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Witchcraft in Norway

by Stein Jarving

Current Craft in Norway

The Norwegian Craft community is based in three Covens and two smaller groups, with  close to 50 initiates, three of  them 3rd degree, another 13 of the 2nd degree. Thus, Norway is 'independent' as a Craft community, and well on its way to develop a regionally distinct 'flavour' of Craft. For, apart from a few  'fundamentalist' Covens, the Craft of Europe  tends to be coloured by the flavour of the land in which it grows: British Craft has a distinct Celtic flavour, German Craft often a more 'Saxon' flavour.

There is certainly  nothing wrong in such a practice, either, quite on the contrary:  The Craft, as far as its history can be traced, have always borrowed whatever symbolism, poetry and techniques it could pick up from local practitioners of  other forms of magic, healing and shamanism. Gardnerian, and to a greater degree the  Alexandrian Craft, have also obviously borrowed from the Masons, from A. Crowley and from C. Leland, to mention just a few.

Recreating  the Craft in a more Norse context is a choice for some of us, out of love to the land and some of it's  history. Gardnerian Craft in Europe, on a whole, seems not overly strict on doing things 'by the book': We try many  things, we practice what works best and we encourage experiments. Norway, being rather on the fringes of Europe, consequently  has developed many of its own practices over the last 8 years, since we were received into the  tradition in England, and were given our basic training. Most of us also had some considerable experience with ritual magic work, prior to entering  the Craft, and have brought some of this influence into our work. But any  witch would feel at home in our Covens: we do tend to work our Craft out in the woods, on hilltops, if it is not too cold or the snow not too deep, but we are not  foolhardy. And we may use warm cloaks and robes more often  than most, but we much prefer to be Skyclad, weather permitting. So our rituals would easily recognised as Wiccan rituals, even if the god names could be different. If we are  conservative, it would be in the high respect in  which our priests hold our High Priestesses, and in the importance we put on proper training and diligent practice. Teachers and initiators of the second degree must usually prove themselves  thoroughly before being accepted,  and getting the third degree is not a certainty.

It is of course not easy for me to say how we are seen by our teachers and peers elsewhere in Europe, but from the tales of other witches I have a certain  idea. For one, we  tend to be more 'elemental' than most, whether we dance Fire dances or swim in ice water, grow our own food or brave the wind and the rain on our hilltops. Another 'trend'of Norwegian witches is that we seem to laugh a lot   more than others, not taking life or even ourselves all that seriously. For some of us it was truly amazing to learn that mirth was quite acceptable in the religion of Wicca, and now we may have a tendency to put mirth before  reverence in our  rituals - certain that our gods appreciate our joy. And nudity, such a challenge to some witches, comes quite natural to most Norwegians.

Call it a wildness of spirit, if you like, and a love of nature,  quite natural to many of us, as this  land of ours is both wild and beautiful, with lots of space, lots of wild animals, and a people hardly a generation away from, if not still, farming, fishing, hunting and sailing the seas.

Blessed be!

Stein


written by Stein Jarving, January 1999
© Stein Jarving, 1999
the address of this page is: http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/5756/ngrdtrad.html


You may also wish to look at:

The history of Witchcraft in Norway.
Contacts for Wiccan and Pagan groups in Norway and Sweden.

You may return to:

The Beaufort House index of English Craft Traditions and their offshoots.