The origin and eventual fate of the world are described in Völuspá ("Prophecy [spá] of the völva"), one of the most striking poems in the Poetic Edda. These haunting verses contain one of the most vivid creation accounts in all of religious history and a representation of the eventual destruction of the world that is unique in its attention to detail.
In the Völuspá, Odin, the chief god of the Norse pantheon, has conjured up the spirit of a dead völva and commanded this spirit to reveal the past and the future. She is reluctant: "What do you ask of me? Why tempt me?"; but since she is already dead, she shows no fear of Odin, and continually taunts him: "Well, would you know more?" But Odin insists: if he is to fulfill his function as king of the gods, he must possess all knowledge (Edit: Odin had to give his right eye for this knowledge). Once the völva has revealed the secrets of past and future, she falls back into oblivion: "I sink now".