Útgarðar

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In Norse mythology, Útgarðar (literal meaning: "Outyards"; plural of Útgarðr; the word can be anglicized to Utgard, Utgardar and in other ways) surrounded a stronghold of the Ettings. They are associated with Útgarða-Loki, a great and devious giant featured in one of the myths concerning Thor and the other Loki who compete in rigged competitions held in the Outyards. These outdoor arenas contrast with the putrid, indoor cave where Útgarða-Loki is said to dwell, when chained, in the Gesta Danorum. In another version of Norse mythology, Utgard is thought to be the final of the three worlds connected to Yggdrasil being the home of the external cosmic forces. Utgard needs be compared with the Midgard, the world of human affairs, and Asgard, variously attested at the crux of the matter, the centre of the world, as identified with Troy by Snorri Sturluson,[1] and the divinely inspired inner or higher realm pertaining to states of mind and body accessible for the Norse through the ingestion of their sacred mead. The Utgarðar may consequently be symbolic for the lands of barbarians, e.g. peoples further from the heart of civilisation than ourselves, and (not or) the wild, whether be of nature, or body or mental states; although by terming all three realms as garðar, the trap of binaristic interpretation should be avoided. These three garðar seem, particularly according to the myths concerning Útgarðr, to be strictly interconnected causally.[citation needed]

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