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The Seidre (Teutonic and Norse Shamans)

The Seidre were shamanic folk who travelled from community to community speaking with the Other-world on behalf of the townspeople they visited. They would question the recently-deceased loved ones and ask favors of the gods through the town's dead kinfolk. It was believed that they were also able to obtain special favors for individuals from their passed-on relatives. Such favors might be something like a priestess who may ask that her grandmother endow her with the family's power in her physical body in this lifetime, rather than waiting for it to be bestowed on her. Many of the Germanic and Slavic peoples believed the power was passed from family member to famlily member on the death of the preceding generation's head witch- but it sometimes skipped a generation or two, and the newly-deprived head honcho of the family's witchery would likely feel inclined to ask why. The Seidre could ask this question for them.

Also, as a group, the community might be inclined to ask for a particularly good harvest, protection from flooding in the spring, a light snow-fall during winter, or an easy freeze instead of a harsh and windy winter. In the event of some mystery, such as who committed a murder that had no suspect, they might also be able find this out by asking the deceased or a representative of one of the gods or goddesses "who-dunnit".

The Seidre were also known as Bien-Sheidre. "Bien" is a French word meaning "excellent or beneficient"- now where does that fit in?? Was it a late-comer in the naming game? Or does it even matter here? So many questions. Most may not even be relevant, but I would not consider myself to have done very thorough research if I did not ask them all.

I believe the term to be a late addition from upper regions of France, since it is likely that by the time the Teutonic tradition was thoroughly rooted in Germanic cultures, they would have probably made contact and begun trading with French peoples from that region- indeed had probably done so for a thousand years or more. There is evidence of sea-travel up and down the coast of Prehistoric Europe- the routes from Italy to Gaul and the Rhineland areas (what would later be parts of Germany, via The Danube and Rhine Rivers) were travelled regularly in small boats. Even the occassional trip to Britain and Ireland was not unknown. It would certainly make sense to have a Seidre bless your trip, and then carry them across the water as extra protection!

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