A vǫlva or völva is a shamanic seeress in Norse mythology.
Völva were practitioners of shamanis, sorcery, and witchcraft. They were held in high esteem for their abilities and their wisdom. Even the gods came to the völva for fortune telling and council. The term völva means “wand carrier” or “staff carrier”, and they used magic wands or staffs to aid in their magic.
Völva also existed outside of mythology. In Viking society a völva was an elderly woman released from familial bonds who wandered the land and was summoned in times of crisis to provide wisdom and aid, but now without charging for these services.
While völva were highly respected, men who practiced sorcery or witchcraft were shunned and often tortured and murdered for their transgressions.