Icelandic magical staves


Icelandic magical staves (sigils) are symbols credited with magical effect preserved in various grimoires dating from the 17th century and later. According to the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, the effects credited to most of the staves were very relevant to the average Icelanders of the time, who were mostly subsistence farmers and had to deal with harsh climatic conditions.

Table of magical staves

Name Description Image
Að fá stúlku To get a girl. Icelandic Magical Stave adfastulku.svg
Ægishjálmur Helm of awe; to induce fear and to protect against abuse of power. Aegishjalmr.svg
Angurgapi Carved on the ends of barrels. Purpose unclear. Icelandic Magical Stave angurgapi.svg
Brýnslustafir For use on whetstones. Icelandic Magical Stave brynslustafir.svg
Draumstafir To dream what your heart desires. Icelandic Magical Stave draumstafir.svg
Dreprún To kill an enemy’s cattle.[2] Icelandic Magical Stave dreprun.svg
Feingur fertility rune. Icelandic Magical Stave feingur.svg
Gapaldur Two staves, kept in the shoes, gapaldur under the heel of the right foot and ginfaxi under the toes of the left foot, to magically ensure victory in bouts of Icelandic wrestling (glíma). Icelandic Magical Stave gapaldur.svg
Ginfaxi Icelandic Magical Stave ginfaxi.svg
Hólastafur To open hills. Icelandic Magical Stave holastafur.svg
Kaupaloki To prosper in trade and business (19th century manuscript). Icelandic Magical Stave kaupaloki.svg
Lásabrjótur To open a lock without a key. Icelandic Magical Stave lasabrjotur.svg
Máladeilan To win in court.[3] Icelandic Magical Stave maladeilan.svg
Nábrókarstafur Necropants, a pair of pants made from the skin of a dead man that are capable of producing an endless supply of money.[4] Icelandic Magical Stave nabrokarstafur.svg
Óttastafur To induce fear. Icelandic Magical Stave ottastafur.svg
Rosahringur minni A lesser circle of protection. Icelandic Magical Stave rosahringurminni.svg
Smjörhnútur Butterknot, to ensure butter was procured through non-magical means. Icelandic Magical Stave smjorhnutur.svg
Stafur gegn galdri Staves against witchcraft.[5] Icelandic Magical Stave stafurgegngaldri.svg
Stafur til að vekja upp draug To invoke ghosts and evil spirits. Icelandic Magical Stave stafurtiladvekjauppdraug.svg
Þjófastafur For use against thieves.[6] Icelandic Magical Stave thjofastafur.svg
Tóustefna To ward off foxes.[7] Icelandic Magical Stave toustefna.svg
Varnarstafur Valdemars Valdemar’s Protection Stave; increases favor and happiness. Icelandic Magical Stave valdemar.svg
Vatnahlífir Protection against drowning. Icelandic Magical Stave vatnahlifir.svg
Vegvísir To guide people through rough weather. Vegvisir.svg
Veiðistafur For luck in fishing. Icelandic Magical Stave veidistafur.svg

[edit]

Havamal


 Hávamál (“Sayings of the high one”) is presented as a single poem in the Poetic Edda, a collection of Old Norse poems from the Viking age. The poem, itself a combination of different poems, is largely gnomic, presenting advice for living, proper conduct and wisdom. The verses are attributed to Odin, much like the biblical Book of Wisdom is attributed to Solomon. The implicit attribution to Odin facilitated the accretion of various mythological material also dealing with Odin. For the most part composed in the metre Ljóðaháttr, a metre associated with wisdom verse, Hávamál is both practical and metaphysical in content. Following the gnomic “Hávamálproper” follows the Rúnatal, an account of how Odin won the runes, and the Ljóðatal, a list of magic chants or spells.   The Hávamál is edited in 165 stanzas by Bellows (1936). Other editions give 164 stanzas, combining Bellow’s stanzas 11 and 12, as the manuscript abbreviates the last two lines of stanzas 11. Some editors also combine Bellow’s stanzas 163 and 164. In the following, Bellow’s numeration is used. The poems in Hávamál is traditionally taken to consist of at least five independent parts, the Gestaþáttr, or Hávamál proper, (stanzas 1-80), a collection of proverbs and gnomic wisdom a dissertation on the faithlessness of women (stanzas 81-95), prefacing an account of the love-story of Odin and the daughter of Billingr (stanzas 96-102) and the story of how Odin got the mead of poetry from the maidenGunnlöð (stanzas 103-110) the Loddfáfnismál (stanzas 111-138), a collection of gnomic verses similar to the Gestaþáttr, addressed to a certain Loddfáfnir the Rúnatal (stanzas 139-146), an account of how Odin won the runes, introductory to the Ljóðatal the Ljóðatal (stanzas 147-165), a collection of charms Stanzas 6 and 27 are expanded beyond the standard four lines by an additional two lines of “commentary”. Bellow’s edition inverses the manuscript order of stanzas 39 and 40. Bellow’s stanza 138 (Ljóðalok) is taken from the very end of the poem in the manuscript, placed before the Rúnatal by most editors following Müllenhoff. Stanzas 65, 73-74, 79, 111, 133-134, 163 are defective. Stanzas 81-84 are in Malahattr, 85-88 in Fornyrthislag. The entire section of 81-102 appears to be an ad hoc interpolation. Stanza 145 is also an interpolation in Malahattr. [edit]Contents [edit]Gestaþáttr The first section Gestaþáttr, the “guest’s section”. Stanzas 1 through 79 comprise a set of maxims for how to handle oneself when a guest and traveling, focusing particularly on manners and other behavioral relationships between hosts and guests and the sacred lore of reciprocity and hospitality to the Norse pagans. The first stanza exemplifies the practical behavioral advice it offers: All the entrances, before you walk forward,you should look at,you should spy out;for you can’t know for certain where enemies are sitting,ahead in the hallNumber 77 is possibly the most known section of Gestaþáttr:  Deyr fé,deyja frændr,deyr sjálfr et sama;ek veit einn,at aldri deyr:dómr of dauðan hvern.Cattle die,kinsmen diethe self must also die;I know one thingwhich never dies:the reputation of each dead man.[4][edit]On women Billingr’s girl watches on while Odin encounters the bitch tied to her bedpost (1895) by Lorenz Frølich. Stanzas 84 to 110 deal with the general topic of romantic love and the character of women. It is introduced by a discussion of the faithlessness of women and advice for the seducing of them in stanzas 84-95, followed by two mythological accounts of Odin’s interaction with women also known as “Odin’s Examples” or “Odin’s Love Quests”. The first is an account of Odin’s thwarted attempt of possessing the daughter of Billing (stanzas 96-102), followed by the story of the mead of poetry which Odin won by seducing its guardian, the maiden Gunnlöð (stanzas 103-110). [edit]Loddfáfnismál The Loddfáfnismál (stanzas 111-138) is again gnomic, dealing with morals, ethics, correct action and codes of conduct. The section is directed to Loddfáfnir (“stray-singer”). [edit]Rúnatal “Odin’s Self-sacrifice” (1908) by W. G. Collingwood.The younger Jelling stone (erected byHarald Bluetooth ca. 970) shows thecrucifixion of Christ with the victim suspended in the branches of a tree instead of on a cross.[5]Rúnatal or Óðins Rune Song, Rúnatáls-þáttr-Óðins (stanzas 138-146) is a section of the Hávamál where Odin reveals the origins of the runes. In stanzas 138 and 139, Odin describes his sacrifice of himself to himself:  Veit ec at ec hecc vindga meiði anetr allar nío,geiri vndaþr oc gefinn Oðni,sialfr sialfom mer,a þeim meiþi, er mangi veit, hvers hann af rótom renn.  I know that I hung on a windy treenine long nights,wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,myself to myself,on that tree of which no man knowsfrom where its roots run.Við hleifi mic seldo ne viþ hornigi,nysta ec niþr,nam ec vp rvnar,opandi nam,fell ec aptr þaðan.No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn,downwards I peered;I took up the runes, screaming I took them,then I fell back from there.The “windy tree” from which the victim hangs is often identified with the world tree Yggdrasil by commentators. The entire scene, the sacrifice of a god to himself, the execution method by hanging the victim on a tree, and the wound inflicted on the victim by a spear, is often compared to the crucifixion of Christ as narrated in the gospels. The parallelism of Odin and Christ during the period of open co-existence of Christianity and Norse paganism in Scandinavia (the 9th to 12th centuries, corresponding with the assumed horizon of the poem’s composition) is also evident from other sources. To what extent this parallelism is an incidental similarity of the mode of human sacrifice offered to Odin and the crucifixion, and to what extent Christianity exerted direct influence on the mythology associated with Odin, is a complex question on which scholarly opinions vary. [edit]Ljóðatal The last section, the Ljóðatal enumerates eighteen charms (songs, ljóð), prefaced with Ljóð eg þau kann / er kann-at þjóðans kona / og mannskis mögur“The songs I know / that king’s wives know not / Nor men that are sons of men” (stanza 147).The charms themselves are not given, just their application or effect described. They are explicitly counted from “the first” in stanza 147, and “a second” to “an eighteenth” in stanzas 148 to 165, given in roman numerals in the manuscript. There is no explicit mention of runes or runic magic in the Ljóðatal excepting in the twelfth charm (stanza 158), which takes up the motif of Odin hanging on the tree and its association with runes, svo eg ríst / og í rúnum fá’g“So do I write / and color the runes”Nevertheless, because of the Rúnatal preceding the list, the Ljóðatal has been associated with the runes, specifically with the sixteen letters of the Younger Futhark. Müllenhoff takes the original Ljóðatal to have ended with stanza 161, with the final three charms (16th to 18th) taken as late and obscure additions. [edit]Germanic Neopaganism The difference of sixteen runes of the Younger Futhark vs. eighteen charms in the Ljóðatal has notably motivated proponents of Germanic mysticism to expand the row by two extra runes. The best-known attempt to this effect are the Armanen runes by Guido von List (1902). Various proponents of Germanic Neopagan groups place an emphasis on Hávamál as a source of a Norse pagan ethical code of conduct. The “Nine Noble Virtues”, first compiled byOdinic Rite founder John “Stubba” Yeowell in the 1970s are “loosely based” on the Hávamál.[citation needed] The Northvegr Foundation cites the Hávamál among other Old Norse and Old English sources to illustrate “the ethical ideal of the Northern spiritual faith of Heithni.” Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, leader of the Icelandic Ásatrúarfélagið, published his performance of a number of Eddaic poems, including the Hávamál, chanted in rímur style.

 

Hávamál (“Sayings of the high one”) is presented as a single poem in the Poetic Edda, a collection of Old Norse poems from the Viking age. The poem, itself a combination of different poems, is largely gnomic, presenting advice for living, proper conduct and wisdom.

The verses are attributed to Odin, much like the biblical Book of Wisdom is attributed to Solomon. The implicit attribution to Odin facilitated the accretion of various mythological material also dealing with Odin.

For the most part composed in the metre Ljóðaháttr, a metre associated with wisdom verse, Hávamál is both practical and metaphysical in content. Following the gnomic “Hávamálproper” follows the Rúnatal, an account of how Odin won the runes, and the Ljóðatal, a list of magic chants or spells.

The Hávamál is edited in 165 stanzas by Bellows (1936). Other editions give 164 stanzas, combining Bellow’s stanzas 11 and 12, as the manuscript abbreviates the last two lines of stanzas 11. Some editors also combine Bellow’s stanzas 163 and 164. In the following, Bellow’s numeration is used.

The poems in Hávamál is traditionally taken to consist of at least five independent parts,

  1. the Gestaþáttr, or Hávamál proper, (stanzas 1-80), a collection of proverbs and gnomic wisdom
  2. a dissertation on the faithlessness of women (stanzas 81-95), prefacing an account of the love-story of Odin and the daughter of Billingr (stanzas 96-102) and the story of how Odin got the mead of poetry from the maidenGunnlöð (stanzas 103-110)
  3. the Loddfáfnismál (stanzas 111-138), a collection of gnomic verses similar to the Gestaþáttr, addressed to a certain Loddfáfnir
  4. the Rúnatal (stanzas 139-146), an account of how Odin won the runes, introductory to the Ljóðatal
  5. the Ljóðatal (stanzas 147-165), a collection of charms

Stanzas 6 and 27 are expanded beyond the standard four lines by an additional two lines of “commentary”. Bellow’s edition inverses the manuscript order of stanzas 39 and 40. Bellow’s stanza 138 (Ljóðalok) is taken from the very end of the poem in the manuscript, placed before the Rúnatal by most editors following Müllenhoff. Stanzas 65, 73-74, 79, 111, 133-134, 163 are defective.

Stanzas 81-84 are in Malahattr, 85-88 in Fornyrthislag. The entire section of 81-102 appears to be an ad hoc interpolation. Stanza 145 is also an interpolation in Malahattr.

Contents

Gestaþáttr

The first section Gestaþáttr, the “guest’s section”. Stanzas 1 through 79 comprise a set of maxims for how to handle oneself when a guest and traveling, focusing particularly on manners and other behavioral relationships between hosts and guests and the sacred lore of reciprocity and hospitality to the Norse pagans.

The first stanza exemplifies the practical behavioral advice it offers:

All the entrances, before you walk forward,
you should look at,
you should spy out;
for you can’t know for certain where enemies are sitting,
ahead in the hall

Number 77 is possibly the most known section of Gestaþáttr:

 

Deyr fé,
deyja frændr,
deyr sjálfr et sama;
ek veit einn,
at aldri deyr:
dómr of dauðan hvern.
Cattle die,
kinsmen die
the self must also die;
I know one thing
which never dies:
the reputation of each dead man.

On women

Billingr’s girl watches on while Odin encounters the bitch tied to her bedpost (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.Stanzas 84 to 110 deal with the general topic of romantic love and the character of women.

It is introduced by a discussion of the faithlessness of women and advice for the seducing of them in stanzas 84-95, followed by two mythological accounts of Odin’s interaction with women also known as “Odin’s Examples” or “Odin’s Love Quests”. The first is an account of Odin’s thwarted attempt of possessing the daughter of Billing (stanzas 96-102), followed by the story of the mead of poetry which Odin won by seducing its guardian, the maiden Gunnlöð (stanzas 103-110).

Loddfáfnismál

The Loddfáfnismál (stanzas 111-138) is again gnomic, dealing with morals, ethics, correct action and codes of conduct. The section is directed to Loddfáfnir (“stray-singer”).

Rúnatal

“Odin’s Self-sacrifice” (1908) by W. G. Collingwood.The younger Jelling stone (erected byHarald Bluetooth ca. 970) shows thecrucifixion of Christ with the victim suspended in the branches of a tree instead of on a cross.Rúnatal or Óðins Rune SongRúnatáls-þáttr-Óðins (stanzas 138-146) is a section of the Hávamál where Odin reveals the origins of the runes. In stanzas 138 and 139, Odin describes his sacrifice of himself to himself:

Veit ec at ec hecc vindga meiði a
netr allar nío,
geiri vndaþr oc gefinn Oðni,
sialfr sialfom mer,
a þeim meiþi, er mangi veit, hvers hann af rótom renn.
I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.
Við hleifi mic seldo ne viþ hornigi,
nysta ec niþr,
nam ec vp rvnar,
opandi nam,
fell ec aptr þaðan.
No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there.

The “windy tree” from which the victim hangs is often identified with the world tree Yggdrasil by commentators. The entire scene, the sacrifice of a god to himself, the execution method by hanging the victim on a tree, and the wound inflicted on the victim by a spear, is often compared to the crucifixion of Christ as narrated in the gospels. The parallelism of Odin and Christ during the period of open co-existence of Christianity and Norse paganism in Scandinavia (the 9th to 12th centuries, corresponding with the assumed horizon of the poem’s composition) is also evident from other sources. To what extent this parallelism is an incidental similarity of the mode of human sacrifice offered to Odin and the crucifixion, and to what extent Christianity exerted direct influence on the mythology associated with Odin, is a complex question on which scholarly opinions vary.

Ljóðatal

The last section, the Ljóðatal enumerates eighteen charms (songs, ljóð), prefaced with

Ljóð eg þau kann / er kann-at þjóðans kona / og mannskis mögur
“The songs I know / that king’s wives know not / Nor men that are sons of men” (stanza 147).

The charms themselves are not given, just their application or effect described. They are explicitly counted from “the first” in stanza 147, and “a second” to “an eighteenth” in stanzas 148 to 165, given in roman numerals in the manuscript.

There is no explicit mention of runes or runic magic in the Ljóðatal excepting in the twelfth charm (stanza 158), which takes up the motif of Odin hanging on the tree and its association with runes,

svo eg ríst / og í rúnum fá’g
“So do I write / and color the runes”

Nevertheless, because of the Rúnatal preceding the list, the Ljóðatal has been associated with the runes, specifically with the sixteen letters of the Younger Futhark.

Müllenhoff takes the original Ljóðatal to have ended with stanza 161, with the final three charms (16th to 18th) taken as late and obscure additions.

Germanic Neopaganism

The difference of sixteen runes of the Younger Futhark vs. eighteen charms in the Ljóðatal has notably motivated proponents of Germanic mysticism to expand the row by two extra runes. The best-known attempt to this effect are the Armanen runes by Guido von List (1902).

Various proponents of Germanic Neopagan groups place an emphasis on Hávamál as a source of a Norse pagan ethical code of conduct. The “Nine Noble Virtues”, first compiled byOdinic Rite founder John “Stubba” Yeowell in the 1970s are “loosely based” on the Hávamál.[citation needed] The Northvegr Foundation cites the Hávamál among other Old Norse and Old English sources to illustrate “the ethical ideal of the Northern spiritual faith of Heithni.”

Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, leader of the Icelandic Ásatrúarfélagið, published his performance of a number of Eddaic poems, including the Hávamál, chanted in rímur style.

 

Some Swedish Runestones (Photo: Eric Brate, 1910´s)


marsiouxpial:  Rune stone, Västra Ledinge, Uppland, Sweden (via Swedish National Heritage Board) “Rune stone (U 518) in Västra Ledinge. The inscription says: “Torgärd and Sven, they had this stone raised in memory of Ormer and Ormulv and Fröger. He met his end in the sound of Sila (Selaön island), and the others abroad in Greece. May God help their spirits and souls”. Runsten (U 518) i Västra Ledinge. Ristningen säger: “Torgärd och Sven de läto resa denna sten efter Ormer och Ormulv och Fröger. Han slutade sitt liv norrut i silu (Selaön) och de andra ute i Grekland. Gud hjälpe deras ande och själ”. Parish (socken): Skederid Province (landskap): Uppland Municipality (kommun): Norrtälje County (län): Stockholm Photograph by: Erik Brate Date: 1916 Format: Glass plate negative”

marsiouxpial:

Rune stone, Västra Ledinge, Uppland, Sweden (via Swedish National Heritage Board)

“Rune stone (U 518) in Västra Ledinge. The inscription says: “Torgärd and Sven, they had this stone raised in memory of Ormer and Ormulv and Fröger. He met his end in the sound of Sila (Selaön island), and the others abroad in Greece. May God help their spirits and souls”.

Runsten (U 518) i Västra Ledinge. Ristningen säger: “Torgärd och Sven de läto resa denna sten efter Ormer och Ormulv och Fröger. Han slutade sitt liv norrut i silu (Selaön) och de andra ute i Grekland. Gud hjälpe deras ande och själ”.

Parish (socken): Skederid
Province (landskap): Uppland
Municipality (kommun): Norrtälje
County (län): Stockholm

Photograph by: Erik Brate
Date: 1916
Format: Glass plate negative”

marsiouxpial:  Rune stone, Näsby Odensala, Uppland, Sweden (via Swedish National Heritage Board) “Rune stone (U 455) in Näsby Odensala. The inscription says: “Ingefast had this stone raised in memory of Torkel, his father, and in memory of Gunhild, his mother. They both drowned”. Runsten (U 455) vid Näsby Odensala. Ristningen säger: “Ingefast lät resa denna sten efter Torkel, sin fader, och efter Gunhild, sin moder. De druknade båda”. Parish (socken): Odensala Province (landskap): Uppland Municipality (kommun): Sigtuna County (län): Stockholm Photograph by: Erik Brate Date: 1909 Format: Glass plate negative” marsiouxpial:

Rune stone, Näsby Odensala, Uppland, Sweden (via Swedish National Heritage Board)

“Rune stone (U 455) in Näsby Odensala. The inscription says: “Ingefast had this stone raised in memory of Torkel, his father, and in memory of Gunhild, his mother. They both drowned”.

Runsten (U 455) vid Näsby Odensala. Ristningen säger: “Ingefast lät resa denna sten efter Torkel, sin fader, och efter Gunhild, sin moder. De druknade båda”.

Parish (socken): Odensala
Province (landskap): Uppland
Municipality (kommun): Sigtuna
County (län): Stockholm

Photograph by: Erik Brate
Date: 1909
Format: Glass plate negative”

marsiouxpial:  Rune stone, SkrÃ¥msta, Uppland, Sweden (via Swedish National Heritage Board) “Rune stone (U 459) in Skråmsta. The inscription says: “Saxe had these memorials made in memory of Est, his fader, and Torgunn (in memory of) her son.” Runsten (U 459) i Skråmsta. Ristningen säger: “Saxe lät göra dessa märken efter Est, sin fader, och Torgunn (efter) sin son.” Parish (socken): Haga Province (landskap): Uppland Municipality (kommun): Sigtuna County (län): Stockholm Photograph by: Erik Brate Date: 1914 Format: Glass plate negative” marsiouxpial:

Rune stone, SkrÃ¥msta, Uppland, Sweden (via Swedish National Heritage Board)

“Rune stone (U 459) in Skråmsta. The inscription says: “Saxe had these memorials made in memory of Est, his fader, and Torgunn (in memory of) her son.”

Runsten (U 459) i Skråmsta. Ristningen säger: “Saxe lät göra dessa märken efter Est, sin fader, och Torgunn (efter) sin son.”

Parish (socken): Haga
Province (landskap): Uppland
Municipality (kommun): Sigtuna
County (län): Stockholm

Photograph by: Erik Brate
Date: 1914
Format: Glass plate negative”

marsiouxpial:  Rune stone, Harg, Uppland, Sweden (via Swedish National Heritage Board) “Rune stone (U 448) at Harg. The inscription says: “Igul and Björn had the stone raised in memory of Torsten, their father”. Runsten (U 448) vid Hargs gård. Ristningen säger: “Igul och Björn läto resa stenen efter Torsten sin fader”. Parish (socken): Odensala Province (landskap): Uppland Municipality (kommun): Sigtuna County (län): Stockholm Photograph by: Erik Brate Date: 1910-1911 Format: Glass plate negative” marsiouxpial:

Rune stone, Harg, Uppland, Sweden (via Swedish National Heritage Board)

“Rune stone (U 448) at Harg. The inscription says: “Igul and Björn had the stone raised in memory of Torsten, their father”.

Runsten (U 448) vid Hargs gård. Ristningen säger: “Igul och Björn läto resa stenen efter Torsten sin fader”.

Parish (socken): Odensala
Province (landskap): Uppland
Municipality (kommun): Sigtuna
County (län): Stockholm

Photograph by: Erik Brate
Date: 1910-1911
Format: Glass plate negative”

 

 

 

 

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The Roaring Twenties.

Appearantly Louise Brooks can still make a scandal……at least at facebook!

Appearantly Louise Brooks can still make a scandal……at least at facebook!

 

About the 1920´s. Charleston, Jazz

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