One-Eyed Cat: Northern European (Germanic, Celtic and Slavic) Paganism

Teaching safer seidhr (Norse trance work) practice, working with the Gods and spirits. We'll also explore the wider Eurasian influences on central and northern European religion, including Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Baltic, Siberian, Mediterranean and ancient Indo-European beliefs and discuss how to apply them to contemporary practice.

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Asatru 101: What is Seidhr? (Norse Trance Magic)

One of the frequent questions I get from budding Heathens is "Where do I start?". After fielding two such questions in the same day, I began this series of articles. More resources can be found on my website.


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Seidhr ("sayth" or "seethe") is a traditional form of visionary soul-magic, native to Northern and Central Europe. It involves deep empathy, mediumship and trance work, healing, spirit-travel and communication. Mastered by the Goddess Freyja, taught to Odin, and found throughout ancient lore in the form of history, saga and myth, seidhr is still practiced today by both the Saami people and modern Heathens. It is closely related to Siberian practices (from which we get the word shaman), but focuses primarily on Gods, ancestors and the webs of energy and fate.

The Druids and some Icelanders had similar practices. Utiseta ("sitting out") required staying covered up in darkness on top of a burial mound or other secluded place, while seeking a vision or communication with spirits. Druids, bards and poets used the imbas forasnai-- "the light of foresight"-- to see the future in visions or trance.

Seidhr can be used to meet and draw closer to the Gods and beloved ancestors, build friendly bonds with nature spirits, develop spiritually, heal and clear energies, and to inquire and receive advice about the web of fate (a practice called spae, often seen during a high-seat trance session). One of the direct references to seidhr in Norse myth comes from the ancient Icelandic poem Skirnismal, in which the God Frey sits in the kingly "high seat", glimpses the radiant Goddess Gerd in the Underworld, a place he cannot leave to visit himself, and becomes brooding and lovesick until they can be united. Another, from the Prose Edda, involves Loki borrowing Freyja's magical falcon cloak, in order to travel to the realm of the Giants in the form of a hawk.

Both the summoning by Odin and Freyja and the trances of the seers mentioned in Voluspa, Hyndluluid and Baldrs draumar also fall under seidhr practice, as does a historical account from Greenland in The Saga of Eirik the Red.


Need more details on seidhr practice? I'm teaching a workshop on solitary seidh and utiseta at PantheaCon  in San Jose this Friday, February 13th at 9PM, and another on House Wights at 1:30 PM. Please say hello if you're at the conference. I hope to meet some of you there!

For examples of what the experience of seidhr is like, under a variety of conditions, read my articles on trancework here and in the magazines Sacred Hoop, Idunna and Eternal Haunted Summer.

Or read similar posts:


The illustration at top was painted by me.

Cross-posted to Staffandcup.com/seidhr

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Shirl Sazynski was trained by Frey, Odin and Freyja and has been practicing the Norse magical and priestly art of seidhr (trance journeying/fate weaving) for fifteen years. Her column, "One-Eyed Cat", runs in Witches and Pagans Magazine. An oracle, icon painter and author, her work has appeared in both popular and pagan media. She teaches workshops around the US, and was a popular presenter at PantheaCon.

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