In the Norse epic poem, Hávamál, the world tree Yggdrasil, is a giant ash tree, eternally green, at the center of the cosmos. The mighty trunk rises to the heavens, and the roots reach deep to pierce the nine realms.
Yggdrasil has three roots, each at a well. The first well, Hvergelmir, is deep below thick ice, the well of poison, but also the well of life, and from which the first living beings were created. A dragon lies here and chews upon the root. His foil is an eagle who lives at the top of the tree, and the two communicate enmity via messages carried up and down Ygdrassil’s vast trunk by a squirrel. The second root lies at Mimir’s well, the well of wisdom, and the third root is tended to by the three Norn fates (past, present, future), Urd, Verdanai, and Skuld, at Urd’s well.
In his pursuit of higher knowledge, the god Odin sacrificed himself, wounded with a spear, to hang from the tree for nine nights. On the final night, just before he fell from the tree, Odin acquired the secrets of the runes. The story is a reminder of how knowledge and self-transformation is never attained without personal sacrifice.
Stephanie Law's work follows in the tradition of the mythic arts. She is based in Oakland, CA. Her paintings explores a surreal otherworld, and the manifestations of desire and archetype when seen with a shifted perception. Much of her inspiration stems from mythology and folklore, mingled with the movement of dance, and the chaos of Nature's wild growth. She has authored and illustrated 4 books ("Dreamscapes", through North Light Books), a series on watercolor technique within a fantastical framework, and she is also the author and illustrator of the Shadowscapes Tarot (2009, Llewellyn Worldwide).
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