I often get asked my take on Seidr, and often what specifically Seidr is. This small text is but my own take and perspective on Seidr as a whole. Seidr often also called Seith is simply put as Norse Magick and Shamanism. The word Seidr comes from the old Norse seiðr meaning “Cord, String and/or Snare”. The practice of Seidr as defined by many is the practice of peering onto the Web of Wyrd (web of reality) and altering its course of motion. Essentially it is the art of weaving destiny itself.
Now to a general practitioner of magick myself this practice of altering the course of future is simply the art of being the cause to in turn create change. With this in mind Seidr simply put, is the heart of magick itself. I would argue that any practitioner of magick in more or less every ritual is attempting to alter the future. The magician has a desired result they want to achieve and manifest, and as such they enter into to ritual to become the cause of that manifestation which would be the result. With this in mind, I would say Seidr is not just the heart of magick, but the very practice of the Law of Cause and Effect. As a common analogy, the practitioner of Seidr is an explorer of the wyrd and the weaver of threads.
It is commonly believed by many the practice of Seidr is akin to Shamanic Journeying and while this may be a common practice of Seidr, it is not the totality. As E.A Koetting said to me himself, his pathworking was to journey the nine realms. However, shamanic journeying I would say is but a small aspect of the practice of Seidr. Any time a practitioner casts a spell they are in turn being the cause in an inevitable effect. As I stated in my own realization of Galdr, every word is a spell. We are always doing magick and casting magick, most people unintentionally. Since in my own definition of Seidr, it is the practice of causality upon the web of reality then indeed its much like magick itself, in which everyone is taking part.
Setting aside my lecture on unintentional magick, what is the intentional practice of Seidr. Many of the common practices include, Shamanic Journeying, Divination, Dream Walking, Spell Casting, Blessing and Cursing to name but a few. Indeed, if the practice is focused on peering upon the web of wyrd itself or to cause change upon it then it is Seidr.
In a historical sense, we have the image of the practitioner, with their ritual staff in hand, entering trance and traveling the nine worlds on some task perhaps even prophetic. Rituals for divination, exposing secrets of the mind and body, healing, luck, and some other mundane uses. Be it for a good harvest or a good day fishing the possibilities are endless. With these kinds of rituals in mind I would say it is more than likely that there were practitioners who used these techniques to inflict pain, illness, misfortune, and the like. With all great power, there is a polarity in its usage.
In Norse mythology, there are two main figures that are known for the work in Seidr. Odin and Freyja. Freyja is known to be a Völva and considered to be the one who brought the art of Seidr to the gods. It is said that Odin learned Seidr from Freyja. Typically, I have found when aspiring modern Vitki’s and Völva’s seek to learn the art, they go directly to either Odin or Freyja.
In the modern sense, Seidr is the art of the shaman and many modern practitioners and re-constructionists such as myself commonly associate shamanic practices to Seidr. The art of becoming one with the natural currents and being able to utilize them as assets and extensions of the self. To peer upon reality itself, and create change. Magick it is said, “Is the art and science of causing change to occur in conformity with will” as said by Crowley. I have found Seidr to be more or less exactly the same as it is in this definition. It is the heart of Norse Magick, the true essence of Cause and Effect, and the pinnacle of spell casting.