Albert Björn Shiell 2024


LECTURE: 9 Natures Good and Bad – Icelandic Magical Herbalism

Icelandic folk magic is often overlooked save for the most commonly known magical staves and notions of Viking age witchcraft. In reality the magic of this small nation permeates every corner of the island, throughout time, from the Viking age settlers, to Catholic wizard priests, and later Lutheran ‘stave-crafters’. Icelandic magical herbalism is most often ignored or not deemed as useful as the galdrastafir many practitioners flock to. But the herbs and plants of Iceland have deep magic, known to the wise throughout the islands history. In this lecture we will discuss a little of the cultural and spiritual background that this branch of magical herbalism comes from, before diving into an exhibition of herbal workings gathered from around the country. Learn about the balance of power between Icelandic rowan and juniper, how one can harm and heal with goat willow, how yarrow and meadowsweet reveal the truth and moonwort opens paths. This lecture will mainly draw from the recordings of 19th and 20th Icelandic folklorists, while examining links to the distant past, as well as how Icelandic magical staves and spoken charms are worked with them for all sorts of uses.

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