By now you’ve probably heard of the Elevator Game. It is a ritual that supposedly originated in Korea. If done properly it will take you to a new world, an ethereal world where you will see a neon cross in the distance while finding yourself surrounded by the voices of the dead. But fewer people are aware of a similar ritual known as the Yggdrasil Ritual.
The Norsemen of long ago believed that the world we live in was one of many worlds on a great ash tree called Yggdrasil. There is a way to use an elevator to reach one of these worlds. This ritual is pulled off in a similar fashion to the elevator game, but it must be done in a building with an elevator and exactly nine floors. Not all the floors need to be above ground. If your building has two floors below ground and seven floors above that will work just fine.
You will also need to bring a nut or berry with you. This will be used later in the ritual. You may perform the ritual with other people on board, but here is an important detail. Once you begin everyone who started with you must remain on the elevator until the end. If any passengers leave or if any new passengers get on board the ritual will not work. You may want to perform the ritual in a building near the end of the day or when it is least busy to minimize the chance that someone else will get on the elevator.
At the start of the ritual enter the elevator and imagine yourself standing on the branches of a great tree. Visualize the texture of the bark, the leaves swaying in the breeze, and the sounds of the birds in its branches. Speak the first incantation:
"Oh great Yggdrasil, I stand on your mighty branches. Take me to Asgard, the shining city at your apex."
Press the button to take you to the top floor. Once you reach the top recite the second incantation:
"O great Yggdrasil, I stand on your mighty branches. Take me to your roots where the Three Norns watch their well."
Press the button that will take you to the lowest floor of the building. If the ritual is going correctly when the door opens a squirrel will enter the elevator. This is Ratatosk, the squirrel who carries messages up and down the world tree. Give him the nut or berry.
After Ratatosk leaves and the doors close go back to the highest floor, then return to the lowest floor. Here is where things get complex. The next three buttons you press will determine which of the nine worlds you will end up on. There are a variety of combinations, so some experimentation will be necessary. But, if you enter a valid combination you will find yourself on one of the Nine Worlds.
The first possible world is Asgard. This is the home of the Norse gods known as the Aesir. This is the only world that has a fixed entry point. Those who have seen this world report the door opens at the foot of a rainbow in a sea of stars. This is the legendary Bifrost Bridge that leads to Asgard. In the distance is a great warrior in armor standing with a sword and horn. This is Heimdall, the watchman of the gods. He will fix his gaze on you. Make no mistake-he is aware of your presence. They say he can hear the sound of grass growing on Earth so hearing your breathing in an elevator a few hundred feet away will be no problem. You might also catch a glimpse of the other Norse gods coming or going.
The second possible world is Vanaheim. This is the home of a group of gods known as the Vanir. Reports indicate that entry points to this realm open into a meadow or farmland. The deities that reside here are associated with peace and fertility.
The third possible world is Alfheim. This is the land of the light elves. When the door opens you will see a vast blue sky with floating landmasses. Be sure to look before you step out of, for some explorers have reported there might not be solid ground below you when you leave the safety of the elevator! Occasionally, you might see beings gliding on the winds. These are the light elves.
The fourth world is Jotunheim, the land of giants. This is a realm of gigantic land formations. Most reports indicate the elevator will open up to reveal a forest of towering trees. The inhabitants of this world are indeed giants estimated to be between 20 to 30 feet tall. Animals spotted in this realm are similar to those found in northern Europe though they are two or three times larger than their Earthly counterparts. Giants tend to be indifferent towards humans though some of their species are said to very wise and skilled in the ways of magic. However, I imagine convincing one to teach you will not be easy.
The fifth possible world you might find yourself on is Muspellheim. This scorching realm is home to the fire giants. When the door opens you will be greeted by a wave of hot air and see a rocky landscape baked by a sun that always appears at the zenith in the sky. There have also been reports of the occasional pillar of fire bursting forth from the ground. Temperature is similar to that of the hottest deserts on Earth. Muspellheim is home to the fire giants, and they are said to be very hostile towards outsiders!
If the door opens and reveals a cool, damp land of misty forests and valleys then you know you have arrived on the sixth world Svartalfheim. The sky is that of perpetual twilight. This is land of the dark elves and dwarves. The relationship between these two races is believed to range from indifferent to hostile. The dwarves tend to be suspicious of humans but will not go out of their way to hurt or help them. According to Norse mythology dwarves are skilled blacksmiths capable of making wondrous items. However, there are stories of people double-crossing these beings and paying a grave price for it! The dark elves are more enigmatic, so if you deal with one extreme caution is advised.
The seventh realm is Niflheim. This is the realm of cold and ice. As the door to the elevator opens you will be hit with a blast of cold air. People who have reached this realm report the door will open to reveal a variety of landscapes, from frost covered wastes to icy mountains, to beautiful snow covered forests. Temperature seems to be consistent with sub-arctic to arctic environments on Earth. In theory, you could survive here if you are wearing warm enough clothing. Assuming the frost giants don’t get to you of course! I imagine they don’t see many people, so you just might be seen as an exotic snack to them.
The eighth world is Helheim. This realm is home to those who died unheroic deaths. It is said that Helheim is not necessarily a bad place but it pales in comparison to the majesty of Valhalla. Those who committed serious crimes will face judgement here. One Norse poem tells that murderers and thieves will be forced to wade in a river of swords and knives while serpents spew venom on them. For those who were not deemed worthy of Valhalla it is a bleak but not unpleasant place. Travelers are advised not to step out of the elevator. Hel, the goddess who rules this realm, is not known for letting people leave.
If the door opens and you find yourself back in the building you started in then you will have returned to the ninth world, Midgard. However, this does not mean that you are safely home! There is a chance that you might find yourself on an alternate Earth instead. People who have survived the ritual and been to these alternate realities report the year is the same as the year they performed the ritual in but some major historical event never happened or unfolded differently. Known alternate realities include one where Hinduism is the dominant world religion, a reality where John F. Kennedy was never assassinated and the United States established a permanent Moon base, a version of the United Kingdom that is still an absolute monarchy, a history where the Soviet Union won the Cold War and never dissolved, a Japan that never entered World War 2, and a reality where humanity has made successful radio contact with an extraterrestrial society. People who made it to these alternate realities were able to return by performing the ritual a second time.
You might wonder what happens if you leave the elevator. I can tell you one known tale of a traveler who did just that. The reason he left is because he had a friend who was able to hold the door open for him. Otherwise he might not have been so bold as to venture forth. He had found himself in Svartalfheim. Soon after he left the elevator he saw a small group of elves with dusky skin. The way they reacted he assumed that they could not see him until he left the elevator. The traveler took out his cell phone to take a picture. One of the elves took this as a sign of hostility and threw a dart at him. Fortunately, the attack missed and the traveler was able to make it back into the elevator. Then the doors closed they found the wayward projectile stuck in the elevator’s wall. That is the only story I am aware of involving a person leaving the elevator. Perhaps people fear what will happen when the door closes. You might find yourself stranded on a strange world with no means to return home. Maybe someday a brave, or perhaps foolhardy, soul will be able to explore that theory.
Written by Alseeger