Where did the earth come from? Good question, Shmooper. Would you believe us if we told you it came from the corpse of a giant?
According to the Norse creation myth, the gods transformed the body of a dead giant into soil, rocks, oceans, and all the other stuff that makes up the earth. They even morph maggots – those gross little worms that grow on a corpse – into dwarves. Waste not, want not, right? It's like recycled art.
Their act of creation through transformation makes the Norse gods seem like human artisans. It links acts like building a ship, or hammering away at metal to make a sword, to the creation of the universe, because all of these acts involve transforming stuff into other stuff.
Creation through transformation of a dead body also expresses the whole "ashes to ashes" mentality – the idea that our bodies take shape thanks to the energy that comes from the soil and sun and water and other bodies, and will eventually go right back into the land to begin the transformative process all over again.