The Norns, Spiritual Mystery and Me, Part 1 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

In 2020, I began writing my biography because some weird things were happening in my life including some which were time-bending. To help make sense of it, I wrote up “conversations” with the mythical characters of Persephone, Inanna and the Norns of the Norse. Throughout my bio, I speak to the Norns as an out loud meditation on the nature of time, fate and energy.

The three Norn sisters are Urd, Verdandi and Skuld. Their names come from Old Norse which is not a spoken language. The actual translation of their names is open to speculation. In general, here are their common meanings.

  • Urd – past
  • Verdandi – happening or present
  • Skuld – future or debt.

By mythological tradition, they show up at a child’s birth and then weave their “fateful” decisions about that child’s life into a tapestry. They are considered more powerful and fearsome than the gods because even the gods are ruled by the hands of fate (or Norns in this case). They were also treated as oracles where kings and warriors went to consult them much as was done in Delphi Greece.[1]

In my biography, I characterize weavings of the Norns, not as the typical physical threads of a tapestry but more as waves of energy that flow together and intertwine in different patterns. If the weavings of the Norns are not a solid physical reality but rather a reflection of motion and woven energy, that would mean we have some agency in our own lives. We can change how we respond to energy, we can change the focus of it, we can redirect it. This approach has the possibility of upending our entire world view. Linear time may be seen as simply one way to understand our world. Energy waves can move in all sorts of directions including grabbing things from the future or the past to bring into the present. 

Recently, Elizabeth Johnson, Jr., the last of the “witches” sentenced at the Salem witch trials in the late 1600s was exonerated through a bill signed by Massachusetts governor Charlie Barker. The bill had been championed by an 8th grade civics class and their teacher. I realized I had the bones of a “solution” to a spiritual mystery that has been nagging at me for years.

The spiritual mystery I refer to is about how the witch trials came about in Salem in the first place. Nineteen people were hanged, several others died while in custody. Some explanations have been floated about mass hysteria due to hallucinogens in the rye flour. But I have never seen an explanation that even with such unexplained behaviors, why the focus became witches? My “explanation” which follows below may not be a veritable solution at all, but it is the nearest I can come to trying to understand the mystery, or perhaps better stated, to accept that it is indeed a grand mystery. 

To delve into this, we must first go back in history, to a time before the bible. Since the Norns deal with time in the form of past, present and future, who better to discuss time bending mysteries than with them? When they show up, they often communicate as one while using different words at the same time to refer to a concept. Here is their story.  

It begins with all three of them talking together as one:

“Once upon a millenia/era/generation, there was a land/expanse/domain called Canaan. Ashera and her consort/mate/spouse El had divine/beatific/celestial twins. Their names were Shachar and Salim. They were known as dawn and dusk, the Morning star and Evening star. But they were not the first/original/primary deities to be known in this manner. Quezalcóatl in another corner/territory/land of Earth/Terra/Gaia was also known as the Morning star and Evening star, a single deity in two aspects.

“But the original/archetype/precursor to all others was Venus, both as the star and the goddess. For Venus is also one deity in twin aspects – She is the Morning star and Evening star.”

Urd continued: “In the times before your written history, we knew Melchizedek who was king in the land that would become known as Israel.”

Verdandi interrupted, “He was a high priest.”

Skuld: “We knew him as the ‘king of peace,’ or the ‘king of salim.’”

Urd: “Or more familiar to you as the king of Salem.”

Verdandi: “Which has become known the world over as Jerusalem.”

All three: For shining/radiant/luminous Venus was the guiding/manifesting/signifying light/star/inspiration of Melchizedek’s life’s work. And so his city was named to honor/glorify/celebrate Her, Venus in Her Evening star form.”

They were quiet for a moment. I felt tension. And then they began to talk together again.

“We’re a little embarrassed/ashamed/disconcerted to admit/disclose/reveal this. One day just when the new world was being settled, there happened to be a party in the halls of Valhalla. These don’t happen every often, every few thousand years of your time.”

More silence before they continued.

“We let loose, we partied, we got drunk/inebriated/plastered/wasted/sloshed/stewed/meaded.” 

They must have been serious, I counted seven descriptions shared among the three of them. That was a new one on me. 

It took me a moment for the words to settle in and then I asked, “Meaded

what is that?”

Skuld: “Too much mead.” 

Urd smiled: “It really was pleasing.”

Skuld snorted: “Pleasing, oh please it was far more pleasing that it was a bacchanalia, a rampage.”

Verandi: “An absolute blowout.”

Now, I noticed they were all three smiling. I had never seen that before. I imagined they were reliving that party. 

Verdandi continued quietly: “And we haven’t done anything like that since.”

“Yes,” they all giggled. “But boy were we knackered/tippled/bonked.”

Skuld: “And that is when it happened.”

“What happened?” I asked in frustration.

To be continued tomorrow . . .

[1] My favorite discussions of the Norns come from Ralph Metzner in his book, The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe.

BIO: Janet Maika’i Rudolph. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE QUEST.” I have walked the spirit path for over 25 years traveling to sacred sites around the world including Israel to do an Ulpan (Hebrew language studies while working on a Kibbutz), Eleusis and Delphi in Greece, Avebury and Glastonbury in England, Brodgar in Scotland, Machu Picchu in Peru, Teotihuacan in Mexico, and Giza in Egypt. Within these travels, I have participated in numerous shamanic rites and rituals, attended a mystery school based on the ancient Greek model, and studied with shamans around the world. I am twice initiated. The first as a shaman practitioner of a pathway known as Divine Humanity. The second ordination in 2016 was as an Alaka’i (a Hawaiian spiritual guide with Aloha International). I have written three books: When Moses Was a ShamanWhen Eve Was a Goddess, (now available in Spanish, Cuando Eva era una Diosa), and One Gods

Categories: Dreams and Dreaming, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, Folklore, General, Herstory, Magic, meditations, mystery, Myth, Shamanism, Spiritual Journey, story-telling

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6 replies

  1. A fascinating essay, as always. I love how you are able to re-envision stories and language we have just always assumed meant one thing to create a different perspective of what it might mean. I think that your concept of the Norns and fate as related to energy, flow, and patterns and time as fluid is very insightful and has interesting connections to quantum physics, spacetime, energy, and matter. I can’t wait to read Part II!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Janet, I particularly like these words “I characterize weavings of the Norns, not as the typical physical threads of a tapestry but more as waves of energy that flow together and intertwine in different patterns. If the weavings of the Norns are not a solid physical reality but rather a reflection of motion and woven energy, that would mean we have some agency in our own lives.” I suspect this is more about how ‘reality’ actually exists at least on one level…. here’s a curious happening – I had just written something about deep time before getting to this article and it showed up spontaneously as my comment to your wonderful writing! Cn’t wait for next installment – in my life strange happenings are fairly normal – I think that’s what turned me into a writer!

    Liked by 1 person


  1. The Norns, Spiritual Mystery and Me, Part 1 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph – Glyn Hnutu-healh: History, Alchemy, and Me

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