Vordr Notes

I am going to start off with updates. I have been doing the update thing a lot lately. I guess I have been taking it easy, not that I haven’t been collecting. I just haven’t written it up yet. I got seem neat stuff upcoming, trust me.

I have finished the third book of the Elder Blood Saga. 100,000 words! Woot! It goes on to the magical land of editing, and so my time frees up a little. A least in theory. There is still a lot of work I want to get done. Even so, there are already 3 more books forming in my head.

I think that is one of the big reasons I want to be a writer, professionally. That and anything else makes me crazy. I only have some much time on this planet, and I have to pick and choose what I am going to do in that time. I won’t be able to do everything, let’s just face it.  Plus writing is immensely satisfying to me. The research, the creative aspect, it appeals to me. Intellectually, creatively, emotionally, and even spiritually.

There is a lot of other things going on. I have been considering starting a crafting business. I am pushing my work a little harder, trying to get more work published. Get the word out there.

I have also noticed that my “A Historical Odin?” post is quite popular. There is a lot more to say there, so maybe I will do a part 2 for that piece. There is a lot of drafts for this blog in the works. I am getting there, I promise. In many ways, this blog is becoming my primary means of connecting with people out there in internetland. While I am on Facebook and Twitter, I find these are becoming less useful for networking as time goes on. Facebook is heavily filtering my posts. Twitter is full of endless chirping, so that most voices get buried in the cacophony.

Moving on, I recently presented a few things about the nature of the vordr, a kind of personal guardian spirit, to one of my working groups. I have already touched on this idea in one of my previous posts: The Northern Spirit Part 1.

So, instead of rehashing what I have already posted, I am going to present a little of the folklore surrounding the vordr, as well as a little anecdotal personal experience with my own spiritual companion.

Now the idea of the vordr covers a  lot of different words. Let’s face it words change over time. Vord as a concept goes as far back as the 13th century, and as recently as the 20th. In Old Norse it is Vörðr (vor-thur, I learned this pronunciation recently), in more modern Swedish it’s vård, and in modern Norwegian it’s vord. Its a close cognate to the English ward, or warden. It spills over a lot into ideas of hugr (personal spirit) hamr (second self spirit) and fylgje (general spirit followers.) As I have explained before, I feel that the vord is a sub class of fylgje. A type of spiritual follower that is concerned with your protection.

The nature of this protection, at least in my case, is intimate. My vord, by all indications, has always been with me since birth. There is also the indication that she is ancestral in a sense, kinfylgje. Her ancestors partnered with mine.

Now it did not start out this way. When I first met her, she was amorphous, without shape or form. She could change form based on my needs or her whim. She once spent a month as a poison ivy vine growing on my wall. When I questioned her about it, she only said that it was important.

In time, she eventually fixed form as she appears today, as a wolf. At first, I vehemently denied it, denied her. I denied the “special snowflakeness” of it, denied that I was another person with a glorious, charismatic, high profile carnivorous spirit. Wolves get a much ado in the spirit world, not all of which is legit.

Then I got the ultimatum, she told me to accept her as she was, as her ancestors were, or she was going to leave. It was not a choice. There is some lore that indicates that when you die, you go before the gods, ancestors and spirits. But you are mute, not able to talk. It is the vord that speaks for you, in such a case. Without a vord, you are pretty much screwed. Like I said, it was not a choice. It was blackmail.

It ended up with an oath. One I take very seriously.

Anywho, her job is to watch out from me. I am sure part of it is self preservation. I am under the impression that our vord spirits are very deeply bonded, and that injury or death on my part has a two-fold effect on her. First, it constitutes a failure on her part. If I get hurt, or dead, it represents a failure to her fundamental purpose. Second, whatever effects me also effects her. I have good reason to believe that, should I die, she would too. Not that death is an end, necessarily, but still an end in this world at least.

Now, without rehashing the actual stories, the folklore indicates a lot of different functions of the vord. Protection is the main one. My vord is a wolf. If I ask her to guard my house, or a sacred place, she does so happily. Now I have made wards with energy, elements, and so forth. But I find that she, as a spirit, is the most effective. She is willful, conscious of what is going on. To cross into my space, any given entity would have to cross through one badass wolf first. I wouldn’t do it.

But they can also serves as message runners. This is where vord intertwine a lot with hugr and fylgje. The vord can run ahead and announce your coming. Animals can generally see them, and get spooked depending on the nature of the vord. People with the Sight can too, and they also appear to those without at night as a kind of glimmer.

The form the vord takes, is also said to reflect the persons character. A family man, a hunter, with a wolf vord. Who wodda thunk it? A fox represents a sly person, a rabbit a cowardly person, and so on and so forth. Though, of course, we could quibble about the meaning of each symbol.

So what about working with the vordr? Well I have already hinted at that. They are incredibly reliable companions, and usually will help out with a variety of tasks without (too much) trouble. I’ll admit, she argues from time to time. Ok, frequently.

In an effort to wrap this us, I leave you with a specific bit of folklore, that tells how to divine the nature of your vord.

You take your knife, sheathed (trust me!), and wrap it in a kerchief or a piece of cloth. Then you say “Horse as vordr!”

Then you pass the kerchief, knife within, around your body three times. If the knife lies outside the kerchief by the third pass, then your vordr is a horse. If not, name another animal (they are usually animals, but not always) and repeat until the nature of your vordr is revealed.


Scandinavia Folk Belief and Legend, edited by Kvideland and Sehmsdorf

Also, Dag Stromback “The Concept of the Soul in Nordic Tradition”



About Nicholas Haney

I am a writer, author, hunter, craftsman, and student of anthropology/archaeology. View all posts by Nicholas Haney

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