April 26th, 2010

loki

Magic, Religion & Asatru

I've found that since most people come to Asatru after at least a brief exposure to Wicca or the general neo-pagan crowd... that sometimes 'newbies' are prone to asking about the 'magic' but never about the Gods or ritual structures.

If you're coming to this religion, you should learn the religion first BEFORE you learn our magicoreligious traditions. Frankly speaking, they are codified by the lore of our cosmology, so NOT studying the religion first will limit you in your studies of magical items.

I know I get asked about terminology for magicworkers all the time, and asked questions if we do have magic traditions. Yes, we do have unique to the ancient Germanic/Scandinavian sources our own intrinsic magicoreligious traditions: galdr, runemal, leechcraft, seidr/spae. We have evidence of them throughout our lore. BUT they're not necessary to practice this faith, and of themselves do not constitute religious expression. Sure believers can use them in ways that supplement our faith. In some cases they may be the tools of the shaman or liminal figure in the community, in other cases they may perhaps be more accessible to all.

If you're heathen and practice the indigenous types of magic, I wouldn't call you a witch (just because it's too often associated with Wicca, although as others say all Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccans). It's like saying a bruja or curandera is a witch. Different cultures had different things, ultimately they're all magic workers... but the terms and names in context to that culture can mean very different things NOT synomous with one another.

I've seen terms in our tradition like vitki, volva, seidkonna, spakonna, galdkonna used to describe women of such skill. Seidman, etc. for the men. Sometimes I think we focus so much on the names, where really it's nothing but semantics and isn't overly important.

To me a Nordic Wiccan, is someone who following the tenets of Wicca just practices those in the context of the Norse pantheon. Since Wiccan beliefs are different than Asatru/heathen beliefs calling yourself a Norse Witch, is really just inviting a bunch of headache by folks that don't understand. Sure they may not KNOW what vitki, or seidkonna, etc. mean, but if they ask, you can always reply "it's a type of magical tradition specific to the ancient Norse culture."