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Yggdrasil Totem by Aerin-Kayne Yggdrasil Totem by Aerin-Kayne
Just wanted to update this to let people know that I am now offering prints here:
(there are also some better detail previews there as well for those interested).

...


So, here is my best attempt at explaining this:

The yggdrasil reference is to the Norse myth, in which the tree represents the world(s). There are elements of that in there (the 'tree', the snake creature on the bottom, the eagle head, and the hawk/falcon on top). There are more elements than those in the myth, and obviously (I think it's obvious), they don't look like this (although the serpent is more closely based on actual references).

I also designed it to look somewhat like both a dreamcatcher and a chalice (the snake on the bottom being the ‘base’, and the half circle of the dreamcatcher-like section the ‘glass’ part. The feathers hanging from it are from different birds - hawk, pheasant, eagle and others (the eagle feather I had to base off of pictorial references, the others I have). The only really important feathers that I specifically picked out for their meanings are the eagle(right) and the hawk(left), which are believed to be messengers of the gods in some religions, especially Native American. Actually, depending on the story, the hawk can have almost opposite (negative) symbology as the eagle (so they can sort of represent good and evil), but usually they are associated with the same thing, although the eagle is usually considered more important (here, interpreting it either way works). The eagle on the top of the tree is represented by just the skull - that the tree itself is based on skeletal elements was not intended to mean that 'the tree/world is dead', or 'spirituality is dead' (although I can see how it could be interpreted that way) rather it was more a way to unify the concepts of life and death, spirituality and material things, etc. In the Norse myth, the serpent on the bottom gnaws on the roots of the tree, trying to kill it, so I thought it would be very interesting to actually have the snake become, the rose. The rose is about (sort of) where the heart would be, given that I based the 'tree' on an organic animal like design, connecting the forces that strive for death and destruction to the same ones that sustain life and vitality (if you look at the chalice aspect of the design, the rose can also appear to be held within it). There are other rebirth/life/duality references within the picture - the ribs and the vertebrae become birdlike in some places, the red color of the rose, stylized sun/moon symbols, a keystone that, well, actually has a keyhole in it, and the totem image supporting the dream-catcher element. Someone commented that it also looked like it was trapped/hung-up/imprisoned in it. This wasn't purposely intended when I started the picture - it was just supposed to look like it was holding it - but is an excellent way to look at it too.

I think the 'life' references tend to be overlooked because of the overall oddity of the design, especially the skeletal aspect (so people immediately see the 'death!' thing first, and take it to be more of just a grotesque design meant primarily for effect - and, to be fair, I have done things like that in the past, so I can't really blame them for interpreting it that way). My mother actually saw this one, looked at it for *literally* half a second, and said she didn’t want to see any more of it, because it looked like a boned fish.
(!) ._.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2010-12-29
Yggdrasil-- in Norse mythology, the world tree, a giant ash supporting the universe. One of its roots extended into Niflheim, the underworld; another into Jötunheim, land of the giants; and the third into Asgard, home of the gods...
– Encyclopædia Britannica
Yggdrasil Totem by ~Aerin-Kayne. ( Featured by SRaffa )
:iconstellartcorsica:
stellartcorsica Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome!
Reply
:iconaerin-kayne:
Aerin-Kayne Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you.
Reply
:iconstellartcorsica:
stellartcorsica Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
welcome :)
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:iconcrochetamommy:
crochetamommy Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
this is so amazing. i love it, awesome job! very interesting subject~!
Reply
:iconaerin-kayne:
Aerin-Kayne Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks.  It's actually an older one, but I've been doing some long overdue gallery maintenance.
Reply
:iconcrochetamommy:
crochetamommy Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
gallery maintenance.. i need that.. but wont happen anytime soon. lol

its awesome to see your work, wither its new or older! :)
Reply
:iconelle-crystale:
I really love this picture ! I want to know if im allowed to use it for a tattoo on myself 
Answer me right here, and everybody will know where you stand. 
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:iconprinnycookies:
PrinnyCookies Featured By Owner May 19, 2013
The tree of death offers us it's life~ I love how at first glance it appears devoid of life, or even goodness in general, but upon further inspection it appears almost to be the skeleton of an uniquely designed angelic being, simply offering its love (The rose) to us, which also appears to be its heart or the center of its consciousness. Excellent! x3
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:iconaerin-kayne:
Aerin-Kayne Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you for your detailed comments.
Reply
:iconwolfgangmax:
WolfgangMax Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Cool ^^
Reply
:iconkkallweit:
KKallweit Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011
beautiful illustration!
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:icondrerika:
Drerika Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2010  Student General Artist
OMG :jawdrop: ... i hawe no words... A.V.E.S.O.M.E!!!!
Reply
:iconfoxcarnage:
foxcarnage Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
This would make the coolest back tattoo EVER.
Reply
:iconshark-demon:
Shark-Demon Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
This looks incredible.

--
:music:Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, I think I'll set Mine on Fire:music:- Paul Gray:blackrose: R.I.P.:tombstone:

--
"There's always a way out. Some are just a little more dangerous than others."- Bends, STREET SHARKS
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:icondollfacedxkilla:
DOLLfacedxKilla Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
Intriguing & beautiful.

:+favlove:
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:iconvalentinakaquatosh:
ValentinaKaquatosh Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Very beautiful!
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:icondeadlovecalling:
DeadloveCalling Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Student Writer
dark and gorgeous <3
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:iconlemurianwanderer:
LemurianWanderer Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Professional General Artist
This is cool!
Reply
:iconcyberreplica:
cyberReplica Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
The Sea of Trolls.
Reply
:iconserafinathejackash:
Serafinathejackash Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
awesome! FAVE!
Reply
:iconmerlynsgrandkid:
merlynsgrandkid Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
WOW this is AWESOME
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:iconrayvenseye:
RayvensEye Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010   General Artist
That is awesome !
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:iconartbyzaheroux:
ArtbyZaheroux Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010   Traditional Artist
This is just beautiful! The detail is stunning!
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:iconcryptrose:
CryptRose Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
truly amazing. :D
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:iconrobjoeball:
robjoeball Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
Beautiful design!
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:iconfaedia:
faedia Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
Very interesting interpretation.
Reply
:icondarkwavechick:
darkwavechick Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Student Photographer
This is absolutely stunning....
Reply
:iconcuppyfox:
CuppyFox Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
I felt weird at first glance, but the more I look at it the more I like it. And the less it looks like a boned fish. ;P
Reply
:iconartemisaesthetic:
ArtemisAesthetic Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Professional General Artist
I suggest that House Of Leaves is a book for you =) It makes many eccentric parallels with Yggdrasil =D
Reply
:iconaerin-kayne:
Aerin-Kayne Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I'll look into the book - I don't have too much to read at the moment (I recently got Jung's Liber Novus but it's freaking GIGANTIC to the point that you can't take it anywhere).
Thanks for commenting.
Reply
:icontaranjhook:
TaranJHook Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
That thing is so cool! Does the print that you have for sale have the copyright watermark on the side? I kinda want to get this for a friend.
Reply
:iconaerin-kayne:
Aerin-Kayne Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
watermarks are not on the prints - just on the gallery display images
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:iconthelastelanor:
thelastelanor Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
i have never seen like your yggdrasil!
No word!
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:iconslytherinseverusnape:
SlytherinSeveruSnape Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Student General Artist
That would bea really awesome back tattoo
Reply
:icondisturbed-maverick:
Disturbed-MaveRick Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing, Alchemy Gothic should make a metal replica of this.
Reply
:iconnbusse:
nbusse Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
nice, and intrincate. good work with the symbol management... it's hard to get a good, harmonic work with that many unrelated objects.
Reply
:icondark-fable:
Dark-Fable Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is very cool and well thought out. I am not a huge fan of surrealism per se but I really like this.
It's a pretty dark representation of the tree of "life" which is totally ok by me. We all see things differently.
I'm glad to see Norse inspired art. I'm a big fan of that time period. Great job. :)
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:iconkapytal:
Kapytal Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010   Interface Designer
Amazing piece of art! It's complexity and details amaze me. I really like Nordic Mythology, and this is very interesting.
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:iconsimple-daydreamer:
simple-daydreamer Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010   Writer
Wow, very cool. :)
Reply
:iconwytherwing:
wytherwing Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
congrats on your DD for this very creative and beautifully rendered piece! :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconaerin-kayne:
Aerin-Kayne Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
wow - thanks :)
Did not expect this at all.
Just submitting new work again after a really long absence, trying to figure out how to arrange my gallery since a lot of things have changed (widgets, groups, all the buttons are in different places etc). So I log in this morning like, why do I have 300 messages? O.o
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:iconwytherwing:
wytherwing Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
:D you're absolutely welcome! ;)
Reply
:iconwoodlandelven:
woodlandelven Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Student
AMAZING! REALLY AMAZING!
Reply
:iconim-sabbo:
Im-Sabbo Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
What of Ravens? They are an important bird in several religions, including Norse, wherein they served Odin... who just so happens to be the god who hung himself from Yggdrasil for nine days and nights.
Reply
:iconblack-feather:
Black-Feather Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
I didn't see death in this. I saw something so beautiful (there is no life without death) that I wish I had a carving or something like this made out of bones, wire, skull, etc for my altar. It respects passing from life of course, but as things are consumed and turned back to the soil--new life emerges. hence the rose.

The web of she who wove the world--the spider is in here. Speaks so much to my totem animal (of which I'm actually terrified of spiders). I love the feathers, the hawk, the snake. To me you captured what the world tree is.

Stunning piece.
Reply
:iconallexialeebeaumont:
AllexiaLeeBeaumont Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
Brilliant symbolism and superb detail. You thought this through before doing it which ads to the quality of your design. To the average person this may look like death, but as someone who has a large interest in things concerning death, i did not see that as the theme at all. It is refreshing to look at this. Wonderful art :blackrose:
Reply
:icontwarda8:
Twarda8 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The picture has never seen complecity before
Reply
:iconladyxaniver:
LadyXaniver Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Professional Writer
this is stunning!
Reply
:icondjwaglmuffin:
djwagLmuffin Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You know...It's hard to not love everything about this. I've always been looking for a way to truly marry something that felt native american as well as had deep spiritual significance to the indigenous roots of white people and this, I think, damn near hits it on the head. I'm impressed, thanks for sharing this! :)

We are all connected
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