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Unformatted text preview: Magic in Nordic Context
March 8, 2010 Business as Usual Maymester course, SCAN 3205 Maymester course, Scandinavian Folk Narrative; filling up! Updates on Harpa Spring Festival Wednesday's class based on clicker Garden of the Gods, April 18 Possibility of doing your final project as a short performance at the Festival discuss options with me if interested Would reduce the written component Tweets with hashtag #HarpaFestival questions DuBois Intercultural Dimensions of the Seir Ritual Ritual and Intercultural Exchange Seir a distinctive religious ritual Most examples from the Icelandic sagas Frequently related either directly or Easily detectable and identifiable Thus easy to trace from one culture to next Widespread in the Nordic region indirectly to Sami or Finns by the Norse Acknowledgement of origin Strong support for intercultural relations 1) Foretelling of future, divinatory ritual ON Perspective on Seir 2) Pursuit of individual, shamanistic ritual Hired service, useful, communal practice Stigma, Christian and nonChristian alike 3) Casting of spells and curses, seir ritual Hired service by individual, potentially harmful Invasion in private lives, ability to harm Practice feared and condemned Hired service by individual, deliberately harmful Invasion or destruction of body Practitioner feared, condemned, even ostracized Sami / Finn Perspective Shaman as a healer; ritual of trance Stigma and condemnation by other Retrieving of souls Mediator between subject and spirits Addition of drumming and dance Reverence, not stigma, within culture cultures and religions, especially Norse Norse fear, yet fascination in's spell to catch the souls of "witches" in "Hvaml" Christian condemnation and persecution Diviners usually female (vlva, vala), but Gender Division some examples of males (spmaur) Practitioners of seir of both genders Admired ability in ordinary people, especially men, where it brought respect and reputation Women more often subjects of nonbelief Males sorcerer, warlock (seikarl, seiskratti) Females sorceress, witch (seikona, norn) Sorcerers more common and more powerful than sorceresses in the sagas* *Note that this statement contradicts Seir feminine by definition Gender Relation Does NOT mean that all or even most Involves leaving body vulnerable, giving up power, assuming passive position "ergi" Indirect aggression, entering bodies and affecting souls (sneaky attack without weapon) Associated with Freyja, Vanir, agrarian deities Direct relation to ambiguous sexuality practitioners of seir were women* Ample evidence of the contrary *Again, contradicting DuBois Cultural Definitions of Magic Positive Acceptable Masculine Straight forward To heal and protect Official teaching Offered assistance Identifiable Norse From the sir inn Should not include seir Runic The Two Types of Magic Negative Condemned Feminine Deviant To harm and destroy Secret learning Hired assistance Identifiable foreign From the Vanir Freyja Frequently includes runes Seir Both important to society and widely practiced Both Odinic; powerful and potentially dangerous Question 1
Your are dirt broke and you find an ATM card on the ground. In your desperation you carve runes on the card, smear it with your blood and chanting Pink Floyd's "Money" you ram the card into the next ATM; miraculously it works out pours money. You have just used . . . A) Runic Magic B) Seir Practice, Power, and Purpose Who you are is more important for your magical association or abilities than the "material" you use Sigur is human warrior, his magic runic, positive and acceptable, useful in everyday life inn is a god, may use runes (we don't know what kind), but incantations and purpose of his spells closer to seir than to runic magic Clear because we are told he uses the Futhark Why? Because that's the extent of his abilities "Hvaml" vs "Sigrdrfuml" Why? Because he can his power makes him god Strong enough and dangerous enough not to suffer the stigma of seir Seir in the Sagas Terminology
Insinuation of passive homosexuality i.e. submissiveness, penetration, loss of masculinity, reputation and status* Ergi (n): passivity, giving up masculine status Argr (adj): passive, feminine Ragr (adj): cowardly N (n): The insult/insinuation of passive homosexuality (regardless of facts) *Has nothing to do with sexual orientation of the person insulted or accused For Recitations "The Singing Match" The Kalivala The Singing Match
Briefly summarize the poem who is doing what? Why? What are their powers? Where and how do we see magic used, and how does this competition connect to ON understanding of seir? Schedule
Readings: DuBois, Chapter 6 "The Intercultural Dimensions of the Seir Ritual" Snorri's Edda pp 5965 Saga excerpts, on CULearn: Egils saga (ES, Scorn pole"), Gsla saga (GS, Curse), Laxdla saga (From Laxdaela), and Eiriks saga (From Eiriks saga) From Icelandic Folk and Fairy Tales, on CULearn "The Wizards of the Westman Islands" (FT, Wizards) and "The Serpent of Lagarfljt" (FT, Lagarfljot) From The Kalevala, "The Singing Match" (Singing Match, CULearn) Tuesday: Online quiz from all readings Wednesday: Clicker questions on texts in context
Recitations: The Kalivala ...
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- Spring '08