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Old 07-25-2016, 03:43 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 662
Default Uršr, Veršandi, and Skuld

You've heard of norns. I know you've heard the word from me before even if you don't remember it.

There are many kinds of norns, but there are three who guide the lives of all people. Most often they are spoken of as "The Norns." When it is said that way it means Uršr, Veršandi, and Skuld*, the Norns of fate who sit at the well of Uršr at the roots of the world tree, Yggdrasil.

The names of Uršr and Veršandi both derive from vera, "to be," but Uršr is in the past tense and Veršandi in the present. Uršr means "fate," not in the sense of what awaits one, but the fate that has already befallen you - the path you have walked so far. Veršandi means "being, becoming" in the sense of where you are now and the path that stands before you.

Skuld is the most mysterious. Her name means "should." What should be, doom, ultimate fate. She holds the shears.** Skuld is the one that decides when the thread of your life is to be cut.

Uršr's domain is in the past but there's still much mystery. We know where we've been but we cannot know all the factors at work on us when we were there.

So also Veršandi. We can know a great deal about who and where we are in the present, but the human wont for oversimplification and wishful thinking challenges our view of our true circumstances. Today Veršandi may give you joy of an optimistic outlook while Skuld sharpens her shears preparing to cut the thread of your life in some gruesome end.

Skuld has clipped a thread in my life and woven in a whole bunch of new ones. My marriage of thirty years has ended. I have paid a very high price to move on to the next phase of my life. I do not know what Skuld has in store but I do not fear it. Maybe like the happy fool I spoke of I look forward to the path in front of me with great optimism and anticipation. I have come to terms with all the possibilities that I can see, and with the costs I can't see but will have to pay. Skuld may choose tomorrow to snip the thread of my life but I can have no regrets.

I am my own man now. I am free to follow my path and see where it leads. I am free to put aside unprofitable things and take risks to get what I really want. It's time to find out what it is I've been preparing for all my life.

My deeds can hurt no one but me. I can do as I please. I am no longer afraid. I have now put aside any vestiges of organized religion and completely disavow Christianity. I'm sorry if that upsets any of you. I don't deny the reality of anyone's belief system, nor do I bear them any ill will. My frame of mind now is that every religion is absurd in its own way, and yet has value. Although I do not think fondly of mainstream fundamentalist Christianity, its scripture contain undeniable eternal truths, the greatest of which is the greatest of all eternal truths: love your neighbor as you love yourself. Do unto others...my right to swing my ax ends at your head. But there are other great truths as well. Where christianity has us kneel to oppression and turn the other cheek in this life with the hope of a reward in the next, Odin says "never should you go more than a footstep from your weapons." Organized systems of religion and civilization would have you humble and passive. You must trust a higher power, a god, a king, a police force, to keep you safe and fight your battles. Your disputes are no longer fought with ax, sword, and three shields in a space the size of four oxhides (cf. 13th Warrior, which was horribly anachronistic and imaginative but did a stellar job of portraying the Norse tradition of Holmgang, the personal duel.) Where a large number of people congregate it is necessary to have order, and with order come rules. And yet, conflict is human nature. It is unnatural for us to be prevented from striving with each other. Interestingly, in Old Norse society where everyone was armed and personal combat was not only allowed but encouraged to settled disputes, it was less common for them to end in blood. It is true: an armed society is a polite society.

Your wondering if I really take this Norse mythology stuff that seriously now? Yes and no. If you are curious, ask. I will get around to posting my views I'm sure, but they boil down to this: I do not expect Valhalla but I will be worthy of it. I believe that world view can support positive changes to my life. We'll find out if I'm right or not

Everyone here is dear to me. I lament that I've lost touch with so many over the years, but the virtual Spiritwood is like the real Que's tavern. Que's is not a virtual place, it is a place in our hearts where the real Spiritwood is. There the Rangers still gather and eat and drink and laugh and tell tales. Its location may move, and we may have to search for it, but it's still there for us to find. I hope that's where I'm headed, and I hope I see you all there.

Yes this post is so long it has footnotes. Hodur's back.

*The letter eth, "š," is pronounced TH as in "the." Uršr = "OORTHR", Veršandi = "VERTHAHNDI", Skuld = just like the english "SCHOOLED." R is trilled. Emphasis is always on the first syllable in Old Norse.

**Iron age women spent most of their timing spinning, weaving, and sewing. These shears were probably the most used tool for women and became a symbol of female power. Hence, the Norns (all female) use shears and not a knife to snip your thread. The shears were formed by taking an iron rod, hammering blades on either end, then bending it into a horseshoe shape with the blades facing each other forming what's immediately recognizable as medieval scissors. Google "iron age shears" for a picture. The shears in Minecraft are similar in appearance although I don't know if that's deliberate. Men also used them to shear sheep.
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