Icelandic Magic by Stephen E. Flowers
I have read Icelandic Magic: Practical Secrets of the Northern Grimoires by Stephen E. Flowers, Ph.D, and I can straight away recommend it for anyone interested in esoteric matters.
At around 100 pages it is a rather quick read. It is also written in an easier language than many other esoteric books, making it a good starting point. I am currently reading Introduction to Magic by Julius Evola and the UR group (which will be the subject of a coming article), and compared to those books, Icelandic Magic is much more accessible. Below are some interesting aspects of the book which I thought to highlight.
Iceland, like all Nordic countries, has had three different religious time-periods; Pagan, Catholic, and Protestant. As in most other countries that experienced these shifts, it was not a matter of an overnight change – rather, the transition happened gradually and many traditions survived into the later eras. Yule (Christmas) is a good example of this, although it changed and adopted Christian elements – just as it has changed even more over the last century.
One would perhaps expect rune magic to be a phenomenon restricted to the Pagan era. However, the practice continued throughout the Catholic era and long into the Protestant era (and is now alive again thanks to the work of the author). Moreover, just as Icelandic society as a whole became influenced by Christianity, so did the rune magic become influenced. Below is a quote from the book showing this:
‘In the world of magicians this meant that Christian figures could sometimes be used right next to pagan deities. And as our wondrous example in spell 46 of the Galdrabók shows, the northern sorcerer was so free magically that he could use the names of Odinn, the Saviour, and Satan in the same litany.’Stephen E. Flowers
On a similar note, a majority of runestones in Sweden are actually from the Christian era (which is why you often see crosses on them).
Legendary Black Books
The Galdrabók is an Icelandic grimoire (a book of spells) written in the latter part of the 1500s. The book contains references to Germanic Paganism, which is interesting considering the fact that it was written in the Protestant Reformation Era (as mentioned above, much survived from previous eras). The book found its way to Denmark, and eventually came into the possession of a Swedish* philologist named Johan Gabriel Sparfwenfeldt.
*The author refers to him as Danish, but he was a Swedish diplomat (and orientalist, courtier, and, as mentioned above, philologist – a true renaissance man!).
The Galdrabók was translated into English by the Stephen E. Flowers in 1989 – which incidentally is the year of my birth. It is now in the possession of Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien (The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences). I will investigate the possibility of seeing it – if that is possible, I will make a videolog for Odysee and YouTube to show it.
Rauðskinna is another book of magic. According to legend it was compiled by Bishop Gottskálk Niklásson the Cruel (1469–1520). Rauðskinna translates as Red-Skin and is said to be a grimoire of magic dating from the Pagan period.
Gráskinna (Grey-Skin) is another grimoire, which is translated and constitutes the second part of the Icelandic Magic book.
The Sator square (which conceals the Paternoster formula) was found in Nordic practice. Icelandic Magic includes a reproduction of a Sator square that was found on the bottom of a silver bowl dating to the 1300s. The bowl was found on Gotland (the sacred island in the Baltic). The author notes that the Paternoster (Our Father) may actually predate Christianity. This is based on a Sator square found in Pompeii (the Roman city that was buried under volcanic ash in AD 79). This may show that the Our Father prayer was used by another sect, most likely the Mithras cult. The Mithras cult appears in Dauntless: The Wild Hunt Edition and will appear in coming articles and books as well – it is a highly interesting topic!
Regardless of the origins of the Paternoster, it was used in Icelandic rituals – and most likely came to Iceland as a part of Christian influence. To give an example, there is a concealment spell (if you want to hide something from others) that requires a reading of Paternoster.
Moreover, regarding incantations, the author points out that ‘the power of a name’ is a reoccurring phenomenon in magic texts. I elaborate on a similar topic in Podcast Episode 11. Demigod Mentality.
Practical Rune Magic
As mentioned above, the second part of the book consists of practical instructions for rune magic (taken from the Gráskinna).
The magic itself will be easier to do if you have some experience with meditation – when you draw the runes/staves/signs, you must visualise them in your mind. Some drawing practice may also be in order before doing a ritual to ensure that you can draw the sign in a fast and beautiful manner during the ritual itself.
In addition to plenty of spells (signs to draw and words to read etc.), there is also a practical guide to set up the ritual table. The recommended equipment is also listed: pens, parchment or paper, straightedge, compass, candles (not all are required for all spells).
Moreover, in Icelandic folklore, four guardian land-spirits watch over Iceland: a dragon in the east, a large bird in the north, a bull in the west, and a mountain giant in the south. These can be summoned in your mind (via an incantation and visualisation) to shield the practitioner before a ritual – epic stuff!
Again, I can definitely recommend the book for those interested in topics like this. I would also like to salute Stephen E. Flowers for his tremendous work in bringing these old texts back to life. When reading the book, I got got good vibes – perhaps as a result of ancient spirits blessing my quest for enlightenment!