Galdrastafir / Icelandic Staves


The Icelandic staves are traditional Icelandic magickal symbols from the 11th until the late 18th century. Galdrastafir is an old Icelandic term and means magickal painting. There is also the term Galdrastafur, which means magickal staff.
The Galdrastafir are comparable with today’s magickal sigils from different magickal traditions: Wicca, paganism and especially chaos magick.

Basically, the Galdrastafir are pure chaos magickal symbols, because chaos magic means not to be bound to only one magick tradition, but to be free to use elements from all existing magick traditions.

The old Icelanders were originally Norse pagans but became influenced by other religions at an early age, which is reflected by the Galdrastafir. Therefore, not only runes but also elements of Jewish mysticism and Christianity can be found within these symbols.

I`ve been studying the Galdrastafir for about a year now, since I don`t speak old Icelandic or Latin (at least until now) and the resources are limited to these languages, I`m mainly depending on what can be found in English translations over the internet. The webpages of Justin Foster were especially helpful:

http://galdrastafir.com/

http://galdrastafir.com/http://users.on.net/~starbase/galdrastafir/shop.htm#staves

Some time ago, I started to build these symbols using Photoshop (mainly to get a better intuitive understanding and connection), only to take a second step afterward in painting them on canvas. Originally these staves were carved into different materials, some of them came with incantations and most of them had to be carried on one’s person in order to work. But since I have already done a lot of magickal work throughout the course of my life, the most important thing I have learned is that magick is mainly all about intention, emotion and intuition, especially chaos magick. The staves are actually just sigils, so they can be adjusted to any given situation.

Below, I present what I have drawn so far, each one together with the original.

Elskastafur, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 30 cm
Elskastafur Original

Elskastafur means “love staff“, it`s obvious I changed the original during painting to suit it to my own needs, according to the motto “Anything goes in chaos magick, as long as you know what you are doing”.
Elskastafur is one of the so called superstaves, the most complex and often most beautiful of these symbols.

Lukkustafur , acrylic on canvas, 40 x 50 cm
Lukkustafur Original

Lukkustafur means “luck staff“, the runic inscription on the canvas version is old Icelandic and means: “fortune follows me, wherever I go”.

Innsigli Salomons , acrylic on canvas, 50 x 50 cm
Innsigli Salomons Original

Innsigli Salomons means “Solomon`s seal or Solomon`s sigil“,there are differing assertions about the meaning of this stave. One is protection, another one is wisdom and good dreams. Intuitively I think, both assertions could be true, since king Solomon is know for his protection seals (i.e. the SATOR square), on the other hand, the character of Solomon also speaks for the second assertion, regarding wisdom and dreams, I just think the term “good dreams” should rather be understood in combination with wisdom – in the purpose of dreams for your life and the greater good – than to be simply understood as good dreams at night, there are other staves for this purpose anyway.

Veldismagn, acrylic on canvas , 40 x 50 cm
Veldismagn Original

Veldsimagn was hard to translate and if I didn`t underrun any mistakes, it means “a lot of power“. The purpose you can find on the internet is strength.

Himinbarnahalmur, acrylic on canvas , 50 x 50 cm
Himinbarnahalmur Original

Himinbarnahjalmur was also difficult to translate, may best guess is that it means “divine helmet”. The purpose you can find on the internet is courage.

Rotaskross, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 60 cm
Rotaskross Original

Rotaskross


Rotaskross means “large crucifix” and belongs to the superstaves as well. There are three different versions of it, this one is the rarest and has only been used by a specific cult: “the sun cult of enoch`s pillar“. Unfortunately, I wasn`t able to find out anything about this specific cult so far.
The christian and Jewish mystical influences are very obvious within this stave, you can find the four evangelists in their animal form at the corners, together with their names in old Icelandic rune script.
The runic inscription on the pyramid is old Icelandic rune script as well and means: “This is Rotaskross, sun cult of Enoch’s pillar“.
As a last point I want to mention that this superstave is the most complex one of them all, i needed three months to paint it.