Icelandic magical staves

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Icelandic magical staves (Icelandic: galdrastafir) are sigils that were credited with supposed magical effect preserved in various Icelandic grimoires, such as the Galdrabók, dating from the 17th century and later.[1][better source needed]

Table of magical staves[edit]

Icelandic name Manuscript description Image
Að unni “To get a girl”, this magical stave is used by a man in love to gain the affections of the object of his desires.[citation needed]
Ægishjálmur Helm of Awe (or Helm of Terror); to induce fear, protect the warrior, and prevail in battle.[citation needed] Aegishjalmr.svg
Angurgapi Carved on the ends of barrels to prevent leaking.[citation needed] Icelandic Magical Stave angurgapi.svg
Brýnslustafir For use on whetstones.[2] Icelandic Magical Stave brynslustafir.svg
Draumstafir To dream of unfulfilled desires.[2]
Dreprún To kill an enemy's cattle.[3]
Feingur A fertility rune.[2]
Gapaldur Two staves, kept in the shoes, gapaldur under the heel of the right foot and ginfaxi under the toes of the left foot, to magically ensure victory in bouts of Icelandic wrestling (glíma).[citation needed] Icelandic Magical Stave gapaldur.svg
Ginfaxi Icelandic Magical Stave ginfaxi.svg
Hólastafur To open hills.[citation needed] Icelandic Magical Stave holastafur.svg
Kaupaloki To prosper in trade and business.[citation needed] Icelandic Magical Stave kaupaloki.svg
Lásabrjótur To open a lock without a key. Icelandic Magical Stave lasabrjotur.svg
Lukkustafir Whoever carries this symbol with them encounters no evil, neither on the sea nor on the land.[4] Lukkustafir Huld Ms.png
Máladeilan To win in court.[5] Icelandic Magical Stave maladeilan.svg
Nábrókarstafur A stave used when making necropants (nábrók), a pair of trousers made from the skin of a dead man that are capable of producing an endless supply of money.[6]
Skelkunarstafur To make your enemies afraid.[7] (A similar looking stave is titled Óttastafur in the Huld Manuscript.) Icelandic Magical Stave ottastafur.svg
Rosahringur minni A lesser circle of protection.[citation needed] Icelandic Magical Stave rosahringurminni.svg
Smjörhnútur Butterknot, to find out if butter was made using milk stolen by a Tilberi.[8] Icelandic Magical Stave smjorhnutur.svg
Stafur gegn galdri Staves against witchcraft.[9] Icelandic Magical Stave stafurgegngaldri.svg
Stafur til að vekja upp draug To invoke ghosts and evil spirits.[citation needed] Icelandic Magical Stave stafurtiladvekjauppdraug.svg
Þjófastafur For use against thieves.[10]
Tóustefna To ward off foxes.[11]
Varnarstafur Valdemars Valdemar's Protection Stave; increases favor and happiness. Icelandic Magical Stave valdemar.svg
Vatnahlífir Protection against drowning.
Vegvísir To guide people through rough weather.[2] Vegvisir.svg
Veiðistafur For luck in fishing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Staves or magical signs" Galdrastafir - Strandagaldur ~ Galdrasýning á Ströndum ~ Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft".
  2. ^ a b c d Huld Manuscript ÍB 383 4 in the National Library in Reykjavík
  3. ^ From a 17th-century grimoire, in the Antikvarisk-Topografiska Arkivet in Stockholm.
  4. ^ "ÍB 383 4to | Digitized Manuscript Viewer". (in Icelandic).
  5. ^ From a 19th-century manuscript, lbs 4375 8vo, in the National Library in Reykjavík.
  6. ^ "Nábrókarstafur - Strandagaldur ~ Galdrasýning á Ströndum ~ Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft".
  7. ^ From Skuggi. Ársritið Jólagjöfin 4. Ár. 1940. "GALDRA-SKRÆÐA" by Jochum M. Eggertson
  8. ^ "Butterknot - Tilberi ~ Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft".
  9. ^ From a 17th-century manuscript, lbs 143 8vo, in the National Library in Reykjavík.
  10. ^ From a 17th-century medical text, am 434a 12mo, in the Arnemagnean Collection in Reykjavík.
  11. ^ From a 19th-century manuscript, lbs 4375 8vo, in the National Library in Reykjavík.

External links[edit]