forn threifa healer

Njals saga mentions Hildigunnr læknir, or ‘Hildigunn (‘war-woman’) the healer’, who cleans and binds the wounds of her father and brother.  If her name means anything, she was both warrior and healer.

Hardar saga og Holmverja mentions Helga (“Holy Woman”) and refers to her as læknir godur/“good healer”.

Droplaugarsona saga mentions Alfgerd læknir, or “Elf-armor Healer”; if her name means anything it may imply wisdom in magic or wisdom gained from Elf-ways.   In this saga, men thought to be dead are brought to a læknir/healer who recognizes that their condition is beyond her skill, so she sends for another healer: Alfgerd.  This woman is able to revive a man thought dead, which indicates a talent in profound visual observation and medical skill, if not, again, Elfish-ways.  From this saga we could possibly assume that the first healer was strictly a physical healer, who realized that one man – gravely wounded – was beyond her skill, so she called a specialist.  If so, then based on her name and the events, it’s easy to consider Alfgerd as a woman skilled in physical treatment and Forn Þreifa – because the man survives.  Nor is Alfgerd alone in this skill; the Cath Maige Tuired, from Celtic Lore, relates that Airmed too is capable of resurrection.

Olafs saga Helga mentions a woman who is binding the wounds of “many wounded men” – performing examinations, cleaning wounds, applying clean bandages, and preparing healing broth.  In this case, the unnamed women are said to be: lækningar/ “receive a fee for healing, for medicine”, and læknirinn/“schooled medical woman”.  Of note: One particular medical woman prepares a broth of herbs and removes a piece of metal lodged in a warrior’s body, in return she is given a gold ring that, just that morning, sat on the finger of King Olaf himself.

-Excerpt: Forn Theifa: Ancient Healing Touch, page 17

Advertisements