The dragon of darkness comes flying there,
Bright snake from the world below.
Deep within the earth, in the misty nætherworld of Nifelheim, lies the great dragon Nidhogg. It lies, coiled around the well of Hvergelmir, from which all the waters in the world flow, and chews on the roots of the World Tree, so that it constantly dies and is reborn. The dragons attention wavers only when it stops to gorge itself upon the corporeal remains of the dead (for its name means corpse swallower, or the lower one), and to hear the pronouncements of Wyrd when the volva speaks.
Nidhogg is the chthonic counterpart of the aquatic serpent Iormungand, but unlike her, and all preceding Rökkr beings, the origins of Nidhogg are totally obscure. The dragon, like the World Tree on which it chews, appears to have arisen out of Wyrd itself, having no creation, no creator. Suggesting at least that they both began their existence so remotely in the subconscious that they have gone beyond the need for any explanation. Certainly, Nidhogg has gone beyond the need for definition. It is beyond gender, it is neither feminine, nor masculine, but not like the undivided lunar nature of Hela, or the androgynous solar nature of Loki. Instead, its nature is so incomprehensible, so chaotic, that it is simply beyond any such definition.
Consequently the element associated with Nidhogg is Chaos, and a total summation of its nature, while the corresponding planetary sphere is the chaotic Saturn. Nidhogg is, further, represented by the traditional constellation of Draconis, as it winds its way around the North Pole, just as Nidhogg is coiled around the axis of the world tree.
In classical astral mythology, Draconis represented the dragon Ladon, the guardian of the Hesperidean golden apples. Ladon lay coiled around the tree of immortality which bore them in the western garden of the goddess; just as the serpent imparted wisdom from a tree in the biblical garden of Eden. Ladon was greatly loved by the goddess Hera, which is why she placed him in the stars after he was killed by Heracles. The same is also true of Hela (Hera's Norse counterpart as a mother goddess) and Nidhogg. A sense of this can be glimpsed in the way that the dragon is also entwined around the polar constellation of The Lady's Wagon (Ursa Minor), representing the goddess in her maternal aspect. The dragon constellation is circumpolar, meaning that it never sets above 30° degrees latitude, suggesting the eternal nature of the great dragon.
Nidhogg is in continual, and torrid, communication with an eagle that sits amongst the highest branches of Heldrasil, the World Tree. Ratatosk (branch-borer) the squirrel runs up and down, back and forth, along the tree, exchanging insults and gossip between the dragon and the eagle, hoping to stir up trouble between the two. Ratatosk plays the same role as Loki does amongst the gods, causing trouble between powerful forces, but, at the same time, communicating between hel and heaven, and, thus, assisting the flow of the kozmos, and the flow of Wyrd.
Although Nidhogg's constant chewing on the roots of the World Tree will eventually shake it to its core at Ragnarok, and although it is a force of absolute chaos, the dragon still performs a pivotal role in Northern, and Rökkr magick. The dragon is an embodiment and expression of the geomantic energies that run throughout the earth, and in particular along ley-lines, and at the sacred megalithic sites that populate western and northern Europe. These earth energies are often regarded as dragon energies, because like the dragon, their power is forceful, almost unknowable, and resides deep within the earth and in stones. One of the most famous of such places is the so-called Saint Michael's line, which runs directly through a number of dragon-related sites in lower England.
These energies are known as wouivre, and although related to Nidhogg, they are the serpentine energies of the Goddess in Her draconian manifestation. The wouivre are akin to the eastern concept of the Kundalini, which is raised up through the body, altering personal patterns of energy, matter, and spirit. The figure of the labyrinth, as an actual, physical design, mirrors the subterranean or acausal fields of dragon labyrinthine energy that exist within the earth. The process of travelling around a microkozmic labyrinth in a meditative state, evokes the macrokozmic energies, and induces a change of consciousness, and perception. As the literal form of the labyrinth mirrors the acausal, so the acausal form mirrors the labyrinth that exists as the human mind. When one evokes the energy of the acausal labyrinth, the dragon energies in the nexion that is the mind, are similarly activated.
To invoke the wouivre, through the walking of a labyrinth, the labyrinth used need not be a traditional, or established one - although the years of existence will induce a greater sense of the Eternal. For where ever a new labyrinth is laid out, the wouivre are drawn towards it, and the ond and Wyrd of the site will be both increased and enriched.
The vast axis of Heldrasil is a macrokozmic representation of the human spine. So just as Nidhogg, gnawing on the roots of the tree, sends its energies reverberating throughout the the trunk and branches, and to every berry and seed, so too, when wouivre energies are awaken at the base of the spine, they rise up through the body and impact through out it.
Perhaps one of the best explanations of the nature of Nidhogg is found in the alchemical allegories known as the Aurelia Occulta, from the Theatrum Chemicum, which declares: "I am the old dragon, found everywhere on the globe of the earth, father and mother, young and old, very strong and very weak, death and resurrection, visible and invisible, hard and soft; I descend into the earth and ascend to the heavens, I am the highest and the lowest, the lightest and the heaviest; often the order of nature is reversed in me, as regards colour, number, weight and measure; I contain the light of nature; I am dark and light; I come forth from heaven and earth; I am known and yet do not exist at all; by virtue of the sun's rays all colours shine in me and all metals"
CORRESPONDENCES OF NIDHOGG
Body Point: Pituitary Gland
* * *
ENCOUNTERS WITH NIDHOGG
I walk into a large garden
There is a river, with a waterfall -
Ear glistens within it
Behind the waterfall - a cave
Walking through the cave I reach a passage,
Spiralling downwards -anticlockwise.
I reach the end of it and enter a wasteland.
I wander into familiar surroundings.
Into a cave, a giant troll-like figure stands guard,
Eventually letting me pass.
I walk down the spiral passage.
Nearing the end, the ground starts to rumble.
I find myself riding a giant white serpent.
Exiting the passage, I fall off,
and the serpent slithers down a giant hole
into the ground.