The Norns, Weavers of Destiny and Protectors of Yggdrasil

The Norns (from the Old Norse “Nornir”) are the three weavers of destiny present in Nordic mythology, the three old women who determine the fate and future of each person who one day walks the land of men.

Obviously, we are talking here about prominent mythological characters who were able to influence the destinies of heroes, but also that of the most powerful gods.

For many specialists, the power of the Norns even makes them the most powerful beings in all of Nordic culture, those to whom all are necessarily subject.

In short, let's now take a more in-depth look at these strange women and the messages they can bring us.

Contents :

The Norns: great weavers of the threads of destiny

Description of the Norns

Their place in Norse mythology

What popular sagas and legends tell us

Weaving loom used by an old woman of Scandinavian origin.

The Norns: great weavers of the threads of destiny

You should know that the Norns inhabit the most sacred place in all of Norse mythology: the “Well of Urd”, a legendary fountain placed at the base of the world tree Yggdrasil. (if you're wondering what we're talking about, here's a definition of what Yggdrasil is ).

By living alongside this famous Well of Urd, they have access to the source of everything that exists. Concretely, this gives the Norns absolute knowledge of the past, the future and the present.

Each thread of destiny (whether we speak of its beginning, its beginning or its form) is therefore the fruit of infinite wisdom. Each myth, each personal story corresponds to a thread. Mortals are defined by their thread, but so are the mightiest gods. Even Ragnarök (the end of times) seems to be dictated by his...

This leaves one wondering about the ideas of destiny, and chance and luck!

Let us also point out that, if we talk to you about the “Norns” in the plural, it is for a good reason: there are in fact three of them.

Although they form an inseparable whole, we can still distinguish them, particularly by the influence they have on our destiny.

We thus have:

  • Urd : She is the older sister, and the one who winds the threads around the spindle, thus giving life by literally “creating” new destinies.
  • Verdandi : She is the Norn of the present, the one who spins the wool and chooses the direction that each thread of destiny will take.
  • Skuld : You will have understood that it is the youngest and the goddess associated with death, which she decides by cutting the threads.

These three sisters, working together, make it possible to weave a true web which, in all its complexity, forms our world and the life paths of all those who reside there.

Wall painting of one of the Norns sewing with woolen threads.

Description of the Norns

Described as relatively ordinary women, the Norns have neither physical particularity nor attributes that would make them directly recognizable.

Some Viking legends present them to us as three giantesses from the country of Jotunheim, but most tell us of them rather as three very normal women. There are also those that evoke sublime nymphs or terrible warriors.

In certain cases, one of the Norns can appear in a somewhat different light, for example by a pair of wings (a bit like the angels of the Christian religion), eyes black as coal or even disproportionately long nails.

It even happened that one of them, Skuld (we will talk about him in a few moments), was represented as a terrible Valkyrie with her giant horse and flamboyant armor. However, this remains quite anecdotal.

The image of the three old women busy weaving and unweaving threads around the same loom is therefore not that far from reality. Just goes to show that popular prejudices and images sometimes have some truth!

Let us also note their proximity to other figures of classical Antiquity and, more particularly, of Greek mythology. The Hellenic pantheon indeed includes three weavers quite similar to those in Scandinavian legends. By weaving the destiny of Heracles, Achilles and Apollo, they created Greek poems and myths. But we digress, this is not our topic of the day.

Jewelry and lucky charms bearing Viking symbols, with powers derived from Nordic magic

The strength of a Viking?

With these lucky symbols and jewelry


Their place in Norse mythology

The Norns are therefore Viking deities controlling the destiny of each man, and the main guardians of Yggdrasil, that is.

We could say to ourselves that such powerful entities must necessarily occupy an exceptional place in mythology. However, this is not exactly the case.

In fact, the three Norns often appear in the epics of certain gods or in the adventures of legendary heroes. However, no particular legend is directly interested in them.

The Viking Norns are therefore very powerful characters, yes, but remain secondary characters.

Furthermore, there is no trace of any reverence towards them.

Please note, this does not mean that the ancient Scandinavians thought that they could not be useful to them.

There is no shortage of tales and legends in which heroes languish over their fate, deploring the way in which fate has been unfavorable to them... and it is likely that they were aware of the existence of the Norns.

Why not ask them anything? And, by extension, why not worship them?

There is no fixed answer to this question, but it actually seems that the Vikings thought there was no point in asking anything of these three goddesses of destiny.

When we think about it, it reflects a very tragic vision of existence: destiny and the forces that weave it are implacable and blind to our suffering. Like lightning that strikes or the Valkyries that come to collect souls, destiny is relentless.

However, many epics show us that we can indeed have an impact on their lives and that, although mapped out in advance by the Norns, the force of will of men can change life's path.

If you are also passionate about Nordic mythology and Scandinavia, then you will love our collection dedicated to Viking culture !

We have collected lucky charms, symbols and other esoteric jewelry from the tradition of the men of the North.

Open storybook from which emanates a magical world filled with mythological creatures.

What popular sagas and legends tell us

We know the Norse Norns mainly through the oral tradition that has come down to us. Certain warrior myths from the North have come down to us and, among the monsters and other dwarves, the Norns are sometimes cited.

Unfortunately, the Vikings were not fond of writing, and therefore left us few traces of this type. (In any case, this is the official version. Some speak more of an inquisition which burned documents by the thousands, in short…)

However, there are some writings in which the Norns are clearly mentioned!

In the “Poetic Eddas” for example, the three old women are described as “those who decide the life of each man”. You will now have understood: this passage clearly alludes to their quality as weavers of destiny.

In short, the Poetic Eddas also tell us about how the Norns engraved the runes and secrets on the bark of Yggdrasil, thus sharing them with the rest of the world (Asgard, Midgard, etc.). The Scandinavian legends of which our three women are the source of all knowledge...

The other major role of our goddesses that we learn about in these sagas is that of protector and guardian of Yggdrasil. It is in fact they who water it day after day, thus allowing it to remain healthy and continue to support the worlds. Here again, their divine nature seems to be beyond doubt.

author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.