Fjolkyngi in the sources is the most used word to define magic or sorcery in general but it is not a type of magic but rather a term that encompasses all magic. Fjolkyngi is not necessarily seiðr but its magic can cross over into that arena. In Old Norse Fjolk means much or many, a lot while kyngi is derived from the old norse verb kunna which means to know, to understand. But it is not simply understanding by way of just possessing knowledge but rather to know by heart. To be at such a level of familiarity and high skill that this way becomes a part of the self of the sorcerer or sorceress. Fjolkyngi is therefore a highly skilled sorcery based on instinct of the old traditions and secret lore. It is not just witchcraft or magic but something much more.
The question as to exactly how seiδr staffs were used within a seiδr ritual is a difficult one as we simply do not know. However seiδr staffs it seems from the sources were in the main quite large and ornately fitted with brass set in gemstones.
ok hvn hafdi staf i hendi ok var a knappr hann var bvinn md mersingv ok settr steinum ofan vm knappin
And she had a staff in her hand with a knob on the top, adorned with brass set. No man shall have in his house staff or altar, device for sorcery or sacrificial offering or whatever relates to heathen practice.
Eiδsivaþingslov 1:24 in NGL 1.383
1) Stafrs: an attribute of the vǫlva used in the course of summoning varδlokkur spirits as well as for for divination.
2) Seiδrstafrs , attributed to a practising vǫlva but usually very ornate and large.There exist three references in the sagas to the stafrs wielded by the vǫlur and the spækonna. The most detailed of these occurs in Eiriks saga rauδa
3) Járnstafr….belonging to spirit beings of the dreamtime and giants of old
4) Stafsprota…used by spákonas in facial attacks on an enemy or to rob them of their memory and instil confusion.
5) Vǫlr….attributed to a practising vǫlur and has phallic conontations
6) Gandr/Gǫndul…. working of sexual magic, summoning gandir spirits for aid in clairvoyance or prophesy as well as night riding to inflict harm on another
7) Gambanteinn or gamban twig…. was a slender wooden pole or staff possibly with fuþark runes carved on it (twig of potency, twig of power) made from a freshly cut sapling is alleged to possess he power to drive a person to insanity, cause sexual submission followed by uncontrollable lust. Three runes are used here causing burning pains to affect the genitals causing sexual itch and irresistible desire. The runes are translated as Extreme Lust, Burning [with genital connotations] and Unbearable sexual need. Ref: Skirnismal
8) Tamsvǫndr or taming wand was a wand described in the Skirsnismal. The tamsvǫndr is described thus as capable of inducing the bearer’s sexual will and prowess domination over its female victim who has no say or choice to resist her sexual partner: Tamsvendi ek þik drep / en ek þik temia mun, / mær, at minom munom. “With a tamng wand I touch you / for I will make you tame, / girl, to my wishes”. Dronke U 1997:382
Frøya [Freyja] Silver Pendant, copy in silver generally accepted to be a representation of the goddess Freyja. But the original is a gravefind from Aska, Östergötland, Sweden. SHM 29750:96.
Freyja’s special animal is the cat, particularly males. Since Freyja is a fertility goddess as well as a sorceress, it is interesting to find that an important sorceress in Erik the Red’s Saga has gloves made of white cat fur. Cats play a part in fertility and/or female magic associated with the goddess Freyja. “The link between cats and the goddess [Freyja] has not been satisfactorily explained, but the gloves made of cat-skin, white and furry inside, mentioned in the Greenland account, suggests that cats were among the animal spirits which would aid the vǫlva (sorceress) on her supernatural journey.” (Davidson 1964:120)
This fertility/female magical association may have something to do with the lack of Freyja and her cats in the Icelandic literature, as Christianity disapproved of promoting female sexuality and pagan ritual. (Jochens 1995:6) Freyja’s cats seem to be the only heavenly steeds not named. Why are only Freyja’s cats missing names when so many other important gods’ steeds are not? (Price 2007:56) It seems likely that the relationship between black cats and the Medieval Christian “evil witch” came from the close bond cats shared with pagan “witches.”
In Fornmannasogur, a pitch-black she-cat was the mother of “a giant, called Brusi, who lived in one of the islands off the west coast of Norway; …fire issued from her mouth and nostrils, and her eyes were terrible. This cat once killed twenty men in a few minutes.” (Hjaltalin 1871:17) Although Brusi’s mother was a demonic mother of a giant, we still see the cat as a protective mother in this story, which is a characteristic of fertility goddesses. In the Vatnsdæla Saga, “a man, called Thorolfr, who lived in Vatnsdalr, in the north of Iceland…was a great terror to his neighbours, because he had twenty cats; ‘they were all pitch black, of an immense size, and Thorolfr had made them very powerful by sorcery.’ Even after the death of Thorolfr few ventured to come near the place for fear of the cats.” (Hjaltalin:17; Wawn 2001:231-232) Thorolf’s cats are called ‘cats from Hel,’ and Hel is sometimes interpreted as a manifestation of Freyja. (Howey 1989:59)
Hel was a goddess who ruled the Norse Underworld, and not the “hell” of modern monotheism. As the daughter of the mischief god, Loki, she was half monster, half goddess and held dominion over the dead. In this case, cats are not only used in protective magic, but could also have ties to the Underworld. In the epilogue to Laxadæla Saga, Stufs "attr, the king “Haraldr asks Stufr whether his father was ‘the hard or the soft cat’… the person who is soft (blaudr) could not be a father…blaudr suggests female suppleness, while hvatr (hard, used to designate male animals) means sharp and evokes the image of penis (Jochens 1995:76),” hinting at the cat’s sexual symbolism. Thord the Cat is also a prominent character in the actual saga, although how he came by this name is unknown. (Kunz 2001:273-397)
By far the most important occurrence of cats in all of the sagas is in Erik the Red’s Saga. Here, a very influential and powerful Greenlandic vǫlva (sorceress) named Thorbjorg, called “the Little Prophetess,” wears a cat skin hat and cat skin gloves lined with white cat fur. Thorbjorg is imperative to connecting cats further with Freyja, as Thorbjorg practiced sorcery and likely used her catskin and fur in her shamanic trances. Freyja was the goddess of sorcery whose cart was driven by cats, seemingly on shamanic journeys. This is the seeress of which Davidson expresses need for explanation. (Davidson 1964:120)
Ref: Freyja’s Cats: Perspectives on Recent Viking Age Finds in þegjandadalur North Iceland By Brenda Prehal