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An experiential guide to the wisdom preserved in Europe’s far north
• Includes shamanic journeys to connect with deities and your ancestral shamans
• Provides step-by-step instructions to prepare for and conduct a seiðr ceremony
• Draws on archaeological evidence and surviving written records from Iceland
• Reveals the long tradition of female shamans in northern European shamanism
Shamanism is humanity’s oldest spiritual tradition. In much of the Western world, the indigenous pre-Christian spiritual practices have been lost. Yet at the northern fringes of Europe, Christianity did not displace the original shamanic practices until the end of the Viking age. Remnants of Norse shamanic spirituality have survived in myths, folk traditions, and written records from Iceland, providing many clues about the ancient European shaman’s world, especially when examined in conjunction with other shamanic cultures in northern Eurasia, such as the Sami and the tribes of Siberia.
Reconstructing the shamanic practices of the hunter-gatherers of Scandinavia, Evelyn Rysdyk explores the evolution of Norse shamanism from its earliest female roots to the pre-Christian Viking Age. She explains how to enter Yggdrasil, the World Tree, to travel to other realms and provides shamanic journeys to connect with the ancestral shamans of your family tree, including the Norse goddess Freyja, the very first shaman. She offers exercises to connect with the ancient goddesses of fate, the Norns, and introduces the overnight wilderness quest of útiseta for reconnecting with the powers of nature. She explains the key concepts of Ørlög and Wyrd--the two most powerful forces that shape human lives--and provides exercises for letting go of harmful behavior patterns and transforming simple knowledge into profound wisdom by connecting with Óðinn.
Thoroughly examining the shamanic rituals of seiðr, the oracular magic of the Nordic cultures, the author provides step-by-step instructions to prepare for and conduct a seiðr ceremony, including creating your own seiðr staff and hood, and explores the ancestral use of shamanic songs or varðlokur to accompany the ceremony. Woven throughout these exercises, Rysdyk provides archaeological evidence from Neolithic sites supporting the long tradition of venerating wise women, grandmothers, and mothers in ancient cultures and the important role of female shamans at the heart of northern European shamanism. Providing an accessible guide for anyone trying to fulfill their shamanic callings, these powerful rituals can provide personal healing and a clear path for finding our way into a harmonious relationship with the natural world.
Evelyn C. Rysdyk is a nationally recognized shamanic healer, teacher, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking, Modern Shamanic Living, and A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools. A founding practitioner of True North, an integrated medical center in Falmouth, Maine, she is also a founding member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners. She lives in Yarmouth, Maine.
Table of Contents
Simplified Pronunciation Guide to the Norse Words in This Book
The Power of Norse Shamanism
1 Visionaries in Our Family Tree
Engaging with Fire
2 Long Ago and Far Away: Discovering Our Ancestors’ Gifts Using Fire to Meet a Shamanic Ancestor
3 Power in the Female Body
Journeying to Meet the First Shaman
4 Worlds of the Shaman
Journeying to Explore the Nine Realms of Spirit
5 The First Shaman Becomes a Goddess
Journeying to Meet the Nature Goddess/First Shaman
6 The Norns: Mistresses of Cosmic Patterns
Journeying to Urð--The Moment of Manifestation
7 Ørlög and Wyrd: Creation Has No Beginning or End
Journeying to Better Understand Ørlög and Wyrd 86
8 Seiðr as Shamanic Ritual
9 Seiðr and the Sami Connection
10 Preparing to Perform Seiðr
Creating Your Seiðstafr
Getting Your Seiðr Ritual Songs
Empowering Your Seiðr Hood and Cloak
Receiving Varðlokur for a Community Seiðr Ceremony
11 Other Accoutrements of the Völva Journey to Shape-Shift into Your Power Animal, or Fylgja
12 Útiseta: Connecting with Nature’s Power
13 Performing a Group Seiðr Ritual
The Seiðr Ritual
14 The Many Faces of Seiðr
Discovering How You Will Use Seiðr
15 Learning to See: Meeting Óðinn
Meeting Óðinn to Learn to Surrender Unbeneficial Ways of Being
Meeting Óðinn to Safely Drink from Urð’s Well, Urðarbrunnr
16 The Nurturing Tree
Entering the Regenerative Womb of the World Tree
Dedicating a Sacred Tree on or near Your Land
Ragnarök or Renewal?
Appendix A An Introduction to Shamanic Journeying Journey to Meet a Power Animal, or Fylgja