Finds from the grave of a priestess or Vöelva (sorceress) in ôland, Sweden. Source: Wikipedia

Magic Viking Staffs

The staff or wand was an important accessory used by the Völva when carrying out seid or magic. New book explores the staffs in their literary and archaeological contexts

Magic Staffs in the viking Age Cover(Magic) Staffs in the Viking Age,
By Leszek Gardeła
Series:  Studia Medievalia Septentrionalia, Band 27, Wien.
Verlag Fassbaender 2016

Staffs play a role in some of the oldest ritual tools in human history, serving as important attributes of both gods and supernatural beings. Created from specific materials, endowed with supernatural qualities through the words and gestures that their bearers employed, these were powerful objects with a multitude of applications.
In a new book, Leszek Gardeła returns to a theme, he wrote his thesis on in 2008 and has later treated in a number of shorter articles during the years, beginning with a first exposé, Into Viking Minds: Reinterpreting the Staffs of Sorcery and Unravelling Seiðr, which was published in 2008 . The object of this continued interest is one of the more controversial finds from Viking graves – the long iron rods. Originally understood as roasting spits, they have later been lumped together with corresponding rods of wood and are now generally understood as magic staffs used by professional sorcerers and sorceresses when performing Seiđr. As such these staffs acquired a plenitude of meanings and functions, from symbolic to practical. As such the staff may be understood as the attribute of a völva, the rod keeping up the world, a distaff spinning the future etc.
The book investigates the ideas of the (magic) staffs in the worldviews of the Viking Age Scandinavians and discusses their meanings using both literature and archaeology. Based on a comprehensive study of Old Norse texts and previously unknown archaeological evidence, it provides a history of these objects and uncovers their various forms, purposes and symbolism.

READ MORE:

In: Viking and Medieval Scandinavia (2008), vol 4, pp. 45-84
By Leszek Gardeła
In: L. P. Słupecki, J. Morawiec (eds.), Between Paganism and Christianity in the North, Rzeszów: Rzeszów University (2009) pp. 190-219.

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Finds from the grave of a priestess or Vöelva (sorceress) in Öland, Sweden. Source: Wikipedia

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