Is it not wyrd?


Will – Word – Wyrd

In early civilisations and cultures fate decreed all. Personal destiny was subordinate to the greater destiny of its tribal society and to the gods, Even the gods, if we look at the myths, were subjected to the “Norns”, the sisters Wyrd. Personal freedom as we know it today, in larval state.

The word “wyrd”, is generally translated as “fate” or “destiny”. The three Norse sisters of Wyrd are called Urdr, Verdani and Skuld; past, present and future. Urdr is a past form of the verb ‘verda’, to become, to have to.’ – that which is already established. Verdani, is another part of the same verb – becoming. Skuld represents necessity – a debt due. (In Afrikaans “skuld” still means debt.)

There are some that speculates that in tracing the etymology of and history of the word Wyrd, there appears to be a connection between Wyrd as the powers that determine the future, and the “word” as spoken, and as written. In Old Saxon Wyrd was spelled “Wurd”. In old German it was “Wurt”. These words derive from a verb that comes into Old English as “weorthan”, meaning “to become”, or “turn into”. “War”, an Indo-European root word developed into the verb “weorthan”. “War” was recorded to have the meaning; choose or will to, to speak, and to wind or turn. Winding and turning are the motions of spinning, the symbolic employment of the sisters of Wyrd. Through its meaning of “to speak” “war” developed into “word”. It seems that at an early stage of conceptualisation “willing”, “speaking”, and “becoming” were in a sense synonymous. Perhaps once recognised intuitively when language still reflected the meaningful relationship perceived between things in the world.

(Rune Games – Marijane Osborn and Stella Longland)

One could then see destiny as comprising out of three elements; will, word and becoming or internal desire, expression of that desire, impression of that desire on the external world.

Both divination and meditation are psychological techniques for transcending disunity, for constructing and maintaining an undivided self. The essential difference between the two techniques does not lie in the structure and content of the symbol set or in the way in which it is operated. The essential difference is in the type of consciousness developed by the user. Meditation techniques require the initial surrender of the will to an intuitive perception of the inflow of something greater. The inflow is absorbed and the will reorientated to accommodate the new perceptions:

Memory – Understanding – Will

In contrast, divination techniques require the outflow of the will to embrace the something greater. The desire is externalised by an act of will and the external world responds;

Will – Word – Wyrd

Both require active intellectual involvement and both leads to greater awareness of the internal and external worlds and their known and unknown aspects. Meditative divination, are designed to heighten the individual’s awareness of what he is and so increase his ability to be what he would like to be, to connect with what he would like to connect with. In Meditative divination, the outflow of the questing individualised psyche is balanced and met by the creative inflow of all-embracing universal psyche. These inward and outward forces flowing together form the nexus of the mind of man.

It is this act of will that can be called intent.

The world is deep;

Deeper than day can comprehend.

Friedrich Nietzche – Thus Spoke Zarahustra

The Way of Wyrd

There is a fascinating novel written by Brian Bates: The way of Wyrd – Tales of an Anglo-Saxon Sorcerer. The story centres around a young Christian missionary, Wat Brand, sent ( as he thought) to convert and re-educate the anglo-saxon ‘pagans’. But at the very outset, he is met by the sorcerer, Wulf, who sweeps him into another world and proceeds to expand the mind and understanding of the erstwhile converter.

In one incident, while cooling themselves in a river, they witness the flight of two ravens. Wulf makes a prediction of future events based from an observation of their flight. The tale is told in the first person by the young missionary:

“I snorted with derision, … ‘How can the mere flight of birds tell us about events distant in time and place?’…

I turned to wade ashore, but Wulf suddenly gripped me by the arm and I looked at him in alarm; he was looking at me piercingly, his eyes clear azure blue through lashes sparkling with river water. He spoke with conviction: ‘It is a mistake to assume that events far apart in time are thereby separate. All things are connected as in the finest web of a spider. The slightest movement on any thread can be discerned from all points in the web. The flight of those ravens trembled the threads that connect invisibly with the affairs of men.’

My sceptism must have been plainly visible in my expression … With the hint of a smile, Wulf released his grip on my arm and splashed on to the river bank. I stood in the water watching him. ‘Imagine you were to witness a raven swooping from the sky to peck out the eye of a warrior,’ he said, stretching out on the grass. ‘You would say that the flight of the bird was connected directly with the wound. But if you had observed the flight of the same raven half a day before the attack, you would see no connection with the warrior’s injury. Nevertheless the pattern of a raven’s flight at noon is bound to the pattern of its flight at dusk, just as surely as the progression of day and night. One can read the pattern and thus see what the future has in store.’

He sat up and stared at me intently. ‘You are labelling pieces of the world with words, then confusing your word-hoard for the totality of life. You see life as if you were viewing a room by the light of a single moving candle; then you make the error of assuming that the small areas you are seeing one at a time are separate and cannot be seen as one. Since the small areas of your life are thus seen as separate, you have to invent ways of connecting them. This is the fallacy of the ordinary person’s view of life, for everything is already connected. Middle-Earth is one room, lit by a thousand candles.’

Wulf leaned closer to me and spoke into my ear as if sharing a secret:’ You are strangling your life-force with words. Do not live your life searching around for answers in your word-hoard. You will find only words to rationalise your experience. Allow yourself to open up to wyrd and it will cleanse, renew, change and develop your casket of reason. Your word-hoard should serve your experience, not the reverse.’

He smiled gently. ‘Words can be potent magic indeed, but they can enslave us. We grasp from wyrd tiny puffs of wind and store them in our lungs as words. But we have not thereby captured a piece of reality, to be pored over and examined as if it were a glimpse of wyrd. We may as well mistake our fistfuls of air for wind itself, or a pitcher of water for the stream from which it was dipped. That is the way we are enslaved by our own power to name things.”

From the “The Secret Of The Creative Vacuum” – John Davidson

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