Arch-Heathen Concepts

The Pattern of Wyrd

The concept of wyrd is simply defined as an individual’s fate, but the concept as a whole is much more complex than that. All men and women have their own wyrd. As they go through their lives, they are leave their strand of wyrd behind them, and as they cross paths with others those strands weave with one another, creating a sort of web. This web makes us inseparable from our past, and we are affected by the pattern we’ve left, and that has been left before us.

However, wyrd differs greatly from modern culture’s idea of “fate.” In an arch-Heathen worldview, wyrd was better understood as “true free will,” and it affected and was affected by every decision made. One’s choice to advance in a particular field or study; one’s choice to associate with people of bad character; one’s decision to engage in dishonorable behavior. Each of these left indelible marks on one’s wyrd, and the wyrd of those around them, including and especially their descendants.

Just as your wyrd is, in part, inherited from your ancestors, so is your wyrd inherited by your descendants. This inheritance is equal measures luck and obligation, and is most frequently referred to as “orlog.” Choose to better your own life, and you improve the chance for your descendants to do the same. If your forebears chose to live in a generally dishonorable manner, then your own life and luck are affected by their actions. Those of us with ancestors who did not work steadfastly to improve their lives and that of their families often begin our own lives dealing with the repercussions stemming from that, struggling to better our own luck.

And luck is very much part of one’s wyrd. Your personal luck, and that of your tribe, are affected by the good and honorable actions, as well as those poor or dishonorable acts, that make up your wyrd. Because your wyrd affects both your tribe and your descendants and their luck, it becomes an obligation in itself. To quote Vince Enlund’s work, “My name is not my own, It is borrowed from my ancestors and I must return it unstained.”

Each of us owes it to our children and their children to ensure that the pattern we’ve left behind is a positive one, and that our wyrd affects their luck, and the foundation of orlog, in a beneficial manner. We must remind ourselves that our actions today affect not only our own future, but that of our descendants. The pattern we leave behind, the wyrd we’ve woven for ourselves, will show how we have lived our lives, for good or ill.

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