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Ginnungagap (emptiness, yawning abyss) was the vast, primordial void that existed prior to the creation of the manifest universe, corresponding (both in etymology and in meaning) to the Greek notion of Chaos. It is also where all creation will collapse once again during Ragnarök only to be reborn as the cycle completes itself.


It is from the Old Norse "gap" which is the means the same as the English "gap", and "ginnung" which may mean "magically-charged" according to Jan de Vries.


The Clash of Muspelheim and Niflheim

In the northern part of Ginnungagap lay the intense cold of Niflheimr, and to the southern part lay the equally intense heat of Múspellsheimr. The cosmogonic process began when the effulgence of the two met in the middle of Ginnungagap, creating Ymir.

Around 1600, several Icelandic and Scandinavian cartographers applied the name to parts of the Arctic Ocean. 17th century Icelandic bishop Guðbrandur Þorláksson, for example, used the name Ginnungegap to refer to a narrow body of water, possibly the Davis Strait, separating the southern tip of Greenland from Estotelandia, pars America extrema, probably Baffin Island.

See also