ok, so i'm going to assume a basic knowledge of northern cosmology, and i'm actually going to start in the middle of the story, at the events leading up to rangarok.
ultimately at the final battle, you have four major worlds of beings colliding:
-the jotnar, or etins, giants who are the primal spirits of wilderness and untamed nature.
-the aesir, who were originally pastoral gods, but now representing the surviving northern culture in it's currant manifestation.
-the vanir, who are agricultural gods.
-hel, the world of our deceased ancestors.
from my understanding, the aesir split from the jotnar when they killed the primordial giant ymir. they formed the worlds from his remains. not being agricultural gods, the aesir can be seen as a mixture of wild hunter gatherer and pastoral society, their ultimate progenitor being the cosmic bovine audhulma, and the fact that horses play such an important roll in the pre-vanic society. the tribe of the aesir is on neutral terms with the giants, as almost half of their members have giant blood, thor himself being 3/4 jotun. odin himself seeks much of his wisdom from his old giant uncle mimir who he sacrificed an eye to for the gift of omniscience.
then, after the worlds are created, a new tribe of beings enters the cosmology, the agricultural vanir. the aesir of course war against these new peoples and after a long and bloody war, they are forced to make peace. one of the conditions of this truce is the exchange of hostages. the vanir send over their gods of fertility, njord and nerthus and their twin children freya and freyr who replace the original earth goddess jord and encroaching on the roll of her daughter (and odins wife) frigg as the divine feminine figure.
in exchange for this the aesir send over their most trusted chieftan honir with the old jotun giant mimir. when the vanir find out where honir gets his insightful advice from, they chop off mimirs head and send it back to odin, who revives it and continues to seek advice from it.
now odin is in a tricky position. he understands that he has made an uneasy truce with the agricultural gods and that they are now in his own tribe as well, which makes them as much family as the giants are. but adopting the agricultural powers into his own tribe means the subjugation and slow destruction of the giants. even hel is quickly filling up with all the angry dead who suffered from the cruelty of agriculture. what can he do but prepare for the destruction of the worlds and except his fate. after all, his main responsibility is to preserve and protect the northern cosmology and if he sides with the jotnar, the aesir will surely be overrun by the vanir. so he bides his time and takes measures to ensure the survival of the old ways to the best of his abilities.
unfortunately, this means he needs to keep the dangerous jotun powers inside his own ranks subdued until the final clash of ragnarok. for instance, his dear trickster jotun blood brother and fellow aesir (i think the spelling is actually "as", since it's singular...?), loki, has 3 children, all with the growing potential of incredible destructive power. one is the giant serpent jormungandr who odin throws down to the outskirts of the world, where he grows so large that he encircles midgard (the world of men) to the point where he bites his own tail (anyone see the intense mythic imagery here?). the next is a giant girl named hel, half of her being withered and decaying as a corpse, half of her beautiful and lively. odin places her as keeper of the spirit world, a decision that seriously effects the outcome of the ragnarok later on. the last is a wolf cub named fenrir, who is seemingly powerless and who odins son tyr takes under his wing.
but the cub grows far to large and wild to keep, so odin decides he needs to bind him so he won't go AWOL. this proves hard to do, so eventually the aesir corner the wolf and come up with series of chains that wolf keeps on breaking. eventually they come up with the ribbon which was named gleipnir (the "open one") that was literally made out of things that don't exist, things like the nerves of a bear, or the sound of cats foot steps, or the breath of a fish. in this way, since they aren't "real" and yet exist as concepts, they are literally unbreakable in a physical sense. the aesir tell the wolf that if he breaks this last and clearly feeble fetter that he will have rightly won his freedom. the wolf, sensing treachery, asks for someone to place an arm in his mouth so that if the fetters hold, that he will be able to bite off the arm in revenge. no one dares to do this but tyr, the one who raised the wild jotun as a pup and the one who he most trusts. the wolf ends up taking his arm. for me, this mythical imagery is particularly applicable to rewilding and civilization.
now that loki's children have all been bound up or cast out, loki of course seeks rightful revenge, and we should remember that he does not have the foresight that odin has of ragnarok. odin had a son who was so flawless and beautiful that he was named baldr, the "shining one". baldr had a dream in which he was killed and so his mother frigg went about getting pledges from all the beings of the nine worlds that they would not harm her son. all beings except a young shoot of mistletoe who frigg thought too be to young to make any strong vows. loki learned of this and, finding the mistletoe, tricked bladr's blind brother hodr into killing him with it.
hodr was then killed and loki fled but was later caught (as a salmon in his own net) and bound to rocks with the intestines of his son narfi. a snake is placed over him that drips venom but his wife sygin collects the venom with a shell and when it is full she dumps out the venom, a few drops land from the snake onto loki. his writhing when this happens is felt by us as earth quakes.
eventually all of loki's children revolt. loki frees himself somehow and goes to the realm of his daughter, hel, and rallies the angry spirits of the ancestors against the aesir and vanir, all of this amid intense ecological upheaval. the giants come out too and manage to organize themselves into an army strong enough to take down asgard, the home of the gods. fenris gets loose from his fetters and ends up devouring odin. all the gods are killed except a few. thors sons magni and modi survive and the brothers hodr and baldr come back from hel and reside in their fathers house. they find odins runes and thors hammer in the ruins of the battle.
but of course odin had been waiting and preparing for this all the time, and when he heard the giants approaching, he took two of human kind (male and female) and placed them deep in a forest where they wouldn't be harmed so that they would live into the new age.
*and i'd like to add that in both of the most important sources of northern lore (both the prose edda and the earlier poetic edda) it is emphasized that after ragnarok, "fields unsown grow ripened fruit" and that "self sown acres of crops will then grow". if that doesn't hint toward a future without agriculture, i don't know what does ;D.
aaand i 'd like to mention the parallels between the relationship between the pastoral proto indo-europeans of the steppes and the hunter gatherers or the ural mountains and how the jotnar and aesir reflect that relationship aaaand how the vanir might represent the agricultural people of europe that the proto indo-europeans later clashed with and then slowly mingled with until they formed the cultures of the later indo-europeans. i don't think i need to point out the similarities between the final days of the aesir, ragnarok and our modern times.
for me these myths make a huge "click" in my mind, even on a daily basis. basically, this all boils down to a truce that my ancestors (and odin?) had to make with the agriculturalists in order to keep at least the vital parts of the wisdom of their traditions alive, eventually into modern times amidst the chaos of civilization and the destruction of the planet.
i apologize for my terrible grammar.