Norse Warrior Magic − Galdr Chanting
This essay assesses the Norse warrior magic, called galdr ‘chanting’, that the Ljóðatal poem describes, and translates the concepts into D&D. The result has a Psionic Paladin vibe. For a full spellcaster, the spells here are appropriate for a Psionic Bard. These Norse archetypes for the D&D classes gain the ‘psionics’ tag.
The Norse poem Ljóða-tal, ‘Tally of Songs’, lists magical effects of singing. The songs are aspects of Norse Galdr chanting magic. These effects exemplify the masculine magic of a Norse ideal warrior.
Galdr chanting is masculine, mainly self-empowering defense effects. Seiðr shamanism is feminine magic, mainly mind-manipulating offense effects.
Note, the most important magic is spá prescience, the abilities of a ‘psychic’. Formally, the Norse consult the vǫlva shaman to foresee fates (fram-sýn) and for other extrasensory perceptions (ó-freski). Yet informally, the Norse admire and consult any individual who demonstrates spá, male or female.
The mindforces (hugar) − namely the forces of a mind (hugr) to influence persons, places, and things − are the source of all Norse magic. Mind comprises thought, reasoning and emoting, courage and sincerity, visualization and intention. In the Ljóða-tal, Song 10, Mindforces mentions seiðr projecting ones ‘hugar’ mindforces outofbody in the form of a wild animal. Song 16, Twine, mentions galdr utilizing ones ‘hugar’ mindforces to enhance sex. To help focus ones mind, the Norse use voice. The warrior chants magic, improvising personal spontaneous music. The shaman commands magic, improvising vivid short edicts.
The aboriginal Norse society gender-divides, where men function as military leaders and women function as spiritual leaders. Even so, individuals self-identify and can adopt various roles of either gender. There are women warriors, who happen to be good at fighting, even jarls who command an army. Likewise there are men shamans, who happen to be good at mindmagic.
Norse texts mention the shamans of the Finnar also chant galdr. This magical chanting survives today among the Sámi, such as the custom of a joik. The noaidi shaman or anyone chants improvisationally to attune ones own mindforces to commune with the mindforces of a cosmic feature, a person, place, or thing. The mind strives to be in the moment and at one with the phenomenon. In some sense, while the noaidi contemplates and mentally experiences the phenomenon, the mind is actually outofbody and present at the location of this phenomenon. The music emerges spontaneously from within with different sounds and melodies coming to mind while recognizing various associations relating to the phenomenon. Typically, the noaidi music is wordless without lyrics. But in the context of improvisation, a pertinent verbal phrase might function as a kind of mantra, in one moment, or repetitively. Even a verse from a popular song can sometimes happen if a particular phenomenon intuitively evokes it.
A ljóð is a song, with words sung musically. ‘To chant’ (gala) sings musically with or without words, especially for magical effects. But it can also extend poetically to other chanting, such as the crowing of a rooster. Song 7, No Burn, mentions ‘chanting’ this song as a ‘galdr’ chant, to mentally control fire. Similarly, one ‘chants’ Song 15 to imbue muscularity and success. Typically Norse galdr focuses a word or a short phrase to help visualize the magical intention. A phrase with vivid imagery and poetic aliteration conveys mental impact, thus a stronger effect. The Ljóða-tal poem cannot record what the ‘magical words’ for an effect are because there are none. The mindforces chanting is individualistic, spontaneous, contextual − any words are different each time. The examples list possible effects, and never any fixed lyrics for such songs.
The poem gives examples. Because the chanting is personal and spontaneous, different warriors in different contexts manifest different versions of these effects. Also there are more effects that Eddas and Sagas mention beyond this tally. Even so, the eighteen examples give a comprehensive sense of what galdr does. It exemplifies the core masculine ethic of a warrior.
The core ethic of Norse masculinity is courage. Oppositely, to use magic to attack from a safe distance seems cowardly, thus taboo to a warrior of honor. The warrior enters combat to meet the opponent face to face. The chanting empowers oneself and ones allies, to protect, heal, defend, and assist, so as to face a challenge whole-heartedly and win.
The opening stanza of the Ljóða-tal poem characterizes the masculinity of warrior magic. Even the greatest women shamans dont learn this kind of magic. But even the young men havent learned it yet. The mens mindforces chanting takes years to master. Typically, it is an elder military leader, including a jarl, who finally masters this magic. One learns this magic during combat and when warriors gather to learn it together.
I know those songs,
which ·even the· woman ·shaman· of a tribal leader does not know.
And a lad of no human.
Ljóð ek þau kann,
er kann-at þjóðans kona
ok mannskis mǫgr.
No human young man knows how to chant these effects. Combat during the younger years is opportunities to develop this sacred ancestral magic. The fact they survive combat, evidences their competence at this magic, as well as their lucky fate and their friendships with the nature beings around them.
No human young man knows this warrior magic. But there are nonhuman young men who do know this warrior magic at a young age. The psychic presences of the sky above, namely alfar and æsir, are warriors. They are the forces of the order of society, who defend against the forces of the chaos of wilderness. Thus the alfar and the æsir personify warrior magic, and learn to master it even when young. The jarl of the alfar is known by the title ‘songster’, ljóði, a master of masculine songs of galdr. The jarl of the æsir is known by the title ‘high one’, hár, and is a muse who can teach this magical art. The conclusion of the Ljóða-tal poem mentions ‘sons’, apparently young human warriors participating in magical training, who have projected their own mindforces upward into the sky, to sit in the longhouse of the hár, where they learn these eighteen song effects, from the hár who instructs them.
Notably, the same mindforces magic that humans learn to use, whether galdr or seiðr, or spá, is the same mindforces magic that other vættir nature beings learn to use. Humans can do what the other nature beings can do, and viceversa. Normally humans learn this magic from other humans. If a personal friendship develops between a human and a nature being, the mindforces of that nature being can sometimes manifest to do a particular magic effect − or teach the human how to do this effect.
The alfar and æsir excel at warrior magic, thus they feature prominently within the military world and the masculine identity. When Norse enter combat, they sometimes focus on the combat magic among the alfar and the æsir. The æsir tend to enhance a strong body and physical skill. The alfar tend to enhance a successful fate and mental skill.
D&D effects relating to Norse mindforces singing
In the Ljóða-tal, protective magic fusing physical combat, along with a code of courage, somewhat resembles a Devotion Paladin as a psionic archetype. It is possible to use the Devotion Paladin as is, and have it gain the ‘psionics’ tag (see Monster Manual, page 10). In this sense, the ‘divinity’ of Channel Divinity is the Paladin oneself, and ones ‘code of courage’. Moreover, Norse psionics is a sacred ancestral way of life of an aboriginal people. All Norse magic, including spells and other magical effects, are accomplished by means of mindforces, using voice to focus. Any spell of any Norse spellcasting class, can be cast with a verbal component only. Moreover, the Norse spellcaster can choose to make the force damage type replace the damage type of a spell, to represent the invisible and subtle mindforces. Elemental damage types (fire, cold, lightning, thunder) are sometimes appropriate, especially for nonhuman nature beings who embody such themes. Radiant damage is rare because near the arctic north, the sun is a gentle, warm, lifegiving influence, and the idea of it dealing damage seems impossible. On the other hand, near the equator, the fire of Muspellheimr might associate with combinations of fire and radiant.
In the analyses below, D&D spells that are on the spell list of the Paladin are marked with a ring (°) and on the spell list of the Oath of Devotion are marked with two rings (°°).
Song 1, Help
The first song effect in the Ljóða-tal poem relates to combat morale. It finds help, especially to rally after a setback if the team is mourning the deaths of fellow warriors. The first and greatest of all male magic is courage. Find the inner strength to keep pushing onward. By means of courage, the mindforces of the warrior overcomes any obstacle and achieves any wish.
One ·song· is called Help.
But ·also· that ·song· will help you
with problems and mournings,
and readily all sorrows.
Hjalp heitir eitt,
en þat þér hjalpa mun
við sǫkum ok sorgum.
ok sútum gǫrvǫllum.
D&D effects relating to Song 1, Help
Wisdom save proficiency°, advantage
Morale check advantage if opting to use the Persuasion° skill to embolden allies and the Intimidation° skill to frighten foes and to force surrender. Foes are at morale disadvantage.
D&D normally lacks mechanics for inner emotional struggles. The hopes and fears, celebrations and disappointments, are the reallife ones that players experience when they get into the game. The mechanics of charm and frighten tend to represent simple attacks and lack nuance. Normally, a player expresses the emotional state of a character narratively, or by method acting the persona. So, a way for D&D to implement the Norse magic of Song 1, Help, is by awarding Inspiration for dramatizing the character description: Bonds, Ideals, and Flaws.
Bonds: Those who you love are part of who you are, your friends who fight alongside you, your family and clan, and your sacred ancestral way of life.
Ideals: Courage is the highest good. You use your courage to save the lives of your loved ones. You admire warriors who master mind and body to face any challenge head-on.
Flaws: You are proud of your courage. You hate attacking from a safe distance. Remote magical attacks are taboo for you. An archery duel if both opponents are out in the open, is brave enough. But you love melee. If your enemy challenges you to a duel to the death, you have few reasons to say, no.
The DM can award Inspiration to a player that brings the courageous personality to life. Then the mechanical Inspiration advantage to any d20 roll is appropriately the ‘magical’ influence over any challenge that the character desires to overcome.
Song 2, Leeches
The second song of a Norse warrior is the magic of a Norse combat medic. The chanting heals injuries, and enhances various medical techniques to cure diseases and poisons. The use of leeches is peculiar to certain medical customs. In the Old Norse language, ‘to heal’ and ‘to grow’ are the same word, gróa. The chanter extends ones own mindforces into the body of a patient to ‘push’ the growth of regeneration, thus restore once again a healthy and whole body. Here, ‘sons’ refer to the young warriors under the command of an elder warrior leader. Some of these warriors study healing.
I know that second ·song·,
which ·the· sons need to push ·healing growth·,
those ·healers· who desire to cling leeches.
Þat kann ek annat,
er þurfu ýta synir,
þeir er vilja læknar lifa.
D&D effects relating to Song 2, Leeches
Cure Wounds 1́°
Healing Word 1
Protection From Poison 2° °°
Prayer Of Healing 2
Lesser Restoration 2° °°
Aura Of Vitality 3°
Mass Cure Wounds 5
Power Word Heal 9
Mass Heal 9
Song 3, No Bite
The third song of a warrior relates to magical defenses. The ‘form’ (hamr) of the mindforces that the mind visualizes is an invisible force armor that deflects both mundane and magical weapons. It is mind over matter. What the warrior refuses to feel, physically cannot touch.
I know that third ·song·.
If ·to· me necessity has much worth
with my ·opposing· lad of wrath,
I numb ·the· edges
of my opposing shooter.
·I numb· those weapons to not bite.
Nor ·even· a shaman-staff.
Það kann ek þriðja:
ef mér verðr þǫrf mikil hafts
við mína heiftmǫgu,
eggjar ek deyfi
bíta-t þeim vápn
D&D effects relating to Song 3, No Bite
Mage Armor 1 (as invisible force)
Song 4, Go
The fourth song focuses ones mindmagic to achieve freedom of movement and to bypass barriers.
The intention of the chanting is ‘to go’. The warrior moves forward. The magical movement may extend to speed − nothing can slow one down. Even to teleportation. See Song 10 and Song 15, Sky Beings, Mindforces, for more on teleportation.
For the purpose of moving, the chanting additionally overcomes barriers. In the example for this song, the mindforces of the warrior telekinetically rupture a barrier. Telekinesis in the sense of floating or flying is rare in Norse traditions. Consider the horse Sleipnir that flies as wind, the alfar that hover as sunbeams, and the hammer Mjǫlnir that returns to hand to strike again as lightning. But telekinesis in the sense of mentally animating an object is common. For example, in the Sagas, a shaman imbues her mind into a driftwood to injure her enemy. Having attuned with the driftwood, she drifts it telekinetically across the sea where it eventually kills her enemy as if in a freak accident. In the Eddas, there is a boar-like steed made out of gold, a kind of giant golem made out of flint rock, and so on. In later Scandinavian folkbelief, there is a saying, ‘Envy can crush a stone’. The desire of the mind to destroy something that someone else has, is a force that deteriorates that thing.
In Song 7, No Burn, telekinesis can manipulate fire. In Song 9, Control Wind, mindforces direct wind and water, including the storms of lightning and cold. In Song 5, Stop, the chanter can telekinetically stop an arrow in midflight. Here in song 4, Go, the telekinesis breaks objects. The chanter visualizes ‘going’, and pertinent physical objects respond to the mindforces accordingly.
I know that ·song·, a fourth.
If ·against· me, troops bear
bonds at ·my· bending limbs.
I chant such,
that I am able to go.
·For· me, ·the· shackles spring off ·my· feet,
but ·also· restraints off ·my· hands.
Þat kann ek it fjórða:
ef mér fyrðar bera
bǫnd að boglimum,
svá ek gel,
at ek ganga má,
sprettr mér af fótum fjǫturr,
en af hǫndum haft.
D&D effects relating to Song 4, Go
Mage Hand 0 (as invisible force, to manipulate or animate an object, rarely to fly an object)
Expeditious Retreat 1
Freedom Of Movement 4°°
Animate Objects 5
Disintegration 6 (object)
Song 5, Stop
The fifth song relates back to defense magic, and extends it to allies in the battle area. But here, the mindforces telekinetically block distant attacks. Each clan forms its own militia, thus the warriors of a military unit are typically each others relatives.
I know that ·song·, a fifth.
If I see afar an arrowhead shot
to rush into ·the warriors of my· kinfolk,
it does not fly so fast,
that I do not stop ·it·
if I see it ·in· sights.
Þat kann ek it fimmta:
ef ek sé af fári skotinn flein
í folki vaða,
fýgr-a hann svá stinnt,
at ek stǫðvig-a-k,
ef ek hann sjónum of sék.
D&D effects relating to Song 5, Stop
Shield of Faith 1°
Wind Wall 3 (as force effect)
Tiny Hut 3
Resilient Sphere 4
Wall Of Force 5
Song 6, Rather Than Me
The effects of the sixth song of the Ljóða-tal reverse curses and negate magical attacks. The seiðr custom of writing a curse on a root imbues it with ones harmful intention. Thus this cursed object can transport the influence of the mindforces to the target. The curse might be whatever the curser has in mind.
I know that ·song·, a sixth.
If a freeman injures me ·by writing a harm·
on ·the· raw roots of trees.
And ·yet it instead injures· that person
who says ·these· wraths ·against· me.
That ·curser is· to eat ·the· harm.
Rather than me.
Þat kann ek it sétta:
ef mik særir þegn
á rótum hrás viðar,
ok þann hal
er mik heifta kveðr,
þann eta mein
heldr en mik.
D&D effects relating to Song 6, Rather Than Me
Remove Curse 3°
Dispel Magic 3° °°
Circle of Power 5°
Greater Restoration 5
Globe of Invulnerability 6
Antimagic Shell 8
Mind Blank 8
Song 7, No Burn
The seventh song protects the warriors from the element of fire. This Song 7, No Burn, relates to Song 9, Control Wind, that alters air and water, including ice storms and lightning storms. Despite the power to mentally control elements, the courageous warrior abstains from using elements to attack an enemy from a safe distance. It seems possible for the warrior to use the elements for utilitarian purposes, such as fire to burn thru a door (a kind of barrier to ‘go’ thru) in order to confront foes inside in melee. To use fire to illuminate a battlefield or to keep teammembers warm in winter also seems admirable enough.
I know that ·song·, a seventh.
If I see a high fire ·in the· room
over ·the· lads of a seating ·area·,
·it· does not burn so broad,
that I do not save them.
I know that chant to chant.
Þat kann ek it sjaunda:
ef ek sé hávan loga
sal of sessmǫgum,
brennr-at svá breitt,
at ek hánum bjargig-a-k;
þann kann ek galdr at gala.
D&D effects relating to Song 7, No Burn
Control Flames 0
Absorb Elements 1
Protection From Energy 3
Primordial Ward 6
See also Song 9, Control Wind, for other elemental spells.
Song 8, Mend
The eighth song of the warrior relates again to morale, fostering good relations within the combat team and reducing conflicts, angers, and fears. Rather than directly manipulating the minds of others, this mindful intention enhances ones own leadership skills as a commander, so as to maintain discipline and inspire a positive outlook.
The commander and his warriors tend to form father and ‘sons’ bond. Fellow warriors in a unit are often loved ones and typically family belonging to the same clan. Sometimes, family invites family drama, and a combat leader must keep peace for the sake of all. The ‘dad’ of the military unit has to step in.
Later, in the Ljóða-tal poem, the transmission of the text added three noncombat songs (16, 17, and 18) that relate to relationships between a man and a woman. The magical skills there to keep peace between partners are ultimately the same magical skills as here to keep peace between friends. The goal is to use ones mindforces − not to manipulate the minds of others − but to commune with the mind of the other, so as to understand the other. The chanter telepathically discerns the true desires, including reasons for conflicts, thus discover ways to resolve them.
I know that ·song·, an eighth,
which ·to· all is friendly of use
to acquire ·by learning it·.
When hate ·or dissension· grows
with ·the· sons of ·the· combat leader,
I am able to mend that ·discord· immediately.
Þat kann ek it átta,
er ǫllum er nytsamligt
hvars hatr vex
með hildings sonum
þat má ek bæta brátt.
D&D effects relating to Song 8, Mend
Insight° and Persuasion° skills
Detect Thoughts 2
Zone of Truth 2°°
Calm Emotions 2
Telepathic Language (MM)
Telepathic Bond 5
Song 9, Control Wind
The ninth song relates to calming a storm for a safe military transport via ships. The effects of this chanting control wind and water, and in the sense of storms, implies controlling rain, cold, snow, hail, lightning, and thunder. The intent of the song is to negate hostile weather − including hostile weather magic. The mindmagic seems to allow the possibility to reshape weather for utility. For example, no wind at all is a kind of barrier to bypass, thereby manifest a stiff breeze to speed the sails of the journey. Mindforces enjoy powerful control over the elements. The masculine ethic, however, stops the warrior from behaving as a ‘coward’ who chants the weather to harm hostiles at a distance. But note, the Finnar noaidi shaman does chant to stir up deadly storms to attack distant foes. The alfar and the æsir as vættir nature beings of the sky learn to master weather chanting as well.
I know that ·song·, a ninth.
If a need stands over me
to save my travel on ·the· fleet ·of ships·,
I ·control· wind ·to breeze as· on a calm harbor.
And ·I· make all the sea sleep.
Þat kann ek it níunda:
ef mik nauðr of stendr
at bjarga fari mínu á floti,
vind ek kyrri vági á
ok svæfik allan sæ.
D&D effects relating to Song 9, Control Wind
Shape Water 0
Druid Craft 0
Gust Of Wind 2
Control Winds 5
Control Weather 8
See Song 7, No Burn for D&D elemental resistances.
Song 10, Mindforces
The tenth song mentions the detection of ‘mindforces’, hugar, as they truly are at ‘home’. Much is happening in this song that relates to the aboriginal Norse worldview.
The term ‘rider’ describes a seiðr shaman, whose mind travels outofbody, typically in the form of an animal, often a bird, so the mindseye flies thru world. The self-identification with nature seems part of a transpersonalizing technique to make exiting ones own personal body easier to accomplish. Much of seiðr mental magic relates to what we today would call hypnosis, including self-hypnosis. In the Norse view, a powerful mind can push to make real this subjective experience. The mind roams the world outofbody in a virtual body made out of mindforces, whose ‘form’ (hamr) is whatever self-identity the shaman visualizes.
The mention of a ‘town’ refers to the shaman mindfully interacting with other humans in the community at large, beyond the ‘home’ where the actual body of the shaman is. While outofbody, it is possible for the virtual body of the mindforces to materialize, in the same way that the mindforces of a ghost can. Only a strong mind can do this. Typically, such manifestations maintain the animal form.
While outofbody, the mind of the shaman can psychically attack the minds of other humans. The effects depend on the intention of the shaman. Perhaps to charm someone, or frighten, induce a hallucination, or even kill psychosomatically.
The Norse love their shamans as the spiritual leaders of the community. At the same time, they fear and respect the remote psychic attacks that a shaman can do.
If conflict erupts, the shamans of one clan might engage a psychic war against the shamans of an other clan.
When shamans telepathically manipulate the minds of others, the Norse refer to this as ‘play’ (leika) or ‘mind play’ (hug-leika). To enchant an other mind seems a kind of sport with various challenges, a thrilling demand to pay attention, and a sense of winning.
In this context, the Norse warrior is familiar with these kinds of magical effects − and even competent at accomplishing them. The difference between the masculine magic of a warrior and the feminine magic of a shaman, is the duty of the masculine to fight courageously. Thus, the warrior is averse to projecting their mindforces to accomplish a deadly, invisible, attack at a safe distance. Moreover, the manipulation robs the target of free will and the opportunity to show courage. When sniping from a distance, the warrior prefers that the shaman does it.
Even so, the warrior does use telepathic magic to commune with an other mind, so as to discern information and needs, and even to nurture a positive outlook by helping to address the hopes and fears. See Songs 7, Mend, and 16, Twine.
Moreover, the warrior magic can project mindforces outofbody, for various purposes, such as to visit sky beings. See Song 15, Sky Beings. Here in Song 10, Mindforces, the intention of the outofbody travel is military surveillance. If the mindforces of a hostile shaman invades, the ‘extrasensory perception’ (ó-freski) of the mindful warrior can detect the presence and ‘see’ the mind in a vision. Moreover, while making contact, the warrior can discern the true form of the mindforce, by projecting to the location of the body of the shaman at the home. Thus the warrior identifies the attacker. This is a kind of scrying (clairvoyance) where the mind is actually present to observe the remote location.
In the Norse approach to magic, the various magical effects of outofbody projection, scrying, teleportation, and shapeshifting all involve each other. The powerful mind can project outofbody while focusing on a distant location. By means of thought, the mind actually becomes present at the remote location, and can see what is happening there. Hence, scrying. The mind can influence other minds at that location. Hence remote communication or a telepathic attack. A very powerful mind can materialize at that location. Hence, a physical manifestation. Bilocation. The mindforces of a shaman typically travel mentally in the ‘form’ of an animal, a kind of virtual body. So the shaman typically manifests remotely in the form of an animal. The Norse refer to this as ‘riding’ an animal, that is, traveling mentally by means of the form of an animal. It is also possible to project ones mindforces in ones own form and manifest as ones own human identity. An extremely powerful mind can pull the actual body to the new mental location. Hence, teleportation. The Norse refer to teleportation as ‘traveling at the speed of thought’. Notice, that scrying always precedes Norse teleportation. A strong mental connection is necessary for the mind to project there, but after arrival there is no teleportation error for the body. Teleportation relates to shapeshifting, using the mindforces to ‘shift’ the form of the body, in this case, to relocate the body. The Norse term for shapeshifting, ‘form travel’ (ham-fari), usually refer to mind projecting in the form of an animal. But it can also include individual shamans who reshape their actual bodies. Hence a werewolf and so on.
I know that ·song·, a tenth.
If I see ·outofbody· riders ·roaming· a town
playing ·with minds· ·from· on high,
I work ·chanting· such,
that they ·who are· to travel wild ·as animals·,
their ·true· forms ·at· home ·are seen·,
their ·true· mindforces ·at· home.
Þat kann ek it tíunda:
ef ek sé túnriður
leika lofti á,
ek svá vinnk,
at þær villar fara
D&D effects relating to Song 10, Mindforces
To materialize ones mind outofbody is the same as to ‘conjure’ oneself at that location.
Detect Evil And Good 1° (outofbody minds)
Detect Magic 1°
Alarm 1 (including outofbody minds)
Protection From Evil And Good 1° °° (outofbody minds)
See Invisibility 2
Misty Step 2
Magic Circle 3° (outofbody minds)
Private Sanctum 4
Locate Creature 4°
Dimension Door 4
Word Of Recall 6
Planar Binding 5
Teleportation Circle 5
Banishing Smite 5°
Dispel Evil And Good 5°
Teleport 7 (no error after Clairvoyance)
True Seeing 6
Etherealness 7 (body becomes intangible mindforces to roam the Material Plane)
Note, this song mentions the mind ‘play’ of telepathic attacks. However, this is feminine seiðr shamanic magic, that the masculine galdr warrior will not do.
Song 11, Whole
The eleventh song focuses to surround fellow warriors with protective mindforces before embarking on a mission.
I know that ·song·, an eleventh.
If I must lead my longtime friends
I chant under ·the· rims ·while they hold up their roundshields·.
But ·then· they travel with power.
·Healthy and· whole to ·the area· of combat,
·healthy and· whole from ·the area· of combat.
From where do they come ·home· whole?
Þat kann ek it ellifta:
ef ek skal til orrostu
und randir ek gel,
en þeir með ríki fara
heilir hildar til,
heilir hildi frá.
koma þeir heilir hvaðan?
D&D effects relating to Song 11, Whole
Aura Of Purity 4°°
Heroes Feast 6
Astral Projection 9
Song 12, Walks
The twelfth song of the masculine warrior magic resurrects the dead. In the Eddas, the æsir sky being Óðinn even used this song to resurrect himself. He mentally prepared himself before his suicide. Also, he chanted this song in whispers into the ear of the corpse of his son Baldr to ensure his resurrection. The mindforces remain part of the breathy consciousness (ǫnd) exhaling from a dead body. A great mind can restore the corpse enough to inhale the consciousness back in.
I know that ·song·, a twelfth.
If I see up on a tree
a corpse of a noose to swing.
I write ·the words of my chant·
and paint such ·with ale· in ·the· runes ·to clean them·,
·so· that that ·resurrected· mortal walks
and talks with me.
Þat kann ek it tolfta:
ef ek sé á tré uppi
svá ek ríst
ok í rúnum fák,
at sá gengr gumi
ok mælir við mik.
D&D effects relating to Song 12, Walks
Raise Dead 5°
True Resurrection 9
Song 13, No Fall
Here, the young freeman joins with his clan militia to fight against an other clan militia. The military leader focuses the mindforces to keep this warrior alive during multiple serious injuries. He will not fall as a casualty of battle. An obscure use of water seems part of a mindful ritual to prepare the effect ahead of time.
I know that ·song·, a thirteenth.
If I must throw ·by· water
on a young freeman,
he will not fall ·dead·.
He would come into ·the warriors of a hostile· kinfolk.
He does not collapse
before ·their· blade points.
Þat kann ek it þrettánda:
ef ek skal þegn ungan
verpa vatni á,
mun-at hann falla,
þótt hann í folk komi,
hnígr-a sá halr
D&D effects relating to Song 13, No Fall
Spare The Dying 0 (as reaction at range)
Death Ward 4°
Song 14, Sky Beings
Ultimately, the fourteenth magical song serves a military purpose. To focus the minds of fellow warriors on the sky beings, links them all together. In a real sense, the mindforces of these human troops project outofbody with the leader, locating in the mindscape of the sky. A strong mind can interact with the nature beings there. Reciprocally, the sky beings can respond becoming mindfully present with the military troops in the human world. Thus the influence of the military prowess of the sky beings is also among the human troops to enhance combat attacks.
The sky beings, both alfar and æsir, are warriors who defend society against the wild. Thus the winning fates of the alfar and the strong bodies of the æsir enhance the human fates and bodies.
The ‘sky beings’, tivar, include both the alfar and the æsir. Norse týr preserves the ancient meaning ‘sky being’ (*dyewós), from the ancient word ‘sky’ (*dyews).
At the conclusion of the Ljóða-tal, the ‘sons’ being the human combatants who hear this poem are actually outofbody in the sky, sitting in the longhouse of the æsir jarl, the hár. The hár is a muse who teaches them how to do these mindforces techniques.
Knowledge about the sacred ancestral spiritual heritage is part of the education of a Norse. The Norse expect members to know and honor this aboriginal way of life, thus be in harmony with the nature beings around them. As young men entering combat, the warriors among the sky beings have special significance. The human mindforces of those sacred ancestors who proved to be ideal warriors now live in the sky among the sky beings. These are human immigrants who the æsir have adopted into the clan of æsir. The valkyrjar who also live there among the æsir are certain alfar women whose fates determine which humans die heroically in battle.
See Song 10, Mindforces, for more on outofbody projection and teleportation. See Song 15, Muscularity But Also Success, for the kinds of beneficial influences the sky beings are known for.
To some degree, this song also promotes a healthy mind and accurate memory, thus relates to healing. The ability of a mind to travel, is also a means to discern and ‘recall’ facts.
I know that ·song·, a fourteenth.
If before households of troops,
I must tell
·about the· sky beings, ·both the· æsir and ·the· alfar,
I know ·the· distinctions of all.
A rare non-honorable knows such.
Þat kann ek it fjǫgurtánda:
ef ek skal fyrða liði
telja tíva fyrir,
ása ok alfa
ek kann allra skil;
fár kann ósnotr svá.
D&D effects relating to Song 14, Sky beings
Arcana/Religion°/Psionics, Perception/Investigation, and History skills
This song effects spells that grant knowledge and improve skill checks. Spells that conceptualize a communion with other beings to divinate information have the DM give a ‘hint’.
Legend Lore 6 (normally a History skill check)
Contact other Plane 5
Commune With Nature 5 (sky above)
Commune 5° (sky above)
See Song 10, Mindforces for outofbody projection and teleportation.
See Song 15, Muscularity But Also Success, for combat magic to enhance attacks.
Conjure Fey 6 (conjure the mindforces of a willing nature being, in human or animal form)
Planar Ally 6 (conjure the mindforces of a willing nature being, usually in human form)
Plane Shift 7 (body becomes intangible mindforces and teleports to the mindscape of a particular nature being)
Song 15, Muscularity But Also Success
Originally, the fifteenth song ends the Ljóða-tal poem that exemplifies the combat magic of a warrior. It describes the origin of the military success of the sky beings. It credits the æsir atmospheric beings with muscularity and physical prowess. It credits the alfar sunlight beings with a lucky successful fate and mental prowess. These tangible and intangible assets enhance the effectiveness of combat attacks thus achieve victory in battles.
Today, the name of the dvergar earth being Þjóð-rerir is only extent here in this poem. He chants mindfully at the ‘gates’ of dawn, at the horizon where earth meets sky. A dvergar cannot survive in sunlight, so he chants at its threshold during dawn. Where the sunlight alfar cause all of the good fates, the darkness of dvergar cause all the bad fates. The dvergar often go by the nickname ‘black alfar’. Where the alfar are responsible for every good human fate, the dvergar are responsible for every fate that is bleak, deathly, and merciless.
Note, a ‘good’ fate can be painful. What makes a good fate good is the ability to impact others. A great fate changes the course of entire populations. Oppositely, a bad fate is one that is of little consequence to others, either from weakness or failure.
The name Þjóð-rerir means the ‘roarer of the tribe’. The full army of all of the militias of each clan unite in a battlecry as they advance against the hostile threat. The dvergar himself sings this fifteenth song to empower a victory for the sky beings. Likewise a human sings this song for a victory for a human army.
The role of Þjóð-rerir relates to the Norse masculine ethic. Rather than use ones mindforces directly to harm a hostile from a safe distance, the courageous warrior fights the opponent face-to-face. Thus the warrior only uses ones mindforces to empower oneself and ones allies. The mindmagic enhances the strength of the body, the accuracy of weapons, the ́success of a lucky fate, and the heightened sensitivity of mindmagic. But this self-targeting magic, nevertheless, causes harm to the enemies indirectly. By means of ensuring oneself a magically lucky fate, the opponent therefore suffers a bleak unlucky fate. This dvergar relates to this indirect magical harm that the Norse warrior inflicts. The Norse warrior credits the evil but useful Þjóð-rerir with the tragic outcomes for opponents.
Courage is the highest good. Resoluteness and effectiveness in combat are masculine ideals. At the same time, the death and maiming of hostiles is tragic. The loss of human life is literally ‘unfortunate’ in the sense of an evil fate.
To save human life where possible is ultimately the higher good. The Norse look forward to such a time of only peace in a new world to come after the Ragna-rǫk. Those future days are not yet today. Today warriors must fight to save their loved ones.
I know that ·song·, a fifteenth,
which Þjóð-rerir ·the· dvergr ·earth being· chanted
before ·the· doors of ·the dawn being· Dellingr.
He chanted muscularity ·to· æsir,
but ·also· success ·to· alfar.
Mindfulness ·to· a sky being of kill-oracles.
Þat kann ek it fimmtánda
er gól Þjóðrerir dvergr
fyr Dellings durum:
afl gól hann ásum,
en alfum frama,
D&D effects relating to Song 15, Muscularity But Also Success
Smite° spells, all of them (force damage can replace any damage type)
Thunderous Smite 1° (thunder or force)°
Hunters Mark 1
Enhance Ability 2
Elemental Weapon 3 (elemental or force)°
This song may effect other spells that targets and enhances oneself or allies to become better at combat.
Songs 16, 17, and 18
The textual tradition adds the last stanzas of poem at a later period. In the context of combat prowess and healing, these three extra songs relate to virility, sexual health, and the erotic appeal of a successful warrior. They also evidence the masculine ideal. The sixteenth song is for casual sex. The seventeenth song is for a good relationship with a partner. The eighteenth and best song is for a deep lifelong intimacy that is only possible between elders.
Song 16, Twine
Song 16 celebrates the masculine ideal of having lots of casual sex for fun. In Old Norse, the term for ‘fun’ and for ‘sexual intercourse’ is the same, gaman. The translation ‘loveslave’ comes from the literal meaning ‘slavery’ (man). But Norse texts use this term poetically to mean ‘sexy young woman’. In this figurative sense, the slavery refers to an overwhelming sexual arousal to the point that a rational person makes impulsive irrational decisions. A slave to the sexual impulse. A modern analogy might be groupies who swoon around a celebrity sex symbol.
The warrior wants to have sex for fun. However, to manipulate the mind of an other human is cowardly and taboo. Thus the magic of the warrior gains a sexual partner in an other way. The warrior ‘twines’ ones ‘mindforces’ in an embrace with the mindforces of the other, to telepathically discern what the desires are. Then the warrior uses ones mindforces to fulfill these desires. In other words, the masculine ideal is for the a man to heighten his own sexual appeal by learning how to please a woman. In this way, the normally rational woman will want to behave like a loveslave.
I know that ·song·, a sixteenth.
If I will desire to have all ·the· mood of a loveslave
in the ·normally· rational ·woman·,
and ·sexual· fun,
I turn ·my· mindforces
·to the· woman of white arms ·to embrace·.
And I twine ·my mindforces with hers·
to ·fulfill· all of her pleasures.
Þat kann ek it sextánda:
ef ek vil ins svinna
mans hafa geð allt
hugi ek hverfi
ok sný ek
hennar ǫllum sefa.
Song 17, Slow To Alienate
Song 17 exemplifies the masculine ideal to maintain a good relationship. Here even the most sexually impulsive woman is likely to remain in a genuine committed relationship. The ability to learn how to maintain a good relationship takes years of experience. See also Song 8, Mend, where the same skills maintain good relationships with fellow soldiers.
Note, Lodd-fáfnir is a student who wants to learn the ways of a mindful life.
I know that ·song·, a seventeenth,
that ·even· a loveslave of ·a· young of a loveslave
would ·be· slow ·to· alienate me.
Lodd-fáfnir, ·my student·, you will
long be lacking these songs.
Tho see, ·she will be· good ·to· you
if you get ·these songs to meet her needs·.
Use ·these songs· if you acquire ·them by learning them·.
·They are· a necessary thing if you receive ·them·.
Þat kann ek it sjautjánda
at mik mun seint firrask
it manunga man.
Ljóða þessa mun þú,
Loddfáfnir, lengi vanr vera;
þó sé þér góð,
ef þú getr,
nýt ef þú nemr,
þǫrf ef þú þiggr.
Song 18, Husband
Song 18 is about lifelong intimacy between elders. It is impossible for the young to understand it.
I know that ·song·, an eighteenth,
which I never make known
·to any young· lass, nor ·to· a woman of ·an other· man.
All is best,
which ·I· know overmuch alone.
That ·best song· accompanies ·me· to sing ·it·
·behind the· latches ·of closed doors·,
to acquire that ·lifelong mate·,
who ·is for· me ·to become· a husband in ·her· arm.
Or see, my sister.
Þat kann ek it átjánda,
er ek æva kennik
mey né manns konu,
- allt er betra,
er einn of kann;
þat fylgir ljóða
- nema þeiri einni,
er mik armi verr,
eða mín systir sé.
D&D effects relating to Songs 16, 17, and 18
See Song 8, Mend, for telepathy, nurturing positive friendships.
In the conluding stanzas of the Ljóða-tal poem, the readers are the ‘sons’ of a military. Their minds are outofbody, linking with the tivar sky beings. They sit in the longhouse of the high one, the jarl of the æsir. He teaches these warriors about the eighteen magical songs to ‘push’ mindforces. These sky beings, both alfar and æsir, want humans to help in their struggle to defend against the destructive forces of the jǫtnar wilderness beings. Even those who havent yet mastered this magic benefit from the influence of those who have. The magical lesson for the day concludes.
Now ·the· talk of the high one is
said in the longhouse of the high one.
All necessary thing ·be available to· the sons ·of humans· to push ·mindforces·.
No necessary thing ·be available to· the sons of jǫtnar.
Hello, that ·one· who said ·these songs to teach them·.
Hello, that ·one· who knows ·how to manifest these songs·.
That ·one· would enjoy ·them·,
who acquires ·them by learning them·.
Hello, those ·ones who· listened.
Nú eru Háva mál
kveðin Háva hǫllu í,
allþǫrf ýta sonum,
óþǫrf jǫtna sonum;
heill sá, er kvað,
heill sá, er kann,
heilir, þeirs hlýddu.
D&D effects relating to the Concluding Stanzas
See Song, Sky Beings, for communing with nature spirits, especially the alfar and æsir who know galdr warrior magic.
See Song 10, Mindforces, for outofbody projection and teleportation.
D&D effects relating to the Ljóða-tal poem
In sum, the Ljóða-tal poem describes a galdr magic, that in D&D terms works well as psionic archetype for the Paladin class, and for a full spellcaster, works well as a psionic archetype for the Bard class.
Interestingly, the Bard class translates well the masculine galdr magic in the sense of protective combat magic, but also translates well the feminine seiðr magic in the sense of telepathic mind manipulation and animal magic. Persons who are skilled in both galdr and seiðr, as well as other kinds magic, are called fjǫl-kyngis-fólk, literally, ‘many-knowing folk’, skilled in many kinds of magic pushing mindforces for diverse effects.