Nidstang Curse

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An ancient Scandinavian method of cursing.

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 Person 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, Person 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 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 horse 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 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 channeled 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 accursed'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:

''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 silent

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.

And 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,


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.''

by Grimner Bjornklo ("Bearclaw")

This article was contributed by Eclipse.
Read their Book of Rituals.
Read their Book of Spells.


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