Tag: Magic in the Middle Ages

Articles

Odin, Magic and a Swedish Trial from 1484

If we are to believe any number of histories, spiritual life in medieval Scandinavia, and especially the conversion to Christianity, is readily summarized: paganism collapsed against Christian conversion efforts in dramatic fashion at a meeting of the Alþing, or when a missionary bore hot iron, or an exiled king had a deep religious experience, or when a pagan revolt was finally overcome, and so on.

Articles

“A Swarm in July”: Beekeeping Perspectives on the Old English Wið Ymbe Charm

At the same time, however, their differing responses to the remedy attest both to the variation of beekeeping practices and the multivalence of Wið Ymbe itself. The fact that two beekeepers interviewed within two days and two hundred miles of each other can respond differently to the charm’s advice on swarms suggests that we reevaluate unilateral assertions regarding what the text might have meant across the hundreds of years that we now know as the Anglo-Saxon period.

Articles

Runic Magic

A witty, not to say mischievous, Viking archaeologist has defined the first law of runic studies as ‘for every inscription there shall be as many interpretations as there are runologists studying it.’

Articles

The Feminization of Magic and the Emerging Idea of the Female Witch in the Late Middle Ages

While all the separate components of witchcraft—harmful sorcery or maleficium, diabolism, heretical cultic activity, and elements drawn from common folklore, such as ideas of nocturnal flight—were widely believed to exist throughout much of the medieval period, only in the fifteenth century did these components merge into the single concept of satanic witchcraft.