Much speculation but little fact has been written of Seidr craft or trance magic of the ancient Norsk. Trance Magic is a misleading term and should be placed in its proper perspective. There are many who claim that the shapeshifting ability of the ancients was little more than visions that took place during unconscious or "trance" states. This attitude should be discounted as a lack of understanding of the principles involved.
Trance is only the first of the states required for learning to effect a "sending". The trance condition is necessary for novice volva or vitki in order to learn effective use of Seidr magic but it isn't the whole of the craft. Blocking out "real world" distractions is a paramount skill. Without it little can be accomplished in the shadow realms. It is useful to clear the mind and enhance the shaman's ability to focus and visualize the desired conditions. Ideally, the practitioner should be able to achieve a trance state by will alone. To attain the mental dispelling necessary for this feat sometimes requires years of practice. However, with the judicious use of certain techniques most novices can develop a basic trance state within weeks of beginning their training. The techniques include repetitive sound, visual focus devices and a variety of herbal substances. A few of the less dangerous techniques are included here.
As with all disciplines Seidr magic has many levels of expertise. In the most basic level the practitioner is able to project images into the minds of susceptible individuals that are interpreted first as dreams and later as real events. In more advanced students the projected image takes on a physical reality and in the adept can become a true reality. The substance of our world and the extradimensional worlds that surround it are more or less mutable. That is, we can by focusing will, cause both apparent and real changes in the fabric of our existence. Most practitioners begin with little or no ability to shape or shapeshift. Their arena is limited to the space inside their minds. Now, that is a wide space indeed, but nothing when the true vastness of reality is considered. The true art of Seidr lies in the ability to create shapes in your head and impress them on the outside world.
Before attempting Seidr techniques you must be aware of a few simple but important conditions. First, it isn't a game. It isn't Dungeons and Dragons and it isn't comic books. Its an ancient tradition with very real power. Second, its dangerous for the unprepared. Even in the lightest trance state you are open to outside influences. Without the proper protection you can receive mental and emotional injury and in deeper states the damage can be physical. Always work in a protected area preferably a circle. Third, forget all the crap you've learned from the New Agers. Don't open yourself without purpose. Don't expect every being you meet to be benevolent and don't blindly go to the light. Fourth, white isn't always good, black isn't always bad and red is always dangerous. Fifth, if you want to learn Seidr to work woe on someone, its a lot simpler to slash their tires or pour coke on their keyboard. This is work.
The Basics: (This text assumes some knowledge of magic tools and principles. Otherwise you shouldn't try this.)
The novice should always work in a protected circle. It can be as simple as a circle drawn in red chalk on your basement floor to as complex as you want it to be but use it. Dedicate or consecrate it each time you use it unless you happen to live in an established temple located on a major ley line convergence. Gather your tools and trace the circle either clockwise or counter-clockwise as you desire while standing inside. Most of the left-hand right-hand influence in magic is a recent Christian oriented invention. The same goes for inverted or reversed runes. It really doesn't matter. The circle should be large enough for you to lie down with arms extended without overlapping the edge and to accommodate any tools you have with you. Around the inside edge inscribe no less than three, preferably nine, Yr runes (AKA Elhaz) pointing outward from the center. If you're not familiar with runes, take the time to learn and meditate on Fe, Thur, Ass, Yr, Sol and Ehwaz. These six runes will get you through most situations but a working knowledge of all the runes is to be desired. A chart with the most basic of attributes is available here. While drawing the circle, chant your intent. Use words to the effect that the circle you create is a haven against harm and a safe resting place for your body while you're gone.
Once the circle is completed, don't cross it for any reason until you've finished your ritual. This includes reaching outside to pickup a tool you forgot or having someone hand you an item. If you have to break the circle, stop everything and start over.
Recels, a form of incense, are an important tool of the Seidr worker. A faring forth recel has a base of mugwort and/or wormwood with additional ingredients added for specific effect. For example, add pine or cedar if your destination is a wilderness setting while sweeter fragrances would be used for working passion or love spells. For more information on the properties of herbs view the related pages available from the main menu. The recel is burned after the circle is formed and while you add the finishing touches. Its important to have a clear mental picture of exactly what you intend to accomplish during any Seidr working and to use whatever symbols you need to accomplish your task. In this respect a working knowledge of Runecraft is very helpful. You can use that knowledge to inscribe your circle with the necessary protection and direction you need. Its not essential but highly recommended.
Your first efforts should always be toward the singular end of making contact with your fylgja. The fylgja is similar to but not exactly the same as an animal totem or spirit guide. It is more than either of these in that it is as much a part of you as it is of the outside. Some practitioners think of it as the animal shape of your soul. I tend to consider it one of many shapes. Regardless of what shape it might assume, don't think of it as a servant. It is a much more intimate relationship. Always treat it with respect and never place it in danger. The form of each individual's fylgja will be unique but certain basic forms are common. Wolf, fox, cat, hawk, boar, bear and horse are the most likely forms you will encounter but others exist and virtually any animal form is possible. The occasional wyrm or dragon and seemingly human forms do manifest but these are unusual and should be considered most fortuitous. With this in mind, novices should always include the Ehwaz rune in the construction of their circle. This rune is specific for shapeshifting and contacting your fylgja.
When the circle is drawn and your inscriptions complete lie down in the center with your working tools close by. With eyes closed visualize a forest path beginning at the edge of your circle. It is dark and waves of mist billow and shift as you rise from you sleeping body. The scent of herb smoke lingers and you can see a glowing red line where you circle holds back the shadows. Fix in your mind your vitki name and persona. (Never give your real name while faring. Your fylgja will know you and no one else needs to.) Step away from your body and onto the path. As you walk you will likely hear strange sounds from the shadows. Pay no attention to the rustles and growls. Just keep your feet on the path. Sooner or later you will meet another creature pacing the path toward you. This will most likely be your fylgja. If it is, you will hear it speak your true name inside your head. If you hear anything other than your true name, trace the Yr rune in the air in front of you and push it toward the creature. Baneful creatures will be forced off the path but that doesn't mean you can trust those that are unaffected. Treat them as you would any stranger in strange surroundings. To be certain that you have indeed found your fylgja, return to your circle. A true fylgja will follow and enter the circle with you. Others will be stopped by the circle's protection. From that time it will dwell within you until you have need to send it faring.
From the trance state you can send lesser thought forms to carry messages or to deliver spells. Those sensitive to such things will see them as birds or bats if they fly and various small animals if they travel on the ground. For more important or difficult tasks you will need to ride your fylgja. Again from inside the prepared circle burn the recels and chant your purpose. Feel the hide of your inner animal move like smoke to the edge of the circle and take solid form. Then move quickly into the mist shrouded shadows and make your way to your destination. Remember that although some individuals can see your spirit shape, most will only perceive you in the dream state. But, whether or not they consciously remember the meeting it will have an effect on them.
In the beginning you should keep your forays close to your physical location. At least until you learn to manage your new body. And, while it is rare to become lost while faring, it can happen. Also try to avoid movement that seems to be sharply downward into the earth. This is in reality taking you into the lower realms and into the domain of some very dangerous creatures. The Swart Alfr or Dark Elves are seldom friendly to human visitors. Unless you have very good reason or something to trade with them, stay out of their realm. You will also find that time runs differently in the lower realms so you may return to your body and find that hours or days have passed. Upward movement will generally be difficult for beginners but once achieved is usually less dangerous. Still there are creatures on all levels that serve self first. Be careful.
Work in Progress -- More to Come Soon