Magic is a very important concept in Norse Pagan Heathenry. It’s an exercise of one’s personal agency and a way to interact with the spiritual aspects of the world. Not all Norse Pagans practice magic, but it’s not considered evil or taboo to do so. Many different forms of magic exist in Norse Paganism, including the following:
Seiðr (“Seether”) is the origin of the word “seething” or “to seeth.” It’s a form of Norse magical practice associated with prophecy and shaping the future. In modern times it has taken on various different meanings since the original practice of Seiðr is unclear. Typically, modern Seiðr is associated with Astral journeying, visions, trancework, and other similar spiritual work.
Galdrastafir (“incantation-staves”) is a kind of Icelandic magic that emerged after the Christianization of Scandinavia. It’s a form of ceremonial magic that combines Norse practices with Christian mysticism, and, by extension, Kabbalah*. In essence, galdrastafir is a Norse-Christian form of sigilization. Some of the more well-known galdrastafir are the Helm of Awe and Vegvisir.
I spoke to a Galdrameisrari (“Master of Galdr”) from Iceland about this craft. She told me this is a lineaged tradition taught directly from master to student, and learning this art should not be attempted by the uninitiated solo practitioner. Guidance is needed. In order to learn galdrastafir, one must seek out a reputable teacher and learn from them directly.
Galdrastarfir are not to be confused with bindrunes.
*Kabbalah is a closed practice and should not be undertaken without the permission of a rabbi.
Trolldom is the name for a type of folk magic practiced in many Scandinavian countries. This system of magic has been for the past 500 years. It fell into seclusion starting in the late 19th century, around the same time Western occultism made its way into neo-pagan movements.
Even though it grew out of various Scandinavian cultures, trolldom is not tied to Heathenry or any one spirituality or religion. It’s largely passed down through oral tradition and is customarily only taught to those younger than the practitioner.
Types of spells in trolldom include healing spells, stalling spells, shaming spells, protection spells, luck spells, spells for social mischief, and others. Verbal incantation is a key component in these spells. Talking to spirits and to the dead are also key aspects in trolldom, as well as divination styles of many sorts.
Trolldom overlaps heavily with spådom, or the ability to foretell future events.
‘Spæ’ is a word that means “to speak.” Spádom is the Norse practice of prophecy and transpossession. Women who practice spæwork are known as spækona.