Icelandic magical staves

Icelandic magical staves (Icelandic: galdrastafir) are sigils that were credited with supposed magical effect preserved in various Icelandic grimoires, such as the Galdrabók, dating from the 17th century and later.[1][better source needed]

Table of magical staves

Icelandic name Manuscript description Image
Að unni “To get a girl”, this magical stave is used by a man in love to gain the affections of the object of his desires.[2]  
Ægishjálmur Helm of Awe (or Helm of Terror); to induce fear, protect the warrior, and prevail in battle.[2]  
Angurgapi Carved on the ends of barrels to prevent leaking.[citation needed]  
Brýnslustafir For use on whetstones.[3]  
Draumstafir To dream of unfulfilled desires.[3]  
Dreprún To kill an enemy's cattle.[4]  
Feingur A fertility rune.[3]  
Gapaldur Two staves, kept in the shoes, gapaldur under the heel of the right foot and ginfaxi under the toes of the left foot, to magically ensure victory in bouts of Icelandic wrestling (glíma).[2]  
Hólastafur To open hills.[2]  
Kaupaloki To prosper in trade and business.[2]  
Lásabrjótur To open a lock without a key.  
Lukkustafir Whoever carries this symbol with them encounters no evil, neither on the sea nor on the land.[5]  
Máladeilan To win in court.[6]  
Nábrókarstafur A stave used when making necropants (nábrók), a pair of trousers made from the skin of a dead man that are capable of producing an endless supply of money.[7]  
Skelkunarstafur To make your enemies afraid.[8] (A similar looking stave is titled Óttastafur in the Huld Manuscript.)  
Rosahringur minni A lesser circle of protection.[2]  
Smjörhnútur Butterknot, to find out if butter was made using milk stolen by a Tilberi.[9]  
Stafur gegn galdri Staves against witchcraft.[10]  
Stafur til að vekja upp draug To raise the dead and drive away evil spirits.[2]  
Þjófastafur For use against thieves.[11]  
Tóustefna To ward off foxes.[12]  
Varnarstafur Valdemars Valdemar's Protection Stave; increases favor and happiness.  
Vatnahlífir Protection against drowning.  
Vegvísir To guide people through rough weather.[3]  
Veiðistafur For luck in fishing.  

See also



  1. ^ ""Staves or magical signs" Galdrastafir - Strandagaldur ~ Galdrasýning á Ströndum ~ Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Magical Staves". Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft. 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2023-03-22.
  3. ^ a b c d Huld Manuscript ÍB 383 4 in the National Library in Reykjavík
  4. ^ From a 17th-century grimoire, in the Antikvarisk-Topografiska Arkivet in Stockholm.
  5. ^ "ÍB 383 4to | Digitized Manuscript Viewer". (in Icelandic).
  6. ^ From a 19th-century manuscript, lbs 4375 8vo, in the National Library in Reykjavík.
  7. ^ "Nábrókarstafur - Strandagaldur ~ Galdrasýning á Ströndum ~ Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft".
  8. ^ From Skuggi. Ársritið Jólagjöfin 4. Ár. 1940. "GALDRA-SKRÆÐA" by Jochum M. Eggertson
  9. ^ "Butterknot - Tilberi ~ Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft".
  10. ^ From a 17th-century manuscript, lbs 143 8vo, in the National Library in Reykjavík.
  11. ^ From a 17th-century medical text, am 434a 12mo, in the Arnemagnean Collection in Reykjavík.
  12. ^ From a 19th-century manuscript, lbs 4375 8vo, in the National Library in Reykjavík.