Beyond Faerieland

We’re officially in October – that means I’m going to be focusing on a little more of the aspects of beasts, other worlds, and the downright creepy for the month, and I’ll shift focus back to writing mechanics for November.

Five “Other” Worlds of World Mythology

Many mythologies have the notion of there being more worlds than just earth – whether we’re talking of actual other worlds where the gods or other supernatural creatures reside, or worlds within or beneath us, historical mythology shows numerous interpretations as to the places the supernatural came from. Though my novel mostly deals with the Celtic and Norse interpretations, here’s five different mythologies and the worlds, or hidden lands they thought that were somehow connected to ours:

5) Annwn (Welsh) Thought to be located underground or under the earth, Annwn was believed to be a place of pleasure and reward. Some think it might have given route to a more famous place, Avalon, where it was said that King Arthur’s sword Excaliber was forged, in addition to where King Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds after the battle of Camlann.

4) Asgard, Midgard, Alfheim, and Jotunheim (Norse) according to Norse Mythology, the nine worlds were connected by the holy ash tree, Yggdrasil. Asgard was the residing place of the Aesir, Midgard the world for men, Alfheim, the world of the elves, and Jotunheim, the icy world of the giants. All was not fun and games though – those that were not taken to Valhalla went to Helheim, thought to be located in Niflheim, the mistworld, and would be forced to battle against the Aesir at Ragnarok, the end of the world.

3) Hades – the Elysian Fields, Asphodel Meadows, and Tartarus (Greek) The Greeks believed that the soul was judged at the time of death, and, unless one was a demi-god and somehow ascended to Olympus to join the Greek Pantheon, all souls went to the underworld. There were three places: The Elysian fields, which initially only the great heroes went to, though later works said that good people went to eternal paradise as well. The Asphodel Meadows was a neutral place where most people ended up, though some sources suggested that those who came to live in Asphodel Meadows drank from the River Lethe and lost their identities. Tartarus was the place deep beneath the earth where it was said that eternal suffering was laid out.  Numerous heroes of Greek myths travelled beneath the earth to Hades to speak to the dead, or ask a favor of Hades, its ruler, or Persephone, he captured consort.

2) Shambhala – (Tibet, Hinduism) a secret kingdom hidden in inner Asia, said to be a place of peace and tranquility, and all its inhabitants are enlightened. It is said that when human beings decline war and greed, Shambhala will emerge and help teach the world, and rid the world of the wrongdoers. It is often associated with Agartha, a legendary city thought to be at the earth’s core. Unlike Shambhala, Agartha is said to be a inhabited by evil demons, called asuras.

1) Tir na Nog – thought to be a blessed isle of the living, the pre-christian Celts belived that there was an island, far to the west, that was inhabited by fair folk that was thought to be settled by the Tuatha de Dannan when they left Ireland. Here, there was no disease, death, or aging. It was said only a handful of sailors ever reached the shores.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Beyond Faerieland

  1. Love the info. Not new, but one of those things that the facts fade over time. Unfortunately, I don’t think its part of school curricula these days. A pity, since myths say a lot about cultures.

    • I concur, Rita – I think at the very least, dismissing mythology is ignoring our roots. I haven’t read enough Eastern Literature, but the western tradition is filled with stories of the fantastic.

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