The Alraunas - Witchcraft Hall of Fame

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

The Alraunas
Witchcraft Hall of Fame

Julius Caesar and Tacitus agreed that all the German tribes they encountered firmly believed in the prophetic powers of women. These prophetesses, the Alraunas, were considered sacred and sometimes divine. The most acclaimed were celebrities of their era; little is known of them, but some names still survive.

Image Ganna, the “Seer of Semnones,” went to Rome in 91 CE with King Masyas, where they were honored by the Emperor Domitian. (Her name may be related to the Old Germanic gandno, “magic.”)

Image Veleda sang the Germans into battle during Vespasian’s reign (69—79 CE). She lived near a shrine by the River Lippe and accurately prophesied Germanic victories. Her name, also spelled Weleda, may be related to the root word for “wisdom” and “witch” and may actually be a title. She is described as a member of the Bructeri tribe; after a military defeat, she was captured and taken to Rome in 78 CE, where she was treated with surprising respect, and was housed with the Vestal Virgins. Allegedly, during her tenure in Rome, she served as a translator and negotiator between the Romans and various Germanic tribes. She apparently died in Rome c.80.

Image Waluberg traveled to Egypt with Germanic troops in the second-century CE. (Walus is an Old German term for a magical staff.)