Seidr – norse shamanic practice
Part of Asatru or Forn Sed is the practice of seidr. As a concept one can say that seidr is the practice of magikk in all different forms within the frame of nordic tradition and mythical cosmology. With Nordic tradition, it is implied that the culture and spirituality was practiced in the northern Scandinavian and Germanic countries before Christianity came to these geographic regions. This definition leaves Sami spirituality and culture not included in this framework. Although it is important to say there are many overlapping concepts and principles between Nordic seidr and Sami nature spirituality. In general terms one can think of seidr as the shamanism in scandinavian Heathenry. I am active in the organisation Forn Sed Sweden. Forn means ancient and sed translates to customs. So there is some difference between sed and seid. One can be a sed-walker but not practice seid but I see problem with the other way around.
The most elaborate description in old sources is from Erik the Red saga from Greenland. The fairly detailed text describes a group seance with divination. The völva, her clothes, what she had as tools, parts of what she did and how she was treated. But how she did perform the seid and what she experienced during trence is not described. A song was sung called vardlokkur, and the words or melody or song techniques is not given. But the song was to call on the spirits, – vards, and to put the völva on the hjälle- high seat- in a trance so that she could see in the web.
The description is what I call hjällesitting possibly similar to Diana Paxson and Hrafnars ceremony of the High seat. I have never participated in the Hrafnar style of seidr, only read some descriptions in books.
Att spae – spa- see in the Web- is an active and creative action
A different take on Seidr
Most people, books and writings about seidr has in my opinion a narrow way of looking at seidr. I look at all the different forms of spiritual and majikal practices that is in literary sources and the practitioners that I have had contact with or read in their books. My conclusion is that the word is an umbrella term more than just referring to hjallesitting (high seat). It is also of importance the the word seid (how we spell it in Swedish) is both a noun and a verb.
So it is accurate to say: lets sejd sejd! However aquard or strange it might seem.
The purpose of this document is not to give information so that the various seidic forms can be practiced, but give a general overview. The information here has to be complemented with much more information if one wants to perform any of the seidforms. Also many of the various forms have sub forms.
Here is a list with brief definition of the core of different seidic practices that I have some experience of. There are other forms of seidr practice that I omit. Also other current practitioners of seidr have other definitions and structure of seidr practice.
Hjällesitta – high seat
– to sit on the hjälle/high seat during a ritual of spae-seid and find answers or accomplish change in the Web/Wyrd. Hjällesitting is my own word for this type of ritual within the framework of seid. Many others will mean hjällesitting but just use the word seid.
Hugflykt – Hamefaring or fairing forth.
– to journey with the hame or consciousness outside of the body to different heimen/worlds/dimensions. Also often called drum journey but the drum is just one method for hamefaring/hugflykt.
Utesitta – Sittingout
– to sit outside in the nature, often on a burial mound to seek answers, knowledge, wisdom or contact with the goddesses, gods, ancestors or other spiritual beings. If burial mound is unavailable any secluded place thst is willing to cooperate is possible. Recomend a high up place with lage view for issues on large questions in life and a hidden and
Kuraskymmning – to huddle during dusk
– to be with the shift in dusk, the change between Day and Night and reflect, meditate or just sit calmly and mental, in the haug and physically still. Kura in the dusk is often done at home and in some manner is a mini utesitting. This is a practise that my maternal grandfather did. The Swedish word is difficult to translate.
Landskapsgång – walking in the landscape
– to walk in the landscape and meet the forces of nature and the “rådare” wights in a seidic way, with the “inner eyes” of perception.
Trådlöpa – running along the Threads
– to follow the energy treads in the great Web in order to accomplish tasks and find answers in the web of Urd, Verdandi and Skuld. The treads represent relationships. Everything is in relationship with everything else. Changes in one part will have ripples to other parts in this interconnected Lifeweb. The Web is both present in ordinary consciousness and dreamtime.
Stenbad – Stonebath
– ceremonial/ritualistic sauna. Similar to the Native American sweat lodge but with the mythic and cosmic map of Asatru/Forn Sed. Can be done both in a hut and sauna which we have a lot of in Sweden.
Hamnskifte – Hameshifting
– to consciously change your energy form so that ones hame will be perceived differently that otherwise.
What the hame (hamr in old norse) is and what constitutes the hame is a complex issue. In short it’s the psychic energy, self image and body language that is given to the world.
Dansa Fylgjan – Dancing you Fylgja/Fetch
– To dance and give ones fylgja/fetch energy and focus in ecstatic dancing. The fylgja is an integral part of a sejdperson and is not same as power animals or partnered spirits that take animal form.
Hästa – being horsed, to be ridden by the Powers/gods
– to let a power/entity, often a goddess or god enter oneself partially or entirely and take over body functions and consciousness. In circles of mediums this is often called physical mediumship.
Historically the next three are not part of seid and is often in the sources seen as manly while seid was in general unmanly. Gender roles where different than today in many ways. The roles was probably fairly set as a foundation as to what was male and female with clear behavioural borders. Having said that there are evidence that there was always exceptions to the rule. We see this in the early laws that prohibited same sex marriages and transgender. More than this is to much outside this document. Today we don’t have the same gender roles and galdrar and berserkery is definitely magikk work.
– to sing and give vibrational power in song and poetry to attai a intention. The art of Galdr has many sunforms and techniques. The singing and making of sound, the poetic form, often in galdralag. Also making power signs in graphic design, on paper, wood, in air and also on skin in the form of tattoos. etc. is also part of the galdrart.
Runkonst – all that has to use the Runes in magikkal ways
– to with the wights of the runes; draw, rista the graphic form, sing, spae, color, send and make bindrunes. Runes can also be sung (gala) in a galdr (powersong).
Bersärkeri – berserk.
– to control and focus power and the energy of anger according to will and for a purpose. Not being owned by anger and totally be committed in the now to the acts at hand.
This is a modern take on the old practice and is not to be taken lightly and many steps of learning and possibly therapy is needed prior to this type of practice.