Learned borrowing from Old English orlæġ (fate), from Proto-West Germanic *oʀlag, *uʀlag, from Proto-Germanic *uzlagą (destiny; fate, literally that which is laid out; out-lay; plan; design). Equivalent to or- +‎ lay.


orlay (plural not attested)

  1. (Germanic paganism) Fate, destiny.
    • 2004, Nathaniel Harris, Witcha: A Book of Cunning:
      There laws they laid, there life chose, To men's sons, and spoke orlay []
    • 2006, An Heathen Reader: Some Thoughts on the State of Things I Think, anheathenreader.blogspot.com/.../some-thoughts-on-state-of-things-i.html:
      I am fully aware of how Oaths affect my Orlay and my Wyrd. I am Oathed to no one, save the Holy Ones and my Wife.
    • 2009, Alaric Albertsson, Travels Through Middle Earth:
      You could think of your own orlay as the source or seed of your “personal wyrd.” A newborn infant initially inherits its orlay from its parents and ancestors. This initial orlay is its heritage, compiled from the words and deeds of those ancestors.
    • 2011, Swain Wodening, The Sacred and the Holy:
      These deeds done within the innangard of the tribe by its tribesmen are its law, its orlay.
    • 2021, Winifred Rose, Heathen Soul Lore Foundations:
      Remember how I wrote at the beginning of this chapter that the Norns 'shape' orlay. Orlay itself gives a person 'shape' within the dimensions of Time and Wyrd.

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