Exploring Seidr and Norse Magick
Seidr is a form of Norse magick that involves divining someone’s future, interpreting what was divined, and then attempting to manipulate it. Pronounced “SAY-der,” the method was practiced by women and gods, and Freya is credited with bringing seidr to the gods. She and Odin – who always sought new knowledge – were the two main practitioners of this magick among the gods, yet it remained a primary female practice. Let’s explore more of this ancient magick!
How Do You Practice Seidr?
Seidr practitioners used avenues including journeying into the spirit realm, receiving messages from the gods, incantations, and more in their magick. Their primary goal was to understand the threads of fate and then manipulate those threads into desired outcomes.
It was believed that once the seidr practitioner divined your future, they could take their magick one step further to help you with your fate by performing spells, incantations, or even curses.
As we see with other ancient cultures, practitioners of seidr were highly respected and some were viewed as professionals in their craft. They were also almost exclusively women. According to historians, the most important practices of the Norse religion fell into the housewife's domain. She would act as priestess for her family, and her techniques were closely tied to everyday household activities like sewing.
Modern solitary witches may find themselves drawn to seidr, as it was also a solitary art. Unlike other European magickal traditions, seidr practitioners didn’t need to be a part of a coven to practice.
Among the tools used by Norse magickal practitioners are runes. Unlike the practice of seidr, runes were usually associated with men, but historians also find that women would cut runes in wood to work their magick.
Runes are letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages thousands of years ago. They contain 25 stones or wood pieces in a set, 24 with letters and a blank stone. “Rune” means “whisper” or “secret wisdom” and are used today as a popular divination tool. Each letter gives a divinatory meaning, much like Tarot cards.
Divination is a recurring theme in Norse mythology. For instance, Odin traveled to Hel to meet with a dead woman who was a seidr practitioner to learn about Ragnarok. Be sure to check out our previous blog, Lesser-Known Norse Myths, for more information about Norse mythology and magick.
Sources & Further Reading:
The Viking Answer Lady: Women and Magic in the Sagas: Seidr and Spa.
Mythology Source: Seidr Magic in Viking Culture