We’ve mentioned that seidr and galdor were the main magical techniques practiced in the Germanic occult. They represent the two sexes of Germanic magic: while seidr is associated with women, galdor is the “male magical practice”. We shall demonstrate that a person practicing seidr is in a state in which sexual categories have no meaning, therefore the division of male and female magic is outside of the realm of sexuality.
One might recall that Odin was criticized for practicing seidr, a woman’s skill. In Lokasenna, Loki calls Odin an ergi, that is “one with non-male traits”. The term ergi does not signify an effeminate man, but in this context it signifies one who doesn’t have control over himself, who becomes vulnerable in a state of trance, which is unbecoming for a man. The word is an insult and is used for a person who does not act according to his or her sex: in this way, Freia would also be an ergi because she seduced men instead of being seduced by them. There is a theory that states that practitioners of seidr don’t change their sex, but instead become two-sexual or that his or her sex becomes “the third sex”. This theory was outlined by Jenny Blain in her book “The Nine Worlds of Seidr-Magic”.
Blain’s theory started from the fact that shamans around the world change their clothes for the clothes of the opposite sex and negate their own sexuality during the ritual in general. This custom is found in some Siberian and Altai tribes whose shamans are men who occasionally dress in women’s clothing and even have husbands. The shamans of Lapland, who are exclusively men, always have a female assistant by their side, attempting to reach the unity of both sexes in this manner during the ritual. The Inuit do not think of sexuality as a structure cast in stone, but as fluid and unfixed, which can therefore be changed at will. However, the most striking are other North American shamans who call themselves two-spirit or berdache and describe themselves as third sex beings (the ones who are berdache can be either men or women). By studying modern seidr practitioners, Blain came to the conclusion that the word ergi is used in the same context as berdache is among North American shamans. Ergi describes the state of a person in trance, a state in which the individual looses all features of his or her physical nature, including sexuality. Apart from that, there is also a sense of loss which is called Ego, because the individual performing seidr becomes one with the world of spirits: the spiritual world. The practitioner is overcome by a general transformation during which a change occurs in his or her relationship with the outside world, the world of spirits, people and society in general. The root of society’s intolerance for a man practicing seidr is exactly this – he leaves to role society assigned him and becomes a non-man, ergi.