I don't personally think Nidhogg is either good nor bad, just some strange combination beyond our grasp of understanding.

NorthernPaganism.org, which I do believe is run by Raven K and some other people, suggests that Nidhogg plays an important role in Rokkatru and teaches an important lesson:
"Nidhogg's Rule : Recycling. There is no such place as Away, so be careful what you throw there. Recycle, give away, don't waste, find a place for it somewhere else. This includes people as well as things. "

You can incorporate Nidhogg into a magickal practice, if you wish, though I do not know many Heathens who have actually done much in-depth work with Nidhogg. Nidhogg is the kind of being that doesn't interact much with those who work with it. You can leave offerings for Nidhogg. The most appropriate I have seen would be decomp bins, where you leave food to rot and become part of the soil. Since Nidhogg represents decay, this is an important aspect. Dead animal parts would be an appropriate offering as well, as Nidhogg eats the dead. I have heard of some Heathens incorporating Nidhogg into Chaos Magick, but I have no personal experience with that.

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Re: The Dragon Nidhogg
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 2

Love it! Thank you for posting. =)

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Re: The Dragon Nidhogg
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 3

I forgot to mention that blood offerings are definitely appropriate for Nidhogg, much as they are for Hel. Whoops!

And thanks, Pey. :) With Winternights coming up at the end of the month, and "Halloween", I'm thinking of getting my kindred together and doing something with Nidhogg, Hel, Mimir and maybe Heid. It feels like a good time of year for that sort of work.

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Re: The Dragon Nidhogg
By:
Post # 4
Thats super cool personified. You are awsome! Almost seems to me that nidhogg plays the role that the dark dragons play destroying that wich is old to make way for new life. The continual cycle of death and rebirth. Destruction and creation. I need to learn more about it!
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Re: The Dragon Nidhogg
By: / Beginner
Post # 5
To me Nidhogg symbolizes removal of decay and the start of the end.

What a wonderful post, really informs people that there are roots in the history for us to learn. Also brings interest. I hope to read some more in the near future.
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Re: The Dragon Nidhogg
By:
Post # 6
Very interesting I like it
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Re: The Dragon Nidhogg
By:
Post # 7

Great post Percy! Nidhogg is an interesting being and I enjoy reading about it. It really is a being of pure chaos in my opinion. Not bad but just sort of there . I liked the info! I don't usually find a whole lot of information on Nidhogg besides what I have read in the Eddas.

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Re: The Dragon Nidhogg
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 8

Thanks guys. :)

Did I answer what you wanted to know about Nidhogg, Lady? If not, I can expand on anything about it you're wondering.

Nidhogg is a very interesting being, like Clever said. Unfortunately outside of the Eddas you won't find much on it. There is, however, quite a bit of UPG out there for those willing to look. I really love Raven K's books, and I constantly encourage people to read them, for this reason: they are full of UPG, PCPG and things you won't find in the Eddas. His Jotunbok has a large section dedicated to the Rokkr, and to Nidhogg specifically, if you're interested in reading it.

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Re: The Dragon Nidhogg
By:
Post # 9
Ill have to read it. Thanks personified. Dragons of all sorts interset me. And i didnt know about nidhogg. Will have to add a sacrafice to him on halloween
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Re: The Dragon Nidhogg
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 10
I always interpreted Nidhogg to be a representation of Death and Darkness. The shadow side of the mind. He is a destructive force but destruction is necessary for growth and development. In the cycle of life, and the seasons, which all pagans honor, the cycle of birth, growth, maturity, age, death, and rebirth repeat itself. He is merely the "death" portion.

Where he is on the tree gives us more clues. The tree of life is linear, yet it is still a pathway, reflecting the levels of the spirit. The bottom would be the most base of existence--corporeal and carnal. He carries and eats corpses but dead bodies are hardly the souls/spirits. A corpse is the body and he destroys them (my theory is, it was a way to explain decomposition of bodies in that time). He argues with the eagle, but they can't do anything but bicker. They are on opposite sides of the spectrum, both extremely necessary however.

In one part of the edda, it describes him as being in a place with murderers and adulterers. This side of Nidhogg tends to recoil me, because it makes me feel Christian influences have ruined this being's reputation and classified him as a form of Satan (which is also "coincidentally" recognized as a serpent/dragon). I see him more like Death itself, not a psychopomp like a grim reaper, and definitely not evil. I believe he is seen as evil because people perceive things as evil when they fear them. Many people fear death, endings, and the shadow self. I believe that people who like Nidhogg are those who accept these parts of life and do not find them repulsive.

The spirits have their own realms they go to, namely with Freja, Odin, and Hel. If this has truth, the only spirits mentioned were what I consider "vermin" or the lowest level spirits available.

Someone bright and cheery couldn't guard/watch this type of area without going insane. But a death and gloom loving, hungry dragon would fit perfectly in such a setting.

I feel Nidhogg reminds us that all good things come to an end, at least the material existence we live in, and that we should find meaning behind them, appreciate them while they are here, and hold them in memory.

That reminds me of Odin's ravens Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory), and how he places high importance on memory.

"Hugin and Munin fly each day over the spacious earth. I fear for Hugin, that he come not back, yet more anxious am I for Munin."
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