Urda, Verdandi, and Skuld

by Lyn Skadidottir


Urda is by far the most revered of the three Nornir. It is within her that we find strength, foundation, and understanding of what has transpired. As a species, we have found a need to understand our past. We devote hours to lifetimes to the understanding of history of our world, our religions, and ourselves. We spend hundreds of dollars on therapy, peering into our personal pasts in order to create peace within this moment of our lifetimes. We spend hundreds upon thousands of dollars on historical research for our spiritual and recreational needs. Her power lies in knowing all that has been, and in this respect, she is associated with death goddesses. All things that have been go to her. 

But she is more than this, much, much more. Originally, she was a singular entity, who controlled all the aspects of the Nornir, but as time progressed and the worlds grew larger and expanded outward, she needed to have help, and thus we find our current state with her handmaidens, Verdandi and Skulda. They, too are very powerful giantess figures, to whom we look daily for help though we may not comprehend that as our request. But, in the end, we always return to Urda.

For me, Urda is extremely complex. She extends beyond the basic lore concept of the woman who controls that which has been. Earlier in this writing, I used the term Urdaic. I utilize this term because I view the mysteries of the Nornir as Urdaic in nature; they are based on Her and Her responsibilities. As she has the ability to control all facets of Wyrd, and is the keeper of all things, I feel that her path (which, in my opinion, is the most pure form of the path Odin initiated) deserves its own name. Much as those who work exclusively with Hela call the path Helish, so I call this path Urdaic. 


Verdandi is probably the least talked about and understood of the Nornir. She does not have Urda’s power, and most certainly does not have the mystique that Skulda has. As the keeper of what is, meaning that which is occurring in this moment, she can be very difficult to comprehend. This may seem antithetical, as the moment in which we live is something we view every second of every day, but it is within its ordinariness that we find the truth of Verdandi. If you have a basic understanding of Buddhism, this is the “portion of the moment”, the “living in the moment” that is often talked about. The moment as it is cannot be quantified, bottled or understood. This, in fact, is what Verdandi consciousness is. To comprehend the moment without looking ahead and without looking behind us is a powerful thing. It is within that instant that we are able to harness the ability to create change, to write our own Wyrd, and forge our own pathway in life. To root ourselves too deeply into the past or too far into our future forces us to take a predesigned path, not entirely of our own choosing. To accept the present, and to live in the moment, we are able to design and live a path free from the constraints of both what has been and what will be.

This is not to say that we should ignore the past or the future, nor what consequences our current actions will create. On the contrary, if you are fully bound by the immediate, the consequences will be felt immediately. What do I mean by this?  If we choose, in the immediate, to eat, we can feel the effects of that food on our body. If we choose to cross the street, the action will be understood as crossing the street. I realize that this is difficult, and as an insular process seems silly or irresponsible and nihilistic. It can become that, but with the understanding of the other Nornir and what they embody, we can create a responsible living design. 

To work with Verdandi is to work within the paradox of the ever-present. To live within this paradox allows us the ability to access the now, which, in my experience, is of the utmost importance in both daily mundane living and magical workings. I say this because we must understand the present clearly in order to act upon it, and create the next step in our path. It is the present that brings us to our next step in Wyrd, that of obligation. If we understand the present, we can choose to take action, be it physical, psychic or magical. For example, if you felt that you needed to create a magical change at work to help you towards a promotion or rise in salary, you should have a clear understanding of all of the present situations that change will impose upon. When you look deep into the situation and view all of the present circumstances of yourself and those around you who will also be impacted by the change, you may find that you are already going to get that promotion or raise without causing a change in Wyrdic patterns, or that a less fortunate colleague or more qualified colleague may be disadvantaged by your doing. This is where it gets tricky; by combining all three consciousnesses and personae of the Nornir, we can allow ourselves within the moment to make clear decisions about our actions and the actions we advise others to do.


Skulda is the most feared of the Norns. Colored by Greek mythology, we see her as the one who cuts the thread of our lives, but her job is much more complex then simply “cutting the final thread”. She governs obligations, and is the one who not only cuts, but also marks the thread or wood for changes and conclusions. As she watches not only for time of death, she also is involved in marking other significant points, such as giving birth, changing careers, meeting and losing lovers. Though we often associate Verdandi with many of these, Skulda is present in these moments. Verdandi shows us the path we are on, but it is Skulda who truly marks those points of transition, killing one way of being in the world and starting another. Obligation and transition are the responsibility of Skulda, as she takes the records created by Urda, keeper of all things past, and looks at the work of Verdandi, that of the eminent present, and then places markers and cuts and color transitions for the patterns in the weaving. We fear her because she is the one who reads the patterns and dictates the changes that must occur, and as a rule, we don’t like dramatic change. She is the path of inevitability, the one who governs when roads shall end.

Working with her has wonderful rewards. She is much like Skadi in that she is concerned less with what occurs after death than the event itself. In her marking of death she becomes also the marker of transition, for as the laws of energy have taught us, energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It is a continuum, and she is a part of that continuum. Translating the energy of conclusion into new birth, she imparts herself into the world of continuous creation.  This is her paradox.