seid

Seid, also spelled Seiðr or Seiðhr, is a form of Norse shamanistic magic and divination practiced by the ancient Scandinavian peoples, including the Vikings. Seid was a spiritual and mystical practice associated with the god Odin and the goddess Freyja. It involved rituals, trance states, and communication with the spirit world to gain knowledge, insight, and guidance. Seid practitioners, known as seidkonur (women) and seidmenn (men), were believed to have the ability to see into the future, heal illnesses, influence events, and connect with the spirits of the deceased. The practice of Seid was predominantly associated with women, and female practitioners held significant influence in their communities. This challenged traditional gender roles and may have contributed to the negative portrayal of Seid in later Christian sources, which associated it with witchcraft and sorcery. Seid rituals often involved the use of special objects, such as staffs, wands, and distaffs, as well as chanting, singing, and drumming to induce altered states of consciousness. The practitioner would enter a trance-like state, allowing them to travel between realms and communicate with the spiritual entities. Seid was regarded as a powerful and potentially dangerous practice, as it dealt with powerful forces and the unknown. It was sometimes viewed with suspicion and fear, especially by Christian authorities who sought to suppress pagan practices. Seid is mentioned in several historical sources, including sagas and poems from the Viking Age. Although much of the knowledge about Seid was transmitted orally and may have been lost over time, modern researchers and practitioners have attempted to reconstruct and understand this ancient Norse magical tradition based on archaeological evidence and comparative studies with other shamanistic practices. The study of Seid provides valuable insights into the spiritual beliefs and practices of the ancient Norse people, their connection with the natural world, and their ways of seeking wisdom and spiritual power.