Song of Spells

The last section of the Havamal (the sayings of the High One, a wisdom poem attributed to Odhinn) is a section that describes the various spells known to the mysterious singer of the poem. While in many translations they are called runes, the effects and methods are various, from him signing words, to carving runes, to affecting the world simply through will and perception. Other of the runes he knows are descriptive of unique knowledge that singer has possessed or perhaps even heard.

After completing the work of many months of meditating on the Anglo-Saxon and Northumbrian runes, I felt it was a time to move forward into a seemingly unexplored area. While it often seems that many people may be familiar with the Havamal, none seem to seek it as an opportunity to understand and explore the magic of the runes, galdr and other aspects of Northern Tradition practical magic.

While contemplating the section of the poem, and reading the various runes, spells and purposes, it is also my intent to reach out through trance techniques and gain further instruction and understanding from spirit mentors with home I have alliances for instruction and education.

The translation that I have chosen for my main contemplation comes from the following website:

Here is a copy of the complete song of spells. I have placed numbers preceding each stanza which according to the spell given.

Those songs I know, which nor sons of men nor queen in a king’s court knows;

1the first is Help which will bring thee helpin all woes and in sorrow and strife.
2A second I know, which the son of menmust sing, who would heal the sick.
3A third I know: if sore need should comeof a spell to stay my foes;when I sing that song, which shall blunt their swords,nor their weapons nor staves can wound.
4A fourth I know: if men make fastin chains the joints of my limbs, when I sing that song which shall set me free,spring the fetters from hands and feet.
5A fifth I know: when I see, by foes shot,speeding a shaft through the host,flies it never so strongly I still can stay it,if I get but a glimpse of its flight.
6A sixth I know: when some thane would harm mein runes on a moist tree’s root,on his head alone shall light the illsof the curse that he called upon mine.
7A seventh I know: if I see a hallhigh o’er the bench-mates blazing,flame it ne’er so fiercely I still can save it, –I know how to sing that song.
8An eighth I know: which all can singfor their weal if they learn it well;where hate shall wax ‘mid the warrior sons,I can calm it soon with that song.
9A ninth I know: when need befalls meto save my vessel afloat,I hush the wind on the stormy wave,and soothe all the sea to rest.
10A tenth I know: when at night the witches ride and sport in the air,such spells I weave that they wander homeout of skins and wits bewildered.
11An eleventh I know: if haply I leadmy old comrades out to war,I sing ‘neath the shields, and they fare forth mightilysafe into battle,safe out of battle,and safe return from the strife.
12A twelfth I know: if I see in a treea corpse from a halter hanging,such spells I write, and paint in runes,that the being descends and speaks.
13A thirteenth I know: if the new-born sonof a warrior I sprinkle with water,that youth will not fail when he fares to war,never slain shall he bow before sword.
14A fourteenth I know: if I needs must numberthe Powers to the people of men,I know all the nature of gods and of elveswhich none can know untaught.
15A fifteenth I know, which Folk-stirrer sang,the dwarf, at the gates of Dawn;he sang strength to the gods, and skill to the elves,and wisdom to Odin who utters.
16A sixteenth I know: when all sweetness and loveI would win from some artful wench,her heart I turn, and the whole mind changeof that fair-armed lady I love.
17A seventeenth I know: so that e’en the shy maidenis slow to shun my love.
These songs, Stray-Singer, which man’s son knows not,long shalt thou lack in life,though thy weal if thou win’st them, thy boon if thou obey’st themthy good if haply thou gain’st them.
18An eighteenth I know: which I ne’er shall tellto maiden or wife of mansave alone to my sister, or haply to herwho folds me fast in her arms;most safe are secrets known to but one-the songs are sung to an end.

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