View Full Version : Orlog, Wyrd and Hamingja - your ideas?

Monday, September 25th, 2006, 10:48 AM
The Catalogue of Terms in Mark Puryear's "The Nature of Asatru" has them down as follows:

Wyrd — "Fate", "Destiny", Both a variant spelling of "Urd" and the concept of fate in Asatru philosophy.

Orlog — "Original Law", "Primal Law". The force or principle, created by the Norns, which determines what is and what shall become.

Hamingja — "Luck", "Guardian". Female protector assigned to us at birth, to witness for us at death.

What do you think? How would you describe these forces best? How do you think that they come in our everyday lives?

Thursday, January 18th, 2007, 02:02 AM
i don't agree with i don't know what you would call the fateists?? the ones who believe that they have a rock steady path that they are meant to follow i would describe wyrd as the general description, a web we do things everyday and are faced with decisions that would lead in different dirrections and it is are choices which decide how we are going to travel along this web, every person we meet we will have an effect upon them no matter how small and this would change the web as well have you ever had the experience when a complete stranger wishes you a good day n you were put in a good mood for the rest of the day because it just because they did something you didn't expect of them. However don't get me wrong there are somethings in life which are going to happen no matter what you do key points in you're life for example everyone dies and you have no decision on when thats going to happen. Thats sort of the best desciription of wyrd that i can think of atm. Lets get more Coffee:runaway

Gorm the Old
Thursday, January 18th, 2007, 07:13 PM
Orlog, as defined above, seems so rigidly deterministic as to allow us no freedom of choice whatsoever . I don't find the distinction between orlog and wyrd as defined above to be at all clear-cut. Orlog, as defined, seems to leave nothing for wyrd to do.

The idea of the hamingja would be comforting if she had any real power, but, if everything is pre-determined, it would seem that she is as powerless as we are.

I am an Einsteinian determinist. I disagree with the dogma of the quantum physicists that events at the quantum level are indeterministic, i.e. causeless. At all other levels, every event is caused and there is a chain of causality. Merely because we do not know causes of quantum events does not prove that they do not exist.

However to say that all events are caused does not make them pre-determined . They must occur within the constraints of natural law, but WE ARE CAUSAL AGENTS. The events which we cause have our actions as the immediate cause, not the inexorable operation of orlog. Of course, our actions as causal agents are, themselves are caused, and the causes are caused, which leads to an infinite regress, but, at least, everything IS caused.

It does not appear, from what has been written about it that orlog is the uncaused First Cause (if any). I am not clear about the role of Fate, but it seems to be as inescapable as the operation of orlog. Does wyrd have a cause, and, if so, what is it ? If wyrd is a causal agent , does the chain of causality, followed backward, stop there ? Or, is wyrd the agent of orlog ?

Thursday, August 14th, 2008, 10:13 AM
I personally agree and base my beliefs on this:

Orlog is described in Nordic mythology as being the external law of the Universe. It seems at times to be a kind of 'Primal Goddess', an entity without beginning or ending, older and superior even than the gods and giants. The decrees of Orlog could not be set aside, and it was the pattern set by Orlog that the Norns wove, themselves bound by powers beyond their control.

'LOG', derived from Old Norwegian LAGU, means 'law', only it is a much broader, more binding, concept than our modern word. It also encompassed the concept of 'lore', knowledge and wisdom of the past, for use in the present. The term 'OR-LOG' means something along the lines of First Law, Primal Law, Ultimate Law (The Law, as in the Law or Word of God). Also, it could be seen as First Principle or Primal Layer. To sum up, and to greatly understate it, Orlog is the ultimate purpose, or great plan, of Creation.

In Nordic mythology, Wyrd was a primal goddess and was the mother of the Norns. Her only appearance in surviving mythology seems to be her declaration that Vidar, son of Odin, will survive Ragnarok.

The word Wyrd is Old English and means 'destiny'. From the same root comes Urd, one of the Norns, and the Germanic words Werth, Warth and Wurth, which mean 'become'. The root word means 'to turn' or 'to become' and relates to that which has become (past and present), and that which will become (future). The term Wyrd has been translated as 'Fate', but has a different meaning to the Greco-Roman concept of fate, as will be shown.

An interesting aspect of Wyrd is that it can be pronounced as 'Weird' or 'Word' and both of these reveal meaning within the concept of Wyrd. 'Weird' can mean fate or destiny, and the Fates (similar entities to the Norns) are sometimes called the Weird Sisters. Weird also means supernatural, unearthly, uncanny. This last is derived from un kenny - 'beyond our ken' or 'beyond our ability to know'. So the very word defies our ability to comprehend it.

'Word' can have very significant meaning within the concept of Wyrd. In the Gospel according to St. John (1:1), it is written that 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.' Not a Nordic source, granted, but a mystery tradition that links the Word (Wyrd) with the Creative Powers of the Cosmos, as the concept of Wyrd is. The entire world was created with words in the Judeao/Christian tradition, and even in Nordic traditions a great deal of score was set by words, both as sources of wisdom (and thus power), and as mysteries with spells and blessings being spoken.

Orlog and Wyrd

The definitions given above for Orlog and Wyrd indicate that they are aspects of the same thing, that thing being 'Destiny', the predetermined pathway that Creation follows. That can be somewhat misleading, however. It does not mean 'predetermined' in the sense of 'unavoidable'. Many people regard Destiny as being either an excuse for doing nothing and assuming Destiny will 'find' them; or an excuse for doing anything they want and 'blaming' it on Destiny. The twin concepts of Orlog and Wyrd have no place for either of these attitudes.

Instead, they are the natural course of one's life. Everybody is born with certain abilities: strengths in some areas, weaknesses in others. One's own Wyrd is the way these abilities will lead you through life. Problems, confusion, stress and depression arise when we try (whether through our own actions or external pressure) to work against it. This can be regarded as the Reality of our Life. Therefore Wyrd is related to the Web of Reality. The difference between Wyrd and the Web is that we can leave the path of our Wyrd, but the Web (the Reality) of our new situation will always remain with us, and will constantly be attempting to pull us back on course.

One of the principles of Stav is to seek one's own Orlog and endeavour to work with it. This means learning to live with the Reality of yourself, using your strengths and accepting your weaknesses, while at the same time attempting to use them as strengths by working with them and not against them. This shows that, while living against your Orlog creates problems, living in accordance with your Orlog will not necessarily be easy, although it will be regarded as challenging rather than problematical.
The concepts of Orlog and Wyrd do not end here, however. All things have their own Orlog, their own Path of Reality. This includes concepts and situations. It also includes Creation itself. All individual Orlogs are facets of the Universal Orlog, and all are part of the great Web of Fate being woven by the Norns.

In the Hafskjold-Stav tradition, the Hamingja was the force that was believed to run through the family. The lifestyle and conduct of the family affected the Hamingja for good or ill.

This can be regarded on a purely physical level, in which the Hamingja can be considered to be the family reputation. The actions of any member can affect the reputation of the entire family and can last through several generations. On a more esoteric level, the Hamingja can be seen as a many faceted 'soul', each facet of which was the separate soul of an individual person, and yet part of the joint soul of the entire family. It can be seen from this that the 'reputation' could affect the entire future of the family and the actions of one family member could create good, or bad, luck for many generations to come.

Each family was seen as coming from one of the deities, and so each individual was an extension of that deity. This is demonstrated in 'The List of Rig'. Also, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle lists many genealogies going back to Odin. Later, when Christianity became the leading religion, Odin was seen as being descended from Adam (for instance, the Parker Chronicle, AD853). The main purpose of this aspect of Hamingja was to attempt to lead a worthy life to eventually lead the family soul back to that deity.

After death, the individual soul would go to Hel - this was not a place of punishment, as in the Christian tradition, but a place of rest between incarnations. (In this, the figure of Hel as being half corpse and half beautiful woman represents the triple Goddess in the aspect of transforming from Crone to Maiden, embodying the concept of death and rebirth). Alternatively, the soul would go to Aesgard to reside in the hall of their family's deity: in other words, they would become one with their patron deity. This was a final destination, the soul would not be reborn again. This could be due to that particular individual having reached a level comparable to the Buddhist concept of Enlightenment, or to the entire Hamingja (family soul) being deemed worthy. There is a hall in Aesgard with a golden roof for these worthy dead.

In the Hafskjold tradition, a person could only be reincarnated back into their own family line - they remained part of their Hamingja. If the family line died out, and therefore the Hamingja came to an end, none of the souls could be reborn. They would either remain in Hel, or become ghosts. (Another belief was that when the family line died, the entire Hamingja went to Aesgard, but this seems a little too easy: entry into Aesgard should require more than simply being the last of your line.) This explains the fierce loyalty to the family and the severe vengeance that could be instigated by the murder of a family member. Since their conduct also affected their Hamingja, it also explains the strong code of honour that the Nordic people lived by.

Hamingja also explains why it was such a great thing to die in battle: the individual soul would go straight to Aesgard and side step any further incarnations, thus negating the risk of permanent residence in Hel. Also there was the added kudos of becoming a warrior for the Gods.


Thursday, August 14th, 2008, 10:02 PM
I go with the following..

That concept is of the WYRD. This is the central Indo-European concept which comes out of our analysis of the Germanic conception of time. We have identified the wyrd with the experience of the flow of completion. The person who knows the wyrd is in harmony with what is being laid down by the single source of all causation. That person is submitting to the decree from out-of-time which manifests the eternal in the instant. This is equated with the speaking of the orlog or primal speech. It is no wonder in this light that "wyrd" and "word" are related by the mutation of vowels. One meaning of wyrd is to be verbose, even though the stronger meaning is "fated" or "destined." Following the natural associations with other words through vowel mutation, we also note that wyrd and word are also related to "ward" and "world." This makes sense because old English `weard' means protection or guardianship of a warden. But "weard" also has connotations of direction as in "backward" or "forward." The word "wered/werod" means "clothed, covered or protected." Thus, "ward" means that which is protected actively by warding off. In Chinese the is called "wu chi" -- defensive energy. Its opposite is represented by the words "wierding/wierdan" which both imply "bodily injury or damage." Thus, by changing the vowel we move from protection to what results from lack of protection. Notice also that "werod/wered/weorod" means "a band of men, people , army, host, throng." It is precisely by banding together as a group that protection, through defensive energy, becomes possible. It is also the group that projects a unique intersubjectively validated and maintained "world." In the group the men speak words to build a world that wards off dangers. It is in this ambience that the "wyrd" is made manifest through completion of what is destined by the single source of all causation. It is interesting in this context to note that the Anglo-Saxons tended to adopt an Old Testament-oriented form of Christianity. They emphasized the role of a single god who ruled and destined all the events of the world. This form of Christianity explained the efficacy of the wyrd and allowed the Germanic peoples to accept the role of Jesus as the "word" of God.

Of importance in this context is the fact that the man is called "wer" in Old English. "Werwolf" means man-wolf. That "wer" is part of the wyrd/word/ward/world constellation is no accident. A wer is also a dam or fish trap or catch. On the other hand, "war" means sand or seaweed. "Wearr" means to be callused. "Wir" means wire or metal thread and also myrtle. "Wor" is equivalent to "wos" meaning sap or juice. "Wosa" means a man or being who consumes food. But beyond all these, "Waer" means both true, correct and security; covenant, trust, faith, fidelity, pledge, protection, and keeping. The picture emerges from this constellation of related roots that "man"-wer, as part of the group, must be true and correct in order to be trusted. It is that trust that makes possible the protection of the group. "Wearr" signifies protection. The dam or catching device secondary meaning of "wer" also indicates the protective, enclosing nature of the ward which is simultaneously directed outward as in the hunt. Wier is used to make the armor worn by the armed man. Our word for WAR is traced to Middle English "warre." It is known to be of Germanic origin. Werian means to be wary, beware, guard, protect; while "warig" means covered, soiled with seaweed, full of seaweed. "Warnian" means to take warning, take heed, warn, caution, guard oneself against. One slowly gets the drift of these constellated words which is that seaweed covers and protects. It wraps around and clings to whatever gets tangled in it. "War," in our sense, is only the active outward manifestation of this protective energy that needs to be wrapped around the group for all to survive. The less active manifestation is in terms of waryness and warning. Thus, the "wer" must be fully integrated into the group, ready to wage war or to warn, and he must always be "waer" or true to the group of which he is a part. This secondary constellation of related words fits right in with the first. Both signify an ethos in which each man is fully integrated into the intersubjective reality of the world so as to be able to protect that reality. The waer (covenant) of the wer is through the Word and Deed (wore). In the claims of the words and their embodiment in action, the wyrd is manifest as completion which seals the fate and fame of the warrior. Deeds of glory in war prove that the wer is not merely a "wosa" -- a being that merely consumes food. Wer/waer/war/warn/ wearr/wir is another constellation intimately related to wyrd/ word/ward/world. In these constellations we read an inner logic of the societal ramifications of deep temporality. Each human group is, in fact, a gestalt within the human world within the many worlds of the tree. The human group has its own experience of the wyrd which is laid down in its unique history. It shares its words that are the orlog it speaks. It protects itself as a ward projecting defensive energy. It projects its own world. Within this world are the wer. Men and women together make up MANN or the humankind. The wer must be true (waer) to the community, and must warn and go to war to protect the community. The wer are the wearr, or callused protective coating, defending the community. So amalgamated are the wer into the community that they are expressed as a sub-root or the higher world constellation wyrd/ word/ ward/ world.

Here the role of intersubjectivity in terms of the world building and the integration of the individual into that project is written in bold and unmistakable terms. The model is cosmic in terms of the orientation of the community to completion, as experienced in terms of the wyrd. It includes symbolic interaction through the word. It shows the closure of the social group and its need to maintain a protective shield. And it contains the essential characteristic of world building or the social construction of reality. The individual is totally integrated into this process as the waer wer -- true man who warns and goes to war protecting the group. In his deeds and actions he experiences the wyrd as events come to completion and either prove his work true or false. Those bound for glory experience a unity of their words and actions with the stamp of completion of destiny.


I posted it a long time ago here (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=1024).


Sunday, March 1st, 2009, 10:24 PM
Another short but good article I've found some while ago.


In the old myths and sagas, we hear of men who deal with "fate" or "destiny". They may "strive against fate" or some such thing.
Fate? Destiny? Does that mean our lives are pre-ordained?
By Fate and Destiny, they mean Wyrd or Urd. Wyrd is the mechanism by which Life proceeds forward. It is an inexorable force and eternal principle. It is often translated as Fate. However, Wyrd does not
pre-destine our lives. Our fate is not forced on us. Through Wyrd,we have the means to make our own fate. Destiny is not something that happens to us. Destiny is something we help create. Our actions today determine our destiny in the future. However, this is not Karma that repays us in kind. Wyrd has been likened to a loom. There is the forward motion and there is also the cross-weave.
Wyrd is a river that carries us in a general direction, but we steer the boat. By changing course, we change where the river takes us. Our actions and deeds set in motion the general destination. If we change what we do, we might change our destination. It is through Wyrd that we are connected with our higher purpose. Because of Wyrd, our life is not aimless. We each have a destiny to create. Wyrd is the vehicle by which we do it. Each of us is his own helmsman on the river of Wyrd. We can choose to coast passively or steer our course. Our Fate is in our hands.


Monday, March 2nd, 2009, 04:15 AM
Yeah its basically like a combination of factors. Let's say you have a child who was born to mentally retarded parents who beat him everyday and he lived in a bad neighborhood and was denied opportunities in life. You would say that kid is "destined" to get into trouble or go nowhere in life. Doesn't mean he will but that is sort of the path his environment gave him. It can be fought against. Or say if someone was born with a royal title maybe that was destiny. For some people we are put in such overwhelming circumstances that it is almost inevitable to become what we are.

You may say like the unique events in his life and the history of the time destined hitler to do what he did or whatever. Some people have almost no destiny nothing really pulling on them some have a lot. It's not just environment but there are sometimes spiritual forces or other things at work pushing you into a certain direction.

Monday, March 2nd, 2009, 09:37 PM
The Catalogue of Terms in Mark Puryear's "The Nature of Asatru" has them down as follows:

What do you think? How would you describe these forces best? How do you think that they come in our everyday lives?

Basically Natural Law should be adhered to. Your hamingja guides you through this, and wyrd will be effected in a positive or negative way.

Friday, March 13th, 2009, 10:28 PM
Here is The Well and the Tree by Paul C. Bauschatz if anyone is interested..


Saturday, March 28th, 2009, 06:20 PM
My view:
Wyrd — from pie - wer - to turn - urd - wurd - wyrd. A brunnr/well that turns. Akin to mundilfari or swastika. Urd/wer the turner. The world mill with urd the spindal, a bundle of power. Hence. Being, power, creation in clockwise, destruction in counterclockwise (hazenkruz). Hence evolution and devolution. Cosmic expansion/electricity and then cosmic collapse - gravity black hole.

Orlog - log means law Or law or Ur law- the law of cosmos. Hence natural law or laws of science/nature. Orlog and Wyrd/Urd is the cosmic web of becoming hence being. Movement creates space-time. The norns are consciousness viewing beings In Irminsul or Urd min sul - the pillar of urd which is wyrd.

Hamingja — "Luck", "Guardian". Female protector assigned to us at birth, to witness for us at death. This is only for godthjod folk. Meaning thjod who are CONNECTED to higher powers/gods. Only then can a god guide you. As positive and negative electricity attract and the same repell (homosexuality), what god/anda/ansu is attracted is the opposite sex.

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, 01:18 AM
These are enormously complex and difficult subjects. I won't get into explanations of each because it would involve a bit too legnthy of a post. Instead a summary:

My take:

In the most simple sense, an individual begins his existence with/as the situation that is the consequence of his parents actions. This 'beginning situation/being' is not of his choice, it is imposed upon him. His actions in turn shape the situation, and this he imposes upon his own children. Over the course of many generations, patterns are set. There is the interplay of 'imposed conditions' and 'conscious decision'. Practical valuations emerge-"One has no choice but to be affected by external events, the only choices he has are how he allows these events to to affect himself".

In a more abstract sense, we are talking about the origins (ontology) of sentience- self referring consciousness. Self-determination and determinism. The part played by randomness in allowing for the emergence of choice. Schroedinger's cat, quantum mechanical wave function collapse, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the double-slit experiment etc.

Our forebears were masters of the same systems that cutting-edge science is pioneering today. Being in the realm of sentience (and being necessarily epistemological), our best gamble is with the original Master of these systems:

Ragnar Lodbrok
Saturday, January 30th, 2010, 02:52 AM
The Catalogue of Terms in Mark Puryear's "The Nature of Asatru" has them down as follows:

What do you think? How would you describe these forces best? How do you think that they come in our everyday lives?

The Wyrd I think can be most important to an individual. Everyone must try to follow through with the destiny and the potential they know they have. One must know that there are outside forces at work that can shape what will become and understand them(this is Orlog and the weavings of the Norns.)

And also that ones ancestral spirits and ethnic soul is sometimes watching ones progress(this would be Hamingja.)

The concepts surrounding the Wyrd, I think is one of the things at the heart of Norse Heathenism and driving concept for myself since starting to practice it at age 19 or 18.

Friday, February 5th, 2010, 06:22 PM
Some see Wyrd as a web, a well or a tapestry being weaved, but my personal, strongest visulisation of Wyrd is that of walking along a path in the woods. There are many paths branching out from each other into the unknown, and whatever path i take dicates what paths i can or cant take in the future. I can only see just ahead of me and so i try to focus on where my feet are at the present moment in time, whilst lookin back to where' i've come from for orientation. If I take a wrong path by looking back to see where i went wrong i find the right path, though this is impossible sometimes as the woods may be too thick.

Thus in essence we have freewill to choose whatever path we walk in life for the most part, though we can only have a vague idea of where that path will lead. However there are those who can divert your path or try to lure you onto another one by placing obastacles or przies in your way, whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the itnention of the entity and/or how you deal with it.

Some paths will be rougher, some will be smoother, some will be obstruceted and others will be clear. The one thing we can be certain of is that path will lead somewhere, either onto another path or a dead end. Thus, Gaeth a wyrd swa hio scel. Wyrd bith ful araed.