Jormungandr (jörmungandr) is one of the mighty serpents in Norse mythology.
On the bottom of this page you can find a video of me forging this and a link to the pendant
Jormungandr [ˈjɔ̃rmoŋˌɡɑndr] in old Norse translates to something like "the belt of the earth" or "the mighty staff".
He is also known for many other names; "World Serpent", "Wolf serpent", "great beast", but maybe most famous for being the "Midgard serpent".
He’s one of the three children of Loki and the giantess Angrboda, along with the great wolf Fenrir and Hel, Queen of the Dead.
The three children were living with their mother in Jotunheim, realm of the giants. The gods of Asgard received a prophecy from the Norns that these three would cause trouble in the future. Odin therefore hurled Jormungandr into the sea, consigned Hel to the dark realm of the dead below icy Niflheim, and eventually had Fenrir bound to a rock on an island.
Once Odin has thrown Jormungandr into the sea, the serpent begins to grow, just as Fenrir does on land. Jorungandr grows until he reaches such enormous lengths he encircles Midgard, the realm of the mortals.
It is at this point that he begins to encounter Thor – first at the castle of a giant and then on a fishing trip.
At Ragnarök, the Twilight of the Gods, Jörmungandr is destined to slay, and to be slain, by the god Thor.
The Norns had decreed Ragnarök from the beginning of time and there was no appealing their decisions.
The gods understood they would die in the great final battle, but the battle had to be fought just the same as the Norns had decreed.
There will be winters without summers. There will be breakdowns in human relationships and traditions. Jormundgandr releases his tail and Ragnarök begins.
Although he is depicted as a 'villain' in the tales, Jormungandr, like Fenrir and Hel, is an agent of transformation. Humans, like the gods of Asgard, tend to resist change and try to control the world to minimize their fear of the unknown, although while knowing – just like the Norse gods – that change is inevitable, and nothing is permanent.
In this regard, Jormungandr represents the futility of trying to control forces that are ultimately beyond one’s ability to contain, both natural forces and those set in motion through human agency.
Ragnarök is the last time Thor encounters Jormungandr for a third and last time in history as the two finally meet in battle. Thor kills the serpent but has been sprayed so thoroughly by Jormungandr’s poison that he is only able to walk steps before falling down dead. In this last battle the Nine Realms fall in flames. But after this, a new world will arise from the ruins of the old, thus confirming Jormungandr’s association with the Ouroboros.
Jormungandr is understood by modern-day scholars as an agent of transformation along the lines of the symbolism of serpents in many if not all of the belief systems of the ancient world. The Ouroboros, which is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail, entered Western tradition via ancient Egyptian iconography and the Greek magical tradition. In most cultures this serpent symbol represented the circle of life, both the beginning and the end, both big and small - and like everything that exists, Jormungandr is capable of also transforming from something old into something reborn and new. Both the midgard serpent and the Ouroboros have their tails in their mouths, but there is an important difference: Ouroboros is eating its tail, and is a symbol of everlasting recurrence. Jormungandr holds its tail in its mouth but isn’t said to be eating it. The important thing about Jormungandr wasn't that it could grasp its tail, it was what happened when it let go.