Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Norse Magic Volva and Volupsa

In Norse Shamanism the Volvas  were the "Sibyls" of the Northland. This was the term used for female magicians or a magical prophetess. This term comes from the world Volr or "Stick." This stick was also known as a (staff or gandr) which were used in magical rituals. 

The Norse Volva, female magician, presided over the divination rite known as Seider. The Volva traveled, offering her services and in she was offered feasts and celebrations. She reproduces the traditional processional where a deity or sacred object is transported by wagon. 

A written document describing these practices survived from a village in Greenland. The town suffering from famine eagerly awaited the arrival of the Volva hoping to change their luck with her incantations and magic. 

She was greeted with a lavish ritual meal that featured hearts of every possible different animal. After the feast, the Volva mounted a platform, wearing calf skin boots and cat's fur gloves (furry on the inside). 

She sat on a cushion stuffed with hen's feathers (the feathers were an aid for her on Volva's "flight of trance.") She requested a young villager to sing entrancing incantations called the Vardlokkur Songs, "The Warlock songs."

When the Volva emerged from her trance, she praised the singing. The spirits flock to hear it. She was able to then learn from these spirits that the famine would soon end as well as other information. 

The "Volupsa," translated as the "Sibyl's Prophecy" or the "Volva's Prophecy", is a Norse poem from Iceland written down in the late tenth century or early eleventh. But it is believed to reflect even older traditions. It is considered among the most important poems in the Poetic Edda. 

The Poem takes the form of a monologue delivered by a Volva in repsponse to questioning by the Norse god Odin. 

Brightest of Blessings,

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