Orlog and wyrd are keystone concepts within the northern tradition, fundamental pieces of belief and mindset.  They operate on multiple layers of mythical, collective and individual consciousness.  They are both essential and elusive.  The types of concepts you grasp in your peripheral vision. An imprint in the snow, an echo, a bone. 

You will find plenty of articles that chase them through their evolving linguistic story.  We seek them when we are asking questions like: Who am I meant to be?  Why did this happen?    

Orlog word origins: now, law, doom, war, layers, out of

Wyrd word origins: fate, turn spin, rotate, become, due, worth

Nauthiz the rune of need, desire and necessity

Who am I meant to be? Why did this happen?

Nauthiz often shows up in readings when the threads of orlog are tugging at us and calling us to pay attention.

We can also find orlog and wyrd in  fragments of story, song and seership:

Orlog fragments: carved, inevitable, unbreakable, binding, uttered, written

Wyrd fragments: flowing, fated, becoming, spinning


The two terms are permeable, enmeshed and interwoven.  When does an idea become an intention?  When does an intention become a promise?  When does a promise become a destiny?  The eternal question of whether we master fate or it master us rests on the relationship between orlog and wyrd.  What shapes the riverbed?  The river.  What shapes the river?  The riverbed.

Perthro the rune of mystery, song and play

When will luck shine on my endeavours? What opportunities have I not yet seen?

Perthro signifies the hand of the unexpected.  Opportunity is the flip sides of uncertainty – it’s all in the way we handle it.   

In a very practical sense orlog is found in our values, our commitments and the integrity with which we hold to them.  Very recently the Gods pointed out to be that my ‘to-do’ list is one of the most sacred texts in my possession.  ‘Is this not where you write your destiny?’  they ask me.  I cannot deny this truth.  Review your to-do list – what does it tell you about the person you want to be tomorrow? 

Gebo the rune of the gift, exchange and promises

Which promises bind me?  What vision shall I pursue?

Gebo often shows up when a new contract, partnership or undertaking is beckoning.  The hand of orlog or wyrd?  You won’t know until later…

Down at the base of the World Tree we find the Well of Wyrd, Urðarbrunnr (Urd’s Well).  Urd is one of the 3 sisters gathered around its banks.  She is the Norn of the past, that which was.  Hers is the river bed, the carved rune, the law, the spun fibre.  The second Norn is Verdhandi, the present, that which is.  Hers is the loom, the song, the thread.  The third is Skuld.  The Norn of that which is to come.  Hers is the should, the must, the knot in the thread and the cut of the knife.  Theirs is a counsel of wisdom, but not always of answers. 

Orlog: when a beat becomes a rhythm

Wyrd: when a sound becomes a song

Wyrd is found in our vision and our ability to adapt our course.  It is ever changing, every nuancing.  What is the future you are striving for?  Hold it in your heart, cleave to it, tend it, sing it for the Gods to hear it. Be open to the forks in the road that might offer a better, quicker, more fulfilling way to find it – sometimes they have been put there by the Gods in response to our song.

We can choose to view orlog and wyrd as the inevitable doom of fate unfolding, or as visible, tangible currents that we can shape, ride and gather wisdom from.  I know which I prefer.

Orlog: the warp thread of our collective consciousness

Wyrd: the pattern that emerges from the weaving

2 Replies to “Orlog and wyrd: Shapers of the soul”

  1. Recently I have been haunted by Perthro in my personal readings – almost exclusively the murkstave where Perthro opens to the left rather then the right. As I said men are often a bit slow on the uptake. I struggled with the meaning of the rune as much as I struggled with fate itself.

    As I know from your birth rune chart I´m Inguz born two times over as Inguz rules not only the day but also the hour of my birth. I have this sacrificial hero thing going two times over for me and yes, I struggled with that concept for a very long time. Actually I put myself in the worst possible position by struggling against Orlog while failing to co-create Wyrd. The things that did not go well in my life reflect that struggle.

    Now after a precious (and rare) moment of Dagaz I´m beginning to see that the Perthro murkstave was telling me I should go on the adventure of life and experience it as opposed to playing it safe either by trying to divine what I´m supposed to experience with knowing the outcome or by not going into action at all. Armed with that understanding I started to experiment with my birthrune and its shape.

    If you take the Inguz rune in its form of the diamonf with the points sticking out on both ends (the shape that somehow reminds me of a DNA string) and you attach an Isa rune to either side you get a bind rune that for me personally has the meaning “I Am Inguz…” Now this bindrune incorporates in its shape OTHALA (the Orlog), PERTHRO (the Wyrd we can co-create) and the I AM of ISA (the ego or free will).

    If you attach a second ISA rune on the other side of Inguz (as in an extra effort to embrace and not only grudgingly accept what you are) you have MANNAZ the sovereign self added to the mix. That and you get a shape that is only two lines away from Skuld´s Net. If I ever needed a visual proof, that self-acceptance, self-love and self-esteem can steer one´s life I have it now.

    And now the pathwork you guided us through lately makes perfect sense. The dream weaver I found there had the shape of Skuld´s Net. It was the invitation to heal by truly embracing me and my fate and then go from there, perhaps to the point where the flow of Wyrd changes the course of the river bed. Since Perthro is not going to tell me in advance I will see once I lived it…

  2. Well, I lived it for a few days and the experience is already profound. Yesterday I had a 1-2-1 personal wisdom session with you and it was all about fate, acceptance and my persistent resistance to accept fate. This resistance turned out to be not only totally stupid but also to my greatest disadvantage. You gave me the space to reflect on my attitude until I saw it was not only futile but also an awful mistake. You did not shove the truth in my face. Rather in the truest sense of sovereignty and free will – of co-creating Wyrd – your questions let me to the point where I realized I was just dealing with outdated defense mechanisms. As humans we are designed to avoid pain and potentially dangerous situations that could cause us pain. Most of these mechanisms are from the distant past and no longer serve us but they still work (too) well. You brought that into my focus again and returned me to the path of co-creation before I could stray too far. There is a lot you can teach about coaching and healing even to those who do it themselves because sometimes we do not see the wood for all the trees anymore. Because yes, it is better to be the sword that splits the stone.

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