*This post pertains to Norse Paganism in general; but is directed to the seidr community in particular*
I am seeing of late a disturbing trend in the re-claiming of the Heathen occult art of Seidr.
I saw a question posed on a forum dedicated to this Ancient Indo-European Tradition of esoteric heathenism (witchcraft/shamanism) which asked: “Do you believe contemporary Seidr is a form of trance work similar to Shaman work in other cultures?” and the answers by many of today’s contemporary practitioners left me wondering in disdain at the replies.
I read: “I mean, the truth is we don’t know much about seidr at all. Only a few vague things. So it’s hard to say what it really is, even if I believe it’s a particular thing. I guess I don’t really call it seidr because in reality, we’ll never really know what it actually was and what we do know is merely a tiny sliver of it. So idk I guess I wouldn’t call it either.”
Then I saw this long winded reply (which was submitted from a renowned Heathen ‘expert’ who has Authored quite a few “respected” books on heathen concepts) This Gentleman stated “I have found no substantive difference between the shamanic practices of indigenous faiths, no matter what continent it came from originally. Modern shamanism, which we have specifically redefined, is not the seidhr of our forebears. Real seidhr as our forebears knew it is something that one would not only flee but gather up the pitchforks and torches. “Modern seidhr” is a different art: it involves gathering various techniques, for the social good. Any Heathen Norse person would not only flee the self-stated seidh-person but come back with pitchforks and torches. Some of my best friends, and many folk whom I respect as ethical practitioners, claim to practice seidhr. They don’t, as our forebears knew it . But ‘modern seidhr’ is not what our Viking Age forebears thought it was. Plenty of yez out there think you are practicing seidhr.”
I couldn’t disagree more!!
Actually there is MUCH information to be found in Scandinavian literature, folkways and Cultural Heritage traditions; especially as it is now being backed by Archeology finds in the past 10-20 years. I have personally met and worked with Volva’s from Norway, Sweden and Iceland, and I was fortunate to be mentored by a Sami who just happened to be a student of Micheal Harner; and I have been shown a lot more stuff left to us other than what’s found in the “Lore.” One simply needs to know where to look, and one must search with effort. To just shrug and say “let’s just make up whatever feels right and call it Seidr, OR worse, abandon the name Seidr and Volva all together; because we Americans can’t find the proper European documentation” is doing our Ancestors who actually did this path of Heathen Occult work for centuries a huge dis=service in my opinion.
Furthermore, Ancient Volva’s did learn techniques and concepts from neighboring tribes; namely the Sami-but they had MANY of their own ways of doing things set firmly in place as all of ancient mankind had. I guess i take a more thorough approach on how i view this path, and i seek out the answers i know are there, plus i go to the source to find them. Here is a great book to begin the quest for answers in earnest; as this one little tome can launch anyone serious about re-claiming this path and its obscure-but-still-discoverable-Traditions on the right trajectory: The Saga of Vanadís, Völva and Valkyrja: Images of the Divine from the Memory of an Islandic Woman; by Bjarnadóttir, Valgerður Hjördís
Also I have always advocated using Trance/meditative work (this is THE skill set everyone agrees a Volva used in historical documentation) so that by tapping into the collective consciousness we as descendants even THOUSANDS of yeas later, can dis-cipher the kennings and “how-to’s” of past human experience and our Ancestral memory! This important use of the ability to travel with our fylgja is, I feel, WHY/HOW first and foremost any new Adept practitioner’s reasoning as to WHAT we should be doing our esoteric journeys of visiting the web of Wyrd, looking into the well of Urd, and unraveling Oorlog MUST FIRST seek these answers of how to authentically re-claim seidr using our Occult skills for our detective work.
By doing this essential mystical, followed by mundane, detective work, you then see a cross section of hundreds of re=claiming volva’s coming out of their soul journeys and investigative leg work with the same answers; then we see UPG becomes UNIFIED Personal Gnosis, instead of “Unverifiable.”
This is just my views on the subject; and just as with rear-ends, everyone has one. 😊
~side note: I was shocked as I posted this above opinion as a comment on the Original Post within the forum it originated, and not one member on that forum who commented within the O.P. ever responded. ~As a told my dear friend and college today who created the forum; “so many people today don’t want to WORK to learn this path.” They just want a instant ‘download’ of the compiled years of adept knowledge and application gifted to them so they themselves don’t need to “bother” to work hard via thorough, investigative discovery. They simply “demand” entitlement to an adept Elders information gained through years of hard work and tireless dedication of theory and application. Dismally it appears many of Today’s seekers seem too lazy to do their own homework, and simply consume piggishly the kennings found by others as to how to DO and UNDERSTAND this path of Heathenry; its very disturbing. 😤