Who Were Norns in Norse Myth?

Posted by Ms Elly on

Who Were Norns in Norse Myth?

Besides the Norse Pantheon, there was a system of characters in Norse mythology. Of all in the character systems, the Norns were possibly the most powerful and respected by many, especially the Vikings. So who were Norns in Norse myth?

In Norse mythology, the Norns were the female beings that kept the destiny and fates of all beings in the cosmos. The origin of the word "Norn" was quite vague. What we assume these days is that "Norn" came from a word meaning "to weave". Interestingly, this coincided with the daily deeds of the Norns - to weave or to twine the fates of all beings in the cosmos.

Image of Norns Norse mythology

There were three Norns mentioned in the myth. The first one was called Urd "What Once Was". The second one was Verdandi "What Is Coming Into Being". And the last one was Skuld "What Shall Be". All of them dwelled in the Urd Well, one of the most sacred Yggdrasil Wells. The fact was that the Norns were the first to know the meaning of runes, even before Odin the Allfather. The three Norns carved runes onto the trunks of Yggdrasil and let the meaning of runes run through the Yggdrasil. Then knowing the power of runes, Odin wanted to get to know him the meaning of each rune.

In the myth, the Norns spent most of their time spinning the threads of fates. They decided the living path of all beings in the cosmos. They sat by the roots of Yggdrasil tree only to weave the threads of life for any beings in the cosmos. The Norns usually started their days by placing a rooster at the top of Yggdrasil. The sound of the rooster might be the perfect wake-up call for the Gods and Goddesses in Asgard. Day by day, the Norns carried the water from the Well of Urd to water the Yggdrasil Tree. By this way could Yggdrasil Tree stay healthy and green. 

The Vikings respected the Norns very much indeed. To the Viking culture, it was very common to provide the woman who just gave birth to her child some porridge. The Vikings called the porridge "the Norn porridge". They held a firm belief that the Norns were always nearby whenever a child was born. By serving the mother some porridge would they hope the Norns would provide the mother and the child good health. 

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