Galdr & Seiðr How-To's, Historical Magic

Composing Galdr (Norse Magic Spells) in the Meter of Galdralag

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A Vǫlva’s Distaff by Svein Skare / University Museum of Bergen

A while ago I wrote a post on what galdr is, and I’ve also posted some of my own galdr, along with a photo of my own distaff. This post is on how to compose galdr using specifically the “meter of magic spells,” called galdralag. It’s entirely possible that galdr does not need to be written using this meter, but I personally find that the structure helps.

Before you can begin composing “real” galdr, you must first decide whether or not to employ galdralag and a tune in your poetry and its vocalization. Due to the uncertainty of the nature of the use of galdralag and the uncertainty as to whether melodic chanting was used at all, I cannot tell you whether you should use these things or not, as that is a decision that will vary from person to person depending on their conceptions of risk versus reward, ease of use, and aesthetics, among other things that don’t really need to be listed here. I can tell you though that you might want to compose a few practice spells, some employing galdralag and some not, and then similarly chant them using a tune sometimes, and other times not, so that you can get a feel for the meter and musicality yourself and make it easier for you to decide on your methods.

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Adorations & Devotionals, Bragiteilen's Public Journal, History, Culture & Worship, Worship, Worship Practices

My Formal Oath to Bragi

‘Bragi, I come before you on this spring evening, when the warmth beyond my window nearly mirrors the warmth in my heart. I come before you lucid and tranquil. I come before you without fear, and invite you to share a drink with me and take in the same Jasmine scent that I do now.

‘Skillful Bragi, discerning Bragi, Bragi of a most mindful presence: For every candle I have lit in your honor, you have reflected its light back to me a hundred times. For every meal shared, for every prayer offered, for every pile of incense ashes I’ve collected for you, you have let me taste sweeter things, let me hear lovelier words, and let me breathe more heady fumes. Word weaver and music maker, dweller in libraries and auditoriums alike: you have hastened my learning and bolstered my happiness, and therefore you have also given me precious moments in which to chase even greater knowledge and pleasure. That is a debt which I cannot hope to fully repay, so I will give you the next best thing. Please hear me now as I offer you the greatest gift I have to give.

‘Bragi my mentor, Bragi my friend: From this moment on, my body will be your temple, my hands shall manifest your will. My soul is a garden that grows many fruits for you to eat, a brimming cup from which you can drink, and a bed upon which you can rest. Give me a portion of your time, and partake of what little is mine. If by giving myself to you I can shorten the distance between us, then I do it gladly. Hear this, Bragi, my declaration: What is mine is now also yours, and so shall it be until the day when, by my own death or by your goodbye, I have fulfilled my oath.’

Bragiteilen Oath to Bragi

I finally made my formal oath to Bragi tonight, and completely by accident, I chose the best time for it. I sat on the porch where the incense would be out of the wind and stay lit, and I recited my oath from the sheet of paper I’d printed out, and after that it started to drizzle, and then it started storming. I sat counting the thunderclaps after each lightning strike, and I didn’t feel any different.

Five, six, ten, five, four, five, six, five, ten, and three.

There was no sudden overwhelming sense of duty and there was no regret. It was just me, Bragi, some incense and a cup of water, and Þórr off in the not-at-all-distant sky riding his chariot, first one mile away, then a bit further, then two miles away, then one again, and less than that, and then one and more, and one and two, and then the last lightning strike that touched down near my house before I went inside was just a little more than half a mile away.

I’ve been living as if I was already oathed to Bragi, and in a sort of roundabout way, I may actually have been. I took his name, and there are a lot of people who would say that doing that was as good as making a formal oath, but I wasn’t sure. I knew that I wanted to do it more formally anyway.

I feel calm, with a pleasant buzzing inside my head shaking apart any thoughts that aren’t easy to think. I feel warm and loved. Overall, this went exactly as I hoped it would.

© Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com, 2018. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Enigmatic Gods, History, Culture & Worship, Relationships Between Gods and Mortals, The Gods, Worship, Worship Practices

Some Thoughts on The Alcis

Tonight, my unsated curiosity about the Alcis, the pair of divine brothers worshiped by the Naharvali tribe according to Tacitus, got the better of me as it tends to do quite often. Once again, I found myself looking for more sources, and things I may have missed in the sources I already know, to aid my understanding of the brothers. Though I had some trouble even keeping up with my own thoughts, I tried to make what follows as coherent as possible:

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