The Three Norns, Spinners and Weavers of Fate

The Three Norns Spinners of Fate


The Norns: Three Wyrd Sisters that spin and weave the fate of folks. The three Norns of Norse lore appear as three giantess, figures of fate who spin and weave the destiny of folks while they guard Yggdrasil the giant, world tree.


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

The famous author Snorri Sturluson writes: “A beautiful hall stands under the ash by the well [ ie. beneath Yggdrasil], and out of this hall come three maidens whose name are Urđr [Past], Verđandi [ Present], and Skuld [Future]. They shape the lives of people. We call them Norns” (Gylfaginning).

Yggdrasil is nourished by the Well of Urd. Urd is the oldest sister Duties: The Norns scatter fresh water and white clay on the tree each day to nourish and grow Yggdrasil. 🌳 Urd, the oldest Wyrd sister wraps the wool around the spindle. She represents the past and the crone, aging and winding down just before death. Verdandi, spins the wool and represents the present. She manifests as a middle age woman. Skuld, is the thread cutter, that determines ones expiration date. She is the youngest sister and may morph into a girl or a Valkyrie that represents the future. These three twisted sisters of fate at times appear to be old and haggard.

They are portrayed in Old French as three fairies encircled around an infant in a cradle who bestow a child with favorable or harmful conditions similar to the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty.” The original literary tale published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697.

The Norns are correlated with the casting of Runes may be connected with the three card spread of the traditional tarot. They represent the rune Nauthiz which represents need, distress, endurance.

Sources & References:

Featured image: The Norns (1889) by Johannes Gehrts.

* Sturluson, Snorri (1995), Völuspá translated by Anthony Faulkes. Edda. J.M. Dent. ISBN 978-0-4608-7616-2.

* Bek-Pedersen, by Norns in Old Norse Mythology.

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