Thoughts on Wyrd – a Germanic concept similar to fate or karma

Wyrd is a complicated concept because we no longer have an equivalent in Western civilization. I am by no means an expert, but I will try to explain what I have learned and how it relates to my previous thought for the night.

In the old Germanic (meaning continental Germans, Dutch, Norse, and Anglo-Saxon) cosmology (meaning how the universe works), there was a concept called Wyrd. This is sort of like both karma and destiny intertwined.


Art credit: user Gut Monk on Wikipedia Commons

Think of it as a great web in time. It is your past and your future. It is all of your past decisions and how they might affect your future. But it is also subject to factors outside of your control. It is influenced by things such as your family and the decisions they made before you were born.

We like to think we are independent of our parents and grandparents and their decisions don’t affect us. We are our own person. But, that is simply not true. Decisions and actions made by our predecessors have a direct impact on us and weave patterns into the Wyrd of our lives.

But, unlike the Greek concept of Fate, it’s not set in stone. It’s not some predetermined thing that is inevitable. But things that came before us might be obstacles or complications that we have to work through in order to change the outcome of the future.

The good news is, at any one moment in time, we can change our destinies. Every decision, every action, every word we speak begins a new ripple effect into our future Wyrd.


Art credit: User Ganjalvi on Deviant Art

But, of course, the web you laid down for the past however many years, that is still there. So you can’t expect things to change immediately. What you can do, is start making every moment from this step forward a change for the better, and start weaving new Wyrd. Eventually the ripples from the past will taper off and the ripples stemming from the moment of change will be dominant in your web of life.

Earlier I posted that a leopard doesn’t change their spots, so don’t give second chances. Someone commented, and this is not to call that person out because many people respond with this, that “we shouldn’t judge because everyone screws up.”

This is true. And I would respond with this: One spot does not a leopard make. Two spots does not a leopard make. And so on. How many spots does a leopard even have? 20? No way, a leopard is covered by pattern.  One mistake is not a pattern. A bad decision here or there is not a pattern.  But the overall trends visible in a person’s life do create a pattern.  When you can see patterns develop and repeat over and over again in your own life, stop and assess your choices.  And if you see a loved one or friend generating destructive patterns, I’m not advocating turning your back on them.  Of course we should bring it to their attention and offer support, advice, and guidance.  But if they reject guidance, or continue to generate negative and harmful patterns in their life, it is up to you to decide if THEIR negative patterns are bleeding into YOUR life.


Image source: European Space Agency & NASA

We ALL screw up! One mistake is a blip on the radar, it does NOT define you.

But when you see someone who makes screw up after screw up, ruin relationship after relationship, who seems to have no stability, no sense of direction in their life… If you entangle yourself with them, you are inviting that dysfunction to weave it’s way into YOUR web of Wyrd.

This could be a romantic relationship, a friendship, a business partnership, and so on. Everyone has Wyrd, and it ripples with various levels. From that of a drop of rain, to a pebble, to a rock, boulder, to a full blown tsunami. But even the tiniest drop of water into a still pond will create a ripple that bleeds into the ripples of other drops.

Don’t judge a person by one screw up. Look at their character. Is their character that of someone who LEARNS from their mistakes, and grows, and evolves as a person? Or are they a dumb schmuck making the same mistake over and over again?

Wyrd is made by YOU, and unfortunately by those around you. As a child, you have no control over who is around you. Growing up, we gain more and more control.

So take control of your life. Over your own thoughts, motivations, desires, actions, and the words you speak to those around you.

But also, pay attention to those with whom you surround yourself. If someone else is bringing you down, change the level you allow them to influence your life. Or cut off harmful people before they can do serious damage.

wayofwyrd~ Aelfie ~

Brian Bate’s “The Way of Word” is available in our Amazon shop. Highly recommended!

It is fiction, but the author put meticulous research into Anglo-Saxon history and indigenous spirituality before writing. Even though it’s a narrative, you learn so much through the story about a culture heritage so many of us are connected to but have been cut off from. Remember, a huge part of culture is language. If you are a native English speaker, no matter what race or where in the world you live, you are an inheritor of Anglo-Saxon culture.  Embrace it!

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