The "Niding Pole" (often called Nidstang or Nidhstong) is an ancient Scandinavian method of cursing another being.
A Niding Pole is most often made out of wood, traditionally hazel, with a horse's head placed upon the top and relevant runes carved into the pole.
I was discussing the pole with a friend, Personified, and such friend informed me that a goat's skull can be used as a substitute, although it is not as effective as the traditional horse's head. In addition, they also gave me the information that you can carve a horse head out of wood and rub your blood on the teeth to ''wake'' it.
The horse's head is now, however, more normally replaced with a horse skull or the pole itself is carved with the image of a horse head.
Why the horse head? On the Niding Pole, the horse skull invokes the Norse rune Ehwaz, using the linking and transmissive power of the rune for the magical working. The horse is sacred to Odin, a major deity in Norse mythology and cosmology that represents war/battle, victory and death, however in addition, wisdom, magic, poetry, prophecy, runes and hunting.
To cast the curse, the pole was traditionally erected, facing the direction to which the curse is to be sent. An incantation is spoken, pronouncing the target of the curse. With that done, the horse's head is turned to face the direction of the chosen quarry. Such a curse is intended also to cajole the land wights into working against the victim(s).
The pole channels the destructive forces of Hel, goddess of death. These forces were carried up the pole and projected through the horse skull. The runes carved on the pole defined the character and target of the destructive forces.
Among others, triple Thorn [Thurisaz] runes and triple Is [Isa] runes, were used to 'smite' the enemy. When used maliciously, these had the effect of disempowering the cursed's will and delivering him or her to the forces of destruction. Here, the Thorn rune invokes the power of Thurs, the demonic Earth-giant sometimes called Moldthurs.
An example of this comes from Skirnismal, where the spell used by Skirnir against Freyr's reluctant lover, Gerdhr invokes harm using the Thorn rune. This provides the power for three other runestaves: " I shall inscribe Thurs for you, and three runestaves: lewdness, and rage and impotence ".
The Niding Pole was intended to disrupt and anger the Earth sprites (Landvaettir, Land-Wights or earth spirits) inhabiting the ground where the accursed's house was. These sprites would then vent their anger upon the person, whose livelihood and life would be destroyed.
Niding Poles were also used to desecrate areas of ground. This technique is called alfreka, literally the "driving away of the elves", by which the Earth sprites of a place were banished, said to leave the ground spiritually dead.
Grimner's Nidstang ( chant ):
''I curse! I curse all of them who soil our glorious land with unworthy actions. I curse all of them who borrow sacred symbols Gungnir, Mjolnir and Sacred Staves - Odin's spear, Thor's hammer and runes, given by Odin's hand and soil them with unholy deeds. I curse all of them who in ugly costumes and shaven heads as well as suits and ties abuse the wisdom of our ancestors, our ancient ways and our present faith. I curse all of them who want to silence the mouths of others for themselves to be heard with their stupid bellowing. I curse all of them who put themselves above others because of their paleness, who trample on others because of the color of their skin, foreign language, or a different faith.
Upon the heads of these miscreants I call all powers! I call upon the gnomes, and the little people to scratch their bodies and disturb their sleep. I call upon the elf-smiths to lay an iron ring around their chests giving little room for their spirit little room for breath to speak of evil. I call upon the "rimthurses" (frost-giants) from the depth of Niflheim, that they may freeze to their death before they get a chance to freeze others out. I call Surt and his "fire-thurses", that they may burn to their death before others may burn by their hands.
I call upon Loki, that he may twist their vision so that they strike each other down before they strike anyone else down. I call upon Freya so that these young men never may share a woman's bed and never have sons or daughters of their own as long as they want to hinder others to do just that. I call upon Frey, that these young men have their manhood gelded, never being able to create anything good for themselves, never getting peace or harvest, as long as they want to hinder others to do just that. I call upon Thor that he may protect us from demonic evil and I call upon his wrath against the miscreants who wants to cause pain to others. I call upon Odin, All-father. He who gave spirit to man and woman. He who together with his brothers Hoenir and Lodur, gave life to man, body and soul, Ask and Embla, Man and Woman.
I call upon Odin and the "Norns". Goddesses of destiny, Urdh, Verdhandi and Skuld, who together judge everyone after death that they may judge these miscreants hard, so that they not even after their deaths may escape their deeds of evil against other sons and daughters of Ask and Embla. I set this "nid" until these drooling servants of evil and ignorance do penance and let each and one stay by their land, their people and their faith wherever in our world they may choose to live.''