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The Norns – Shapers Of Destiny

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In Old Norse mythology, the Norns were known as ‘Shapers of Destiny’.

The Norns were goddesses who ruled the fates of people, determined the destinies and lifespans of individuals.

Three principal and very powerful Norns lived in the mysterious well of Urd (‘fate’), which had its location beneath  one of the roots of gigantic ash tree – Yggdrasill (World Tree”), which formed a column linking the realms of the gods, mankind, the giants and the dead.

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The Norns Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld under the world oak Yggdrasil (1882) by Ludwig Burger, wikipedia)

(Credits: The Norns Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld under the world oak Yggdrasil (1882) by Ludwig Burger, wikipedia)

This roots was named Urd, while the other roots were Verdandi (‘being’) and Skuld (‘necessity’).

But there were also other Norns, both benevolent and malevolent, who had enough power to reverse a person’s fortune.

According to the Völuspá, ( Old Norse: “Sibyl’s Prophecy”) poem consisting of about 65 short stanzas on Norse cosmogony, the history of the world of gods, men, and monsters from its beginning until the Ragnarok (“Doom of the Gods”), the Norns ‘cut on wood’, which probably means that they used to carve magical runes.

The custom of recording dates and numbers of days and years by cutting notches into the wooden walls of the home – is very old in Norway.

The Norns could also record the days in a person’s life.

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But there were also other Norns, both benevolent and malevolent, who had enough power to reverse a person’s fortune.

Other Norns were believed to visit each newly born child to determine events in its life.

A certain runic inscription discovered in a church in Borgund in Norway informs as follows:

“The Norns determine good and bad things and they have brought great sorrow to me…”

Who were these mysterious supernatural females? They differed in their origin and some of them were divine, some were of the race of elves, some of the race of dwarves.

A person’s quality of life and fortune were explained by the origins of the Norn that was believed to protect the individual.

Benevolent Norns, of divine lineage, were thought to influence lives positively, malevolent spread misfortune.

The Norns are mentioned in countless passages in ancient literature of Scandinavia, and a strong faith in them continued long after the introduction of Christianity.

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