How the blog works

The poems on this blog are mostly written on the basis of my historical reading and are intended to be both educational and entertaining.
Recently I have also begun posting some of my work with Anglo-Saxon charms. This work is somewhat speculative and is conducted as an amateur researcher and keen Pagan historian.

Please feel free to use anything on this site as a resource if you think that it may be relevant to your needs.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Galdre

As soft sun slips down, the wizard didst cast,
In long robe with broach, as done in the past.
The height of summer, sunshine burning bright,
Spell crafting by singing, into the night.

With galdor in verse, invoke Spider Wight,
Silently spinning, on this sacred site.
Earth fast standing stone, now older than time,
Focusing spirit, in verse and in rhyme.

Palest moon shadow, raising his right palm,
Conjure Earth forces, with ritual to charm.
Intone runic spell, four quarters to north,
From realm of spirit, moon magic shines forth.

Sacred stone lichen, wilt guard against elf,
Sing nine times over, for restoring health.
Whoso doeth it, has curse of the priest,
In thousand winters, this wilt not have ceased!

Combine with some herbs, protect thee from harm,
Working with magic, wilt elf shot disarm.
Make offerings to stones, as the witches say,
May the way of Wyrd, please keep galdre fay.

Copyright Andrew Rea March 2014

Notes to 'the Galdre'

Galdre is the old English for wizard.
Galdor is the old English for spell or charm which were sung when cast.
Spider Wights are goodly supernatural creatures. Spiders were sometimes kept in a pouch and worn around the neck to bring protection.

From Lacnunga 74 we have reference to using the four quarters in a spell.

The use of lichen from stone crucifixes in charms against diseases caused by elves is mentioned in Leechbook III LXII-1

Bishops and priests were known to place curses on followers of the old ways.

Laws of Aelfred C890: some men are so blind that  bring their offering to
earth-fast stone and also to trees and to wellsprings, as the witches teach.

In Stoodleys analysis of 1636 undisturbed adult Anglo-Saxon burials, from forty-six sites of early Anglo-Saxon England he counted nineteen males buried with womens dress accessories (4.63%). These may have had a ritual status as a shaman or wizard. There is potential correlation between this and the Scandinavian association of men performing seidr with cross-dressing.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

A puzzle from Lacnunga CV

Here is an untranslated incantation from a healing charm in an Anglo-Saxon medical manuscript:

Ecce dolgula medit dudum bethegunda brethegunda
elecunda eleuachia mottem mee renum ortha fuetha
letaues noeues terre dolge drore uhic. alleluiah •

Can anyone help translate this, you would be the first!

I have tried an online translator, Latin produces a few words (see my notes below). It may include elements of Old Irish (this was common in Saxon times to add power to the charm) these words may then have been miscopied. Anyone having any knowledge of Old Irish of even modern Irish may be able to see a word or two.

My notes:

Lacnunga CV
In the Lacnunga this is written as one paragraph, without a heading, I have separated the text into two paragraphs for clarity.

Ecce dolgula medit dudum bethegunda brethegunda
elecunda eleuachia mottem mee renum ortha fuetha
letaues noeues terre dolge drore uhic. alleluiah •

Singe man this gebed on th se man drmcan wille nygan sithan. 7(&) pater noster nigan fithan.

Translation of the second paragraph
Let one sing this prayer over that which a man is about to drink, nine times, and the Paternoster nine times.

The first paragraph
Although one can find a few Latin words and even two OE words in this charm it refuses to be translated, nevertheless we can however find metre, alliteration and indication of  half lines; all the hall marks of Anglo-Saxon poetry.
Possibly the meaning has been lost through an accumulation of errors coming from many copying’s of the text.
One can imagine a læce (healer) or galdre (wizard) chanting this galdor (charm/spell) rhythmically nine times over the sick to induce a healing state.
We notice again the use of the number nine which was to the Anglo-Saxon’s the most sacred number.

If we add Caesuras (breaks in the lines) we get:
Ecce dolgula medit dudum    bethegunda brethegunda
Elecunda eleuachia    mottem mee renum ortha fuetha
Letaues noeues terre dolge   drore uhic. alleluiah .

Which I think gives a metre:
9 8
8 9
8 8                              

The use of the charm is lost without its heading and the location in the manuscripts offers little help: it is found between CIV For a woman who cannot rear her child and
CVI. Against churnels (swollen glands).

Using Latin
Ecce dolgula medit dudum bethegunda brethegunda
See               eats   lately
elecunda eleuachia mottem mee renum ortha        fuetha
motto of my kidneys orthodox
letaues noeues terre dolge drore uhic. alleluiah

     land                              alleluia 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

An attempt at recreating an Anglo-Saxon Pagan charm against stomach sickness

The recreated Pagan charm against stomach sickness:
I swear to Wodan, our Drychten, who cured the horse of Baldr. The Scucca that causes such bad pain in thy stomach, that is the source of health of thine servants. In thy holy name, give healing to (Insert name).
So mote it be.
(See notes below)
Basis of the charm written in a margin of an Anglo-Saxon document:

With magan seocnesse. (MS. C.G.C. 41, p. 346, margin).

Adiurer (Adiuua) nos deus salutaris noster exclude angelum
lanielum malum qui stomachum dolorem stomachi facit
sed in dormielo sancto angelo tuo sanitatem serui tui
in tuo sancto nomine sanationem ad ad tribuere

Against stomach sickness

I swear to God, our Saviour, who shut out the evil angel
Lanielum (the) wicked, stomach pain in his stomach that makes
but the health of thine servants. Thine holy angel Dormielo
in thy holy name, give healing to (Insert name).
so mote it be.
Likely original of the note, from a similar note, in the margin of Bede (volume given by Leofric to Exeter P326)

Adiuua nos deus salutaris noster exclude angelum sanielem (should read Lanielum) angelum malum qui stomachum dolorem stomachi facit sed in dormielo sancto angelo tuo sanitatem serui tui in tuo sancto nomine sanatione(m) ad ad tribuere. per”

Help us God, our Saviour, who shut out the evil angel Lanielum
(The) wicked angel, who makes the stomach pain in his stomach, but the Holy Angel Dormielo your health to give to your servant in your holy name of healing. by

Notes to the recreated charm
Drychten is the Old English (OE) for lord.
Baldr was a son of Wodan and a god of light. He is mentioned in one of the two Merseburg Incantations (C9/10) where he rode into a wood with Phol (Baldr). There Balder's horse was injured, and Wodan, with goddesses, cured the horse with charms.

Goblins or demons in OE these were known as scucca. The OE word scucca has lent itself to a number of fantastic beasts across our landscape the most famous of which is possibly Black Shuck, an East Anglian demon dog.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

A charm of protection


This Anglo-Saxon charm of protection was written as a note in a margin.  It has a beauty of its own. I have had some fun with it sweeping out references to the new religion and replacing them with reference to the old! Note: Drychten was the OE word for lord and here is a reference to Wodan.

Fly leaf Leechdoms  (MS. C.C.C. 41, p. 400 margin).
A charm of protection

I fortify myself in this rune staff and deliver myself into Wodan's allegiance,
against the sore sigh,
against the sore blow,
against the grim horror,
against the mickle terror, which is to everyone loathly,
and against all the loathly mischief which into the land may come:
a triumphant charm I chant,
a triumphant staff I bear.
Word victory and work victory:
let this avail me,
let no night mare mar me,
nor my belly shrink me,
nor fear come on me ever for my life, but may Drychten heal me.

Wodan worthy of all glory, as I have heard, heavens creator and eke, Frigg, a thousand of the bright elves I call to be a guard to me against all fiends. May they bear me up and
keep me in peace and protect my life,
uphold me altogether,
ruling my conduct; may there be to me a hope of glory.
Hand over head:
the hall of Valhalla,
the regions of the glorious and triumphant, of the truthful wights.

With all blithe mood I pray, that for me, hand over head:
dragon be helmet,
boar coat of mail,
a light life's bulwark,
Wayland my sword, sharp and sheer edged,
linden my shield, embellished with glory.

Ye Seraphim, guardians of the ways!
Forth I shall depart,
friends I shall meet,
all the glory of the ese,
through the lore of Drychten.

Now pray I to the victor for the mercy of the gods,
for a good departure,
for a good, mild, and light wind upon those shores,
the winds I know,
the encircling water,
ever preserved against all enemies.

Friends I shall meet, that I may dwell in Valhalla, yea, in his peace, protected against the loathsome one, who hunts me for my life, established in the glory of the ese, and in the hand of the mighty one of Valhalla, while I may live upon earth.

So mote it be.