the dictionary of norse mythology


NORNS NORNIR Fates The three spirits of destiny who spun a thread of life for every living being, including gods, men, giants, and dwarfs. They shaped the life of each one from the first day to the last.The three sisters lived near the urdarbrunn Well of Urd at the foot of the World Tree, yggdrasil. Each day they watered the roots of Yggdrasil with the well's sacred water.The names of the three sisters were urd Past, verdande Present, and skuld Future. Urd is the oldest of the sisters often she is pictured as looking backward. Verdande looks straight before her. Skuld usually wears a mysterious veil and carries a scroll in her hands.The three sisters were more powerful than the gods, for the thread they spun was the destiny of the universe. They measured time and controlled it, and the gods were helpless against them. The gods held all their important meetings by the Well of Urd, a sacred place to them.In northern folklore the Norns sometimes appear as spinners, and the spider is therefore associated with them.The Norns are mentioned in both the prose edda and the poetic edda.

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