Monthly Archives: July 2009

Galdr

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It occurs to me to talk about galdr. It is my idea that galdr are not what others have presented. Often times they are syllables based upon the names of the runes. When I first read those, I was immediately turned off by that. They seemed like simple vocal exercises but without the direction to train your voice. I started taking voice lessons when I was young, and the joy of singing comes from leaving the exercises behind, to actually sing something interesting. While doing galdr can often be as simple as just saying the name of the rune to evoke its energy and direct it towards your intention, singing and writing galdr for your spells seems to give them more juice. Part of the meaning of the word galdr is “song”. Wouldn’t it be more evocative to sing something that was much more interesting to listen to? Everyone can feel the power of their favorite song, or when a song is speaking to their mood or situation. From the hymns sung in church, to familiar childhood tunes, song can wield a lot of power. Why limit the song to simple names, repeated on a drone?

Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to take voice lessons. It can’t hurt, but it’s not a necessity. I am also not saying that you need to study music, although that too can’t hurt. But open up your voice a little. Go get a book about singing. Sing in your car. Open up to the power of the voice. The skalds and poets of the Northern peoples were the ones who wrote sagas, Beowulf and used alliteration to litter their language with lovely sounding syllables using concordant consonances and clever kennings. Some of the greatest song in the world comes from Scandinavian peoples.

Don’t worry about where you think you can sing or not, just let the breath of your lungs pour forth and carry the vibrations of your vocal chords. You can certainly use those vowel and consonant sounds to practice on, practicing with making them louder and quieter, smooth and elegant, or sharp and precise. Run through your vocal range from the lowest pitch to the highest. Take time and repeat each one, over and over, feeling the vibration, the sound as it moves through your body and as it moves into the world around you. Then put it together, and really sing something. You can even adapt a tune of your liking. If all you know is “happy birthday to you” then try putting in other words, something that has been done for centuries. There are many different words to “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” that have varied by language, culture and country. Try writing a galdr to that tune. That doesn’t mean galdr has to be song and music. It can also be poetry and rhyme. While tradition shows that alliteration (rhyming using the first consonants) it doesn’t mean that it needs to rhyme, or that it has to be alliteration. It could also be created by giving a certain rhythm to your speech, or only allowing so many words or syllables to a line. You could write galdr haiku forms (and I have).

You may also find yourself receiving galdr from the various Gods and wights, if you are of that mind. There might be specific galdr that will summon them or maybe a spell or charm that they taught you, or something given to help them in helping you. In my own study, the All father is teaching me personal galdr to work with the runes as spiritual entities of their own, that also help me in remembering their nature and abilities.

Keep a book of your own galdr and practice writing them. Give yourself opportunities to do it on the spot, and see what happens. Song, voice and word is the first and most basic instrument and art people have. Galdr is composed of all three of those, and is also very accessible. Feel free to experiment with different parts, and see what works best for you. See if you can sing a storm, lull the land to rest, or chant to chain your chum from cheating.
And with that I leave you one of my own.

Mouth of men and gods
Soothing words spoken by skalds
Tie yourself to my tongue
Lingering words on my lips
Wrapped in wonder
Speaking spells
Singing songs strong and striking
Hearken and heed my speech
So let men listen close
Feel yourself filled with favor
To all I say, I sing, I sow

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