Crystal of the Day
Herb of the Day
Deity of the Day
The Norns, or Nornir, were the Norse and Germanic fates, the demi-goddesses of destiny. The Æsir often sought their council. They are similar to the Moirae and Fates of Greco-Roman myth. As in the Germanic mythological tradition, they were known to be three sister goddesses: Clotho (“The Spinner”), Lachesis (“The Decider”), and Atropos (“The Inevitable”).
The original Norn was undoubtedly Urd, a word which can be translated to mean “Fate”. The Well of Urd, which was situated at the base of the great cosmic tree Yggdrasil, is named after this Norn. The two additional Norns that are known by name are Verdandi (“Present” [or “Necessity” in some versions]) and Skuld (“Future” [or “Being” in some versions]). All three Norns live at the Well of Urd in Asgard.
It was believed that the Norns decided the destinies of gods, giants, and dwarfs, and were responsible for the fates of every individual human being. The Anglo-Saxons referred to Urd by the name of Wyrd, and in England there was maintained a belief in the tremendous powers of the three sisters long after the arrival of Christianity. For instance, in Shakespeare’s tragic play Macbeth, the Three Sisters on “the blasted heath” were obviously inspired by the Norns and other mythological fate goddesses.
It would seem more than possible that the Norns were also originally conceived as spinners. However, in Germanic mythology, the Greek and Roman concept of the Fates spinning an individual length of yarn for each mortal life does not appear.
According to Norse mythology, nothing lasts forever, and even the great Yggdrasil has been said to decay one day. The Norns try to stop or slow this process by pouring mud and water from the Well of Urd over its branches. The magical liquid stops the decaying process for a short time.
In other versions pertaining the Norns, they were thought to give assistance to birth, and that each person has their own personal Norn.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2015 October 19
The Southern Cross in a Southern Sky
Image Credit & Copyright: Carlos Fairbairn
Explanation: Have you ever seen the Southern Cross? This famous constellation is best seen from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. Captured from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the four bright stars that mark the Southern Cross are visible just above the horizon in the featured image. On the left of this constellation, also known as The Crux, is the orange star Gamma Crucis. The band of stars, dust, and gas rising through the middle of the image mosaic is part our Milky Way Galaxy. Just to the right of the Southern Cross is the dark Coal Sack Nebula, and the bright nebula at the top of the image is the Carina Nebula. The Southern Cross is such a famous constellation that it is depicted on the national flag of Australia.
The Words of Confucius