Norse mythology’s picture of the afterlife separates the dead into two realms depending upon the manner of their death. The spirits of those who died valiantly in battle ascended to Valhalla, the great mead hall of the gods in Asgard. Those who died of old age or sickness spent their afterlife in Helheim, a realm within Niflheim ruled over by the goddess Hel, from whom the realm gets its name. Hel is also said to be a daughter of Loki.
[Picture: The goddess Hel accompanied by a hound.]