Distinct from most other western mythologies, Teutonic mythology offers a riveting and somewhat grotesque eschatology. This account of the end of the world vies in graphic description to the harrowing visions of the Christmas judgement day, and the Saturnine sermons concerning the Second Coming.
According to this ancient Germanic myth, there will come to pass a last, great battle between the forces of good and evil wherein the gods who dwell in Asgard (the countryside surrounding Valhalla and the resting place of the slain) will fall to their deaths and the world will be consumed by a maelstrom of steel and fire. That sinister hour will be presignaled by many terrifying omens. First a bitter cold will descend upon the earth, followed by a devestating winter that will last threee unending and arduous years. The union of nations will be shattered, the bonds of brotherhood and kinship among men will be demolished, and global warfare will break out through the entire world as humankind commits insufferable acts of murder, rape, incest and betrayal.
A giant wold called Fenrir, son of Loki (the Nordic god of strife, evil and discord), will arrest the sun, causing it to grow dim and pale as he eventually swallows it whole. As he advances further he will gluttonize the moon and cause the stars to fall from the sky and crash to the earth. Finally, with his jaws agape, he will fill the gap between the firmament and the atmosphere. The mountains will collapse into fragments as the entire planet quakes and shutters in an immense bedlam of molten lava. The Serpent of the World will soar from the sea excreting poison upon the land, while Loki, bound and gagged for centuries, will break loose from his chains and destroy everything, liberating hideous monsters from their shackles and commanding them to pillage the thwarted world. Nagflar, a boat made from the fingernails of the dead and navigated by Loki himself, will sail the oceans of the world, delivering wicked giants to distant regions and summoning the primordial waters to rise and flood the land. Surt, the fire giant, and his many adherents will rise from Muspelheim (a fiery realm between the earth and sky which helped create the world) with blood axes and magical swords, pursuing their ultimate goal of attacking and killing the gods and goddesses of Asgard and Valhalla. Surt’s forces will eventually join the gods) watching it disintegrate beneath the trampling hooves of their steeds. Then, as the giants storm the gates and the Twilight of the Gods looms imminent, the supernatural armies will meet on the great plain known as Vigrid, and there the Ragnorak, the “eve of destruction,” the final battle between good and evil, will transpire and the gods will fall to their knees in a blaze of enormous intensity. All the gods will die; only Surt will remain to burn the heavens and the earth to ashes and then he too will perish as the entire universe is enveloped by the thrashing waters. Yet, beyond the catastrophe there does exist hope: the sons of the old gods shall remain alive and Balder, the Germanic god of puirity and justice, will be reincarnated and will reign with the remaining gods and, with their assistance, he will create a new race of divinities, to rule a newly purified and rejuvenated universe. The Earth will rise from the ashes, new, fresh and fertile, more breautiful and more enduring than ever before. A man and a woman, who heeded shelter from the holocaust in Yggdrasil, the World Tree, willl subdue and repopulate the new world. A new sun, outshining its predecessor in radiance and beauty will travel across the azure sky and the nightly heavens will be illuminated by a brilliance unlike any which mankind has ever known. The new universe, purged of apostasy and corruption will endure for all eternity.