Norse Nastrond: Afterlife for Liar, Murderer, and Adulterer

Helheim was a famous place in Norse mythology. It was the underworld and the land of Hel Queen of the Dead who was also Loki’s daughter. Deep in Helheim, there was a place known as Nástrǫnd. The Norse Nastrond land was never a favorite afterlife for Norsemen.

Nidhogg the Dragon and the corpse guilty of murdering, lying, adultering.
Nidhogg the Corpse Eater and the dead who committed crimes

Norse Nastrond – Home of Nidhogg the Corpse Devourer

Norse Nastrond was the home of Nidhogg one of three powerful dragons in Norse mythology. There Nidhogg lay intertwining with the roots of Yggdrasil and devoured the corpse. Nastrond was the place for those guilty of murder, oath-breaking, and adultery. In the Viking belief, oath-breaking was the most serious crime and those who told lies or went back on their words would never go to Valhalla the Great Hall of Odin. Instead, those people would be destined to live their afterlife in Nastrond.

Norse Nastrond was a part of Helheim the Underworld
Nastrond resembled the prison for those who committed crimes. But in Ragnarok, these prisoners broke free and joined the army of the giant to wage war against the gods.

The word “Nastrond” in Old Norse meant the shore of corpse. It was definitely an exciting experience to live in Nastrond with Nidhogg.

Poetic Edda described Nastrond like:

A hall she saw standing 
remote from the sun
on Dead Body Shore.
Its door looks north.
There fell drops of venom
in through the roof vent.
That hall is woven of serpents’ spines.
She saw there wading onerous streams
men perjured
and wolfish murderers
and the one who seduces
another’s close-trusted wife.
There Malice Striker (Nidhogg)
sucked corpses of the dead,
the wolf tore men.

In Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson vividly described Norse Nastrond to be a land without sunlight. It was the house with the great hall. But this hall was no Hall for great men like Valhalla. It was the hall for great evils. The backs of the snakes wove around the house as a wattle-house. The venom of the snakes ran along the hall. And those who broke their promise, told lies, committed adultery, and murder had to wade the flow of venom.

Those who spent their afterlife in Nastrond faced the severe punishment in Norse Nastrond
Those who were destined to live their afterlife in Nastrond had to wade the lakes of venom as a punishment for what they had done when alive.

2 Replies to “Norse Nastrond: Afterlife for Liar, Murderer, and Adulterer”

  1. Angela says:

    Was there any way to redeem oneself and avoid Nastrond?

    1. ly nguyen says:

      Hi Angela,
      You have put forward a very good excellent though it is hard to answer because it depends on personal viewpoint.
      Personally I think there will always be a way to redeem oneself and avoid Nastrond in the afterlife by compensating for the mistakes we have made in the passt.
      I do believe that when the good deeds outnumber the bad things we have done, Odin and gods always welcome us. Being faithful, being kind and nice to others, and keeping our solemn promises are the things we can do by ourselves to avoid Nastrond.
      Hope this will help you, Angela.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *