Who was the Norse Volva?

A völva or vǫlva was a very powerful female seer in Norse mythology. Even Odin and other gods feared what the Norse Volva prophesied. Both of the Valkyrie and the Norse Volva were the best example of women’s power in Norse mythology.

The Norse Volva in Norse myth

There are many ways to interpret the word “Volva”. In Old Norse, it means “the wand carrier” or “the carrier of magic”. The second way to interpret it is “knowing many things”. This second interpretation indicates that the Volva knows Seiðr which was a type of sorcery. One last common way to interpret “Volva” is “to see, to observe”. Even though the meanings of “Volva” vary, all of them managed to explain the magic and roles of the Volva in Norse mythology.

Image of Viking Volva
The Viking Volva

The Norse Volva always carried a wand along. It was the main source of power to the Volva.

In a poem from Poetic Edda – Völuspá “The prophecy of the Volva”, there was a time when Odin came to see the Volva. Odin wanted to hear how the world came into being and how it came to pass. The Allfather offered his necklace and ring to the Volva in order to hear what he wanted to hear.

Image of the norse volva and wand
Norse Volva and her magical wand

Goddess Freya was the most powerful Norse Volva

The Vanir god tribe in Norse mythology was associated with magic. So Freya the goddess (or the princess) of the Vanir was the mistress of magic and prophecy.

With the magic she had, Freya traveled the Nine Worlds and spread her magic. Of course, she traveled not under the appearance of goddess Freya so nobody knew her. Good wines need no bush. The Aesir gods finally heard about the magic of the witch (Freya). They asked her to come and teach them her magic. Wanting to master the magic of the witch, gods gradually revealed their shortcomings. Blaming all of this on the witch, the gods decided to murder her (by burning). But three times they tried to burn the witch, she just stayed intact. This deed of Aesir gods unintentionally waged the war between the two god tribes. (See more: Viking God War)

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