The Norns (Old Norse: norn, plural: nornir) in Norse mythology are female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men. They roughly correspond to other controllers of humans' destiny, the Fates, elsewhere in European mythology.

Urðr,Verðandi, Skuld #The Norns

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Norse Mythology

Their names are Urd (Old Norse Urðr, “What Once Was”), Verdandi (Old Norse Verðandi, “What Is Coming into Being”) and Skuld (Old Norse Skuld, “What Shall Be”). A common misconception is that they correspond to the past, present, and future in a linear conception of time. Shadowy Figures.

The Norns
The Norns

Much like the Fates in Greek mythology, Norse mythology has a set of goddesses controlling fate and shaping the destiny of men. These are called the Norns: three sisters who are personifications of the past, present and future.

The Norns were located under the great tree Yggdrasil near the Urdar well. They’re purpose is not always clear, but they were said to have been there as to warn the Gods of future events, teach them how to use the present, and remind them of the lessons learned in the past.

It was not uncommon for the Gods to visit the Norns, as they sought advice and wisdom from them. Odin was a frequent visitor.

 

They would then attend to the sacred tree, often bringing it water from the Urdar fountain and putting fresh clay around its roots. They would watch the golden apples that contained knowledge and only allowed Idun to pick the fruit. It is said that these apples were what gave the Gods renewed youth and beauty.

The webs   ( our death knell)  they spun were giant: one weaver stood on a mountain in the east, one stood in the middle of the western sea, and the other worked on the thread in between. The threads varied in color, depending on the events they foretold. A black thread, for instance, would mean death. As the sisters worked, they chanted and sung songs.

Stories say that they spun their webs blindly, as if reluctantly following Orlog’s (the universal eternal law) wishes. Two of the sisters (Urd and Verdandi) were very beneficent and worked hard while the other constantly undid the work they had completed. She would often tear it to shreds if she was angry with it, and cause the other two grief.

Greek Fates

At the birth of each man they appeared spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life.

Their name means “Parts.” “Shares” or “Alottted Portions”

Klotho Lakhesis Atropos

Klotho, whose name means “Spinner” spun the thread of life.

Lakhesis, whose name means “Apportioner of Lots”–being

derived from a word meaning to receive by lot–, measured the thread of life.

Atropos whose name means “She who cannot be turned”

Klotho Lakhesis Atropos #The Fates turned,” cut the thread of life.

At the birth of a man, the Moirai spun out the thread of his future life, followed his steps, and directed the consequences of his actions according to the counsel of the gods. It was not an inflexible fate.

The Fates did not abruptly interfere in human affairs but availed themselves of intermediate causes, and determined the lot of mortals not absolutely, but only conditionally, even man himself, in his freedom was allowed to exercise a certain influence upon them.

As man’s fate terminated at his death, the goddesses of fate become the goddesses of death, Moirai Thanatoio.

As goddesses of fate they must necessarily have known the future, which at times they revealed, and were therefore prophetic deities.

They were severe, inflexible and stern.

Klotho carries a spindle or a roll (the book of ate),  she is the things that are

Lakhesis a staff with which she points to the horoscope on a globe. She is singing the things that were

Atropos a scroll, a wax tablet, a sundial, a pair of scales, or a cutting instrument. She who gives mortal men evil and good to have

At other times the three were shown with staffs or sceptres, the symbols of dominion, and sometimes even with crowns.

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