In the past this introduction course was offered in Sweden on "Viking Land". However, I have received a lot of feedback from people saying they'd prefer to do the introduction course in a more accessible and convenient location (ideally London, UK) as this will help them make up their mind about committing to more advanced work (my Seiðmaðr or Seiðkona 2 year program) in Sweden.
This course next runs between Monday 27 April and Friday 1 May 2020 in London SE14, 3 minutes from New Cross Gate Station.
This is a non-residential course and you remain responsible for your own meals. There are many B&B options in the area and there also many shops and cafes just around the corner.
The contemporary Swedish word Fornsed means "the old customs and traditions". The word Seiðr is Icelandic (but Old Norse in origin). Sejd is the contemporary Swedish word for Seiðr. People always ask how these words are pronounced: well, it depends on what Scandinavian language you choose to speak but an approximation is "foornsayd" (Fornsed), "sayd" (sejd) and "saythr" (seiðr ) respectively.
My introduction course covers the larger field of spiritual and mystical traditions I will refer to as Norse Shamanism: the indigenous ancestral pathways of Northern Europe. I teach this material in traditional ways, closely following both the ancient texts (meaning the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda) and the old Scandinavian traditions and folklore.
However, we can't all "become Vikings" and go live in Scandinavia! In my courses I marry serious scholarship to direct revelation. (Meaning that we study the old material very closely but we also invite the gods, goddesses and inhabitants of the Nine Worlds to communicate with us directly and tell us how they wish to work with us in the context of the 21st century. Years of teaching tells me that the gods need human beings to evolve - as much as human beings need the gods to evolve. It is a sacred partnership - not one-way traffic!
This course covers all traditional aspects of Sejd: exploring the nine worlds and their inhabitants, the roles of human beings, 'uteseita' (sitting out), the ancient art of poetry and the quest for knowledge (think of Odin!)
We carve our own runes and do a High Seat ceremony, we make power objects, we study the role galder (ancient songs and chants) and the metaphysical dimension of Viking spirituality, we work with the Norns and concepts such as the Web of Wyrd and Orlog, we explore shape shifting, "berserking" and the "knowledge competitions" the gods engage in.
We also discuss the role of blot (sacrifice) and the main festivals on the Norse calendar. We look closely at masculine and feminine principles in Norse lore and I take that work much further in my 2 year program.
The Norse Sagas and Myths
We will explore Norse Creation Stories as well as the myths about the end of the world: Ragnarök or Ragnarøkkr (Old Norse; meaning Fate of the Gods and Twilight of the Gods, respectively).
Yggdrasil and the inhabitants of the Nine Worlds
I will introduce Yggdrasil (the world tree that holds up the universe) and the inhabitants of all the Nine Worlds (gods, goddesses, Norns, Valkyries, dwarves, elves, giants etc.) and provide a map for exploring these worlds.
We will explore the workings of Urdr's Web (commonly translated into English as The Web of Wyrd) and the role of the Norns in spinning the lines of destiny (even for the gods!) We will look briefly at the concept of Changing the Weave (and we will take that much further during advanced work in my 2 year program in Sweden)
Uteseita or Sitting Out
Sitting out, ideally at night and on grave mounds (or at cross roads), to contact dead Volvas, ancestors, deities or other spirit beings is a traditional way of receiving guidance and visions. (Native American peoples call this a vision quest but "sitting out" is an indigenous terms from Northern Europe. (I make every effort to avoid cultural appropriation as I do not practice any Native American form of shamanism and I have not worked with Native American teachers!)
Carving or creating our own set of runes
We study the runes, following the Norse order and names (not the Anglo-Saxon system!) and a personal set of runes for our own work. We explores what it takes and what it means to become a rune magician.
We explore the place and use of other power objects in Norse Shamanism
We will briefly look at spells and traditional magical workings
(Far more of this is covered in my 2 year program in Sweden)
Shapeshifting and berserking
The principles underlying these phenomena as explained by "the anatomy of soul" viewed through the Old Norse lens
The magical power of songs and speech
Ceremonial offerings to the gods, especially at particular times of the year (major festivals)
The Wisdom or Knowledge competitions in the Eddas
Way may taste "divine speech" and learning through this tool.
(In the old Icelandic sages there often occur between a god and a giant, or between a hero and a giant. The loser risks losing their life, bride or greatest treasure...)
The Norse Gods and Goddesses
We get to know the Norse gods and goddesses: their teachings, energy and character traits. Their days of the week. The interaction of sacred feminine and masculine principles in Norse lore.
The roles of human beings in this cosmology: the Volva (or ‘Sibyll’, Prophetess), Gode and gydja: the local spiritual leaders. The male “gode” was also chief as there was no division between religion and government.
The concept of the spiritual warrior in Norse Lore and the teachings of both Tyr and Odin
The principle of sacrifice made in return for spiritual gain. Examples are Odin's Eye and Tyr's arm or hand.
Divination and Prophecy
We explore how seidr can be used for divination and oracular work
High Seat Ceremony
We perform a High Seat ceremony. Some people may have experienced a High Seat Ceremony introduced by American teachers with different personal backgrounds and varying levels of scholarship (and mastering Scandianvian languages - or not). I wish to make it very clear that the High Seat Ceremony we will perform is the traditional Scandinavian version as it has always been performed in local communities - not an Americanized theatrical version thereof.
Hail Day’s Sons
Hail Night and her daughter
Look upon us twain
With loving eyes
And give those sitting there speed
Hail to the Gods
Hail the Goddesses!
Hail the generous earth
Sayings and sage wit
Give to us wisdom
and goodly speech
And healing hands for life
Poetic Edda – Sigrdrifumal , stanzas 2-3
Choosing a teacher
On the Shamanic Healing page on this site I provide pointers for choosing a shamanic practitioner- as this person will literally be handling your soul. Choose your practitioner with the same care as you would selecting a brain surgeon for your child!!
I will say the same thing for choosing a teacher of Norther Tradition studies (or indeed any form of committed spiritual studies). The teacher you choose will shape your journey forever and in doing so have a lasting influence on your life and own work.
I may the right teacher for you or I may not be - I urge you to consult your own spirit allies and choose with great care!
If at all possible I also urge you to choose a teacher who presents material that has some connection to your ancestors - so key figures in worlds unseen will step forward to support your work.
Imelda Almqvist, London, 10 November 2020