Heimdall, Odin and the Nine Waves of Creation


 Jörgen I Eriksson

Myths constantly need to be decoded and reinterpreted so that we shall be able to retrieve new knowledge from them – new knowledge which is continuously being created by the great cosmic dance and thrown into the molds of the old myths. Everything is in constant state of movement and change – and so is the essence of the myths. Rereading Carl Johan Calleman’s seminal book The Nine Waves of Creation led me into the following contemplation: Do these insights exist in a fragmentary form in the pre-Christian myths, insights created from an alchemical coalescence of the cosmologies of the Mayan calendar and quantum physics? It does! – and this leads into an expanded interpretation of some truly archaic themes that concern Urvölvan, Heimdall and Odin. Come along!

In his book, which I have previously reviewed here (http://norrshaman.blogspot.se/2017/03/skapelsens-nio-vagor-och-mansklighetens.html), Calleman points out that the very number nine recurs in many original myths from across the world. There seems to have existed a rudimentary, or maybe better said intuitive, understanding that the world has been formed by nine different impulses, which qualitatively speaking are very different. In the Nordic tradition we have the myth of the world tree Yggdrasil and the nine worlds that are connected to, or maybe rather interwoven with the world tree. In the first song of the poetic Edda Urvölvan (the original female seer) has the following to say:


I remember giants

born of yore

who long ago

reared and raised me;

nine worlds I recall,

nine ogresses,

the famed tree of fate

beneath the earth.


Calleman sees what he calls the Tree of Life – somewhere close to the center of the universe – as the sphere that all the creative impulses, both on a macro and a micro level, have emanated from. The Tree of Life is thus a sort of a cosmic matrix for everything that ever was and is: as above, so below; as inside, so outside. The question is now if the nine worlds in the Nordic tradition correspond to the nine creation waves that has brought the world forth. There does not seem to be a total conformity between the two, but common elements do exist and in this case there also exists a chronological order of the Nordic “worlds”, even if it is not a question of a hierarchical order.


Eight of the worlds, which I would rather call spheres, can be combined into pairs and thus exist in a complementary and at the same time contradictory relationship to each other. They are polarities that mutually condition each other. The two oldest spheres are the cold and the heat, which from the Emptiness (Ginnungagap) bring forth the very first being, the androgynous giant Ymer (= the roaring, the rambunctious). The Cold = Nifelhem, the Heat= Muspellhem. The third sphere, which then takes the shape of Ymer is Jotunhem, which is balanced by Vanahem, the domain of fertility. The next pair in this chronological tale about cosmic creation is Helhem, the sphere of death, and Asgård, the dimension of the heavenly gods. Then follows Svartalvhem and Ljusalvhem, the life-generating forces of the earth and the air, and finally we have Mannhem, the sphere of the humans. What we are looking at here is a cosmic as well as a planetary and inner process of evolution.


If we analyze the correspondence of the nine Nordic worlds with the nine waves of creation described by Calleman by means of the runic system of the uthark and in particular consider the numerological magic we arrive at the following highly interesting result: Nifelhem = Iss, which is rune no 10, Muspellhem = Ken with the numerical value 5, Jotunhem = Thurs (2), Vanahem = Lagu (20), Helhem = Eh (18), Asgård = Ass (3), Svartalvhem = Bjarka (17), Ljusalvhem = Sol (15) and Mannhem = Madr (19). The sum of these becomes 109. If we reduce this to a single digit number we get 1+0+9= 10, which in turn becomes 1+0=1. Rune no 1 is Ur, which represents the origin, the beginning and the creative, constructive primordial power. This seems to indicate that the myth about Yggdrasil and the nine worlds implies a creation story, which is consistent with the nine waves of creation of Calleman.

An inscription using cipher runes, the Elder Futhark, and the Younger Futhark, on the 9th-century Rök Runestone in Sweden (Courtesy of Bengt Olof ÅRADSSON, Wikimedia)

A character, which is strongly connected with this creative cosmic process, is Heimdall – the divine being which drank from the well of wisdom in exchange for one of his ears and thus had been endowed with a supernatural hearing and as a result had taken the place of guardian at the gate of the Dreamtime. Heimdall has been interpreted as a personification of the World Tree or the World Pillar and has a counterpart in Sapmi cosmology in the character called Veralden olmai, the man of the world or the worlds. That Heimdall indeed is the man of the worlds becomes clear from the Edda song about Hyndla.

One there was born in the bygone days,
Of the race of the gods, and great was his might;
Nine giant women, at the world’s edge,
Once bore the man so mighty in arms.

Gjolp there bore him, Greip there bore him,
Eistla bore him, and Eyrgjafa,
Ulfrun bore him, and Angeyja,
Imth and Atla, and Jarnsaxa.

One there was born, the best of all,
And strong was he made with the strength of earth;
The proudest is called the kinsman of men
Of the rulers all throughout the world.

In the Edda of Snorres it is said about Heimdall: ”He is called the white god. He is big and holy. Nine virgins, all of them sisters, gave birth to him as a son.” A fragment from Heimdallsgaldern is also given there:

I am the child of nine mothers,

I am the son of nine sisters.

This song also exists in a more complete version:

You are Heimdall, white among Asar,

high and holy and great.

Amazingly born in earliest days.

Man with mothers nine,
son of sisters nine.

The mothers of Heimdall may simply be the nine waves of creation. That they are described as sisters is in order to point to the organic connections between the waves of creation. They have a common origin and are intimately connected, even if they carry different qualities, or better said potentialities. The nine waves bring forth Heimdall as a representative of the world in its totality. In this myth there is also an evolutionary chronology inscribed.

Acording to Calleman the three last waves of creation were activated in the years 1755, 1999 and 2011. How did people more than a thousand years ago know that there were actually nine waves when only six had been activated? This is undoubtedly a question which complicates the analysis, but maybe people leaning towards esoterics felt a kind of pre-waves (as Calleman talks about) or they simply had a prophetic intuition about the cosmic dynamics – maybe attained by using runes as a means of divination. In contrast, it seems fully clear that it is only after 2011 that we are able to gain a more complete understanding of the nine waves of creation as well as the nature of the world and thus also possible ways towards bringing peace, harmony and balance. For this, there was an intuitive understanding already when the old myths were told, which emerges for instance from the initiatory rite of Odin at the World Tree.

In Odins own words in Havamal:

I know that I hung on a wind-blown tree,

nine long nights,

with a spear wounded, and to Oden dedicated,

myself to myself.


Bread no one gave me, nor a horn of drink,

downward I peered,

I took up the runes, wailing I took them,

then fell down thence.


Then I began to quicken and be wise,

and to grow and to prosper;

one word found another word for me,

one deed found another deed for me.


Consequently it is only after the ninth night (read the ninth wave), that complete knowledge is possible. This is potentially present in all of creation for whoever makes oneself receptive. It did not exist in a complete form when these myths were narrated or written down and it only existed as a premonition or pre-wave when CG Jung developed his thoughts about the collective unconscious and synchronicities, or when Carlos Castaneda and Michael Harner wrote their texts about the path of the shaman in the 70-ties and 80-ties. This may explain why these groundbreaking authors chose individualist positions. Their stances are today completely insufficient, but they should be recognized that they have opened doors for us to acquire new knowledge. They were however not themselves capable of entering these doors, but yet made it possible for us to do so at this later point and then transcend their limitations. Today all necessary knowledge exists for us to be able to create peace and harmony and as a result it falls upon ourselves and those living today to do so. And this can only be the result of shared views and not in the form of spiritual ego trips. Carl Johan Calleman has realized this and through this he has made a very significant contribution to the world. As he himself writes as the final words of The Nine Waves of Creation: ”Everything is now available for us to go in this direction toward Oneness with the Divine and unity among ourselves”.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

For further info about the work of Jörgen I Eriksson please see http://www.norrshaman.net/English.htm

(Translation from Swedish by Carl Johan Calleman. The quotes from The Poetic Edda are from the translations by Carolyne Larrington (2014), Bernard Scudder (2001) and Henry Adams Bellows (1936).)



  1. Bill Watson

    “When the waves swirl in a torrent, there are dark depths. When the water is still, there are dark depths. When the water flows, there are also dark depths. There are nine names for the dark depths. I demonstrated only three of them. Try to bring him again.” The next day the two came to see Hu Tsu again. Before they even sat down, the shaman lost his nerve and fled. “Run after him!” Hu Tsu said. Lieh Tsu ran but could not catch up with the shaman, so he returned and said to Hu Tsu, “He has disappeared. He is gone. I could not find him.”

    Hu Tsu said, “I just showed him what existed before the beginning of things. Completely open and yielding, I showed myself, without a care, like grass bending before the wind and water flowing in waves. That is why he ran away.”

    Whereupon Lieh Tsu realized that he had not yet begun to understand. He went home, and for the next three years he did not go out. He did the cooking for his wife and fed the pigs as though they were human. He took no interest in worldly affairs. He stopped making complications and returned to simplicity. Rooted in the earth and centered in his body, amid all the confusion and distractions of life, he remained one with Tao until the end of his days.”
    -Zhuangzi, Inner Chapters.

    Nine features prominently in Taoist alchemy as well, Carl. Very interesting article, good connections!

  2. Thank you!

    I have with great appreciation followed the work of Eriksson for some years, and reading this article in english was great help to me (being norwegian av having read it in swedish). Also I realize the need to look into your work as well.
    And to seek deeper immersion in meditation – this is no. 1… So, thanks again!

  3. Great article. Nowadays we cannot think in mythological immages as in the Nordic myth, that were vivid dynamic pictures that swept through the soul of the ancient peoples. But instead we may now understand them as more then ever our consciousness is nowadays predomenently seated in our brain. As the brain is the great receiver of cosmic messages we also can think about the universe in logic concepts. We all know that in any point in space we can draw a circle on which circumference six other circles of the same size fit exactly. This flowerlike shape however can be completed with two more concentric circles to the first one making the total of Nine. They relate to each other as 1 : V3 : 2, which are the core values of the equilateral triangel. These numbers are foundation numbers of Creation. Everything emanates out of these principles. Nine principles are present in any point in space, 7 are of the same size, with one in the centre.(expressed in Genisis I the six creation Days and one Day that God rested) Here we see in our mind that the totality of creation is present everywhere. In this “system” of Nine circles a Tenth circle is hidden as a sealed secret, or more as the ultimate result of the working of the Nine principles. What does this Tenth circle stands for? It stands for the completion of Evolution when the imperfect has become perfect, the mortal has become Divine as expressed in its hidden number, the number Phi of the Living Spirit. For me, the Nine principles are the forces of creation, atwork in any point in and around us to achieve the Tenth circle. (Appendix Alchemical Wedding by Christian Rosenkreutz/ Amazon.us)

  4. Thank you, Carl and Jorgen. I am loving the ongoing revelations of the interconnectedness of the ancient wise ones, the present day emerging cosmic understandings, and the Divine Oneness that we are, that is all of it. Indeed, we continue to awaken to this Truth!

    • Good to hear from you Laurie, Yes, it is valuable to see the concordance of ancient
      understandings of the world in some significant regards. And yet, they are not identical
      and even if both the Maya and the Norse cut their messages in stone we have to open to the fact
      that even they were not monoliths but to some extent open to interpretations.

  5. Angele LaGrave

    Thank you!
    Poignant, poetic, pregnant with power!
    Love and sunshine!
    Looking forward to August twenty-first eclipse!

    • Please be aware that the sols eclipse marks the beginning of a night in the 9th wave.
      Since overall the nights are favorable to the old order this should be considered.
      Specifying specifically about the US however I think we have come to such an erosion of the political system
      that it can go either way.

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