Thread: Viking magic
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Old 05-24-2018, 04:21 PM   #21
Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Re: Viking magic

Magic (at least among the old Norse) was considered to be for women. That's not to say that men couldn't and didn't practice seidr but to do so was to be considered argr - unmanly (that's putting it nicely, Jackson Crawford at the U of Colorado uses the word "sissy", but he says it really is more of a suggestion that the argr person is a homosexual, or is otherwise "womanly"). Just being called argr was a legal reason for the accused to a duel. In fact, if they DIDN'T duel the insulter they may as well leave their community and exile themselves as they would have lost everyone's respect.

Knowing this, it makes one wonder about the modern concept of Odin as a mighty warrior god when he's the master of sinister, unmanly arts. Yes, he has a hall where half the fallen warriors go, but let's remember that Freya gets the other half for her own hall (and presumably army for Ragnarok).

Interestingly, a woman who took up weapons or even dressed up as a man to fight wasn't considered "unwomanly" or otherwise somehow a traitor to her gender, especially if she took up arms (in sagas) to avenge her father/brothers/sons We have archeological evidence of women warriors, or at least people buried as if they were warriors.

I guess times don't change much. It was fine to go against one's gender stereotype if one was a woman doing a traditionally (for the old Norse) male role but not for a male doing the opposite.
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