Not Yet Ragnarok

The sillhouette of barren trees against a late afternoon Winter sky.

You may have heard stories that February 22, 2014 is the end of the world as the Ragnarok begins. This is based on the idea that we've had three very harsh winters in a row and there are strange things from the ocean depths washing up onto shore. Those things may be worrisome, but we are not at the end yet.

To start with, we need to have three harsh winters that don't end. That means there is no summer in between. The Midwestern United States has seen exceptionally warm summers between the exceptionally cold winters. Anyone doubting the extent of summer can ask the Australians how their summer is going this year (flaming hot).

As we know, the Gods help maintain the dynamic balance between order (ice) and chaos (fire). The Ragnarok comes when that balance is so out of whack that everything collapses. These temperature extremes are there because our atmosphere is getting out of balance. The increased atmospheric energy allows the annual temperature changes to swing over wider paths. One of these days, we will hit a tipping point where the oscillations will go too far, the system will collapse, and we will get those three winters without summers.

These extremes also affect the oceans. The temperature currents that oscillate in the world's bodies of water will become irregular. Those things that live in the deepest parts may get driven out or simply get lost. Our ancestors believed that even the World Serpent would rise up at that time. The increase in deep sea creatures washing up on the shores of the world are possibly just the first manifestations of that.

What can you do about it? Well, for one, try to encourage people to live in a more environmentally friendly way. That can help drag out how long it will be before we hit the point of no return. We may not be able to stop things permanently, but we have to do our part to help the Gods maintain balance.

Secondly, start building underground in areas away from the sea. The Eddas tell us that the human survivors in the Middle World survived by being underground. The surface will pretty much burn and the oceans will rise up to flood everything. As the waters recede, the surviving humans op up from their shelters. They get to hang out with Vidar and Thor's sons, Magni and Modi, as well as the other remaining Gods.

So, you are probably safe for today, at least from some world-ending battle. As for the future, we all have to do our part.