E.S. Wynn is an editor and the author of over seventy books in print.
Remnants of an ancient, animistic viewpoint persist on in our language, in our culture and even color the way we perceive the world around us. When you hear someone talk about "the fabric of the universe," or talk about the spiritual depth of reality as something that binds us together and moves through everything, you are hearing the remnants in the English language that come from the deeper, ancestral concept that Northern Europeans once referred to as the Web of Wyrd. It is one of the terms that is still used by those of us invested in reconstructing, revitalizing and re-living the cultural identity that was stripped from us by force over a thousand years ago.
To understand the Web of Wyrd is to understand one's place in the universe, one's place in the web. To visualize it, think of a net, or a giant blanket viewed so closely that you can see the individual threads and the space between them. Somewhere on one of those threads is you, a single knot where strings meet that's slowly being pulled through the weave of other threads toward an unknowable horizon. Think of all the threads as vibrating and moving, singing, flowing like a great river, its surface surging with currents and waves. Like a river, the Web of Wyrd flows to the source, to Yggdrasil, the tree of life, drawn up by the great roots in the passing of time and coming down again from the leaves as new moisture, new rain, new Wyrd. The Wyrd is the thread and the thread is the Wyrd. Wyrd is fate, the future, but also the past, the things that you have lived through and achieved. It is ever present. It has depth (Orlog) and where it crosses with other threads, you will find meetings with people, events and things that have the power to change the course of your life forever.
The threads of the Web of Wyrd are pliant and flexible. Everything you do and say vibrates across them, affecting the lives of others even to the most distant edges of the web. Sometimes, when you pluck or pull at the threads with chants, ritual and prayer, those words echo along the threads and catch the attention of entities far older and larger than you or I, entities like gods, ancient shamans, ancestors and the spirits of the totems that watch over you.
So in simplest terms, what is the Web of Wyrd? It is the fabric of the universe. It is the threads, the cosmic strings, the links that connect us all to everything. It is the concept of the butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico inadvertently causing a hurricane in China (as the popular example of Chaos Theory goes) because everything we do and say echoes across the web and affects everything else around us as much as everything around us also effects us. It is the roots and branches of Irminsul, the Tree of Life, the Way of Birds, the great metaphorical and physical column which bridges the heavens with Midgarthr (Earth). It is the soul-stuff that unites you with the intangible land spirits and tangible animal spirits that inhabit the world around you. It is the weave that underlies the staves of the runes and in its density you will find the stuff of individual luck (Orlog), composing (and decomposing within) the threads. Every action you take changes the threads, changes the weave. The relationships you cultivate, the deeds you do (both good and bad,) the lies you tell and the wisdom you share-- these are all part of the threads of the Web of Wyrd. Your actions create your luck, your Orlog, your reputation, both physically and non-physically, and the actions of those who came before you lay within your Orlog and as such are part of the greater Web of Wyrd, ever remembered and yet ever passing, recycled in the flow as nature recycles all things.
The Web of Wyrd is something you are always immersed in, though you may not consciously realize it. When you do, you can listen to it and hear the movements within it in the same way one might put their ear to the ground to hear the hoofbeats of approaching horses. The Web of Wyrd is fluid and ever renewing, but it also remembers everything, much like the idea of the Akashic Library, where all knowledge of everything that ever was or ever will be is stored. You can traverse it, soak it up, realize yourself within it and look down the threads at the ever-shifting weave that is yet to come, perhaps catching a glimpse of fate, or at least enough that you might have the time and knowledge needed to change it.
The Web of Wyrd is all this and so much more. It is the ephemeral essence of soul-stuff as much as it is the moments when meetings spark change. It is the way we feel our way along beyond the body and it is the way that others feel us when we play the strings the way one might play a harp. It is the fabric that connects us to everything and everyone else, and it is what we create with every action we take, no matter how conscious or thoughtless, kind or cruel.
The Web of Wyrd is what we make of it, and in turn, our actions within it are what make us who we are and what we will become.
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