The Function of the Desir
The Dísir were, according to the sources, objects of worship, something that is witnessed by several place-names such as Diseberg, Disin > Disavin, Disathing and Disavid > Disaui. They are also represented in personal names like Freydis, Odinsdisa and Hjördis, for example.The disir received a special sacrifice called dísablót, mentioned in the Icelandic sagas. These were performed in the autumn or in the spring and connected with fertility and the year’s crop. The great sacrifice in Uppsala, described by Adam of Bremen, could have been such a blót to the disir. It was held at the vernal equinox at that time and connected with an assembly, the dishing. After the Christianization of Uppsala, the dishing was moved to the month of February, according to Snorri Sturluson. The disir were worshipped in a specific building, called the Disarsal. Disarsal must, however, be translated as “the house of the Dis” and the name intimates the existence of one goddesses, who alone represented the anonymous collective of disir. The sources hint at the great goddess Freyja, whose characteristics coincide with the disirs.
It has been argued by those who can see them that the Disir are ancestral spirits who appear at the birth of every new-born child either seen as white or black forms and who plays a role in the fate of a person, a person’s general wellbeing as well as attributes such as luck, orlog, and are representative of death in other instances. Orlog, much like Wyrd, is a fundamental concept in Norse practices. It is sometimes referred to as a "primal layer" due to the fact it is mentioned in lore that the Norns are responsible for making a "primal layer", or a series of strands determining fate. It differs from Wyrd in that it is your moral momentum: which can be altered, but is not easy to change. It was believed that people's souls consisted of a part inherited by their parents and ancestors (which would be passed down through heritage) and a part that was influenced and created through the persons own actions throughout one's lifetime. This is different from the concept of karma, in that there isn't necessarily the idea of "good and bad": it states that the things you tend to do will tend to happen to you, regardless.