Gardela, Leszek. Into Viking Minds

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  • Author: Gardela, Leszek
  • Title: Into Viking Minds: Reinterpreting The Staffs Of Sorcery Unravelling Seiðr
  • Published in: Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 4
  • Year: 2008
  • Pages: 45-84
  • E-text: Brepols
  • Reference: Gardela, Leszek. "Into Viking Minds: Reinterpreting The Staffs Of Sorcery Unravelling Seiðr." Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 4 (2008): 45-84.

  • Key words:



Gardeła addresses the necessity of multidisciplinary approaches towards the subject of Viking minds, particularly religion, rituals, and beliefs of the Viking Age. In this article, he applies this approach to staffs which where found in female graves in Scandinavia and the British Isles. Icelandic sagas mention staffs in various stories, including the poem Darraðaljóð in Brennu Njáls saga, dating back to the 10th century. Gardeła discusses that seiðr can be traced back to a universal Indo-European root, in which spinning, weaving, threads and circular movements are symbols for fertility and maternity. The staffs can also be interpreted as phallic symbolism or keys. Furthermore, Gardeła approaches seiðr from the study of performances and theatrical perspectives, taking other objects such as furniture and door frames into account for his argument. Gardeła draws the conclusion that seiðr-performing women with staffs are powerful in social and religious spaces, and in charge of beliefs of fate and fertility in a community.


Texta vantar

See also


Chapter 157: Skulum slá sverðum / sigurvef þenna : " Darraðarljóð, dated to the beginning of the tenth century […], constitutes a part of Njáls saga (ch. 157) and describes a scene in which twelve valkyrjur weave a fabric of battle and thus shape human fate according to their will. We might assume that this act influenced the result of the battle with which it was associated. (p. 69)


  • Written by: Katharina-Lorraine Malchow-Roth og Martina Ceolin
  • Icelandic/English translation:
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