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Galdrabok: An Icelandic Grimoire Paperback – September, 1989


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Red Wheel Weiser (September 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087728685X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877286851
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #554,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Icelandic (translation)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By "cordor" on July 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a historical document, the Galdrabok is Stephen Flowers' account of an incredible survival of a Pagan era. It illuminates the Icelandic citizen's mindset in an era where mainland Europeans were being put to the sword for their beliefs in the Runes and the Old Ways.
The naivete of some of the Galdrabok's spells (galdr) combining elements of Christian prayer and Pagan magic strikes one as charming. Here was a country where galdrmenn (sorcerers) mixed and matched the Traditions with childlike ease; almost like play for some of them, by all appearances.
Customs of Icelandic magic are described: laws regarding kotruvers, gambling magic, for example, and birthing and healing magic ... and magic to expose thieves in their midst. These people were pragmatic in their use of magic, and they were a keenly inventive people, not afraid of experimenting.
As long as it worked, it was used. If a spell didn't worked, they would recut the runes until something worked. And they wanted spells to pull a cow out of a bog or help a pig deliver a healthy litter, not this New Age channeling nonsense so prevalent in the modern world.
For the serious Northern Tradition student, this book may need to be combined with other books, e.g. Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn, to ground one in the magical theory.
If you are interested in the book only for its historical value, as an anthropological treatise, it is an insightful look at the ancient Icelander's mindset, and is valuable in that respect.
Some people (mostly Northern Tradition purists actively into magic) might say that the Galdrabok demonstrates the problem of mixing Christian and Pagan cultures.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Galdrabok is split into two parts: a history of ancient (particularly Icelandic) magick and a variety of Icelandic and Teutonic magick spells.
Flowers' historical account is interesting even if you do not believe in the existance of magick. This account is particularly interesting if you are researching this topic; I have not seen too many books that go as in-depth as Flowers does. Flowers also includes one or two sets of runes for those interested.
For those interested in the applications of the spells, Flowers includes an extensive list (and how to work the spell) for everything from staunching blood (this one actually works) to good luck charms. He informs the reader as to what materials are required, as well as what the characters (called "staves") should look like. Flowers also includes an extensive bibliography for those wanting more information on the subject.
As with most books on magick, Flowers suggests that you be careful, but not in a "standard" way. Rather, Flowers tells of one overly-eager magician who hungered for more and more powere - he was destroyed by that which he sought.
WARNING: Some of the material in this book is NOT SUITABLE for children.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jonathan pressley on June 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
As Isenwulf has stated about the book... Flowers did not simply reach into his heiney and remove the text. It does however contain text from a number of differing MSS. Much of it is to be found in AM 434a which is in the possession of the A. Magnusson Institute along with the other texts that he used (with one or two in private possession). It is a well done and researched translation of the texts presented. My only qualm was that it did not go into too much depth with regard to certain mythological contexts for some of the materials. But then again Dr. Flowers can run philological circles around most of us so even this mild complaint bears no ill will towards his work.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reyner on April 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Galdrabok: An Icelandic Grimoire is both a guide to the practice of 'Old Icelandic Folk Magick' as well as an interesting 'still-shot' of the development of Germanic folk-ways to the christian-way at a time when the two were very mixed.

Threads of philosophy, folk-wisdom, wit, magickal tradition and surprising humor are woven together in the Galdrabok in a form that, compared to some of the other 'must have' texts on the Germanic mysteries, is very accessible and easily digested.

Hardly a scientific statement but: I have found the charms detailed in this book to be quite useful.

Enough said!
:D
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daen Olson` on August 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic! What a great piece of Icelandic culture and history.
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