Magical Stavesábrókarstafur

Magical Staves

“A small sample of the magical staves and characters found in Icelandic grimoires. A number of grimoires can be found
in collections of Icelandic manuscripts. A few of these have been dated to the time of the witch-hunts though the majority are from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and some are copies made in the early 1900s. Some
mix primitive medicine with darker parts but all of them include signs and drawings as an important part of the magic. Very little of this material has been printed in its original form. The following samples are taken at random from various collections. The texts are not translated in full but are intended to give some idea of the contents of Icelandic grimoires.

Necropants /  Nábrókarstafur

These were made with the intact skin of the lower part of the human body, dug up from a church yard. When worn they will become undistinguishable from one’s own skin. The stave should be kept in the scrotum along with a coin stolen from a poor widow. Money will then constantly be drawn into the scrotum.

 A Stave to Raise the Dead / Stafur
til að vekja upp draug

“This sign can be used to wake from the dead, to exterminate a ghost, and it also has the power to drive away evil
spirits. It must be carved on the skin of a horse’s head with a mixture of blood from a seal, a fox, and a man.

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in Tucson, Arizona with Stephanie Smith.