An ethnographic study of the reconstruction of seidhr, as 'shamanic' spiritual practice today.
From the back cover of paperback edition:
Shamanistic practices known as seidr, often involving interactions with the spirit world and states of altered consciousness, lie at the heart of the pagan religions of northern Europe. This accessible study explores the ways in which seidr, a key element of ancient Scandinavian belief systems described in the Icelandic Sagas and Eddas, is now being rediscovered and redeveloped by people around the world. The book draws on a wealth of research and experience to analyse the phenomenon and place it in context.
Written by someone who is a practitioner as well as a scholar, this is a unique exploration of what Northern shamans do, and how they speak of the spirits they meet. It is set within discussions of shamanism, identity, insider ethnography and new directions in the anthropology of religion. It will fascinate all those with an interest in the possibilities for alternative spirituality in todays world.
An understanding of seidr and Northern magic, in the old literature or today, requires consideration of the times and places referred to, the political struggles taking place, and the location of people as seidworkers or clients within frameworks of everyday life and work... and furthermore a recognition that neither gender nor class are static properties of individuals, but constructed and reconstructed by and within the community. Today's gendered processes are not those of the tenth century, or before.