For a few years now, under the influence of Lolita, I’ve been incorporating Trolls into my magical practise in various ways. This ranges from keeping plastic troll dolls and more traditional Norwegian figurines about the house as spirit allies, to adopting trollish behaviours, mannerisms and attitudes in our daily life.
I had also developed an increasing sense that the ‘internet troll’ was perhaps an important part of the magical picture, but for the most part I neglected to explore this side of troll nature(*). However, my interactions so far with the EtherSec and Project Mayhem 2012 movements have awakened some understanding of this nature, since in this context we see a blending of antia-authoritarian political activism, trolling and magick. See for example these trollings on twitter.
— Anton Channing (@antonchanning) August 13, 2012
— Anton Channing (@antonchanning) September 4, 2012
— Anton Channing (@antonchanning) September 5, 2012
Some expanding on the nature of troll magic by looking at the meanings of the word troll and its derivatives:
trollkona (n) (Swedish rare): A female troll and also a female magician or sorceress. Combines the word troll with kona, an obsolete word which used to mean ‘woman’. It comes from the root from which we derive the English word ‘Queen’.
trollkarl (n) (Swedish): A magician, wizard or sorcerer. Combines the word troll with karl, which simply means bloke, chap or guy.
trolla (v) (Swedish): To cast magic, or perform illusions that look like magic. See also Norwegian verb trylle (to bewitch) and Danish trylle (to conjure).
troll (n) (English): Supernatural being or humanoid monster that lives under bridges or in caves. Derived from Old Norse where it referred to both the chaotic race of giants that fought with the gods, and also woodland nature spirits. See also Norwegian, Swedish and Danish troll, possibly related also the Middle High German trolle (ogre, wraith, monster or spook). In Scotland, the spirits known as ‘Trow’ or ‘row’ probably also derive from the same root.
troll (v) (English): To stroll. To wander about without purpose and to walk in circles. See also Old English trollen and trollin, (to walk, wander) and Low German trullen (to troll).
troll (v) (archaic English): To sing loudly, freely or in a carefree way.
These are the oldest meanings of the word and whilst they don’t tell us everything about who the trolls were, these clues do hint that the word applied to actual people and not just mythical beings. Perhaps these magicians liked to take on the appearance of mythical beings by dressing and behaving oddly and performing strange illusions. Perhaps they liked to wander about freely and perhaps they did perform magic by walking in circles and singing loudly.
Perhaps they were the neolithic peoples that inhabited Northern Europe before the arrival of the speakers of Celtic and Germanic languages. Or perhaps they were simply outsiders that liked the lifestyle and the freedom. Or perhaps they really are the chaotic race of giants that fought the gods, and by invoking their name all over the internet we are awakening them and the chaos they bring…
(to be continued)