⋘ GINNUNGAGAP ⋙▐░▒ ✦
“That was the age when nothing was;
There was no sand, nor sea, nor cool waves,
No earth nor sky nor grass there,
Loosely translating to “yawning void” or “gaping abyss,” Ginnungagap is the primordial void into which the cosmos will collapse during Ragnarok: “The Twilight of the Gods.” From her, all will be reborn. It’s no secret that Jane Foster has become this bottomless abyss, destined to recreate and destroy the universe that lives within her for all of time.
“A thousand lives lived in circles,
A planet burning at the seams.”
– Chelsea Wolfe, Offering
This is Janie’s true name now. Over time, it’ll be the only one she recognizes. Luckily the first syllable sounds close enough to ‘Jane’ that one could train her to respond to her human name.
The word never actually appears except for Verse 3 of Völuspá, “gap var ginnunga.” Ginnunga, like Janie, is a mystery. Nobody has an exact definition. It’s associated with “gape” or “yawn,” but neither are accurate. It’s possible that, like Múspell, Ginnunga was borrowed from High German, in which ‘ginn’ has been used as a prefix: ginn-heilagr, ginn-regin ( refers to the gods ) and ginn-runa ( runes ). If we were to apply it, Ginnungagap is “magical and creative power-filled space.” Jan de Vries has corroborated this suggestion, “magically-charged.” Science and magic, oh my! Considering the tale of creation and Janiebeans as the fabric of reality, this is quite accurate. “Gap” simply means emptiness, void.
“Long before the birth of light, there was darkness. From that darkness came the Dark Elves.”
Dökkálfar were the first race. Their story is another meta entirely, but their culture emerged first and their language, now dead, was the first. Through the power of the Aether, they reigned absolute. That’s why Janie takes so much after them and is fluent in their ancient tongue.
“Ginnungagap, the Yawning Void…which faced toward the northern quarter, became filled with heaviness, and masses of ice and rime, and from within, drizzling rain and gusts; but the southern part of the Yawning Void was lighted by those sparks and glowing masses which flew out of Múspellheim.”
According to Snorri, Ginnungagap lies between Niflheim and Múspellheim in the south. Both of these are considered to be as timeless as the void, though I’ll have to take the rational route and say the darkness came first. No matter how much heat Múspellheim conjured or bitter cold Niflheim produced, the void maintained its mild and clean air. Into that emptiness the venom rivers of Elivagar dripped to form Ymir.
When Odin and his brothers destroyed him, they threw the giant’s body into the abyss to form the heavens, earth, seas, and mountains. They then took embers from Múspellheim and tossed them into the void to create stars. Whether this has any credence or served as a bedtime story, only a handful are alive to know. Janie does, but won’t freely disclose.
CHAOS AND THE VOID
For Loki and Janie, this is quite poetic. What the brodinsons were probably taught as children ( that they can pass onto Janie ) is the chaos-cosmos split between the opposing the orderly, law-abiding innangard and the wild, anarchic utangard. Fields and fences mark the innangard while all that rugged wilderness is utangard territory. ‘Gard’ realms are the orderly and ‘Heim’ realms are untamed.
The anti-cosmic forces of the utangard are constantly trying to drag the Æsir and all that they stand for back to chaos. During Ragnarok, they succeed. The “capitol” of this chaos is Ginnungagap, abyss, the ultimate destination to which the giants want to bring the universe. In a more romantic sense, to tug at Nietzsche, the void must have chaos to give birth to a dancing star.
This all very much explains their innate, irrational pull and need for one another, why they shelter and nurture the other in what to the outsider seems a bizarre, unhealthy codependency. They literally are two halves of the great picture. They need each other. They’re at their best with the other. The universe is at zenith.
While this is in no way detailing Jane’s power and composition, it’s a brief overview of her role in not only the Norse pantheon, but the universe as a whole. Dark matter is 85% of the universe. No one knows its composition. It’s the glue that binds everything together. It’s the fabric of every universe. While Janie may not fully understand the magnitude of what she is, with Ragnarok approaching there is a crucial part that she must play to start the cycle again. She is the only constant, the only glimpse we will ever have of eternity. She understands this. She is taking it seriously now. In time I can only imagine just how apart from us all the mother of all nonentities will become.
“This primordial, annihilating chaos is ever-present;
Wherever there is darkness,
Wherever there is silence,
Wherever any wish or belief is negated,
There is Ginnungagap.”