Hvegelmir: The Seething Cauldron

The problem with Greek Mythology is that the Greeks didn’t have glaciers to use as a metaphor: this was not a problem in Scandinavia.
In this northern mythology, slow waves of glaciers flow out of the cold, seething cauldron of Hvegelmir. What a great metaphor for the strength of the life force; as Dylan Thomas wrote (see last paragraph):



The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood….

(From experiencefestival.com)
Hvergelmir is the wellspring of cold in Niflheim
in Norse mythology. The well is guarded by Ivaldi and his sons who are charged with the defence of Hel against the incursions of the storm giants.
All cold rivers are said to come from here, and it was said to be the source of the eleven rivers, Elivagar. The name means approximately “The seething cauldron”. Above the spring, the serpent Nidhogg gnaws…

In Norse mythology the “waves of ice” (glaciers) which flow from the fountain Hvergelmir into all the worlds and which provide the life forms for the embodiment of all beings.
In the cosmogony of the Eddas, it was from elivagar, the glacier or unmoving waters of nonbeing, that the frost giant Ymir was formed: the void of non-existence in which there was “no soil, no sea, no waves” (cf Voluspa in the elder Edda).

(Story from Vrilogy.com)
In the center of Niflheim was the Hvergelmir, the Roaring Cauldron, that surged and boiled up the fount of all waters. Twelve great rivers flowed from the Roaring Cauldron, collectively known as the Elivagar, though only eleven are named: Svoel the cool, Gunnthra the defiant, hurrying Fjorn and bubbling Fimbulthul, fearsome Slid and storming Hrid, Sylg the devouring, Ylgr the she-wolf, broad Vid and Leipt which streaked like lightning, and freezing Gjoll and the unnamed river that flows near to the gate bars of Hel.
The Roaring Cauldron was a mighty geyser of tumescent, tumultuous waters. The icy waters welled up from the Roaring Cauldron, flowing out through the Cosmos, from time immemorial, yeasting through it life and death and hardening into ice. It froze and formed the eternal glaciers that continued to grow and expand, hanging suspended.
Rising from the clock of ice was a poisonous scum, frozen into rime. This congealed fog grew and spread over everything in Niflheim. When it mixed with the heat and flames of Muspellheim, in the yawning, a bottomless abyss that existed between the realm of ice and the realm of fire, a great combustion was caused.
Black and fathomless, the rivers of yeasting ice and burning fires poured with soundless fury. In the eternal depths of its darkness they congealed, and hung in great masses from the edges of the abyss. Heaving and crushing ice exploded as it mixed with the flames from the furnaces of Muspellheim.

Over the awful chasm and its silent cataracts icy fogs gathered and bitter winds swept. Against the whirling snows and shifting fogs out of Niflheim the leaping flames and floating fires of Muspellheim fling broad beams of light far into the sunless abyss, and sending a wide glow through the drifting snows. Glittering sparks shot into the silent space above and floated far toward the north like stars that had wandered from their course.
As the icy mists met the burning heat in the upper air, it hung motionlessly for a brief moment and then fell drop by drop into the abyss, and there, out of heat and cold, fire and fog, in darkness and solitude, the fire life was formed. This great combustion of fire and ice caused life to form, and come into being. (Source)



The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
by Dylan Thomas
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.<

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