The Norns, time, and Tarot
As I finally commit to teaching an in depth rune-wisdom course I am spending a lot of time reflecting on how I use the runes and Norse deities in my life. Its easy to see how I use rune sounds to work as a shaman, using a practise called Lokk-Seidr. Its also easy to see how I work with the Norse deities when I am working with clients energetically. But I was surprised to see how my knowledge of the Norse deities had underpinned my work as a Tarot reader.
In Norse mythology there are the three Norns, often considered as “weavers of fate” (not specifically accurate, but it gives a good idea). They roughly translate into Urd (crone/past), Verdandi (mother/present) and Skuld (maiden/future).
Many Tarot readings have placements for past/present/future, but I wanted to take this a little further.
The Norns gather at a well, and the well itself can be seen as a personification of the Norns.
The well water, reaching deep into the earth, is Urd.
Urd represents all that has happened up to this point. Acknowledging that by understanding the past we can appreciate what has created/shaped the present moment. And significantly by understanding the past we can have a good sense of how the future is likely to unfold. There is genuine wisdom to be found in having a good understanding of past situations.
Verdandi represents the present moment. Such a fleeting concept, yet oddly ever present.
The name Verdandi is linked to the concept of “becoming”, our future is always there one step away, yet our true power always lives in making the best of the present moment.
In the well analogy Verdandi is the surface of the water. That strange space that is defined by both water and air. Just as the present moment is ever caught between the past and the future.
Skuld represents the future, but in a very specific way. Her name is often translated as “debt”, but that can have a negative connotation- so I prefer the word consequences. It is a reminder that our future is shaped not only by our past, but how we use each and every present moment. How we live today will bear consequences for tomorrow.
In our well analogy Skuld is the water vapour arising off the well. Will that water vapour form mist, or clouds, hail, rain, or snow? Will it destroy a crop, or bring the end to a drought? We can catch a feeling for the future, but it is still mutable, as yet unformed.
In my main Tarot spread I do a 9 card reading, and I had never quite appreciated how closely this reflects the wisdom of the Norns. I know it was based on my understanding of this concept, I just hadn’t quite conceptualised it before.
The first three cards represent the past up to this point - Urd (bottom row) I always find this an important stage. My client can validate these cards (which helps keep my accuracy). And understanding the past up to this point creates a depth, or wisdom, that influences the whole reading.
The middle three cards are advice- but in fact they are Verdandi. They are practical advice my client can use right now to influence their future. After all- right now, in the present moment we still have power to shape our future, so it only seems sensible to ask the cards to offer advice.
And the final three cards are “future outcome”. And like the water vapour that personifies Skuld, that future is not fully fixed. It shows the most likely future, but by working with the advice cards (Verdandi) the future can be influenced. To really understand how much “wiggle room” there is you need to find the narrative between all three rows of the spread.
I have included a picture of an example spread I have done for myself, asking about my Tarot journey.
In the place of Urd (the past that has shaped me) are the 6 of swords, Tower, and 6 of cups. I find this fascinating, as I definitely have relied on Tarot to guide me through difficult times, and to help me heal wounds from my childhood (6 of cups). I have come to realise that when life is tough I use Tarot to connect with my guides and offer a little help in difficult times (6 of swords). I use the Tarot to try and understand my self limiting beliefs, and try to avoid replaying patterns from my past- and I think these three cards demonstrate that perfectly.
In the place of Verdandi (the power of the present moment) we have three court cards. The page of wands is definitely me and Tarot. I can have 8 hours of readings booked in a day, my voice may be tired, but I will still be excited as I turn over the cards, as yet Tarot has never bored me!
The knight of wands is also true of me- I love testing myself! Trying new ways to deepen my understanding, develop my skills, and help my clients. Blending Tarot and shamanism, exploring past lives, connecting to lost loved ones, and involving business coaching in my readings. I can not deny that I love a challenge!
But despite my passion, and love to be challenged- my primary concern is to ensure my clients needs are well met (King of Cups) and to ensure I am safe guarding my clients needs, no matter how excited I may be by a challenge.
In the place of Skuld is the future that is currently forming, is the Ace of Swords, The World, and Judgement.
I would like to hope that the Ace of Swords reflects my book that is currently being published, and more work writing and creating content (which I am really drawn to do).
The World suggests a sense of success and feeling validated about my journey with Tarot.
I see Judgement as a card of completion and feeling whole. This certainly reflects where I think my personal Tarot journey is taking me, and hopefully also reflects how clients feel when they work with me.
With such a positive outcome for this reading I will be continuing to work closely with Tarot (following the Verdandi/advice line) as the reading suggests I am moving in the right direction for me.
I hope you enjoyed this blog- blending a little rune-wisdom with Tarot, I will be writing one soon exploring the Norse understanding of fate.