Title: "Jim For the Win"
For a time period, I considered relocating myself to Boston, the university of Amherst, to obtain a master's degree in the Icelandic Sagas, and become a voice in the anthropological world of Magic and Medieval European Literature. Though I ended up in the educational field, this was certainly not what happened. Regardless, this topic has been a favorite of mine for years.
Witchcraft, the mighty pomp of the superstitious world. The garden of delights for the early scientist and explorer, while also the desert of delusion for some. Witchcraft is as much a part of the European spirit as are the elements which compose its manifest and aetheric dimensions. Magic for many of us seems as natural a faculty, even as an ideal as breathing or eating. Contrary to the medieval literary and martial campaigns against the practice of magic, the European man and woman has always felt akin to the spiritual imposition of will amongst his or her immediate surroundings. Even in times of extreme duress, magic and witchcraft survived throughout the ages, crossing aeons and exists still, across the boarders of the known world, in virtually every country. Where there is tradition, and even the slightest vestige of ritual, there- the spirit of witchcraft will always be. Sometimes magic is seen hidden within a tradition like Santeria or Hoodoo/Voodoo, mixed with Christianity, and though considered in origin to be a staple and practice of Paganism, found it's academic, "calculable" and public resurgence was within the lens of the Hermetic Qabalah of the Golden Dawn, a Rosicrucian or Christian Pantheist-styled society of scholars and intellects. Considerably through the years, the discipline of a European Magic or Witchcraft has seen many revisions and "purified" itself to the point where some accept a general Hermetic variation of such that echoes a more archaic and primordial time of rustic Goddess cults and folkish nature worship that combines the systematic arcane of the new as well as the traditions of the land which has always been.
In Scandinavian (and related) culture, Witchcraft assembles into a few categories or schools of thought that span from ancient to modern:
Seidr: The Scandinavian Shamanism. Emotive, oracular, prophesying Witches that would enter into trances to bring a piece of information or essence back with them into the material universe. IE: “That must be the place of sacrifice, and Hrolleif is meant to go there when his mother has completed her rites and all her witchcraft" and then she's moving around like the exorcist. Common amongst females and attributed to the clan or tribe of the Vanir (the nature divinities, early and considered more fair or feminine), Seidr when practiced by men were criticized for such things as "Ergi" (which means Gay). Odin was critiqued by Loki for practicing Seidr in the Eddas.
Galdr: The verse, the mighty chant of the song. Attributed to the clan or tribe of the Aesir in their poetic ways. Very little is known of Galdr, other than what is left in the prose Edda, and how to compose Eddic styled poetry in the "Galdic" sense. Ways to harness such runic combinations and structures are completely lost, but there are revivalist groups who either continue to search or claim the knowledge of such systems within their secretive teaching.
Staves: basically, sigils. The most famous one being the Helm of Awe. Similar to runes, these symbols claim by their castors and carvers to contain magically conductive properties.
Hex Signs: undoubtedly influenced by staves. Common amongst the Germanic countries in the farmlands. Mathematical and mirror imagery claim to have magically conductive properties.
Most likely, these many different microsystems where employed by a Witch or Sorcerer that composed the entirety of their craft, these are just some of the common ones from Scandinavia. If anyone has anything else that I've so idiotically forgotten and would like to add to the equation, please contribute.