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Urd * Verthandi * Skuld



Isn’t it fascinating how the words, They're Urd, Verthandi, Skuld, (and added at the end) da, da--The Norns, or da, da--The Fates) fits with this music?

In her book, The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara Walker gives the following explanation for “Norns”.

“The female trinity of Fates as she/they appeared in Scandinavia: also known as Weird Sisters, from Teutonic wyrd, “fate.” The Prose Edda called them “three mysterious beings,” High One, Just-As-High, and Third, who revealed the secrets of the universe and wrote the book of destiny; hence their other title, Die Schreiberinnen, “women who write.” More common names for the Norns were Urth [or Urd] (Earth), Verthandi, and Skuld, variously translated Fate, Being, and Necessity, or like the ancient Egyptian goddess of past, present, and future, “Become, Becoming, and Shall-Be.”

The original, single, eldest Norn was Mother Earth, Ertha, Urth, Urdr, Urd, etc., who represented Fate and the Word of creation. She was Wurd in Old High German, Wyrd in Anglo-Saxon, Weird in English. She/they lived in the cave at the source of the Fountain of Life, Urdabrunnr, the cosmic womb under the root of the World Tree. She/they were older than the oldest “heavenly father: and had power over every god.

The death-Norn, Skuld was a variant of Skadi, an eponymous mother of Scandinavia and a typical Destroyer. Norse poet-shamans indulged in witchcraft, or “skulduggery.” Skuld would lay the death-curse on the whole universe at doomsday [Ragnorak] [sic]. Her name apparently gave rise to “scold,” meaning a woman gifted with the power of cursing. Like the third of the Moirai, Skuld cut the thread of every life.

The Norns became “faeries” [sic] in romantic traditions of pagan balladry:

And lo! Reclining on their runic shields
The mighty Nornas now the portal fill;
Three rosebuds fair which the same garden yields,
With aspect serious, but charming still.
Whilst Urda points upon the blackened fields,
The faerie [sic] temple Skulda doth reveal.
B. Walker, 730-731.

She explains The Fates in this manner, “Nearly all mythologies bear traces of the Triple Goddess as three Fates, rulers of the past, present, and future in the usual personae of Virgin, Mother, and Crone (or Creator, Preserver, Destroyer). The female trinity assumed many different guises in western religion: the Norns or Weird Sisters of the north (from wyrd, “fate”), the Zorya of the Slavs, the Morrigan of the Irish, the triple Guinevere or triple Brigit of the Britons.
In Greek myth the three Fates were Horae, Graeae, Muses, Gorgons, Furies, and other trinities as well as the principal trinity of Moerae or Fates. Nearly always, they were weavers. [I make reference to “weaving” on my Rants and Raves Page when discussing issues after the last Presidential election.] [sic] In Anglo-Saxon literature, fate is “woven.” Latin destino (destiny) means that which is woven, or fixed with cords and threads; fate is “bound” to happen, just as the spells of faerie [sic] women were “binding.”

The Moerae were Clotho the Spinner, Lachesis the Measurer, and Atropos the Cutter of life’s thread. All were aspects of the archaic Triple Aphrodite, of whom it was said her real name was Moera, and she was older than Time. Moera was actually a late name for the Fate-goddess. In the Mycenaean period it meant a landholding, possessed by a female property owner according to the old matriarchal system. Hence, Moera was a lot: later, “allotted Fate.”

Aphrodite’s trinity was sometimes divided into three Horae, or celestial nymphs: Eunomia, Dike, and Irene, meaning Order, Destiny, and Peace. These referred to the “ordering” of elements to form the individual; the destiny established for him by the Mother; and the “peace” of dissolution as decreed at the end of life by Aphrodite Columba, the Dove of Peace.

If the weaving Fates could be induced not to cut the thread of life at a perilous moment, the individual would be spared; if not, he would die. Magick [sic] charms were often based on this notion. A Slavic charm for healing wounds was addressed to the Fate-weaver of the mystic isle of Bujan, or Buyan, the Goddess’s paradise: “In the Ocean-sea, on the isle of Buyan, a fair maiden was weaving silk; she did not leave off weaving silk; the blood ceased flowing. According to the Russian myth, this maiden was the Virgin of Dawn, equivalent to the Latin Mater Matuta [Note how these words contain in Engish, anyway, words that relate to ‘matter’, material, which are words we sometimes use to describe creation itself! These are feminine words relating to the Mother/Mater or She who brings forth, i.e, CREATES!] [sic], or the Greek Eos, traditionally the first Fate. The sun god went to rest on her magick [sic] isle, and rose again from it each day.

Other Greek names for the Fate-goddess were Tyche, Dike, and Nemesis. Romans called her Fortuna; a trinity or a monad. A terracotta medallion from Vienne showed her as a tutelary city -–goddess, wearing a mural crown, enthroned in a laurel wreath. As the Babylonian “Mother of Destiny,” Fate was named Mammetun, the Creatress. All were based on the primordial Indo-European Mother of Karma, i.e., Kali Ma.

“Fate” was synonymous with “faery” [sic] in the Middle Ages. Alphonsus de Spina placed “Fates” first on his list of devils, remarking: “Some say they have seen Fates, but if so they are not women but demons.” Burchardus of Worms complalined that the people honored the Fates or Weird Sisters at the beginning of every year, putting offerings of food and drink on a table for them, with three knives for cutting their meat—presumably so the death-dealing Cutter woldn’t be tempted to use her own knife.

Greeks still say the Fates visit the cradle of every newborn, to determine the child’s future as his faerie [sic] godmothers. Parents used to chain up the watchdog, leave the door open, and set out dainty foods to put the Moerae in a good humor. Many faerie [sic] tales give stern lessons in the folly of offending faerie [sic] godmothers. Gypsies still say “three ladies in white” stand at the cradle of each child, and take back the soul when life has run its course, like the Three Queens of Arthurian legends. Greek laments for the dead are still called moirologhia, giving the deceased back to the Moerae. B. Walker, 302-303.

More to come…

Meanwhile, check out the websites listed in my Links. On my Rune page, I have several links to very interesting Rune sites. The Fates and the Runes are interrelated. Be sure to check out The Runecaster. This site delves into Urd, Verthandi and Skuld and actually uses those names in the Runecast. Travel there and come back often to see what I have added to my own site. Blessings Raven...

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Image of flying ravens is courtesy of Lisa Konrad. Please visit her website at Animation Arthouse.
And if you go here Animation Arthouse Help Page, you will find helpful information on how to download and display the GIFs on the aforementioned site.

Fly To Niala
I put Niala’s link on this page as per her instructions for using the raven background. This was over three years ago and now the link has disappeared. Too bad. She had some cool stuff. I tried to track down her website, but it seems to have disappeared. This happened way before 911, but alas, perhaps she was lost.