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Web of Wyrd: The Symbol of Fate Explained

I have been asked a lot lately about the more modern symbol used within the Norse Pagan community known as the Web of Wyrd so today I will do just that. The symbol itself first appeared in print in the 1990s but the term Web of Wyrd or spining the web of Wyrd (fate) can be found mentioned in several poems and Sagas such as the Helgakviða Hundingsbana I – The First Lay of Helgi the Hunding-Slayer, Darraðarljóð (Song of Darraðar) and Völundarkviða – The Lay of Völund. It can also be said that this symbol is made up of the entire Elder Futhark Runes which can easily be seen.

The first known appearance of the symbol occurs in German occultist Jan Fries’s Helrunar: A Manual of Rune Magick (1993, Mandrake of Oxford). Two versions of form A occur within the book: Form A.1. appears on the book’s cover, A.2. on its title page, and A.1. appears again on page 326.

The book itself contains a variety of references to English occult figure Aleister Crowley, typical of English language European occult circles in the early 1990s. While Fries’s book contains three instances of the symbol, nowhere in Helrunar does Fries mention or otherwise discuss it. Whether the symbol originates from this text or was otherwise known in occult (and modern pagan circles) at the time remains unclear. Continue reading HERE.

Wyrd is a concept at the theological heart of Ásatrú and Heathenry. For many of those who practice one of the modern forms of the Old Way, wyrd is a core element of worldview. It stands behind, runs through, and supports our words and deeds. It connects each individual’s present moment to her past actions and to the actions of those around her. It forms a constantly shifting matrix that connects us all as we move through our intersecting lives.

The word wyrd itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon. In the main volume of An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by Joseph Bosworth and T. Northcote Toller, the first translation given for wyrd is “what happens,” followed by “fate, fortune, chance.” In the dictionary’s supplement, additional translations are presented: “what is done, a deed, an action.”

The Old Norse cognate for the term is urðr, which An [Old] Icelandic-English Dictionary by Richard Cleasby and Guðbrandur Vigfússon translates as “a weird, fate.” The same word is used in medieval Icelandic literary sources as the name for one of the three Norns who sit at the well under a root of the World Tree and “shape men’s lives.”

The Oxford English Dictionary entry for weird gives a wide range of definitions, including “the principle, power, or agency by which events are predetermined,” “that which is destined or fated to happen to a particular person,” “what one will do or suffer,” and “a happening, event, occurrence.” SOURCE.

Further Resources

The web of Wyrd, the matrix of fate (Skuld’s Net)

The Web of Wyrd Symbol, Meaning And Origins Explained

The Web of Wyrd

Web of Wyrd & Fate

The Web of Wyrd – Yggdrasil – The Tree of Life



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