Norse 101, Part 4

Norse 101, Part 4

Happy Freyja’s Day the 13th, everybody!  Last week, we talked about the Nine Realms.  But there is much more to Yggdrasil besides just those nine realms.  We have other locations and beings that call Yggdrasil home, and today, we’re going to meet them!

First, are the three Norns.  They live beneath Yggdrasil at a place called the Well of Urd.  Here is where They weave wyrd, which is like a tapestry of life.  It’s a similar concept to destiny, except when we speak of wyrd, not much is really predestined about it.  You can think of it as a tapestry or as a giant web that is under constant construction and change.  We all each have our own individual wyrd, but we also have ancestral (or family) wyrd, and even societal and global wyrd.  The Gods have Their wyrd, too.  And it all weaves together into a cosmic web.  Everyone’s wyrd affects everyone else’s.  My wyrd right now is interweaving with yours and Lady Beltane’s, and SunRay Sorceress’s, and Wolf Woman’s wyrd simply by my joining you here and sharing what I’ve learned.  To further explain (and possibly confuse!) you, your wyrd is affected by, not only your loved ones, but by your neighbors, by your ancestors, and by the lady you smiled at in the grocery store.  Wyrd is changed by the decisions you make and the actions you take.  If you don’t like where your life is headed, you can change that by changing your wyrd and altering your course in life.  One simple change, or meeting just one person, can effect dramatic change in your life.  Don’t believe me?  Think about this: how different would the world be if your parents had never met?  If you want to see the concept of wyrd in action, go watch the Back to the Future films.  Yes, I’m a geek.  I have no shame.

Back to the Norns.  Their names are Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld, and each Norn is responsible for a facet of wyrd.  Urd governs the Past, or what once was.  Verdandi governs what is coming into being.  Skuld governs what shall be.  They reside at the Well of Urd, which is where Yggdrasil grows from.  The Norns use the water from the Well to water and nourish Yggdrasil.

There is also the Well of Mimir.  Mimir was a wise, oracular giant.  Some sources have Mimir as an uncle of Odin.  Mimir was beheaded by the Vanir, and Odin retrieved the head, treated it with herbs and magick to revive it, and placed it in the well.  Some sources say that Odin carries the head around with Him, others place the head at the well.  (Yes, it’s a talking head.)  It was at this well that Odin asked Mimir for a special, magickal gift.  Mimir gives Him the ravens Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory), but asked Odin for payment in return.  What does Odin do?  He digs out His eye and plops it into the well.  This is why He only has one eye.  

There are several beings that reside on Yggdrasil itself.  Nidhogg is a gigantic dragon that gnaws at the roots of the Tree.  There are four deer called Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr, and Dyrathror.  They nibble at the highest shoots.  Now, at first glance, you might think that Nidhogg and the deer are damaging the Tree.  But they are actually keeping the tree healthy.  Nidhogg eats the decaying roots, and the deer ‘prune’ the shoots that could drain energy away from the main parts of the Tree.  There are two other prominent residents in the Tree, an unnamed eagle that perches up in the top of the tree, and a squirrel named Ratatosk.  Ratatosk acts as a messenger between Nidhogg and the eagle.  And some people think that he antagonizes the eagle and the dragon and passes their taunts to one another back and forth.

That’s all for today, lovelies.  Next week, I’ll begin to introduce some of the Gods and Goddesses.  Enjoy your week, and I’ll see you again on Freyja’s Day!

Pronunciations:

Urd: Oord

Wyrd: Weird, or word. (Either pronunciation is accepted.)

Verdandi: Vehr-don-dee

Skuld: Pronounced ‘schooled,’ as in you ‘schooled’ someone.

Mimir: Mee-meer

Huginn and Muninn: Hoo-gin and Moo-nin. The G is hard, like in the word ‘egg.’

Nidhogg: Nee-thog

Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr, Dyrathror: Dine, Dah-wall-in, Doo-near,Dee-rath-roar

Ratatosk: Rat-at-osk

Painting of Yggdrasil. Oluf Olufsen Bagge, 1847.
Painting of Yggdrasil. Oluf Olufsen Bagge, 1847.
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