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Norse Magic

Updated on June 14, 2018
Freya
Freya | Source

What is Norse Magic?

Mention the word "norse" and it is sure to conjure up images of vikings, dragon ships, and trolls. But there is so much more to it than that. This article serves as an introduction to Norse Magic, including, the Praiseworthy Virtues of the North, modern traditions with northern roots, metrical charms, ancient magical traditions, trolldom and more!

Norse Paganism

is a term used to describe the religious traditions which were common amongst the Germanic tribes living in Nordic countries prior to and during the process of the Christianization in Northern Europe. Norse paganism is therefore a subset of Germanic paganism, which was practiced in the lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of Northern and Central Europe until the end of the Viking Age.

Norse Magic: an Introduction

Picture stone from Tjängvide, Alskog Parish, Gotland, Sweden.
Picture stone from Tjängvide, Alskog Parish, Gotland, Sweden.

In order to understand Norse magic, it is essential to become familiar with Norse mythology and Norse paganism, the pre-Christian spiritual tradition of the Northern European peoples also referred to in Scandinavia as Heithni (Hay-thnee). Much of what can be found about Norse cosmology in popular literature has become infused with foreign traditions such as ceremonial magic and Wiccan ideology. As such, it is difficult to find an accurate depiction of Norse magic. I am by no means an expert in this area. However, I have attempted to provide information from sources that I believe are experts, and refer to the ancient sagas, Eddas, and lore of old to compile the information contained on this lens.

Norse mythology comes from what was orally transmitted in the form of poetry and our knowledge about it is mainly based on the Eddas and other medieval texts written down during and after Christianization. It is a set of stories and beliefs that were held in common by Northern Germanic tribes. Norse, Viking or Scandinavian mythology forms the foundation of the indigenous pre-Christian religion, beliefs and legends of the Scandinavian peoples. It had no one set of doctrinal beliefs.

The pre-Christian indigenous beliefs and religious ideas common amongst the Northern Germanic tribes can be referred to as Norse paganism. Hence, Norse paganism is a subset of Germanic paganism, which was practiced in the lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of Northern and Central Europe until the end of the Viking Age.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trolldom - Traditional Norse Folk Magic - A popular method.

Finds from a vǫlva's grave in Köpingsvik, Öland.
Finds from a vǫlva's grave in Köpingsvik, Öland.

The Völva of Norse Religion

A völva was a wise woman, shaman, or priestess in Norse and Germanic paganism. Highly respected members of society, they cared for the spiritual and physical needs of their people by means of herbalism and prophecy. Some suggest that völva became marginalized and persecuted with the advent of Christianity but they would live on in the north European concept of witch. They are a recurring motif in Norse mythology.

A völva practiced shamanism, sorcery, prophecy and other forms of indigenous magic. Historical and mythological depictions of völvas were held to possess such powers that even the father of the gods, Odin himself, consulted a völva for what the future had in store for the gods.

Early accounts describe them as aged women dressed in white who sacrificed the prisoners of war and sprinkled their blood. It was believed that this practice allowed them to prophesize the future.

___________________________________________________

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Freya by Penrose
Freya by Penrose

Freya - Norse Fertility Goddess

In Norse mythology, Freya is considered the patron goddess of love, beauty, sex, attraction, fertility, crops and birth, and the consummate symbol of sensuality. The most beautiful of the goddesses, she was also a goddess of war, death, magic, prophecies and wealth. She loves music, spring and flowers, and is particularly fond of the fairies. Freya is one of the foremost goddesses of the Vanir, Freyja means "lady" in Old Norse.

In Norse myth, the Vanir are originally a group of wild nature and fertility gods and goddesses, the sworn enemies of the warrior gods of the Aesir. They were considered to be the bringers of health, youth, fertility, luck and wealth, and masters of magic. The Vanir live in Vanaheim.

She is the daughter of the god Njord, and the sister of Freyr. Later she married the mysterious god Od (probably another form of Odin), who disappeared. When she mourned for her lost husband, her tears changed into gold.

Freya is depicted as wearing a cloak (or skin) of bird feathers, which allows its wearer to change into a falcon, and a chariot pulled by two cats. She owns Hildesvini ("battle boar") which is actually her human lover Ottar in disguise. Her chambermaid is Fulla. Freya lives in the beautiful palace Folkvang ("field of folk"), a place where love songs are always played, and her hall is Sessrumnir. She divides the slain warriors with Odin: one half goes to her palace, while the other half goes to Valhalla. Women also go to her hall.

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freyja

Freyja taken away by the giants as depicted in an illustration by Arthur Rackham.

Freyja taken away by the giants as depicted in an illustration by Arthur Rackham.
Freyja taken away by the giants as depicted in an illustration by Arthur Rackham.

"Heimdallr returns the necklace Brsingamen to Freyja" by Swedish painter Nils Blommr.

"Heimdallr returns the necklace Brsingamen to Freyja" by Swedish painter Nils Blommr.
"Heimdallr returns the necklace Brsingamen to Freyja" by Swedish painter Nils Blommr.

Freyr's Pagan Temple at Uppsala

Seidr

Seidr is an old Norse term for sorcery or witchcraft that was practiced by pre-Christian Norsemen and women. Seidr involved the incantation of spells, galdrar (manipulative magic), and divination, predominantly by women practitioners (Vlova). Some men also practiced seidr, but they were not held in high esteem for doing so as the women were.

Freyja and other goddesses of Norse mythology were practitioners of seidr, as was Odin, who was taunted by Loki for doing so because it was considered unmanly. It was Freyja who taught the art of seidr to Odin.

Metrical Charm: A Journey Charm

I circle myself with this rod trust to God's grace,

Against the sore stitch, against the sore bite,

Against the grim dread,

Against the great horror that is hateful to all,

And all evil that enters this land.

A victory charm I sing, a victory rod I bear,

Victory of words, victory of works. May they assist me;

So no lake hinder me, nor loathed foe oppress me,

Nor my life be fraught with fear,

But keep me hale, Almighty, Son and Holy Ghost,

Worthy Lord of all wonder,

So I have heard, heaven's creator.

Abraham and Isaac

And such men, Moses and Jacob,

And David and Joseph,

And Eve and Anna and Elizabeth,

Sarah and also Mary, mother of Christ,

And also the brothers, Peter and Paul,

And also thousands of your angels,

I call on to defend me against all foes.

May they guide me and guard me and safeguard my path,

Maintain me entirely and administer me,

Directing my works; may the host of holy ones

Be the hope of glory, the hand over head,

The host of triumphant, true-hearted angels.

I bid them all, in blithe mood,

That Matthew be my helmet; Mark my byrnie,

Light, life's strength, Luke my sword,

Sharp and sheer-edged; John my shield,

Gloriously adorned, angel of the track-way.

I fare forth; I shall meet friends,

All glory of angels, the lore of the good.

I pray now to the God of victory, for God's mercy,

For a good passage, a peaceful and light

Wind from these shores. Of storms I have heard

That wake swirling waters. Always secure

Against all foes. May I meet with friends,

So I may dwell in the Almighty's peace,

Protected from the loathed one seeking my life,

Established in the majesty of angels,

And in the holy hand of heaven's ruler,

For the span that I stay in this life.

Amen.

___________________________________________________

Source

From the now defunkt northvegr.org.

The Praiseworthy Virtues of the North

This list of praiseworthy ethics is from the wisdom and knowledge of our Northern European ancestors as recorded in the sagas and Eddas.

What is praiseworthy?

1. Gifting is praiseworthy.

2. Generosity is praiseworthy.

3. Moderation is praiseworthy.

4. The maintaining of frith in all circumstances is praiseworthy.

5. Courage is praiseworthy.

6. The seeking of good over ill is praiseworthy.

7. Hospitality is praiseworthy.

8. Courtesy is praiseworthy.

9. Tolerance is praiseworthy.

10. The pursuit of wisdom and knowledge is praiseworthy.

11. The defense of freedom is praiseworthy.

12. Industriousness is praiseworthy.

13. Vigilance is praiseworthy.

14. The protection, nurturing and forbearing of kin is praiseworthy.

15. Showing respect for elders is praiseworthy.

16. Loyalty to friends and kin is praiseworthy.

17. Keeping an oath is praiseworthy.

18. Honoring the sanctity of marriage is praiseworthy.

19. Refraining from mockery is praiseworthy.

2o. Refraining from arrogance is praiseworthy.

21. Making kin, honor and justice more important than gold is praiseworthy.

22. Cleanliness is praiseworthy.

23. The maintaining of one's dignity in all situations is praiseworthy.

24. Good organization is praiseworthy.

25. Persistence is praiseworthy.

26. The rule of law is praiseworthy.

27. To try ones steel against an opponent fairly is praiseworthy.

28. Respect for the dead is praiseworthy.

29. For a man to never strike a woman is praiseworthy.

30. To not abuse one's power is praiseworthy.

The Valknut (Old Norse valr, "slain warriors" + knut, "knot") is a symbol consisting of three interlocked triangles, and appears on various Germanic objects. A number of theories have been proposed for its significance. Three main theories include:

1. Hrungnir's Heart

Chapter 17 of the 13th century Prose Edda book Skldskaparml contains a description of the heart of Jtunn Hrungnir that sounds remarkably similar to the Valknut symbol:

"Hrungnir had a heart that was famous. It was made of hard stone with three sharp-pointed corners just like the carved symbol hrungnishjarta [Hrungnir's Heart]."

2. Odin and Mental Binds

Hilda Ellis Davidson theorizes that the Valknut:

..is thought to symbolize the power of the god Odin to bind or unbind [a man's mind] ... so that men became helpless in battle, and he could also loosen the tensions of fear and strain by his gifts of battle-madness, intoxication, and inspiration.

3. Other

Rudolf Simek has proposed that the Valknut symbol may have been associated with religious practices associated with death. This theory is based on the meaning of the word valknut, as well as the fact that the symbol appears on picture stones with Odin and on burial gifts in the Oseberg ship burial.

The Stora Hammar stone (above), where the Valknut occurs in the most central and predominant position, appears alongside images interpreted as Odin with a characteristic spear shunting another figure into a burial mound while a raven is overhead and another man is hanged.

Valknut Symbol

Valknut Symbol
Valknut Symbol

Modern Traditions with Northern Roots

Many modern day beliefs and traditions have their origin in our Northern European ancestors. For example:

The Days of the Week

The days of the week are derived form the Old English names for Northern gods and goddesses.

Sunnandg, Sunday: The goddess of the sun Sunna

Monandg, Monday: The god of the moon Mani

Twesdg, Tuesday: The god Tiu also known as Tyr.

Wodnesdg, Wednesday: The god Woden also known as Odhinn

Thunresdg or Thorsdagr, Thursday: The god Thunor also known as

--Thorr

Frgedg, Friday: The goddess Frigg

Saeternesdg, Saturday: Which is named after the Greco-Roman god

--Saturn

The Toast

The toast comes from a number of sources, one being the Northern rite called the sumbel or the full. In the full the group would gather around a table and each person would raise their horn or cup and honor a god, ancestor or make ritual boasts.

Unlucky 13

This tradition comes from Scandinavian lore. According to tradition there was a banquet in Valholl in which there were twelve gods in attendance. Loki entered uninvited (raising the number to 13) and it was later that Baldr was killed.

The White Flag

The White Flag comes from the Vikings. During a conflict there were two shields that were kept for signaling. One was a shield painted red. It signaled that hostilities were to begin. The other was a white shield which signaled for the hostilities to cease long enough so that the leaders could confer about a possible resolution. From the white shield it eventually evolved into the white flag.

From: http://www.northvegr.org/roots/index.php#bottom005

Metrical Charm Against a Dwarf

Against a dwarf one should take seven little wafers, like those used in Holy Communion, and write these names on each one: Maximianus, Malchus, Iohannes, Martimianus, Dionisius, Constantinus, Serafion. Then sing the charm that is written below, first in the left ear, then in the right ear, then above the man's head. Then a maiden should go to him and hang it on his neck and let him do so for three days; he will soon improve.

A spider-wight came stalking in here

With his coat in his hand, saying you were his horse,

He laid his fetters on your neck. He started sailing from the land;

As soon as he came way from land, his limbs started cooling.

Then the dwarf's sister came stalking in.

Then she ended it and swore oaths

That this must never hurt the sick,

Nor he who could gain this charm,

Nor he who could chant this charm.

Amen. Fiat.

Source:

http://www.northvegr.org/lore/anglosaxon_met/003.p...

Photograph is titled Men hur kommer man in i berget, frgade tomtepojken? (But how do I get into the mountain, the gnome boy asked?) By artist John Bauer

in Illustration to Alfred Smedberg's The trolls and the gnome boy in the childrens' stories collection Among pixies and trolls, 1909

This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

This applies to the United States, Canada, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.

Heithinn Date Calculator

Using the Heithinn date calculator, this lens was made on Thorr's Day, day 26 of Haymaking, in the year 1007 EVFS (August 9, 2007).

What is EVFS? EFVS stands for "etter Vinlands fyrste sj" which means "after the first sighting of Vinland", in Norwegian. Northfolk of old counted their years from important events. The sighting of Vinland (America), by Northmen in the year 1000 is one of those important events.

Month Names

Oct. 14th - Nov. 13th - Winter Finding (1st winter month)

Nov. 14th - Dec. 13th - Frost Moon

Dec. 14th - Jan. 13th - Jl

Jan. 14th - Feb. 13th - Thorri

Feb. 14th - March 13th - Barren Moon

March 14th - April 13th - Single Moon

April 14th - May 13th - Summer Finding (1st summer month)

May 14th - June 13th - Eggtide

June 14th - July 13th - Midsummer

July 14th - August 13th - Haymaking

August 14th - Sept. 13th - Double Moon

Sept. 14th - Oct. 13th - Harvest Moon

Heithinn Date Calculator

Acorns and Lucky Charms

The Ancient Norse believed that the oak tree was sacred to Thor, and acorns were thought to protect a building from lightning. That tradition was passed down through the centuries with dried acorns or carvings of acorns and oak leaves near windows to guard against lightning; this might explain the traditional acorn decorations on the ends of window blind cords.

The symbol of the National Trust is a sprig of oak leaves and acorns.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/weather/uk_a...

Thor, Freyr, Frigg, Odin, and Loki became old due to the loss of Freyja and her apples as depicted in an illustration by Arthur

Thor, Freyr, Frigg, Odin, and Loki became old due to the loss of Freyja and her apples as depicted in an illustration by Arthur
Thor, Freyr, Frigg, Odin, and Loki became old due to the loss of Freyja and her apples as depicted in an illustration by Arthur

May the Gods of Asgard

guide your steps. May Thor's hammer protect you. May Freyja give you wisdom and magical power, and may Freyr grant you prosperity!

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image

      Jessica 

      3 years ago

      I believe it was the loss of Idunn, not Freyja, that made the gods old.

    • profile image

      bethellen-causey 

      4 years ago

      love this-need names of stones on brisingamen?Any thoughts?

    • profile image

      The_Revelator 

      4 years ago

      This is a fascinating topic that is very rarely brought up. Thanks for sharing, great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Vikings are amazing and their stories are great.

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 

      5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      @anonymous: Vikingrune... I only skimmed throuigh so far and can see there's some info that didn't sound right to me. I have never even come across anything about the #13 in Norse culture... that all I've heard started with christianity as that Judas Iscariot was the 13th at the Last Supper.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Please note that Valknut is not the same as Triquetra. Great lens, a lot of research here. Thanks.

    • profile image

      revenue4u 

      6 years ago

      Well researched topic. Squid-liked.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 

      6 years ago

      Very interesting read! Thanks for sharing! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      tcmliving 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting. Thanks

    • MedievalCostumeA profile image

      MedievalCostumeA 

      7 years ago

      The vikings were a very united group of people, besides what Hollywood has turned them into. These "Rune Symbols" used within Norse practices, were these symbols ever embedded into a warriors armor?

    • JeremyCrow profile image

      JeremyCrow 

      7 years ago

      Excellent occult lens! SquidLiked, Fav'ed and added to the Occult Headquarters group here on Squidoo

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      The Uggs are good, just will not don exterior inside moist. They're for drafty within don.ugg classic cardyUGG Nightfallugg classic tallugg classic shortugg bailey buttonugg womens caspiaugg 5803 bootsugg bailey button chestnutugg bailey button 5803ugg 5825ugg 5819ugg 5815ugg nightfall 5359ugg baby bootsugg 5854ugg classic crochetugg mayfaireugg sunset bootsugg upsideugg ultra tall 5245ugg ultra shortugg roxy tallugg suedeugg sunburst tallugg sundanceugg ultimate short 5275

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 

      8 years ago

      Very nicely done!! "Blessed by a SquidAngel"

    • profile image

      eventyr 

      9 years ago

      Finding information about Norse magick is hard to come by. Good job on the magic systems of my ancestors.

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 

      11 years ago

      The norse magic and the Freya blog is calling me again, even though I keep trying to ignore it...lol...This looks like a good place to further my education. :)

    • profile image

      psychfaerie 

      11 years ago

      Very interesting!

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