The Heathen tradition is unique in many ways to other branches of Paganism. Not only do Heathens have varying camps or groups who opinion vary as to the way they view our faith should be practiced (i.e. Folkish, Universalist or Tribal) We also get into various discussions as to the authenticity, viability, and methodology of our faction of Mystic practitioners, or Spa(e) Workers, of which I am a member: the Seidr and the Volva.
In every other culture, the professional Witch, Shaman, Healer, and Energy worker has someone, somewhere, who can offer training and validity to pass along to the up- in- coming Medicine root-workers.
Skills, as well as methods, are then able to be shared and quantified by the Adept Master; thereby making sure the new apprentices are competent and able to aid and assist the community, spirits and Gods they are called to serve.
In the Pagan path, especially in Heathenism, we have no where to turn expect for a scant few modern authors and Spa workers who have been trying to revive and reconstruct this newly reemerging form of Norse mysticism. (The Norse path of Paganism wasn’t even a recognized or commonly heard of path in the US until the Reconstructionist movement of Heathenism that began in the late 1960;s)
You see, thousands of years ago we had elders of this profession who trained others in their local village to carry on this tradition of traveling seer and healer, because the Folk understood the importance of a Seidkonna or Volva’s work.
Spa(e) Work wasn’t a ‘solitary’ art that the practitioner learned as some form of self help. These people were the town healers, who helped sing songs to aid in the birthing process (plus I have little doubt they were probably actual midwives/doctors/herbalists) and were called upon to aid the ill, the injured, and the dying; as well as called forth in sending off the dead.
It was also the Volva and or the Seidkonna who were called on to help stop droughts, and to win the land and safety from warring tribes.
Unfortunately, with the onset of Christianity; our Ancestral Elders, ~the Mystic professionals of their time (as well as their knowledge of what and HOW they performed Spa work) was pretty much lost to the annuals of time, rock and mud.
I am writing this post to answer the challenge of those who say the path of the Seidr and Volva is lost, can’t be taught, or is just a path of total UPG with its benefits and mysteries only useful to the person trying to re-learn it. Think again.
Traditions of Shamanism and Mysticism from the Norse cousins and neighbors still survive today. If you are a student of such studies in anthropology as I am; you will see (especially with the Sami, the Mongolians, the Slavic peoples and the Druids) cultures all over the European landscape still have traditions of practice handed down that are not only very similar in structure, disciplines and working procedures, they are still in use (but more importantly) effectual, to this day.
If one gets tutoring in these other Indo-European or Eur-Asia cultural traditions and methods of practice, one sees the universal actions ALL shamans and mystics use~ the only difference lays in the terminology, tribal culture, topography, and demography of the practicing peoples.
Our ancestors originally learned to further their arts of healing, faring forth and magic wielding from some one, some where, in some neighboring tribe, from some other tradition.
This is the way of human kind; we learn and share from others.
I dare to say in today’s 21st century world, those of us who have undergone training in Shamanic skills from non-Heathen cultures and are seeking to bring these skill sets as gap filling techniques into our Norse Pagan Practice; come with the belief that Seidr and Volva’s can re-form a credible modern day practice that is teachable, learnable ~ but most importantly~ USEFUL for our community of Heathen Pagans.
Through contact and immersion within a viable, working, still alive, Shamanic or Mystical traditions of Ancient Europe, along with the help of our guiding Disir and Gods; (and of course by the use of what scant Lore we have to go by) we CAN apply those practical skills, techniques, and knowledge to the art of Spa reconstruction as a Modern-meets-ancient livelihood that can (in my opinion) become a credible and honorable profession in today’s 21st Century World..