Their names are Urd (Old Norse Urðr, “What Once Was”), Verdandi (Old Norse Verðandi, “What Is Coming into Being”) and Skuld (Old Norse Skuld, “What Shall Be”). A common misconception is that they correspond to the past, present, and future in a linear conception of time. Shadowy Figures.
Much like the Fates in Greek mythology, Norse mythology has a set of goddesses controlling fate and shaping the destiny of men. These are called the Norns: three sisters who are personifications of the past, present and future.
The Norns were located under the great tree Yggdrasil near the Urdar well. Their purpose is not always clear, but they were said to have been there to warn the Gods of future events, teach them how to use the present, and remind them of lessons learned from the past.
It was not uncommon for the Gods to visit the Norns as they sought
advice and wisdom from them. Odin was a frequent visitor.
They would then attend to the sacred tree, often bringing it water from the Urdar fountain and putting fresh clay around its roots. They would watch the golden apples that contained knowledge and only allowed Idun to pick the fruit. It is said that these apples were what gave the Gods renewed youth and beauty.
The webs -aka www our death knell- they spun were giant: one weaver stood on a mountain in the east, one stood in the middle of the western sea, and the other worked on the thread in between. The threads varied in color, depending on the events they foretold. A black thread, for instance, would mean death. As the sisters worked, they chanted and sung songs.
Stories say that they spun their webs blindly, as if reluctantly following Orlog’s (the universal eternal law) wishes. Two of the sisters (Urd and Verdandi) were very beneficent and worked hard while the other constantly undid the work they had completed. She would often tear it to shreds if she was angry with it, and cause the other two grief.
At the birth of each man they appeared spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life.
Their name means “Parts.” “Shares” or “Alottted Portions”
Klotho, whose name means“Spinner” spun the thread of life.
Lakhesis, whose name means “Apportioner of Lots”–being derived from a word meaning to receive by lot–, measured the thread of life.
Atropos whose name means “She who cannot be turned”
Klotho Lakhesis Atropos #The Fates turned,” cut the thread of life.
At the birth of a man, the Moirai spun out the thread of his future life, followed his steps, and directed the consequences of his actions according to the counsel of the gods. It was not an inflexible fate.
The Fates did not abruptly interfere in human affairs but availed themselves of intermediate causes, and determined the lot of mortals not absolutely, but only conditionally, even man himself, in his freedom was allowed to exercise a certain influence upon them.
As man’s fate terminated at his death, the goddesses of fate become the goddesses of death, Moirai Thanatoio.
As goddesses of fate they must necessarily have known the future, which at times they revealed, and were therefore prophetic deities.
They were severe, inflexible and stern.
Klotho carries a spindle or a roll (the book of ate), she is the things that are
Lakhesis a staff with which she points to the horoscope on a globe. She is singing the things that were and will be.
Atropos a scroll, a wax tablet, a sundial, a pair of scales, or a cutting instrument. She who gives mortal men evil and good to have
At other times the three were shown with staffs or sceptres, the symbols of dominion, and sometimes even with crowns.
The Parcae controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal and immortal from birth to death. Even the gods feared them, and by some sources Jupiter was also subject to their power.
The names of the three Parcae are:
- Nona who spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle;
- Decima who measured the thread of life with her rod
- Morta who cut the thread of life and chose the manner of a person’s death.
Dalia is the goddess of fate in the Lithuanian mythology. She is the giver and taker of goods and property. Dalia is often confused with and hard to distinguish from Laima, another goddess of fate. Sometimes Dalia is thought of as a different manifestation of Laima.
However, Laima is more involved in predicting the length of a person’s life while Dalia is more concerned with material wealth a person would earn during the lifetime – allotting a proper share (Lithuanian: dalis) to everyone.
Gods and Nature
Nature is often described in terms of the human family;
the sun is called the mother,
the moon the father,
the stars the sisters of human beings. Lithuanian mythology is rich in gods and minor gods of water, sky and earth.
The Goddess or God often visit people to guide them in moral questions, but people are not able to recognize her / him.
A human should listen to his or her inner voice of harmony and justice, in order to act morally in the presence of a God / Goddess, for people do not know when and under what circumstances they are under their gaze.