Eru Völva allar fra Víðulfi,
Vitkar allar fra Vilmeiðr,
Seiðbereindr fra Svarthöfði,
Iotnar allar fra Aurgelmir komnir.
This galdr, for it is indeed a galdr verse or ‘incantation’, comes from Hyndluljóð (verse 33). Hyndluljóð or, the Lay of Hyndla, is part of both the Poetic Edda and Flateyjarbók. Hyndluljóð is a historical record that relates the Heathen history from first creation to 1394 CE. Textual scholars agree that it has not been tainted by a Christian pen, meaning it is a solid representation of Medieval Icelandic sorcery.
In the text, Hyndla, a Völva and Gýgjar (‘staff-bearer’ and ‘giantess’), addresses Freia’s questioning, and during the course of this conversation relates the above galdr – which is the lineage of Völva’s, Vitki’s, Seiðfolk and Jötuns. In English the verse reads:
All the Völva’s from Víðulfi,
All Vitki’s from Vilmeiðr,
Seiðbereindr from Svarthöfði,
Jötuns all from Aurgelmir come.
Clearly, some explanations of these words are needed; but first, there are two groups mentioned here: Völva’s, Vitki’s, Seiðbereindr and Jötuns, then their parental / primal lineage.
Beginning with the first group:
–Völva has multiple meanings: “wise woman”, “staff woman”, “bone woman”, and “choosing woman” (as seen in Valkyrie, “corpse chooser”).
–Vitki means, “conscious one, knowledgeable one, realized one”.
-Many scholars, with little agreement between them, have discussed the meaning of Seiðbereindr. The first part, seið, means “magic”, as in Germanic magic, which is not to be confused with the chicanery that rose after Christian missionaries banned Forn Sed, or the “Old Ways”, which are the ancient folk customs of pre-Christian Europe. These are the original and untainted Old Ways from which modern Wicca and Witchcraft has sprung. This is the pure and unadulterated Old Ways, untainted by Christian or other external elements; additions that would not only alter Seið, making it something else, but also detract from the diligent study of Seið – which is presented in pre-Christian influenced folklore as a consistent practice with an overall format.
The second word is berendr or bera, meaning “to bear, carry, convey”. Conjoined, the two words, seið and berendr, mean ‘bearer of seið’, or ‘bearer of the old customs’, or ‘magic bearer’. Because scholars attached to a university must adhere to an academic standard that restricts them from speculation, these scholars cannot say that Seið was a practice that was ‘conveyed’ or ‘borne’ from one person to another. If they did, they would be forced to admit that Seið is a wisdom tradition. As a Völva and Seið scholar, not attached to a contemporary university, I contend that Seið was indeed a wisdom tradition, based on its close relation with Forn Sed – “Old Ways; Ancient Customs” – a term often used to describe Seið. After all, Old Ways had to be conveyed or passed down, not simply picked up or read about in a book, as in new age magic.
–Jötun is loosely translated as ‘giant’, but this is neither wholly correct nor descriptive. It is interesting to note that there are ten words in Old Norse that begin with Jö, and all of them relate to Jötuns. In that the lineage galdr has not been changed by Christian ideas, the question becomes: “Why are Heathen magic-users mentioned in a single verse with Jötuns?”, and, “In what way are Jötuns connected to Seið?” Both questions will be addressed shortly.
Now to the parental or primal lineage in this galdr: Víðulfi, Vilmeiðr, Svarthöfði and Aurgelmir.
–Víðulfi means, “far-roaming wolf”, so that all Völva’s can trace their lineage to a far-roaming wolf.
–Vilmeiðr, is a two-part word meaning, “will” and “long beam, pole, gallows’ tree”. Combined the word means “willing long beam”, or ‘to wish for the long beam’, or ‘to desire the gallows’ tree’. All Vitki’s can trace their lineage to someone who consciously and deliberately made a purposeful choice to hang in a rite of self-sacrifice / initiation.
–Svarthöfdi means, “blackheaded one”, so that all Seiðbereindr, or ‘bearers of seið’, can trace their lineage to the blackheaded one.
–Aurgelmir means “primal-, original-, first-shrieker”. He is more commonly known as Ymir, which means, “groaner”. All Jötuns can trace their lineage to him – the first shrieker, the primal sound.
Upon further study we will arrive at a greater understanding of these lineages and the inherent might found in each; so those who seek the wisdom of Seið: Listen well!
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