Bifrost is the most famous bridge in Norse mythology, it was built to connect heaven and earth, but as Har tells Gangler in the Eddas: “You may know it as the rainbow.” What else do we know about this magical bridge? Read on.
The Colors of the Rainbow – All Three
How many colors are in a rainbow? In real life, it depends on many different factors, such as the angle of the sun, exit angle of the refracted light, etc… (Check out this article from Wikipedia for the technical lowdown.) Har makes it simpler for us by saying “It is of three hues…” I wish he would have told us all three colors, but he didn’t. A later passage does reveal one of the colors which we’ll get to in a moment.
It Will Be Broken
Although Bifrost is “constructed with more art(skill) than any other work” it is going to break one day. The day that the sons of Muspell ride across the bridge to attack Asgard Bifrost will crumble to pieces beneath them. This isn’t any fault of the gods who built it since we are told nothing in Nature can resist the sons of Muspell when they ride forth.
It’s On Fire
The red that we see in Bifrost comes from a fire that burns over it. The fire burns to keep the Frost Giants and Mountain Giants from invading Asgard. We are told the ginats would be eager to raid the many fine halls in Asgard if they could just walk right up the bridge.
Thor Isn’t Allowed
The gods ride across Bifrost (also called the Aesir Bridge) every day to their council at the foot of Yggdrasil. The Eddas say that Thor can not ride over the bridge but has to walk and wade through four separate rivers instead. Supposedly his thunder chariot would damage the bridge, setting it all in flames and turning the boiling water beneath Bifrost boiling hot.
It’s Guardian Can Hear the Grass Grow
Heimdall is in charge of guarding Bifrost and he has a number of skills to help him out with his task. His senses are so acute that he can hear the grass grow on the earth and the wool grow on a sheep’s back. He can see, day or night, for a hundred miles around him. To top it all off, he needs less sleep than a bird.
That’s it for this week. See you next time!