“By and large, magic, or specifically, Seiðr was the realm of women, in several capacities. Some women did magic solely to benefit themselves or other women, while others did so to benefit their brothers, fathers, lovers or husbands. In many examples, these magic-women assist or hinder the hero by bolstering their strength or endowing them with magical protection, by creating obstacles to prevent them from attaining their goal or provide challenges for him to be further tested (peorth). In every example, these are portraits of women who move beyond the normally applied confines of the academically accepted role of women in society, namely as care providers, mothers, and nurses. Heathen lore is overflowing with tales of strong magical women who decide their own fate, and in so doing were labeled as “witch” and “harlot” by the newly arrived Christian faith.
According to the first Christian missionaries, these women were “transgressors”, meaning “violators of law and God’s commandments.” (*) As such, their magical deeds, whether it be to harm or heal, were generically labeled as “sin”, and their noble deeds reduced to not but “black magic”. But was their behavior considered ill by their own kin and kith? Were they crossing the boundaries of tribal custom, thew or law? How did the Old European tribes view ‘beneficial’ and ‘bad’ magic?”
~Excerpt from the forthcoming Heathen Anthology, Volume Two (link to Volume One)
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