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THE NORNS: Norse Goddess of Destiny

Nov 30, 2018 0 comments
THE NORNS: Norse Goddess of Destiny

The Goddesses of fate in Norse Mythology

What are the Norns? How many Norns are there?

The Norns are in Nordic mythology and the neo-pagan religion Ásatrú goddesses who regulate the destiny of all the inhabitants of the nine worlds of the Nordic cosmogony. Although the Nornes are quite numerous, but 3 of them stand out from the group.


What are the names of the Norns?

The three most important are called Urd, Verdandi and Skuld and reside near the Urd Well, the Well of Destiny. They draw water from it and water the Yggdrasil tree so that its branches never rot. The Norns are described as three powerful Jötuns whose arrival ended the golden age of the gods. In addition to these three Norns, there are many other Norns, who arrive when a person is born to determine their future. These Norns can be benevolent or malicious; they were considered responsible for the happy or unfortunate events of life respectively.


  • The name of the goddess Urd means ("what has happened"),
  • The goddess Verdandi ("what is happening"),
  • And finally that of the goddess Skuld ("what is to come").

The goddess Skuld is not only a Norne, she is also a Valkyrie. The Three Norns live under the protection of the great Yggdrasil, the world tree at the centre of the cosmos, where they engrave the destiny of each child. As it is said in the Völuspá, they carve it on wood. It is generally assumed that they use the Runes alphabet for this purpose. Thus, everything is predefined in the sense of the Norns: even the gods have their own destiny, although the Norns do not let them see it. The strong opinion of the gods, on the very fact that power exists beyond their control and the implications that flow from it - they too are deadly - are the major themes in the literature on Norse mythology.


The Norns are similar in some aspects to the Mees, or Fates of Greco-Roman mythology. They are often described as "destiny spinners", but this is a confusion with the Moires and the Parques. The Norns are rather represented as giants. There is also a myth in Plato's Republic in which the goddess Necessity has three daughters (Lachésis, Clotho and Atropos) who weave "life models" from a spindle that she holds in her hands. In addition to their representation in the first painting of Richard Wagner's prologue to the Twilight of the Gods, the Norns are found in novels, songs, mangas, anime and video games. Lisle's story also made it into a poem. Like many other goddesses of norse mythology or known women, the Norns are among the 1,038 women featured in Judy Chicago's contemporary work The Dinner Party, now on display at the Brooklyn Museum.

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