|“||The spell you described, Dahlia calls it "kenning"-- using proxies to watch her enemies from afar. But, I've never seen it done on quite this scale.||”|
— Freya explaining the spell to her siblings
Kenning is a spell used by old Norse witches to remotely enter the minds of others, allowing the witch to see through their eyes, talk from their mouths and control their actions from afar. It is a subsection of possession.
Kenning involves the use of a powerful spell that allows the practitioner to invade the mind and the body of living beings, even of entire masses at once, in order to spy on their enemies or to explore the area in search of possible dangers.
The eyes of the possessed become white as though covered with a cloudy film and the witch is able to manipulate the temporary host to move and speak as they desire. The possessed ones do not remember anything, as demonstrated by the crowd that surrounded Freya for a few minutes in Night Has A Thousand Eyes, they stared at her with a dazed expression before then returning to their activities like nothing happened.
Dahlia was known to use kenning to spy on on her marks before making her move and was possibly the creator of the spell. She had apparently done so enough times for Freya Mikaelson to be able recognize the spell via third party accounts, possible throughout their centuries together. According to her, one can prevent their minds from being invaded with Kenning spells by drinking a tonic tea.
Through her proxies, she was able to inflict pain on Freya, a powerful witch in her own right, and perform spells without attracting the attention of the crowd, though the latter could be due to her hold over the people. Additional, on multiple occasions, she was able to grant a fraction of her power to her proxies where they were able to perform feats of telekinesis. She was even able to use this spell to briefly possess the body of Josephine LaRue after Dahlia had killed her the previous evening. Her control was so fine such that she was able to send Josephine's reanimated body to the Mikaelson compound and communicate with Klaus and Elijah without raising any suspicions.
- The symbol used by Freya to trace the magical traces of Kenning back to Dahlia is the astrological sign of Taurus.
- This is also a symbol used in Wicca to represent the Horned God.
- The smudge-stick used to trace the symbol in the spell to trace the Kenning spell back to Dahlia appears to be made of sage leaves.
- Kenning allows a witch to reanimate and control a corpse as shown with Josephine LaRue's possession.
- In the real world, kenning is a compound expression in Old English and Old Norse poetry with metaphorical meaning (i.e. "oar-steed" instead of ship, "wound-hoe" for sword). Since this rhetorical device uses a word, or two-word phrase, instead of another that may be trivial in a poetic context, the name "kenning" is more than appropriate for a type of magic used by a Norse witch hiding inside a person, or a crowd via magical means.