1. A völva is a type of shaman/seeress within the Norse religion.
2. In old Norse, ‘völva’ means ‘wand carrier’.
3. Another name for völvas, ‘fjölkunning’, means ‘plenty of knowing’.
4. Völvas practise shamanism, sorcery and prophecy.
5. Historical and mythological depictions show that völvas were held in such high esteem that even Odin himself consulted one, to learn the fates of the gods.
6. In Norse society, a völva was an elderly woman who travelled widely, freely and alone, and was usually summoned during times of crisis – for a rather large fee!
7. Völvas were often considered to have greater authority than aristocratic women, and sometimes even men.
8. Important women would give up their thrones to show respect for a völva.
9. Archaeologists have discovered wands in 40 graves, along with valuable grave offerings, showing that völvas belonged to the highest level of Scandinavian society.
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