Wyrd is one of the more complex ideas from Heathenry. Some may define it simply as fate, but it’s much more than that.
Wyrd is the life-tapestry you weave. This begins with being born. There are three wise women who live at a well under the great ash tree Yggdrasil. They define the life of every person. Urth bestows the threads inherited from your ancestors: such as your socio-economic position, where you were born, race, etc. The other two, Verthandi and Skuld determine things such as you allotment of time and the experiences you will face as well as how you will die. This starting pattern is known as our orlog, or orlæg.
We each carry a thread with us throughout our lives. Our choices with how we deal with the experiences fated for us and our interactions with others are how we create our unique personal tapestry, our wyrd. Each pattern, once woven, cannot be changed. The wyrd we weave affects our luck, the luck of our children and our tribe. That’s why it’s important to be honorable, because our choices are far reaching. While there is certainly room for personal honor and glory, in heathenry there is also a core focus on community and family. Bringing honor to yourself is also bringing honor to your tribe and to your descendants, possibly for generations.
This behavioral motivation is one of the primary differences between heathenry and many other religious belief systems. For example: in Christianity, people are motivated to “do good” because God is watching and will judge you based on your actions. You do good out of fear of damnation, and are required to beg forgiveness for your transgressions. In heathenry, a significant factor governing your choices is the mark you make on your family and community.
Interpersonal relationships are a central focus throughout heathenry. It’s why personal virtues are so important: keeping your oaths, never breaking bonds, coming to the aid and defense of those in your tribe. You are held accountable for your choices. There is no asking forgiveness and having your actions forgotten. They are always a part of your tapestry.
But like a good saga, you overcome your mistakes with great deeds!