“Another version of the Edda makes our visible universe spring from beneath the luxuriant branches of the mundane tree – the Yggdrasill, the tree with the three roots. Under the first root runs the fountain of life, Urdar; under the second is the famous well of Mimer, in which lie deeply buried Wit and Wisdom.
Odin, the Alfadir, asks for a draught of this water; he gets it, but finds himself obliged to pledge one of his eyes for it; the eye being in this case the symbol of the Deity revealing itself in the wisdom of its own creation; for Odin leaves it at bottom of the deep well.
The care of the mundane tree is entrusted to three maidens (the Norns or Parcae), Urdhr, Verdandi, and Skuld – or the Present, the Past, and the Future.
Every morning, while fixing the term of human life, they draw water from the Urdar-fountain, and sprinkle with it at the roots of the mundane tree, that it may live.
The exhalations of the ash, Yggdrasill, condense, and falling down upon our earth call into existence and change of form every portion of the inanimate matter.
This tree is the symbol of the universal Life, organic as well as inorganic; its emanations represent the spirit which vivifies every form of creation; and of its three roots, one extends to heaven, the second to the dwelling of the magicians – giants, inhabitants of the lofty mountains – and at the third, under which is the spring Hvergelmir, gnaws the monster Nidhogg, who constantly leads mankind into evil.
The Tibetans have also their mundane tree, and the legend is of an untold antiquity. With them it is called Zampun. The first of its three roots also extends to heaven, to the top of the highest mountains; the second passes down to the lower region; the third remains midway, and reaches the east.
The mundane tree of the Hindus is the Aswatha. Its branches are the components of the visible world; and leaves the Mantras of the Vedas, symbols of the universe in its intellectual or moral character.”
H. P. Blavatsky