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A number of ancient cultures believed in both an individual and interconnected universal web of fate that was constantly being woven and rewoven according to the choices and actions of individuals, families, larger groups such as tribes and even nations. The three sisters of Fate were the spinners or weavers of the web of human destiny and even that of the deities according to ancient myth. But always within the cosmic loom the actions and reactions of the owners of the individual webs were paramount in determining the outcome. In Christian times the Fate goddesses were downgraded to fairy godmothers in folk lore, who would be present to assign a newborn his or her destiny as the earlier deities had done.

It is told in Norse legend that Yggdrasil, the World Tree, was fed by the Well of Urd, Wyrd or Fate, in whose waters each morning the three Norns, the sisters of Fate, gazed to give guidance to the deities. This well contained the cosmic knowledge from when the world began and the potential for the future. The three Sisters wove a web both of the fate of the world and the fate of individual beings.

The first Norn, Urdhr, the oldest of the sisters, looked always backwards and talked of the past which in Viking tradition influenced not only a person’s own present and future but that of his or her descendants both genetically and in the values and property/lifestyle transmitted from the ancestors.

The second Norn, Verdhandi, a young vibrant woman, looked straight ahead and talked of present deeds which strongly influenced the future.

Skuld, the third Norn, who tore up the web as the other two created it, was closely veiled and her head was turned in the opposite direction from Urdhr. She held a scroll which had not been unrolled, of what would pass, given the intricate connection with past and present interactions and most crucially the decisions of the individual about the opportunities and obstacles fate threw up.


Therefore even given the wider trends, the limitations of our present circumstances and the sometimes seemingly inexplicable actions of others, we still can make step by step and sometimes with the odd leap into the dark, our future more as we want it to be.

New Year wishes

Whether you are celebrating with family and friends at New Year or alone as I have the last few years and enjoyed it thoroughly, try the following ritual as close to midnight as possible.

If you go away or to a big party you can do this any time in the first days of the year.


You can also share the ritual with family and friends if present.

You will need:

  • A small dark blue or purple candle in a holder on a heatproof tray and a larger white candle also in a holder

  • A pot of soil

  • A small dish of dark coloured pieces of wool

  • Ten or fifteen minutes before midnight, start tying knots in the separate pieces of wool and as you do so for each knot name something that did not work out in 2007 or an event that made you sad or angry.

  • After you have tied each knot, hold it carefully in the dark candle flame till it singes and then drop it in the pot of earth either to burn or remain there.

  • Continue until you have named and got rid of as many knots as you wish.

  • Now put the pot of wool and earth outside your back or main door to be buried or thrown away on January 2.

  • Put a pinch of salt into the dark flame and say, ’I lay it all to rest with blessings’.

You may not want to forgive people who have really hurt you, nor should you, but you can release your own negativity towards them that is holding you back as a blessing.

  • Just before midnight, light the white candle from the dark one saying,

Old year turn
Old year burn.
Bad luck, do not return.

  •  At the last stroke of midnight, blow out the dark candle. You can throw it away on January 2

  • Make wishes into the white candle as New Year begins and leave it to burn until you go to bed. Continue to burn the New Year candle in the days after New Year until it will light no more.

Good luck and love customs for the New Year

On January 1 you can follow one or two of the age old customs to ensure you have the right opportunities to make the future you want.

  • The first water drawn from a well on New Year’s morning was said to bring great fortune and happiness. A modern version of this custom is to turn on the cold tap in the sink as soon as daylight breaks or before you leave the party whichever is earlier. Run the tap fast so that the water bubbles. Use a new glass if possible to drink a glass of water straight down and without speaking. This will bring you good luck and also ensure your words are wise and that others listen.

  • In the morning or when you leave the New Year party, dance around the nearest tree or post twelve times clockwise, naming a month for each circuit. You will have happiness, luck and prosperity all the coming year.

  • If you want to see your true love and have not found him or her, after midnight, light a small white candle from the New Year white candle and hold it up to a mirror in a dark room so you and the candle are reflected in the glass.

Say, ‘I call my love to me, willingly that we may be together in joy eternally. So shall it be.’

Blow out the candle and stare into the mirror and an image of or knowledge of who your love is and where you will find him or her will come into your mind or appear in the Afterglow.

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