Poetic Edda - Sayings of the High One [extract]
Type of Spiritual Experience
Spells or invocations were ‘discovered’ by magicians, but the wording and the timing are absolutely key – get a parameter wrong and you could flood the world or cause a typhoon or disable an entire nation. So discovering testing and recording the spell was key.
The following extract from the Poetic Edda is about this task.
The first stage is the recording of the function and its parameters [carve], which was literally true, because for years and years the recording of spells was not done on paper or vellum, but in stone or on wood both of which required carving.
The next stage is to understand what you have been given, how to interpret the function name and its parameters [interpret].
Staining probably [but may not be ] literal in the sense that once you had interpreted the spell and knew how to use it you possibly stained it a specific colour to denote it could be used [but I am guessing here].
Then you had to carefully test out its use by invoking it and seeing the result [test].
If you have got it wrong and the function and its parameters are not as you recorded you need to go back and ask those who gave you the spell what the correct parameters or name are and you may need to correct the record you have made [sacrifice]. Of course this may also mean a literal sacrifice of thanks to the ‘gods’ for giving you the spell.
Finally, once you think it is all OK then you can use it for real [dispatch]. There were also such things as death prayers unfortunately for those who misused the powers [slaughter]
A description of the experience
The Poetic Edda
from Sayings of the High One
Do you know how to carve, do you know how to interpret,
do you know how to stain, do you know how to test out
do you know how to ask, do you know how to sacrifice,
do you know how to dispatch, do you know how to slaughter?