mercredi 17 septembre 2014

THE NORNS

THE NORNS ))))))))))))))))))
Norse religious attitudes have by many been conceived as pessimistic; one reason is the conception of the Norns. These female figures have mighty powers and both gods and men are subject to their decisions. However, it is not a matter of blindly following a track upon which you do or don't do, nothing can be changed. This may give the impression of a fatalistic outlook, but this is not exactly how it works, for although the belief in Destiny was very strong, and still is among modern Wotanists, there is and never was a feeling of being trapped in a no-win situation. Rather, the idea is one of being destined to perform certain acts which usually are conceived as closely connected with the weal and wealth of the community and the folk.
The Norns are the three sisters who live under the World Ash, Yggdrasil; their names are Urd, Verdandi and Skuld, representing the Past, the Present and the Future, respectively. Each day they bring water from The Well of Urd, (the Past) and sprinkle the holy tree so it will live and grow. They weave the web of destiny at the birth of each person but it is said that, in fact, they do not themselves make the decisions but act according to Orlog, the immutable laws of the universe, which has no beginning and no end.
The idea of female figures being decisive in the lives of men goes back into the mist of antiquity when our forefathers worshipped fertility goddesses and conceived the Earth Mother and her consort, the Sky-Father, as the deities from whom all life sprang. The belief in the Sisters of Destiny thus is ancient but the symbolism is as pertinent today as it was then.
Each person already at birth has a Past; this may be divided into two sectors - the biological which comprises one's genes and various talents and traits inherited from parents and from each line of ancestors; the other involves environment. The fight about which one of these is the more important has raged for decades. We believe the former is by far the most decisive because your gene pattern cannot be changed; but we do agree that your social circumstances may enhance or hinder some of your inborn characteristics.
This is all the domain of Urd. But because the development of a human child is slow, Urd's influence is still felt for a number of years until the baby has grown to be of an age where he may take a hand in his own development and education and slowly begin to direct his own destiny.
As soon as that happens we're getting into the area ruled by Verdandi. Each day, each 'Present', is by by evening handed over to Urd and becomes part of the Past; it is thus of great importance what kind of a day is handed over - if it is one that has positive results, is neutral and therefore of no significance, or if it is one that may even be negative. Hence, Verdandi is the sister who rules our daily lives, one day at a time, and who 'knows' which kind of a day she is handing over to Urd.
Each person is, so to speak, at birth given a hand to play; still for a while the child is dependent upon how its parents or guardians are playing his cards. When the time comes when he can play his own hand he is also taking over the responsibility for how the hand is played.
Following your destiny means to make the most of the hand you've been dealt. Your instincts will tell you if you're doing a good job, for if you are you'll feel at ease with yourself, your family and your Folk. It matters less whether your cards are good or poor - what is important is how you plat them.
The realms of Urd and Verdandi are thus the basis for how you go through life. You receive the basic elements of your personality from Urd; you can develop these components, you can 'play your cards well', or you can squander what talents and possibilities you have. Skuld, always evasive, will then work out the synthesis of your Past and Present and assign you a place in the life of the Folk in accordance with the way you have played your cards - an honorable position if you've been of positive influence, a lesser position if you've failed to live up to what the Norns and your Folk expected from you.
(From Elsie Christensen's periodical "The Odinist"#83 1984)

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