Were killing arts used in historical seiðr?

Sufficient examples can be found in the early sources to suggest that magical arts women were not held to be generally trustworthy and they were thought of as a rather disreputable company. Furthermore, it was believed that even the glance of a vǫlva if she did not favour you could bring misfortune to you, your animals and even your property.
vǫlva Heiδr æ var hón angan illrar bruδar Ref: Vǫluspa 22
she was always the favourite of wicked women <or an evil wife>


2 thoughts on “Were killing arts used in historical seiðr?

  1. I have a hard time believing that, simply based on other stories that were supposedly factual. Were they feared? Oh, certainly. I think that as Christianity took hold any woman practicing the traditional arts and skills that were a threat to the prevailing new ethos were demonized. But they were certainly respected, as well as feared, in pre-Christian society. What is the best way to get rid of a powerful group that has the ability to subvert your agenda? Demonize them. Take away their legitimacy. Start a moral panic about them.

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    1. Meyjar orðum A maiden’s word
      skyli manngi trúa Must no man trust,
      né því er kveðr kona nor what a woman says,
      því at á hverfanda hvéli for on a whirling wheel
      váru þeim hjörtu sköpuð Where hearts fashioned for them
      brigð í brjóst um lagit and fickleness fixed in their breasts.

      Havamal stz 84
      See esp also stz 113
      In my view, both sorcerers and sorceress were feared and revered. On the one hand, you cannot quote the Havamal as absolute gospel but when it suits, prefer to deny it when a feminist agenda is preferable to argue that it is tainted with a male-dominated Christian bias. From my perspective, it is the oral tradition passed down through the centuries. I personally suspect that the disputed notion of a female dominated Old Europe feminist agenda as proposed by Maria Gimbutas is in part to blame. I am not saying that the female was not supressed by the Christians of old, but magic is not nor has it ever been the sole remit of women, men worked magic with equal potency through the centuries and a balance minus the feminist agenda has to be struck.


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