The Following beautiful account of the story of Ragnarök is from Asgard and the Gods, by Wilhelm Wägner. This book is quoted several times in H. P. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine, see, for instance, Volume II, p. 100 (where the following story is partially commented upon):
The glory of the sun was darkened, wicked Idises were seen flying through the air, Fjalar, the bright-red cock of Asgard, crowed loudly, the dark-red cock in Helheim answered him, and all in the Upper-world heard their crowing. The great wolves Skiöll and Hati rushed up to attack the sun and moon; they seized and swallowed them, and now darkness reigned in heaven and earth. Then the earth itself shook to its very foundations, and all chains were broken. Thus it happened that Loki was set free, that his horrible son Fenris was able to shake off his bonds and hasten with his children to join his father, and that Garm, Hel’s dog, could rise out of the Gnypa cave with the other dark followers of the goddess, to take their share in the work of destruction. The sea was stirred to its depths and overflowed the land. Out of its abyss the Midgard-snake reared her frightful head, and flung her-self about with a giant’s rage, so much did she long for the struggle to begin.
Heimdal then blew a loud blast on the Giallarhorn that sounded through all the homes, wakening Ases and Einheriar, and warning them to prepare for the Last Battle. Odin mounted Sleipnir as soon as he was armed, and rode away to Mimir’s Well. The World-Ash was rustling and trembling in the storm, its leaves were falling rapidly, and its roots threatened to snap. The Norns were seated beside it, their heads hidden in their veils. Odin whispered to Mimir’s head; no one heard what he said or how he was answered.
Meanwhile Thrym, the king of the Jotuns, was steering his ship from the east over the everlasting sea. The Hrimthurses, armed with clubs and javelins, were on board. At the same time, Nagel-fari, the ship of death, was set afloat, and was borne along on the waves. It was built of the nails of the dead which love had not caused to ‘be cut. Love had died in the parricidal wars that prevailed, and the last offices were therefore denied to the dead. Loki steered the vessel. With him were Surtur, swinging his flaming sword, whose blade shone brighter than the sun, and all the sons of Muspel dressed in fiery armour, which blinded all who looked at it. They landed, mounted the horses they had brought with them, and galloped over the bridge Bifröst, which broke under their weight. Loki led his hosts to the plain of Vigrid, that measured a hundred miles on every side. Odin also went there, accompanied by his brave Ases and heroes.
Once more the Giallarhorn was sounded, and then the Last Battle began. The Wolf howled, the Snake hissed and spat out poison, which filled and infected the air. The sons of Muspel, under Surtur’s guidance, rushed on their enemies like flames of fire. The Einheriar, headed by Freyer, withstood them bravely, and they fell back. Thor fought gallantly, and slew numbers of the Hrimthurses and other monsters. Odin sought out the Fenris-wolf, and the battle between them began.
No seer or bard has made known to us how that terrible struggle between the Father of Victory and the Wolf was fought. Even Vala covers the whole affair with the veil of silence; she only says that he, the omnipotent Father, was slain by the Wolf. Freyer’s fate was the same when he fought against the sons of Muspel. He met black Surtur in their ranks and fell dead at a blow from his flaming sword. Thor slew Jörmungander, but died himself from the pestiferous breath she had breathed upon him when dying. Heimdal and Loki fought hand to hand, and each slew the other. Fenris fell under the sword of Vidar. Tyr and Garm wrestled and struggled together, and at last Tyr was victorious. The leaders of the Ases and their enemies were all dead, but still the battle raged.
The earth quaked, mountains fell, abysses yawned, and reached down even to the kingdom of Hel. The heavens split open and threatened to fall. The ash Yggdrasil groaned and moaned like a living creature. And now Surtur, the dark, the terrible, began to draw himself up. He grew taller and taller, till he reached the heavens.
Before him and behind him was fire, and his flaming sword shone in the darkness in which he was wrapped. He flung his fire-brand over heaven, earth, and all the worlds, and at once everything that existed, animate or inanimate, was plunged into a lake of fire. The fire raged, Yggdrasil was surrounded by flames, the storm-wind howled, heaven and earth and the nine homes were no more; Surtur’s flames had destroyed them all.
When the fire went out, the unquiet sea overflowed the scene of desolation. No creature, no life, moved in its depths; no mermaid floated on the dark waves; no star was reflected on its surface.
Years passed, perhaps centuries—there was none to count them—and again the morning star bathed its head in the calm waters. Dawn once more flushed the sky. A new sun arose, the blooming, glowing child of the old. At length a new earth appeared above the waters. At first it was bare and desolate, but the rays of the sun touched it, and soon it was covered with grass and herbs and the well-flavoured leek. Trees and shrubs grew up, and flowers of various colours filled the air with their perfume. In the quiet valley where the Fountain of Urd had flowed of old, and where Odin used to talk with Mimir about the past and the riddles of the future, a youth and a maiden, Lif and Lifthrasir, came out of Hoddmimir’s wood.
They were beautiful and loving, pure and innocent as the sweet flowerets around them, and, like them, they had been awaked out of a long dream by the rays of the sun. They had hidden themselves in the wood in the olden days and had lived on dew. Then they had fallen asleep, and were sunk in childhood’s dreams while the Last Battle raged. Allfather had preserved them from Surtur’s flames by a last miracle.
Ignorant of the terrors that threatened them, as a sleeping child borne in its mother’s arms out of a burning house, they had rested safely in the arms of Allfather, and now they looked in astonishment at the new fair world in which they found themselves. They were very happy. There was abundance of fruit; the fields were full of yellow corn ripe for the harvest, which no human hand had sown, and the vines were laden with grapes. Animals of all kinds were grazing in the fat pastures, and many-hued snakes glided harmlessly in the grass, but none of Fenrir’s race were to be seen.
Lif and Lifthrasir built themselves a roomy dwelling, and saw children and grandchildren grow up about them, and then make new homes for themselves. From these are descended the numerous races of men that inhabit the earth.
Over the place where Asgard’s glorious palaces had stood was a wide plain. This was the Field of Ida, and it was far more beautiful than the green home of the gods. There the holy Ases were assembled; for they, like the world, had been purified by fire, and were now fitted to dwell in Ida in eternal peace. The bonds of Hel could bind them no more, for the kingdom of evil had passed away, and night had been changed into day. Baldur and Hödur walked there arm in arm, reconciled to each other through love. They were joined by Vidar and Vali, the avenging Ases, who no longer thought of vengeance. Surtur’s flames had not destroyed them, nor yet had the raging waters. There were also Magni and Modi, the sons of Thor. They brought Miölnir with them, not as a weapon of war, but as the instrument with which to consecrate the new heavens and the new earth.
On the Field of Ida, the field of resurrection, the sons of the highest gods assembled, and in them their fathers rose again. They talked together of the Past and the Present, and remembered the wisdom and prophecies of their ancestors which had all been fulfilled. Near them, but unseen by them, was the strong, the mighty One who rules all things, makes peace between those who are angry with each other, and ordains the eternal laws that govern the world. They all knew he was there, they felt his presence and his power, but were ignorant of his name. At his command the new earth rose out of the waters. To the south, above the Field of Ida, he made another heaven called Audlang, and further off, a third, known as Vidblain. Over Gimil’s cave a wondrous palace was erected, which was covered with gold and shone brighter than the sun. There the gods were enthroned as they used to be, and they rejoiced in their restoration and in the better time.
From Gimil’s heights they looked down upon the happy descend-ants of Lif and signed to them to climb up higher, to rise in knowledge and wisdom, in piety and in deeds of love, step by step, from one heaven to another, until they were at last fit to be united to the divinities in the house of Allfather.
Partial quotation and commentary by H. P. Blavatsky
How prophetic are the songs of the three Norse Goddesses, to whom the ravens of Odin whisper of the past and the future, as they flutter around in their abode of crystal beneath the flowing river. The songs are all written down in the “Scrolls of Wisdom,” of which many are lost but some still remain: and they repeat in poetical allegory the teachings of the archaic ages. To summarise from Dr. Wagner’s “Asgard and the Gods,” the “renewal of the world,” which is a prophecy about the seventh Race of our Round told in the past tense.
The Miolnir had done its duty in this Round, and: —
“. . . . on the field of Ida, the field of resurrection (for the Fifth Round), the sons of the highest gods assembled, and in them their fathers rose again (the Egos of all their past incarnations). They talked of the Past and the Present, and remembered the wisdom and prophecies of their ancestor which had all been fulfilled. Near them, but unseen of them, was the strong, the mighty One, who rules all things. . . . and ordains the eternal laws that govern the world. They all knew he was there, they felt his presence and his power, but were ignorant of his name. At his command the new Earth rose out of the Waters of Space. To the South above the Field of Ida, he made another heaven called Audlang, and further off, a third, Widblain. Over Gimil’s cave, a wondrous palace was erected, covered with gold and shining bright in the sun.” These are the three gradually ascending planets of our “Chain.” There the Gods were enthroned, as they used to be. . . . From Gimil’s heights (the seventh planet or globe, the highest and the purest), they looked down upon the happy descendants of LIF and LIFTHRASIR (the coming Adam and Eve of purified humanity), and signed to them to CLIMB up higher, to rise in knowledge and wisdom, step by step, from one “heaven to another,” until they were at last fit to be united to the Gods in the house of All-Father (p. 305).
He who knows the doctrines of Esoteric Budhism, (or Wisdom), though so imperfectly sketched hitherto, will see clearly the allegory contained in the above. Its more philosophical meaning will be better understood if the reader thinks carefully over the myth of Prometheus.
—The Secret Doctrine, II:100