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> Is there a clearcut deliniation between the activities of Spae-work and the activities of seidh-work?
I think so. That's why I call myself a Spaemadher rather than a Siedhmather. My skills lie more along the prophetic and Sight areas. When I go into the High seat I do not go to Hel I go to the Well of Wyrd at the foot of Yggdrasil. I look into it's waters. I then thrust my hands into the waters and pull out a skein (what I can perceive of the tapestry). When someone asks me a question I am lead to their strand. I sort of Dive into it and see what is probable based on now.
Spae means more seeing... It's more of a sub-category under Seidhr.
Seidhr, in my opinion, deals more in "soul stuff." When those more gifted than I communicate with the actual spirits in Hel, they are using a "seidhr" ability. The sagas general talk about the use of these abilities as very bad.
I think that seidhr is a large category of skills and abilities. Faring forth is under this large category. I would argue that shape shifting also though it has it's own name. Potion making using herbs for magickal means I would define as a Seidhr ability if you access the spirits within the herbs.
"Dream riding" (going into another person's dream, it's what I call it.) definitely is. Causing "spirit pain" is one from the sagas. Calling fish is another but whether Thorbjorg spoke to the fish spirits or commanded the fish is a discussion point.
Suffice to say Spae seems to only deal in Sight and foretelling and is also perceived as less threatening than Seidhr.
> What are the differences between the two?
Spae essentially deals in second sight type of things. I see auras, leys, nodes, spirits, people's "aspects," fylgia's (when they wish to manifest), limited views of their orlog and wyrd. With this knowledge, I can nudge things which I consider more a Seidhr ability, perceiving it is Spae.
>Or are these two terms used interchangably?
In Modern heathenry I would say amoung the general people, yes. Amoung us no, we tend to be specific. At least a good portion of the more experienced do. Jordsvin's webpage should also be very well read and it goes into the differences.
A final note. I do Spae those that sit the seat that go to Hel are doing Oracular Seidhr, however, many people call (Swain and Winifred) call this Spae.
> For the life of me I can't see how one doesn't encompass the other.
We really don't completely know what Seidhr is? But above it my opinion, though I'm not a scholar.
>Is there a clearcut deliniation between the activities of spae-work and the activities of seidh-work?
Short answer: no.
>What are the differences between the two? Or are these two terms used interchangably?
It's hard to sort out the meanings. Spá refers to seeing, or speaking prophesy, apparently, but that can be done in many ways. Seidr seems to involve spirit contact or some kind, and associated with seidr are staff, song and seid-platform - but not always.
My feeling is that seidr refers basically to shamanistic activity, altering consciousness to speak to spirits and work with their help, whether to see the future, influence what people do, heal, give protection, or some other activity (calling the fish into the sound for instance).
So, you could do spá, seeing, in ways that involved seidr. This may be what's indicated in the Eiriks saga passage. Or you can do seid-work that includes spá. They can be separate or together depending on what's done and who's doing it. There are other forms of work - hamfarir for instance - that can likewise be separate or linked.
I tend to use 'seidr' to cover shamanistic activity, and a number of other people do likewise, but there's no guarantee that that's how the word was always used.
Finally, in the sagas 'seidr' seems more disapproved of than 'spá', and it seems you may get people called spae-worker or seid-worker depending on their relationship to the hero/ine and the role they play in the plot!
last modified 07/20/2003