Witchcraft in the Northern Tradition – Translation of Ведовство в Северной Традиции

Witchcraft in the Northern Tradition – Translation of Ведовство в Северной Традиции by Sigurd, Godord Skidbladnir

Note from the editor: we think this article is very interesting for our readers, and present you both with the original version in Russian as with a translation in English. It is not translated by a professional translator, but we hope the English version gives you a good idea of Witchcraft in the Northern Tradition.Discussed in this article are the ‘ magical’ traditions of the North, however, as the name suggests the word ‘magic’ I have studiously avoided it for several reasons. Primarily due to the fact that the word ‘magic’ in principle does not apply to the affected my tradition, the word derives from the Greek language, from the name of the Zoroastrian priests. Secondly, this word in the modern world has taken a completely unimaginable number of values ​​for many serious readers and who have a few negative ideas which pop into mind.

But back to the topic. The most popular opinion at the expense of vedovskoy traditions of the North – is that there are two main areas, Seyda Galdra. In this Galdr, often perceived as a rune magic, and Sade as some unknown form of shamanism. Some of this structure also adds skaldic art in the Sorcerer’s application. However, if you look deeper, it turns out that things are not so simple.

Witchcraft ( Fiölkyngi)

This term means ‘mnogoznanie’ (erudition, learned) and may be equivalent to the generic term magical and spiritual traditions of the North. In fact, the term is analogous to the Slavic word witchcraft, that is, manage to know. Sage can be called anyone who knows about the world and its laws more than other people. It is important to note that witchcraft is not only practical magic, but also a spiritual tradition. I share four key areas of the Northern Witchcraft – Galdr, Seid, Skaldizm and Trot.

Galdr ( Galdr, galdur)

Many perceive Galdr as knowledge about the runes, but it’s not quite true. Galdrom later to be called at any magic, but originally the term had a very different meaning. Galdr – the word most often associated with the process of witchcraft through the execution of special magical songs. People practicing Galdr, are called Galdra-maður (the word maður means people).

Interestingly, at certain times of vedovskoy tradition, the terms and Galdr Fleece (rúnar), that is, rune magic, have become virtually interchangeable. At first glance it is surprising that there are similarities between rune sorcery and witchcraft, and singing. We turn to the eastern neighbours of Scandinavians – the Karelian-Finnish people. The famous epic Kalevala is divided into several songs, called runes (runo). And the people who perform the epic called runapevtsami. The term apparently borrowed from the Scandinavian nations, but it is also clear that he has experienced great change from the magical graphemes turned into an epic song. It can be assumed that the word was borrowed from the observation Galdra ritual, during which occurred singing of runes or rune of some formulas. Also in the Finnish language has a term loitsu runo that is magical runes or magical songs.

We know that art Galdra, witchcraft meant by the song, but that these were the songs? The article by Leonid Korableva “Tambourine lower world and Genda-alpha?” The author cites a passage from the oldest naorvezhskogo source, written in Latin in the late 12th century «Historia Norvegiæ» (History of Norway):

“Once, when some traders have trapeznichali Lapps, all of a sudden the hostess fell down dead. Then a witch (Galdra-maður) spread robes and prepared to blasphemous sorcery (galdur). She picked up a rune drum rúna-trumba (tambourine: its shape is described, see below), danced long and sang incantations (gól Galdra), but in the end fell flat on his back, based foam, with unpicked stomach. And he was dead. Then another witch (Galdra-maður) took up the same, but achieved the opposite result. The hostess came to life and told that she only saw that being in a swoon of death. Witch (Galdra-maður), who fell down dead, turned his “Gandhi” in the likeness of a whale (bregða gandi sinum í hvals-líki), and when, so it’s Gandhi »(gandr) raced at high speed through the water, so he was not fortunate enough that he flew directly to the enemy “Gandhi» (gandr), which took the form of a sharp stake protruding from the bottom. And he tore his stomach at the stake. It so happened that the witch (Galdra-maður) died with unpicked belly … ”

Before us is a description of shamanic ritual. Shamanism called Galdrom (galdur), shamans – Witch (Galdra-maður), shaman drum – rune drum (rúna-trumba), and shamanistic song – spell (Galdra). We can say that shamanism is Lapps themselves (which, incidentally, the text is not clear) and the Norwegian tradition, nothing it does not, but here comes another term – ligand (gandr), having just Scandinavian origin, such as the term fleece. He also referred to in many Icelandic manuscripts in the context of the “flight to Gandhi. There’s even a special runic composition and koldvskie drawings for these flights that have been carved on a stick or staff. There is also a version of the Icelandic runic cipher, called the “Gandhi-runes. Based on this data, Gandhi – it is something in which the sorcerer becomes (shaman) during the ritual Galdra (ritual) and makes the journey or does something. Speaking in terms of Siberian shamanism, Gandhi may be shamanic soul (dreaming body to Castaneda), or spirit-helper, by which the shaman travels to the worlds. Under this theory can also explain the specific name of the tambourine – rune drum. If the word rune is used as the designation of magical songs or shamanic songs, the rune drum – a drum for the performance of shamanistic songs. There is another interesting point, confirming the theory that Galdrom called (inter alia), the Scandinavian shamanism. Opening the Icelandic-Russian dictionary Berkova and read gald | ur ¹ m-urs,-rar witchcraft, sorcery, magic; galdur ² a göld, galt wild, wild. Those who could see the rite of traditional shamans understand communication. The shamanic trance state, accompanied by dances and sounds that can be compared with the cries of wild animals. Sometimes Camlough shaman really like frenzied wild beast. Interesting in this theory, I advise one to read the article on shamanism Lapland – Lapland shamanism and symbolism of Lapland shaman’s tambourine “Andrew Demkin St. Petersburg, 2009.

About runic Galdre or as “the art and knowledge of runes, their properties and working”  with them has been written many articles. Of all the traditions of the North vedovskih, runic most advanced and popular. Most likely this is due to the huge amount of material on the subject, many of which still await analysis and study. For the connoisseur of runes existed even a special term – eril (erilar). It is worth noting that the interpretation of this term is debatable, but at present he has already acquired a clear meaning master of the runes. Write more about the runic Galdre in this article is meaningless, there is this huge amount of material – books, articles (mine included), various discussion groups, forums, communities, etc. But remember, a lot of attention to the art of attracting the profane, we must be very careful in the choice of materials.

To summarize:

Galdr – a special kind of magic associated with the utterance of a word or singing songs associated with the deities of aces, and specifically with Odin. It includes:

  1. Rune Galdr.
  2. Galdr incantation.
  3. Flight to Gandhi with assistance runic drum and singing of Galdrov (shamanism).

Seid. (Seiðr)

Sade is the most obscure branch of the Northern Witchcraft, unknown even to translate the word. From the late Icelandic sources we know that the occupation Seids in Christian times was punished with more and feared him more than other magical arts. Seid called black, scary witchcraft, which is able to take away human soul, drive him crazy and even kill. Seid also considered a purely women’s work and men engaged in Seids insultingly called ergi, that is, effeminate. Assumptions with which it was connected set, and it is difficult to say unequivocally which of them is true. Perhaps this explains the connection Seids practices with the cult of fertility and a tradition of deities Vans. That is, with the ability to make (men’s ability – to give). Be that as it may be, one has survived describing the rite Seida, which one can analyse and draw conclusions. This is the fourth chapter of the Saga of Eirik Rusty.

In this chapter, it says that in Greenland at the time of the hungry years, Torkel (described as the richest owner) was invited to a woman’s feast Torberg. It’s called Little Velvoy (lítilvölva) (perhaps a status among practitioners Seida), as she was the prophetess (spákonur). Here’s a description of this witch:

“She was wearing a blue coat, knotted front straps and trimmed with semi-precious stones until the hem. On the neck she had glass beads, and on her head – black sheepskin (lamb skin (under the age of 3 days.) Having curls hair, varying in size, splendour and figure) hat, lined with white cat’s fur. In her hand she held a stick with a knob, yellow brass and set with semiprecious stones. She had a belt of spunk (that any material which is ignited by a spark), and on the belt hung a large purse, which she kept potions necessary for divination. She was shod in furry boots of calfskin, and they were long and sturdy belts with large buckles of brass. In her arms were out of cat fur gloves, white and fluffy inside. ”

Such a suit suggests no small wealth. Blue is the colour of the fabric of witchcraft (such as runic sticks wrapped in blue thread, and one wore a blue coat) and wealth. Precious stones and copper decorations speak for themselves, as well as sheepskin hat. From the magical items worth noting stick with a top adorned with copper and precious stones, trutovy belt, potions, straps with buckles on the shoes, and possibly the presence of cat fur on the hat and mittens.

Prior to that, also said that it sat on the seat of honour with a pillow stuffed with chicken feathers. All treated her very respectfully, and fed her porridge in goat milk (you can draw a parallel with “white food”, in the tradition of Siberian shamanism was considered as the most honourable and “magical” food) and hearts “of all the animals that were there.” In this case, the witch refused to perform the rite of Seida, yet sleeps in the house one night.

The next evening, the Witch began preparations for the rite Sejdiu. An interesting point for ritual Seyda, it was necessary that the girl knows the song, which was called vardlok (varðlokur). And when we found a single girl knows neither the song nor she was a Christian, a witch even had to persuade her to help with the ceremony. This suggests that Velva by itself cannot conduct ceremony Seida, it is absolutely necessary assistants who know the special songs. Similarly, the word vardlok not clear, there is speculation that the word translated as “something that fascinates the spirits” or “song calls to the spirits.”

Sam rite (Сам обряд) Seyda described as follows:

“Women have a ring around the dais on which sat Torberg and Gudrid sang so well and beautifully that nobody had ever heard her singing in so beautiful voice. The Prophetess thanked her for the song.

– Many spirits were now, – she said – Ljubo they were listening to a song and before they wanted to hide from us and given us obedience. I now see clearly much of what was previously hidden from me and from others. (…)

Then people began to approach the witch, and everyone was asking about that, most of all they wanted to know. She responded eagerly, and few have not come true from the fact (did not believe?)  that she predicted. ”

In this case there is a rite of Seyda for divination, but the use of Seyda for other purposes referred to a variety of other sources, such as the saga of the people of the Salmon Valley, or many of the later Icelandic manuscripts.

To summarize:

Seid – a special kind of magic and prophecy, associated with the call spirits by singing songs. Somehow connected with the cult of fertility – the deities of the Vans, and specifically with Frey, it was considered feminine pastime. Two main areas of Seyda:

  1. Actually Sade (the practice of weather-related, fertility, the impact is not people, etc.) (seið).
  2. Predictions (spá).

Participants in the ritual Seyda or prediction:

– Lead. Seydkona (seiðkona), the prophetess (spákona) (apparently based on “specialisation” Also possible to have a certain status – Small Velva (lítilvölva), Velva (völva), etc.)

– Servants – the girls standing around and singing vardloki (varðlokur) for calling the spirits.

– Asks – those who ask leading questions. (Present only in the rituals of the predictions).

Attributes of leadership:

– Staff (staf). Presumably as a symbol of power in the spirit world and the image of the world tree.

– Potions. Presumed to enter into an altered state of consciousness.

– High place. (Seidrhiallr). Presumably to highlight among the Servant as a symbol of authority among the spirits.

Skaldizm. ( Kraftaskáld)

Kraftaskaldy or “power skalds” another kind of witchcraft, who stands out among all others. In some later Icelandic manuscripts kraftaskaldy contrasted with “the evil sorcerer and had a sort of defenders of the people. Their magic was performed by the utterance vis – short poems, often invented on the fly. The most comprehensive and almost unique source of skaldic poetry (Skaldekvad) – «The language of poetry” of the Prose Edda Snore Sturlsona. The problem is that much of the Younger Edda is not translated into Russian. Example of poetry – almost all the older Edda and many other series. If we talk about the magical properties skaldic poems, it is of three kinds. Interestingly, the skaldic poetry – the youngest of the types of witchcraft, appeared in the 9-10 age group.

List of skaldic sizes and techniques is enormous and requires, as runes, more detailed study of the sources. We can distinguish three main genres relevant to kraftaskaldam.

  1. Drape  (???). Genre of songs of praise. Is designed to praise individuals or actions in order to increase his fame and fortune.
  2. Nid. Genre denigrating lyrics. Intended to cause harm through oskarbleniya and curses.
  3. Manseng. Several similar to the drape, but is intended to express lyubovynh feelings to the woman. Can be called a love song, a kind of “love spell”.

Trot. ( troth )

Trot stands out among all other branches of witchcraft. If previously it was just about witchcraft, in this case refers specifically spiritual branch of witchcraft in the concept of multi-knowledge. ” Trot translated as faith or loyalty, but has a much broader meaning. Trot this knowledge of how to communicate with the gods, cry for them, build hofy (hof) (temples) and to conduct blots (blót) (sacrifice). A man who knows the rituals Trot was named Toole (þulr) (interpretation of the term is debatable). One version of the translation of this term – talking with the gods. Not to be confused with Gaudi (goði, in the feminine gyðja), a leader elected by the people performing and priestly functions. If Gaudi was “tied” to a particular temple, he called hovgodi (hofgoði). Gaudi does not necessarily have been Tuloma because Toole is a skill, and Godi post. If there was Tula, Godi usually grew older (and therefore the wisest) man or woman. In modern Asatru, this branch, one of the most developed.

Skills required Godi can be divided into three equally important areas:

  1. Communication with the gods. Godi, should ideally be Tuloma should be able to communicate with the gods, asking their advice, learn from them and teach others. In fact, this ability to acquire knowledge directly “directly.”
  2. Conduct blots and rituals. Standard priestly functions – in fact, mediate between humans and gods. Ability to conduct sacrifices and say appeals to the gods. Also, the ability to carry out the rituals of initiation character – different initiations, weddings, spiritual initiation, etc.
  3. Ability to erect the sanctuary, and to follow. (More characteristic of hovgodi)

Search or creation by highlighting the territory of Be (Vé), a kind of “power spots”, the sacred hills, woods, rivers, etc.

Construction on the real-Hof, the temple is the sacred place and setting of the temple herga (hörgr), that is the altar.

Sigurd, Godord Skidbladnir

Moscow 2010 (c).

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