Sunday, October 9, 2016


The Norns of the Norse Mythology are three old hags by the names of Urd (fate), Skuld (necessity) and Verdandi (being).  They live beneath the roots of Yggdrasil, where they weave the tapestry of Fates or Wyrd.  Each man's and woman's life is a string in their loom, and the length of the string is the duration of a person's life.  Their friendship can be honored by teaching or learning a craft, especially carving or weaving.

The Norns are often depicted as ancient women who hide their appearances underneath a hooded cloak, and can see the past, the present, and all possible futures with ease.  Others describe them as three maidens and their carvings consist of runes or weavings.  They most likely cycle through ages just as the well does.  They live around the Well of Urdr in Asgard and see to it that the fates of mortals and Gods alike are weaved according to plan.  Thus, the Norns are said to wield tremendous power that is respected even by God Odin.

The Gods have their own threads, though the Norns do not let the Gods see those.  This clear subjection of the Gods to a power outside their control and the implication that they, too, will have an end are major themes of the literature surrounding the mythology.  They can be appealed to for karma, fate, past, present and future.

And this is just a snippet of what can be found in, 'Who Are Your Divine Friends?'.



Abode: Well of Urdr

Rulership: Fate, Destiny, Wyrd



What you have spun, I will weave it;
a single thread´s such a lonely thing.

What you have woven, I´ll cut it;
what use is your work if it´s never done ?

What you have cut, I will tear, comb and spin;
it´s fit for another round on the wheel.

~ Michaela Macha


A Thread From The Loom

Moons before the tides of time
Twisted in its cosmic rhyme
Here the fledging seed is sprung
From thoughts of Wyrd hence are spun

All the gods and all of man
Bound in threads at their hands
Long before the Midgarths make
They, them the sisters three of fate

To love or loath the pattern wove
To walk the line or trip the thread
Urd knows and Skuld bares death
Verdandi elusive in a moment's breath

All the gods and all of man
Bound together the master plan
We forge our way through 9 worlds lay
All from a glimpse here today

~ M Odinsdatter


Sisters Wyrd

Sisters Wyrd
weave the web upon the loom
tangled strands; coming doom
vibrant - glaring - dark and subdued
strands distinct and different hued.

Men - Giants - Gods....their beauty and their horror
all woven together now until forever
upon the loom the sisters weave.
Do you believe...?

I saw this once long ago....
on a distant night
But I mistook the web and called it God
blending all the colors into white.

Tried to lighten the shade of my own thread
Clean and scrub the glaring red.
But I tell you it was all a lie
with nothing there to glorify!

No pattern to behold
give me back the Gods of old.
Explode with color; drench my soul
descend upon the rainbow.

~ Matilda Marks


The Three Maidens

Cold and heartless, they number just three,
Those maidens who live close by the ash tree,
That grows evergreen beside the holy spring.
Songs of the past, present, and future they sing.

They show no emotions, never happy or sad,
These Norns are not good, but neither so bad.
Stoically they weave the lives for all men,
With each new birth, again and again.

They are maidens of death, but also of life,
They spin together love, misery, war and strife.
Their gossamer thread they embed in our souls,
They provide us our laws, our lives, our roles.

Urd, Skuld, and Verdandi, these are their names,
They weave out our lives, our destiny on their frames.
Forever they sit and work at their loom,
Until Ragnarok comes, that ultimate doom.

~Glenn Bergen, 2011


Guardians of Fate

Three sit at the foot of the World Tree,
at Wyrd´s Well since the dawn of time
They water the roots of Yggdrasil
Norns these Ladies are called.

Together they guard, they watch, they govern
The threads of fate run through their hands
Black Urd guards that which has been.

Together they spin, they measure, they cut
Tender the web, but not torn ere its time
Red Verdandi guards that which becomes.

Together they know, they keep, they ken
Everything flowing, coming and going - they stay
White Skuld guards that which will be.

Together they guard, they watch, they govern
Black they are, red they are, white they are
Together they spin, they measure, they cut
Black they are, red they are, white they are
Together they know, they keep, they ken
Black they are, red they are, white they are
Norns they call the Ladies of Fate.

~ Original "Hüterinnen des Schicksals": Michael Schütz


A common misconception is that the destiny woven or carved by the Norns is final and unalterable, as in the Greek concept of fate.  The Norse model of fate, however, is far more dynamic and volatile than this and leaves ample room for an individual in the shaping of destiny.  The words of the Norns are not absolute.

The starting point for understanding the Germanic view of destiny is the mythological image of Yggdrasil and the Well of Urdr.  Yggdrasil is a tree that stands at the center of the cosmos and holds the Nine Worlds, the dwelling-places of humans, Gods, and all other beings, in its branches and roots.  It grows from the wells.  Water is central to the image; the waters of the wells nourish the tree, whose evergreen leaves then shed dewdrops into the well.

The water cycle in this model expresses a circular passage of time.  The Urdr Well, which corresponds to the past, influences the growth of the tree, which corresponds to the present.  But then, unlike in our modern linear conception of time, the present then returns to the past – even retroactively changing it.  This is the significance of the dewdrops that fall back into the Well. 

The Norns may be the shapers of luck, but they are far from the only beings capable of altering the course of destiny as it flows through the Well of Urdr and Yggdrasil.  All life is an interconnected web, where the slightest thrumming of one strand can cause the whole web to tremble.





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