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Vatnsdoela saga. Gwyn Jones.

In: The Vatnsdaler's Saga. New York: Princeton University Press. ISBN X. In: The Saga of the Volsungs. London: Nelson. Jesse L. Byock, ed. Berkeley: Univ of California Press.


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Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Benedikz, B. Buchholz, Peter. Medieval Scandinavia 4 , pp. Burhenn, Herbert. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. Collinder, Bjorn. The Lapps. Crawford, Jane. Ellis-Davidson, Hilda R. Venetia Newall. Elsworthy, Frederick T. New York: Bell Publishing. Doore, Gary, ed.. Boston: Shambala. Eliade, Mircea.

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy. Princeton University Press. Fuglesang, Signe Horn. Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books. Gloseki, Stephen O. Shamanism and Old English Poetry. New York: Garland. Gordon, E. An Introduction to Old Norse. Oxford: Clarendon. Hand, Wayland D. Friburg im Breisgau: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Henderson, Joseph L. Thresholds of Initiation. Hufford, David J.

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Jochens, Jenny. Karsten, Rafael. Leiden, Netherlands: E. Kieckhefer, Richard. Magic in the Middle Ages. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kliman, Bernice W. Shakespeare in Performance: Macbeth. Manchester: Manchester University Press, Krappe, Alexander H. Lewis, I. Lukman, N. McCutchan, J. Macbeth: A Complete Guide to the Play.

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New York: Barnes and Noble Inc. Meaney, Audrey L. Anglo-Saxon Amulets and Curing Stones. British Archaeological Reports British Series Oxford: BAR. Motz, Lotte.

Fylgjur – guardian spirits and ancestral mothers | Freyia Völundarhúsins

Freyja - the Great Goddess of the North. Lund Studies in the History of Religions 5. Page, R. Poulsen, Grete S. Gro Steinsland. Oslo: Norwegian University Press. Simpson, Jacqueline. Storms, Godfrid. Anglo-Saxon Magic. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Sejd: Textstudier I Nordisk Religionshistoria. Stockholm: Hugo Gebers Forlag.

Tillhagen, Carl-Herman. Wayland D. Hand and Gustave O. Locust Valley, NY: J. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins. Return to The Viking Answer Lady. VAL Home. Introduction The Norse practitioners of the various arts of magic were highly respected professionals whose services were valued by their communities Jochens, Old Norse Magic and Gender , ; Ellis-Davidson, In the reign of the emperor Vespasian we saw Veleda long honored by many Germans as a divinity; and even earlier they showed similar reverence for Aurinia and a number of others -- reverence untainted by servile flattery or any pretense of turning women into goddesses.

Galdr Galdr means literally "to sing" and refers to magical songs that were sung with a range of notes. Galdr is usually associated with men's magical incantations. When occasionally we see a Norse woman "chanting," the verb is usually "to speak," indicating a chant rather than a song. Runic magic The magic of the runes was largely the province of men, although it is likely that some women, at least, knew something of the runes.

She looked at it and bade them turn it over before her; the other side looked as if it had been burned and smoothed. She had a small flat surface cut on its smooth side; then she took a knife, cut runes upon it, reddened them with her blood and muttered some spells over it. After that she walked backwards against the sun around it and spoke many potent words. Then she made them push the tree into the sea, and said that it should go to Drangey and that Grettir should suffer hurt from it.

Modern scholars using this derivation have identified Macbeth's Weird Sisters as Nordic-derived figures, "seething" spells in their cauldron: "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. With other women you may have your will, but never with her. An now you must suffer as well as I, since you did not trust me with the truth. At that time there was a very bad season in Greenland: those who went hunting got little game, and some did not come back.

She had had nine sisters, and all were spae-wives, but she alone still lived. A high-seat was prepared for her and a cushion laid under her; that was stuffed with hen-feathers. She came in the evening with the man who had been sent to meet her, then she was dressed like this, so that she had a blue mantle fastened with straps, and stones were set all in the flap above; on her neck she had glass beads, a black lambskin hood on her head with white catskin inside; and she had a staff in her hand with a knob on it; it was made with brass and stones were set above in the knob; she had a belt of touch-wood, and on it was a large skin pouch, and there she kept safe her talismans taufr which she needed to get knowledge.

She had on her feet shaggy calfskin shoes with long thongs and large knobs on the ends of those. She had on her hands catskin gloves, and they were white inside and shaggy. When she came in, everyone felt obliged to speak to her seemly words, to which she responded according to her opinion of each person. He asked her to cast her eyes over his herds and his home and people; she had little to say about anything. The tables were taken away in the evening, and it is to be said what was prepared for the spae-wife's meal.

Porridge was made for her out of kids'-milk, and a dish prepared from the hearts of all living creatures which were available. She had a brass spoon and a knife made of walrus-ivory mounted with a double ring of copper, and the end was broken off. She replied that she would not give any answer until the following morning, when she had slept there overnight first.

VI. Magic and Healing

But those women could not be found. Then the folk dwelling there were asked if anyone knew it. The spae-wife thanked her for the recital and said that many of the powers were now satisfied and thought it fair to hear when the chant was recited so well But this sorcery is attended by such ergi that manly men considered it shameful to practice it, and so it was taught to priestesses. A great whale circles the ship, and I suspect that we must be near some land, and he would not let us near the land. Methinks that King Helgi does not deal with us in friendly wise: it is no loving message that he sends us.

I see two women on the whale's back, and they must wield this hostile storm with their worst spells and magic. Anybody can be beset by the mara , men perhaps more often than women, however. The risk is especially great if one lays on one's back. The mara usually enters through the key-hole, through a knot-hole, a hole in a window-bar, or it may come down the chimney. It may, as a matter of fact, enter through any kind of round hole, but if the hole is of a different shape it cannot make its way in.

Even so, window-chinks do not appear to have constituted any obstacle for it. The mara could be heard coming. There was a click in the lock, there was a patter crossing the floor, there was a sound as if something soft were being hauled across the boards. But however quick one was there wasn't time after this warning to move before the mara pounced on you.

It will usually just be a shadow being appearing in dreams. She cannot act on her own, is but a mirror of her owner, but exists outside. She seems to be closely associated with the fate of the person. We see thus that like in many shamanistic traditions, the Norse believed in a variety of souls or aspects of the soul in one single person. When it comes to the woman fylgja, they are also known by many other names such as:. Different sources describe the woman fylgja differently. This choice of words I [Else Mundal] see as an example of a conscious attempt to make the stories appear more archaic.

In the king sagas, the dominant way of describing a woman fylgja is by the word hamingja [shape-walker]. Hamingja is also acceptable in poetry, whereas the word fylgja is not. It is used once, but characteristically not in a verse but in a prose text introduction to a verse. There are motif groups as well. In one group, the fylgjor are invisible and act in a collective. The second group is also a collective of fylgjor , invisible, but helpful rather than hostile. They may help a person by making his enemies fall. The third group is like the second group only that their main purpose is to help women at childbirth.

Here their function overlaps those of the nornir and it is difficult to distinguish nornir from f ylgjor [however, Mundal believes it is important to make this distinction. I do not. The fourth group is visible and the women appear to human beings. They may also be known as hamingjur. A fifth group is quite similar to the fourth but they may appear alone as individuals as well as a collective.

They may be visible or invisible. They are luck-bringing and often called hamingja. These motifs emphasize that luck will be with a person of the fylgjur are with that person. She advises her person.


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  • If she leaves, the person will suffer. Situations where the fylgja leaves her person if she does not like him happen and usually lead to death soon after she has left. The number of fylgjur in a collective is mentioned a few places, and then the number is nine. In the Sagan af Nikulasi konungi leikara it is said that each human being has nine fylgjur.

    The sixth group is the fylgjur as death-warnings. If she is an ill omen, she rides the grey steed of death horse or wolf , or she invites people home to herself. In these motifs she is always visible. In these functions the fylgjur approach the valkyrjur. The word is also used for its poetical value.

    The word also exists in the Germanic languages. The only thing she has inherited from the animal fylgja is the name. This is not the case with the fylgja: she has her own identity and her own will, she belongs to a world outside the human world, and she does not die with her human but appears to be immortal. She may move from generation to generation and may be more connected to the clan than to the individual.

    Contrarily, she has a lot in common with the nornir and the valkyrjur. It is impossible to draw a sharp distinction between these. The hamingja and the woman fylgja. Hjalmar Falck saw the word hamingja as almost identical to the word hamhleypa , which refers to a person who could change shape or send the soul out in a different shape. I [Mundal] think that there is no proof in the written sources that the hamingja could wear animal shape, or that a person owning it is hamram someone who can send it against an enemy.

    In hamram , it is the soul that takes a shape, not the hamingja. In fact, wherever a hamingja is described she seems to be synonymous with the woman fylgja. In the sources, a person could have several or just one hamingja , just like with the fylgja. They are dead ancestors who have become guardian spirits of their clan.

    This article, and your whole collection of work on norse culture is utterly fascinating to me. Though I have not read or studied the eddas and other norse literature to a great deal, I am so drawn to this work because of dreams and recollections that seem to attract me to norse culture. I am obviously not norwegian by birth, and though my family is all of norwegian descent, they identify very little with that culture. So it has been a puzzle for me as to why I am so drawn to the old norse culture I currently conclude that it has to do with reincarnation, though I do not know if it means an individual is reincarnated, or merely the memories of one get embedded in ones genes.

    In any case I have had numerous dreams and memories of that time period, and the culture and the ideals of the culture. In particular I recall a dream when I was around years of age where I visited an old haggard looking lady who lived in a sod house and in effect told me to wake up, to live life deeply, to rouse myself to inner action and avoid dying while still living somehow she did this without actually talking. It is hard to explain why or how, but the energy that dream imparted on me stuck with me very deeply. I still can recall the feeling, and the urgency it conveyed.

    Somehow too I knew it to be connected to Norse culture, as many of those types of dreams I have had are. After reading this article I wonder if that may have been an encounter with a Fylgja? In any case I thank you very much for sharing your excellent work with everyone on the web. If you come out with a book I will certainly buy it! Thank you for sharing. I think that your dream about the old woman and her message is certainly within the sphere of Old Norse realities, and that she performed the same function as any good fylgja would do. And what great advice she gave!

    Interestingly, my grandmother gave me almost exactly the same advice before she died. Being my ancestral mother, she too acted like a fylgja for me several years after her death… Love and blessings, maria. Hi, this was great information. Can you recommend some further reading material on that topic? I found this piece very interesting. To recognize her as kin was helpful. And now to recognize who our shared companion is, according to tradition, feels like another blessing. An early dream showed her inviting me into a great library, which invited me into a life of scholarship; this was the way she had appeared to my mother.

    Later she showed me a lady in tears, asking me to help her — which invited me into the environmental movement. She led me to Freyja. And brought the awareness of my norse ancestry norse fathers; celtic mothers on both sides to light. I have asked her for guidance now on next work and she helps me walk step by step into the world of the sagas. I am particularly fascinated by the animal Fylgja. Or it is possible only to have either a falcon or a hawk.

    This is important to me as I understand there are large genetic differences between them but would this affect the possibility of being the same Fylgja. I need to know this so I properly know what my Fylgja is and also if I decide to take up Falconry I know what raptor to work with. Apparently you can get visions of your Fylgja which I sometimes get and so I have done lots of research.

    When researching the two raptors on the websites below I found strong similarities and nothing to suggest differences. I feel as though my Fylgja is more hawk-like but Gyrfalcons have really attracted my attention which is the cause of me asking you this today. I am also aware of the differences between totems and animal Fylgja. This rainbow feathered wolf lady spirit has been guiding me for 7 years..

    I remember meditating inward and suddenly getting a sense of my own spirit, and it was in the same color code as my mandalas.. My original spirit was white and cloudy with a green nucleus and a pale grey-green nucleolus. I searched for 2 interbalancing spirits red and blue to play counterweight to the green nucleus, and I welcomed their will over my being. Green: efficiency, singular purpose, Red: vibrance, reactivity, Blue: tranquility, the immovable Orange: flexibility, the pluripotent Yellow: assembly, creation Purple: disassembly, destruction. They found balance with one another to such an extent that they became nearly indivisible; when I felt them it was as a whole.

    I began to be influenced by their will and became much more balanced and spiritual. My priorities were shuffled. I suddenly held a deep intuitive knowledge of complex networks and systems, facilitating epiphanies about things I already had some data on. It fed her, and she became more noticeably present from then on.

    But never as visually apparent as that first time, which left me awed at the rainbow feathering, and gleefully humbled that such a spirit would find me a suitable companion. I need her. I become very afraid whenever I consider doing something that would upset her and her determination toward high-functioning balance. She appeared to my friend Cinder, who is a self-described wolf spirit, after my arrival at a commune last year.

    Hilsener fra Brasil. Din e-postadresse vil ikke bli publisert. Skip to content. The Hammer of Greatness 2. Counseling and guardian spirits She may counsel her people and let them know that if they do not take her advise they may end up dead. Goddesses, souls or ancestral mothers?