In Heathenry, Intro To Heathenry, The Crows Fjord Blog

House Wights

House wights or, house ghosts, are helpful or harmful unseen creatures inhabiting the houses of humans. In Norway they are known as tussen, in Denmark nissen, in Germany kobolds, in Sweden tomten, and in England brownies.

Charms can be made to call them or to get them to go away. They can be encouraged to be more helpful, or less harmful by making offerings of porridge, milk or ale, or otherwise doing them favours as a Scandinavian tale from Scandinavian Folk Tale and Legend (pg 230) tells how a farmer comes across a little man filling his pipe. He asks the farmer for a light and he obliges. In return, the farmer is allowed to fill his pipe with tobacco from the little man’s pouch.

House Wight

House or Land Wight with pipe and book


Land Wights, or Landvaettir, are spirits that live in rocks or bodies of water. They can be befriended and bring prosperity if treated with respect, or if they become offended by your actions, can bring ill.

The practice of honouring the landvaettir was widely practiced in the pre-Christian Germanic world. It was customary to leave food or drink near places they were believed to dwell. Never wishing to offend them, their permission was often sought when changes to the landscape had to be made, such as the building of a home, or trees cut down. However, from the period of Christianization onward the practice was prohibited by law in most places.


Worship of the land wights did live on in Iceland though. King Olaf Trygvason’s Saga in Heimskringla describes a host of landvaettir guarding the island against invasion, and Landnámabók, the Icelandic Book of Settlement, instructs that dragon prows on ships were to be removed before approaching the island so as not to frighten the land wights.

Continental Scandinavian Huldfolk, or hidden folk, are like land wights, in that they are not commonly seen, but are typically characterized as being beautiful human-like creatures with an animal feature, such as a tail or hooves.

Sources / Reading:
The Elder Troth by KveldúlfR Hagan Gundarsson, Lesson Three: Wights, The Troth, 1996
Teutonic Religion by Kveldulf Gundarsson, p113-116 , Llewellyn, 1993
Our Troth: History and Lore, Vol.1, The Troth, Ch 23, Booksurge, 2006
A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru, Patricia M. Lafayllve, Ch 5, Llewellyn, 2013
Teutonic Mythology Vol.2, Jacob Grimm translated from the Fourth Edition by James Steven Stallybrass, Ch27 , George Bell and Sons, 1882
Scandinavian Folktales by Jacqueline Simpson, Penguin, 1989
Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend by Reimund Kvideland and Henninbg K. Sehmsdorf, University of Minnesota Press, 2014

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