People often contemplate Wyrd, Ørlög, Fate or Destiny in Norse Heathenry.
Is our life locked into a defined path that we cannot change? How do we reconcile this notion of a fixed destiny with the freedom of personal responsibility? Hopefully I can share with you my beliefs.
When I think of “fate”, I think of it in terms of two distinct concepts - livstråder and skjebne. These are the terms that are relevant to my own practices but others may know them as Wyrd, Ørlög or other names.
Livstråder means “life threads”.
Skjebne means “destiny”.
To help with my explanation I will use an analogy.
Imagine a roadmap.
I think of the livstråder as a series of concrete roads, all of the possible routes imaginable, between the starting point of your journey (birth) and final destination (death). Roads are fixed in place and to move forward in life from your birth to your death you must travel along them. They are already laid out in a predetermined layout.
Then the skjebne is the route which you personally choose to travel. You may encounter speed bumps, traffic, collisions, roadworks and dead ends depending on your route but you are free to turn around or steer your own vehicle and take whichever path you wish from your available options.
To me that is how I can explain two different concepts of livstråder and skjebne and how they combine to govern the overall destiny.