As mentioned in previous posts, seidhr (pronounced “say-the”, according to Jenny Blain in Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic) is a Norse/Germanic shamanistic practice that many Heathen magickal practitioners are reclaiming. Seidhr has a mixed wrap. Some people view it as a positive practice for healing, prophesy, faring-forth, shapeshifting, weather-work, wyrd-working, and spirit communication (especially with the Ancestors and Wights, but also the Gods – of course). Others associate seidhr primarily with maleficent workings like mind tampering to cause delusions and bring on madness. If you are looking for a crash course on the who, what, when, where, and why of seidhr, the Viking Answer Lady gives an excellent treatment of this art for those who seek detailed information that is grounded firmly in the lore. Diana Paxson, Kveldulfr Gundarsson, and the folks at Vanic Paganism also wrote very strong articles on the subject. Just follow the links above directly to the articles!
I have been working seidhr for about two years now. The majority of my experiences and budding skills have been in the areas of spirit communication, faring-forth, and prophesy. I have also done some shapeshifting but I am still getting the hang of that. Frankly, the initial phases of shapeshifting can be a little disorienting and disconcerting! There is nothing quite so odd as sliding into the perceptual framework of another creature! Sight, taste, smell, sensation, all change. Not to mention, you get shorter so you are seeing the world(s) from a completely different vantage point :-). Very cool. Very useful. Very wyrd. My hope is that as I improve at shapeshifting, as I become hamrammr (shape-strong), the transition from human to animal and back again will become smoother. What is interesting to me is that something like shapeshifting is not outside the scope of seidhr as defined across ancient and modern Norse/Germanic shamanistic practice. Seidhr is everything that I mentioned above, and more.
At this point in my development as a seidhkona, I feel good about my growing abilities and I of course want to continue to strengthen them for the service of the community. While testing my existing spiritual skills, I also feel like I can take on a little more; I hope to begin learning seidhr for wyrd-working! This totally qualifies as “and more”. I would definitely begin small and work my way up to more complex weavings. I am actually not certain how much a seidhkona can change an individual or group’s wyrd given the profundity of the wyrd – what it means – but I hope to study with a deity or other weal-willing spirit in order to learn more. Soon I will propitiate Freyja for her guidance on the matter likely through both journeying (aka faring-forth) as well as through the runes (my new-found spirit allies in the process of working wyrd). I’ll approach her with questions like: Is this a good course of action for me to take? Is this the right time? What must I learn or do first? And others. I think I may also approach the Nornir for their counsel and, of course, I will consult Odin, whose insight in such matters is quite invaluable. All will receive proper sacrifice of course because nothing in any of the Nine Worlds is free. A gift for a gift as the Havamal teaches. Right now, I am thinking dry mead for Odin, perhaps a rich dark beer for the Nornir, and a cyser for Freyja.
Hail the Ancient “Seithing” Arts and the Ones Who Weave Wyrd!