According to the Norse creation myth, in the beginning there were three "things" for lack of a better word. Two worlds, and a vast emptiness. The two worlds were Muspelheim, the world, or land of fire, and Niflheim; the world of ice, cold, and fog. The third thing was all of the space inbetween, the great emptiness; Guningagap.
While all of the nine worlds are extremely important to Norse belief system, Niflheim is arguably one of the most important. Why? Well, simply put without the existence of Niflheim, neither we, nor the gods would be in existence today.
Through ages and ages, eons and eons, Niflheim, and Muspelheim grew from the opposites sides of the cosmos into Ginnungagap, until one day they converged. This conversion caused a massive explosion, and brought forth into life Ymir, the first of the ice giants, and ancestor of all the Jotuns, and Gods.
Niflheim is a massive place, filled with ice and mist, of fog and freezing waters. Niflheim is situated in the northernmost part of the cosmos, and sits under the third root of the world tree Yggdrasil. The nine worlds of Norse Mythology are contained upon three levels, all held up by the great ash Yggdrasil. Niflheim is located on the third, bottom level.
Within the world of ice, there are nine rivers. In the beginning of time, these rivers helped to nourish the great cow Audhumla, and form the worlds. In this world, lies the land of Hel. The abode of Hela, the underworld. The place where the dead, who have not died in battle, nor go to reside in the hall of a deity, spend eternity in peace and serenity. Where the reunite with their loved ones. Hel is not a bad place, nor a place that should be feared. Nastrand also finds its home in the land of Niflheim. Of all the places in Norse mythology, Nastrand is the worst. I shall write a detailed post of Nastrand for one weeks Cosmology at some point on the future, but for now, know that Nastrand is our version of Hell. Oath breakers, murderers, and rapists will all find themselves spending eternity here, where they shall find nothing but unimaginable pain and torment. You do not want to end up here.
Niflheim, I believe, is expected to survive Ragnarok, and continue to be a place of cold and ice, a place of the dead.
"Niflheim (pronounced “NIF-el-hame;” from Old Norse Niflheimr, “World of Fog”) is one of the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology and the homeland of primordial darkness, cold, mist, and ice. As such, it’s the opposite cosmological principle of Muspelheim, the world of fire and heat.
In the Norse creation narrativeas related by the medieval Christian Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson, the first being, the giant Ymir, was born when ice from Niflheim and fire from Muspelheim met in the middle of Ginnungagap, the abyss that had formerly separated them.
The word “Niflheim” is only found in the works of Snorri and is often used interchangeably with “Niflhel,” a poetic embellishment of “Hel,” the world of the dead. “Niflhel” is found in Old Norse poems that are much older than Snorri’s works. It’s entirely possible that the word “Niflheim” is an invention of Snorri’s. It’s impossible to know whether the attendant concept is of similarly late and spurious origins, because our only source for anything that even pretends to be a full account of the heathen Norse creation narrative comes from – you guessed it – the works of Snorri." (1)
Hail and thank you!
Nine Worlds of Norse Mythology (ayearandadaywicca.wordpress.com)
"Cosmology" 1 Yggdrasil (theasatrucommunity.wordpress.com)