Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in Northern European Paganism

Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in Northern European Paganism

Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in Northern European Paganism

Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in Northern European Paganism

Synopsis

This accessible study of Northern European shamanistic practice, or seidr, explores the way in which the ancient Norse belief systems evoked in the Icelandic Sagas and Eddas have been rediscovered and reinvented by groups in Europe and North America. The book examines the phenomenon of altered consciousness and the interactions of seid-workers or shamanic practitioners with their spirit worlds. Written by a follower of seidr, it investigates new communities involved in a postmodern quest for spiritual meaning.

Excerpt

It's customary to say something about how one comes to write a book. I do that, in part, in the introductory chapter: it is part of the story. Here, though, I wish to say something about 'location': mine, as author. This is not only a book about a loosely defined spiritual community and its practices, but a product of that community. As researcher/practitioner I occupy one those 'strange positions' that Marcus (1999:3) indicates: even more strange because the experiential communities that I explore are at once 'exotic' and personal; strange and familiar; with roots deep in Western society, and yet - because they draw directly on those roots, different, 'irrational' and in many people's eyes 'weird'. Or Wyrd. The word is the same, and implies fate, that which follows, active construction of obligation and meaning.

Next, I am located as a practitioner within the communities I study. I am neither an 'objective' ethnographer, nor a representative member. I belong to some organisations, not others; I run workshops and participate in e-mail groups; I hold opinions and include on my website(s) 'rants' about the politics of practice; I am implicated in the construction of seiðr.

A word about what I am not. I am neither a linguist or an archaeologist, but I draw on both disciplines in what follows. I do so both as practitioner and ethnographer. This book is not only 'about' seiðworkers, it is for seiðworkers (among others), and it is my hope that it may be as valuable (though, doubtless, as disputed) within this community of study as it may be within religious studies, anthropology, or sociology.

Finally, a note about some of the words found here: today's seiðfolk draw on the Icelandic literature, and words from that literature find their way into their discourse-like 'seiðr'. I have been in

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