Besides creating lands of pristine forests and majestic mountains for Gods and men to dwell in, the Aesir joined with the primeval Giants to build the first form of technology: the great mill known as Grotti. This too has a connection to the Water/Fire/Spirit concept, for the mill causes the ebb and flow of the sea (Water), is the origin of the sacred friction-fire (and consequently of its patron, Heimdall), and is also a wishing-mill (Spirit); providing luck, plenty, artistry, wisdom, gold, and peace for those who need it. But it also has a relation to the Earth element as well, for there are nine Giantesses who turn the mill, one of whom is named Eyrgjafa ‘She Who Creates Sand Banks’ and another named Angeyja ‘She Who Makes the Islands Closer,’ both of which reference the mills usage of Giants’ limbs to create land, as with Ymir. This relates to the different layers of soil, which the lore claims came from different Giants in different ages.
Ymir was ground up in the earliest age, then this was done to his son (born from his feet), named Thrudgelmir, and finally, in this age, the soil is derived from the flesh of Thrudgelmir’s son, named Bergelmir. In another story there is a description of the lesser Grotti-Mill that grinds salt and makes the sea salty, and salt is considered the highest representation of the Earth element, for our ancestors viewed salt deposits as highly sacred and even fought wars over them.
Because Grotti is the worlds’ first fire-auger, Lodur ‘the fire producer’ becomes its caretaker and guardian, though Frey later joins him in this position. One of the Giant-maids who turns the mill-handles has the name Imdr ‘Ember’ and the fact that there are nine relates to the nine-spoked fire-augers used in ancient times by nine young women to produce the holy friction or need-fire. Until this time, according to the lore, fire had only come from the primordial flames of Sokkdalir, but now, through Grotti and the fire- auger, it could be controlled and used throughout the worlds, and its beneficial properties made it a most holy device for all beings, mortal and divine.
Grotti also turns the stars in the sky, and as such represents the mechanical motions of the universe. Our ancestors thus recognized the turning of the stars in the sky (which is actually the earth rotating on its axis) along with the motion of the cosmic order. The North Star was the pivot point of its central pillar, and was called Veraldar Nagli ‘The World-Nail.’ This is why in the lore Grotti’s foundation is situated in the northern part of Jormungrund, right over the Hvergelmir fountain. The Mill itself symbolizes the idea that behind the ordered workings of the universe is the driving force of the Gods, the beneficial representatives of the Spirit element. The Giants wish to bring the universe back to the chaotic (anti-matter) state, for this is what they are descended from, while the Gods came later from the ice that had stabilized and was licked away by Audhumla. Basically, the Gods represent looking forward, to the advancement of the cosmos and all those within it.
The Giants signify entropy and looking backward, trying to bring things back to a state of pure chaos, or at least the savage state of the primal world. This tug of war between the forces of Order and Destruction continues until Ragnarok, when the two powers finally clash and this cycle ends, to start a new one after the dust settles. Chaos will reign again, but only for a short time, for order is always inevitable and vice versa. Such is the nature of the cycles of time.
The Great Mill is yet another device or tool the Gods use to set the creation in motion. This is probably why ceremony is so important in our faith — for it involves the use of various tools to honor the divine and their work in building the ordered cosmos. As such it becomes a sort of puzzle of symbols that overlap one another and thus brings about inspiration, the Stirring of the Odr.
The Mill was the most advanced technology in our ancestors’ time, so it is only fitting that it became employed in the myth as an implement for the organization of the stratosphere, the tides, the sacred fire, and the soil (Air, Water, Fire, Earth).
The Giantesses happily turned the Mill in time’s morning, and thus brought forth an age of peace
and prosperity unlike any known since. The cycle then moves from the savage condition of the primal era to the time of innocence and peace we call The Golden Age.