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A short introduction to the concept of Seiðr

Linda Ursin

on 21 November 2012

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Transcript of Seiðr

These are my views, my interpretation. It does not matter if you think I'm wrong! I'm open for discussion, but don't try to say you know the only truth. So I chose to go back to the sources. Both reading the sagas and Eddas myself, and reading numerous scientific research papers. Here is something small... There are very few good sources! Many have researched the subject of
Seiðr, but often based on their own
ideology. Shamanism, you say? It is and it isn't, depending on which definition you use
Something we do for fun
Something cool to try I hope you've found this presentation interesting.
Feel free to share it, as long as my name is still on it What it is What it isn't The End Seiðr Voice use An Example: So.... 30 Photo credits: 'horizon' by pierreyves @ flickr Who practiced Seiðr? As far as I've been able to tell, Seiðr was
practiced by both men and women.

They sometimes assumed or were given titles like:

Seiðkóna, Seiðmaðr, Völva

Later in the time period, the men who practiced Seiðr were looked down upon.
The subject of ergi is too complex to discuss here, but there's a lot more to it than people generally think. Many of the sessions that are accounted for, are people doing harm. Probably to scare newly converted people from using it. The same way witchcraft has been described. So we have to make up
our own minds based on
the sources that do exist. A spiritual practice
from the Viking Age What was it used for? Stop famine
Change the outcome of a battle
Heal wounds & Cure illness
Change someone's fate (good or bad)
Seek advice
Harm people
Kill people What is it used for today? The voice was used to achieve a state of semi-trance
Some accounts describe a full trance, others dream
work, while others again are able to communicate
directly with the audience.

Some accounts also mention a lokkr, the Varðlokkr.
Which was used to call the spirits. I'm currently
running a project to recreate one. But that's another story. Yggdrasil
Elsewhere Emotional & physical healing
Change someone's fate
Learn someone's fate after death
Advice (career, love life, choices etc.)
...and working the threads in the
'Web of Wyrd', as some call it. Journeying A state of mind When using the word Shamanism, as an anthropological term. Then Seiðr IS a shamanic practice, because it contains some of the components encompassed by the term, and is described as such in the world of anthropology.

But the use of the word Shamanism, is something a number of people react strongly against, because they don't see it as the anthropological term. They only think of the origin of the word,
and the way they themselves understand the word. If you in the term shamanism only include the practice found in for example Sibiria, then Seiðr IS NOT Shamanism.

I've decided to stop fighting with people regarding this
and to go back to using the anthropological term. There's little or no evidence of the use of drums or rattles. Besides the verse in Lokasenna where Loki accuses Odinn of beating on something (perhaps a lid) as Völvas:

"En þik síða kóðu
Sámseyu í,
ok draptu á vétt sem völur;
vitka líki
fórtu verþjóð yfir,
ok hugða ek þat args aðal."

In the words of a woman I have the highest respect for:
- "If you use drums, you have to call it something else"

I haven't found any mention of soul healing or soul retrieval in Seiðr either. It's worthy of proper respect, as any other spiritual practice. Two of the main differences from
what most people think of as
Shamanism Let me make one thing absolutely clear There are several different ways this is done today.
Kari Tauring is doing her Volva Stav. Hrafnar is a group who's well known in the community, and Diana Paxson from Hrafnar has written a book on her views. Yngona Desmond has written a lot on about it, and has done extensive research and work on the subject.

Just to mention a few. There are lots more, but I can't mention them all. That's nowadays by the way
Exactly what was done back
then, we don't know. On Shamanism... Categories Some choose to divide
what they do into categories

Spæ or Spá, Oracular Seiðr, and Seiðr.

I choose not to, as I see no reason to do so. So far, I've only found this division in the USA and with people who have learned from American sources. Some also use a stool,
the Seidhjallr, or the high seat, to sit on when they practice.

I don't... Seidhjallr People doing it I'd also like to emphasize that a complete picture is impossible to
give in such a tight time frame,
and limited space.
This is primarily an overview to explain the subject to those who know little or nothing about it. (As far as I've been able to find, there's no mention in the sources of the web or threads in connection with Seiðr. )
Full transcript