Thorbjorg, “the little witch” or as I prefer to use the Norse word, Spakoa, as that does not carry the Christian baggage of witch.
This was a time of the Conversion and even in remote Greenland the Christian Church had made it’s presence known, so there were those that held to our Elder Way and those that had come to accept the White Kriest. This is an interesting story of one such encounter.
It was a time of famine, crops had failed In the Fall, the hunters were also not doing well and some hunters did not return home.
One of the more prosperous farmers, Thorkell thought it his duty to call for a Wise Woman to give counsel. So, he used his farmstead as a place to hold a gathering and dinner for guests from other farmsteads. He and others wanted to know if this famine would persist and how fare the next year.
As the custom of one respected. the High Seat in his hall. was set for the Seereeses arrival, men were sent to escort her to Thorkell’s home. On the High Seat was placed pillows filled with hens feathers and decorated. The Seeress was one sister of nine and she was but the last one alive. She was met and treated as an honored guest. She spoke little if any. She was dressed in a dark blue mantle, tied at the neck, it was decorated with stones from top to bottom, around her neck she wore glass pearls and on her head was a black hood made out of lams fur, dressed on the inside with white cat’s fur, in her hand she held a wand with a steel knob at the end and surrounded with stones. She wore a belt with a large pouch attached, in which held magical equipment, (if from what was found on the Oseborg Ship, a burial of two women of renown, that pouch of one woman held cannabis seed, and amulets), the ship burial shows the importance of women that were, Spakona,(wisdom of the wise woman, that speaks).
The meal that Torkell had prepared was of a porrage of goats milk, and the hearts from all kinds of animals of the farm. After the meal, Thorkell asked, “how she liked the house and customs of the farm. She said she could not say until she spent the night.
At dawn she was given her things she had brought with her and asked if the women present knew of the words of the old songs, so that the spell called (Vardlokur,vard=ward,guardian spirit, lokur= to invoke or call), there were no such women that remembered that were present. So, a call was sent for anyone that knew the old songs, and then Gudrid said, ‘I am not versed in magic, or a wise woman but my foster mother, Halldis taugh me on Iceland a song that call the spirits. However, I am a Christian and I care not to help.’ Then Thorbjorg said,’ maybe you can help the people, you will not be the worse for doing it.” So Gudrid consented to help. Then the women held hands around the platform upon which stood the High Seat as Gudrid sang the spell song, so beautify that none thought they had heard it done so well.
Now the Seeress said, “I see many things that before were hidden from me and others. To you Thorkell, this famine will end and not last past this present winter, plague, that has ridden us will pass swiftly, faster than though possible. Gudrid, ‘I shall reward you immediately for the hep you have offered. As for your destiny, you will have the best marriage here in Greenland but it will not last to long, for your path is destined for Iceland and from which will be born a clan that is great and good. Over your descendants brighter rays are shinning that I have the power to see clearly. Farewell and be whole daughter.
In the Norse concept the meaning of the word, whole relates to the concept of the body, mind and spirit being well, healthy, as the word holy or Helga Old Norse.
Conclusion; With just this one story about a far flung out post of a European colony at the time of the Conversion shows how Our Ancient Way influenced the worth and dignity of women and the respect shown to people of exceptional ability be it farmer, priest and warrior.
Asatru Folk Assembly