Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time IV

Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time IV

I have already been there, in other writings, in other lives, and these are the times. I am stood between Siw-Alfadis and Blathnaid-Brigid whilst Bjorn-Ole surveys the sea from the promontory, we are in Njardarheimr in Freyr-An’ersh’s Gudvangen Village of the Vikings. I am here with my heart. I am at once really here and yet also actually here in this dream.

My Gudvangen Dream Life IV portrays me already in a Viking-style life in Gudvangen where I am actually living as Skald to the Viking Chieftain in Njardarheimr Viking Town in Norway; in this blog version everything of myth and legend has become real.

Stay in place as followers to know what happens next; beware, nothing is made up, yet most of this is dream.

NB The names used are taken from those I have known but the characters added to them are based on other people I know.

PS Credits will be given for any writings.

PPS You can become part of this by sending me thoughts and ideas adrianspendlow @ gmail.com or by commenting below (as if you were there). A huge thank you to all those who have made suggestions and offered writings (there are loads half written up for the next one).

Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time IV

We use the name Viking yet we are different, we are from different worlds, different worlds of thinking. We are together; I do not think like you. I do not think like you. I am Vanadís. disI am Díser of the earth. Creature of the old ways. I craft. I drag the iron from the very earth. I tell stories. I tell stories from my mother tongue. Far away. We are all far away. We are all here. See how the spring shoots grow. See how the hammer is protective. I sew the Troll cross. There is little time to practice to survive. I swing the iron. We practice with long shafts. I see the Ramslurk grow. ramslorkI see the mists and their foreboding. The children play. The wolf sleeps. Dream people; for we are a commune. Ships come.

Our chieftain, Freyr-An’ersh, respected as he is, he welcomes, while we judge and consider. They bring more skills. We flourish. We are what you call Viking and this is where we lie. Tread lightly as you go for you walk upon our heart.

Fires suddenly burn along the tall ways. watch fireAlong the high edges of the fjord walls. The lands we hardly know of. Top side. Up there in the Sami lands; the seasonal lands of nomadism, they pay respect to us. They are watchers. They trade with us. They will come down soon as warmer weathers once faded lead to cold times before the hard freeze. They go somewhere else when it is all frozen solid. Some say they go to other worlds, some that they are always of those worlds and visit us through a veil, some that they cave-live for the winter, in the steep sides of uninhabited fjords where no one can observe their smoke.

They will come down for the final trade quite soon. Coming to us is the nearest they ever get to warm climes, and that is in the far end of autumn.

So the beacons burn. watch-fire.jpgThe ancient debt we receive for; the old old owing, yet how can we ever repay the repayors! They far surpass whatever it was in ages past that caused them to be owing to us. Yet the fire beacons burn when we are in need of warning. They watch from on high whenever they are in the heights of their seasonal hunting grounds. Their camps look down upon the fjord and they see ships come. So they light the beacon fires; one upon one upon run and light along the high ground; and we know, we know: of battles, or enemies, of returnings, of strugglings. A ship is coming, (or a leviathan). We shall not venture out to sea to see.

We shall watch. We shall prepare ourselves.

Bjorn-Ole stands the stock of blades and bows in the strategic places we have established. Our defences are in place.weapon pot

Poppa-Varg, Poppa-Volva and the other children climb Yew and Maythorn trees back on the higher ground.kids tree

Warriors; Tor-Gunlodd, Brunhildr, Ailbhe Connell and Frode-T’or climb cliff sides.

There is an expected returning. There is a ship we know and love returning just as we hoped that it would quite soon. Nothing comes. The beacon fires up high should have brought a ship or result by now. Our Viking ones are overdue. The beacons must mean other than ‘Here comes your brethren returning’.

Our thoughts are that, there is a complication. Perhaps enemies assail them. Perhaps they are all dead. Perhaps they are sinking on their way home.

We do not know and Thorfinn Asmundsson will no doubt regail us of the tale in a slash by blow way after the settling of them; the hopeful settling of them. We wish and hope for a safe fare landing together if all return and blood is staunched; the fettles calmed.

A light, we see a light. Surely we do. Just a hint of a glimpse of a dot of a shine that amplifies within the mind into a massive talisman of hope. There is a ship coming, it has a light above. We peer in hope and anxiety. Down the long fjord we glimpse for real.boat torch

It cannot be an enemy shining one light. Many fires waved would be to intimidate us, but just one would serve as a warning and defeat the objective of the incomer; so this shall be our returning vessel.

One of our brave travellers must have climbed the mast with a flaming torch and is lighting the way. No, the light would guide them very little, it must be for us to see. They are letting us know that they approach. They must be a-feared that they may not make it, they are struggling. “Sail out, they are sinking,” cries Björk-Mari, “Board our vessel here at the harbour and sail out. Just enough to crew the ship, to row to their rescue.

“Yes,” calls Siw-Alfadis, “we may need room for them to board for safe return”.

The one light in the far far distance is standing now, it comes no nearer. “We must hurry, worries Jan-Robert.

Leif-Lasse leaps, “Row, row like the wind”.

“One of you must climb the mast with a burning brand so they know you are coming, to give them hope: for us to see also so we can hope,” Signy Volsungsdottir.man torch

Long is the watching. Long is their journey. Small hands clench maternal hands. Our home ship is slowly nearing the returning vessel. Just in time perhaps we hope. But no. The far light is tipping. Slowly, steadily, heading lower. The mast is swinging. The ship is tipping. They are lost to us in some moments.

The home ship is nearing. Our hands are all gripping. We gasp. We cry out. We clench each other’s shoulders. They are, distantly from us, heading for the ice-cold sea. The nearer ship approaches them, it is traveling fast. They are rowing as hard and as sleek as they possible can. We fear that they will ram.

The one light steers beside the other light. We see the lower light lift. One ship has hit into the side of the other with its fast-incoming flank.

The power of the one ship arriving straightens the other. We see the flaming torch lift till both are the same height.

We can only guess the crew are pulled aboard. It seems that the lightened load of the suffering ship may well be enough to let her ride this stormed night.

There is no blood left in our fingertips, nor in our shoulders, or in our hearts. We can scarcely breathe for the holding of each other so very very tight.

“One ship is bringing both the crews and is pulling the other ship in too,” sighs Björk-Mari.

It is an age and an eon until those two ships near us.

The torch is gone from the mast of the rescued ship and eventually from the saviour vessel.

Our cliff-top warriors cheer.men cheer

Eventually they are home. Their ship is home.

There is much blood.

It was a battle at sea. A swooping pirate of the waters has attacked and followed and attacked again. Our ship, the returner, was valiant and saw their ship adrift and empty. The binding which held them while the crews leapt from ship to ship in battle were unloosed. And the empty ship went far adrift before it eventually would go down.

It may have been better to keep it. For our far-travelled ship was much damaged. It made it as far as it did.

The ship is home. Both our ships are home. The long-journeyed crew are mainly returned. Safe and back and families are reunited.

All is good.

Not so.

This ship which returned did not remove its battle dragon. How could it do so. It is not a trade ship which returns. It is a ship of dragonhead.d head A serpent thing upon our land. Whether intentional or not. It has been accepted here with sign of war. With sign of mystical beasts. Of other worlds. The Díser are enraged. They abandon us. The land is cursed. Cursed. We all are cursed.

The land is cursed. The Díser leave us. All last growth dies. The new growth in the spring of tomorrows will not happen.

Our chieftain must journey to the land of the Vanadís. We burn the herbs. The juniper for the visions.juniper We shall all sleep. We shall dance, we shall tremor, we shall sleep and some of us shall journey to the realms of the Vanadís and we shall tranquil them. Standing with our chieftain as he bravely speaks. He steps forward and declares. He acts for us all and his true heart is read, “We ask of the earth to return to us growth and plenty”.

There is a cost. In old old tales we hear from other lands terrible costs are paid; the life of the first born, the servitude of the next borne or other such heart-wrenching promises. Terrible things. We promise a terrible thing. We promise that one shall go from our midst to ever-serve in the all-time forever as a Vanadís, returning only at will in the when-ever and at times of need and of love and of celebration. Always over there though in the forever of the timelessness.

We shall not choose who will go though. We shall wait till one is willing. We will tell this tale for generation upon generation, the Sami at the topper-most shall also tell. From our midst and perhaps from theirs too shall emerge a chosen one; chosen by their self.

And they shall go. They will be the payment for the return of life to this valley. The Díser shall be welcomed back. The earthy ones who inhabit our realm in a distant way shall be here and the Vanadís shall be in their realm. With our daughter or son. They shall be ever watching through to ours.

That serpent beast-head upon the returning ship has taken a terrible cost and payment shall be forever. (The one who eventually went is still there even in your time as you read this and they are looking down upon us all.)

Lo the freeze times come and there is chanting, throat music, names of old old gods and beings, remembered ones; chanting, casting, renewing.

Hear the visitation from above. Down the goat path they come; the Sami.pipe

Olga-Stina leads the dancing chant for all to add to. “We sing to lead.” “We sing to enchant.” “We sing to mislead.” “We have pipes of metal to suck back our kindred’s brains in revenge.” “Follow us if you dare, if you are of evil intent.” “Look you follower, a sharp drop off a cliff.” “Come with us enemies, we will keep ourselves safe by leading you, come, come, come.” They softly spookily chant, chant.

They come to trade. First. They come to work. They drag and dodge and massively bundled tree trunks dodge and slide and drag; behind, in front, by sides. They, harnessed, bring the wood they need.sami logs

They pile and build and burn and create charcoal, here in the flatter lands of warmer ways.

They bring the wood they need. They pile and build and burn and collect; resinous flowings. Twenty two trees for every trunk needed for wood work.

There had been a huge shadow behind each one of these shamanic nomadic visitations as they traversed down the steep sides in their ancient ways here in Gudvangen; with poles under arms they steered huge mountains to down here, to bring us furs.

There is, before they disappear for winter’s hard of hardest times, a trade, a final trade.

logsWhat can we give them worth their trading, worth their skills, worth their service?

They have charcoal for their forging, resin for their building, praise and thanks for their service to us. They have worked well high above and have aplenty.

Survival.

The crunch and the green and the fruiting of the lower lands. We have lived a summer; they have lived a harshness.

We have a year’s worth of preserves for them. Some still fresh too. Some in sealed leather.

Food up there freezes, here it ferments, when buried (gravved) we dig for them and they guzzle like it is fresh; they chant and then eat more.

Have we a feast for them. “Come join us.” “Come feast”

“Talk of fermented, here is brew you yearn.”

High nethers never yielded such dairy. Milk; they glug. Yogurt with honey they laugh and laugh with joy.yog This is a feast of many things, the largest of which is joy. Joy.

We have pledges to renew and enjoin.

Then.

Then there are bounteous gifts. You from the high lands have done us so much. You are promising so much. We will be united in the blessing of the land which the Vanadís have renewed. We shall be united in the pledged of promise to these Dís. One of you, one of us, will agree to go.

We have a yield to share amongst our two types of humans and a yield to share from our world to another world; the world of Dís. We commemorate this as promise. This is an eternal gift and true true all-world promise.

Boots we have. Bounteous harvest too. Much-folded swords.swords Treasures; Coptic and Islamic. Gold in bent shapes, and coins. Coins with many pictures amongst them. Jasper. Jade even. Dying materials gathered for this trade. They ‘yeep’ at the colours they can make. They almost wee at the thought.

We give them arched strong bows.

We cry now for they return the wool we shared. We have a holy gift for them we have held back, held back. Here first is the return. Wool. Uncarded it went and spun it returns. The Sami they spin.spin

They sit and they spin. They walk and they spin. They talk and they spin. They ride and they spin. They spin.

spin.jpgThem Sami can spin,

We have bounteous return for them. We have worked hard over the years, over the seasons two results. One for us. One for them. We own, we have a result from our shared spinning. We have to give… A blanket.

A blanket.

Thus is the strength of our gift.

It will be spring-time and gone by you know this yet here is the winter gathering. The fire. The mjord. The time of tellings. Of sharings. “We gather now and hear,” declares Poppa la Princesse Une fois.

“Let me tell you of a clear blue sky,”clear sky our Sami friend now relates, “and then of a terrible sudden downpour; from an empty sky it came, till in a blink, well everything was soaked and covered. Then the strange thing happened. In that instant out of the warm blue it froze. Everything frozen. A bush, the rocky mountain side, for I was not quite at the top. The stream, the moss upon the stone. Everything was silver. Completely silver. Even myself; I had to shake, twist, to break free from it and drop thin sheets down upon the ground. In the time it takes for chick to hatch it was gone and everything was wet and damp. The sky was just as blue and clear as ever”.

“I have been down below there, nearer the dim waters – in the almost always dark,” relates Finley Mac with his woman by his side, “As we sailed out I saw things, well, a thing; it was big and it climbed. It climbed so far then it leapt. As slopes turned to crags it needed to leap to gain purchase, but all of this was fast, very fast indeed. I don’t want to know what I think it was, I don’t want to hear myself say it aloud, but it was grey, it had long arms, long legs, a big knobbly head. I almost wish I hadn’t told you”.climber

“Indeed, it was huge…bigger than a tree and then it climbed in no time,” Linnea-Ingeborg whispers, “Hundreds of feet it jumped and he told me late one night in the sleepless dark how he saw the space between land and sky where the dark bulk left the ground…”

“There was something on the way back,” says Olafr-Andreas whilst staring outward.

“Who looked out, we were sinking!” wonders Frederick Steinsson.

“No there was something.”

A few listening shudder and quietly groan; they were obviously looking too.

“It had wings,” continues Olafr-Andreas, “No it was wings; wings of shadow, yet with strength. There was nothing else though. Just the wings.wings They were slow and strong and ponderous, and they were close to the steep stone sides; low over the water. Travelling forever.” “Wings.”

“There was something else terrible travelling back with us!” outbursts Kjell-Toffe, “A man in a skirt!”

“It is a kilt”, proclaims Collum McCull.kilt

“Well, you are from the far north, even norther than the north lands; just below the ice,” spells out Johnson.

“You are Pictish,” points out Patrick.

“It is better than Elvish!” chips in Myrull-Ylva.

“Or silky!” remembers Olve-Daan.

“Or from the realms of rain, begorra,” winks Ragnhild.

“We renamed your Pictish land after us doon forget; Land of the Scots, doon forget that means Irish,” laughs Blathnaid-Brigid.

“Irish? Eh, O, OH, Aye?” laughs Collum McCull.

“Ah yes the land of little men and rainbows,” adds Lars-Eirik.

“The place where the women came from!” Blathnaid-Brigid interjects, “The scribes”.

“That is another story,” adds Add ri An.

“Hex yer, hush noo, ahn look yee tiv the skirt of the monn will yeee,” winked Inga-Idun.

“Take the blame you sailors of all Viks,” declares Hin-Mann, “All the north and all the northern lands are of the Viking in ouradays, look not to stilltocomeadays or longgoneadays I ask you to awaken promptly. All is Norse, deal with it”.

“Kjilt inne Norske Yeh,” laughs Meretha-Silje, “Pleat the material. Look yeh at hoo affluent you look. You are a Viking if you are terribly proud.” “Aifter you.” “Aifter you.” “What yer doing pushin in yer grunta?!”

I heard the dying words of Atle, “it started here”.

Eermm ok… once upon a time”, starts Björk-Mari, “there was a very commanding Viking chieftain named Hrollr. His village was very powerful and other chieftain would travel from afar to pay his respects in the hope that Hrollr and his army wouldn’t wage war upon them. They would bring Hrollr their most prized treasures from raids from all over the world! One day, a Scottish chieftain by the name Glnockie came to visit and he brought with him the most exquisite wool from the Highlands. Hrollr was mighty impressed with the quality and beauty of the tartan and ordered his most prestigious seamstress, Njaela to stitch together a tunic that he was going to wear during a blot and in honour of Glnockie.

Njaela was ecstatic at such honour bestowed upon her and immediately began cutting the fabric, despite it being darkplad – so she sat down by the fire and began her work. As she was almost finished, a tiny spark from the fire caught the fabric and in front of her eyes, half of the tartan vanished before her. She knew that the chieftain would certainly have her blood-eagled for this, so she called upon Loki to help her.

Loki had travelled far and wide in his eagle-guise and had seen many strange things however, he quite fancied seeing the two chieftains at war so he began telling Njaela a tale of how the most powerful warriors in all of Midgard wore “half skirts”. Thinking that this would surely impress the chieftains, Njaela began sewing a “half skirt” and added, bedazzled it, with jewellery and a bag with the most beautiful hide she could find.

The next day, her chieftain, Hrollr, called upon her and asked her to show him the tunic. When he saw the “half shirt” he almost exploded from rage until Njaela was able to explain to him that all the greatest warriors that Loki had seen in Midgard, wore those but that this one was the most exquisite of them all. Upon hearing this, the chieftain put it on and entered the feast, presenting his “half skirt” to Glnockie.

Glnockie was so impressed by the “half skirt” that he immediately asked Njaela to make him one too – which she of course did! Upon arriving back to the Highlands, Chieftain Glnockie became a fashion icon and all the clans in the land followed suit.

The Vikings however, quickly discovered that the cold didn’t agree with the half skirts, so the trend never really caught on here.”

“Or so it is told.”

“I came here from even farther away,” tells Bjorn-Ole, “My family were traders and travellers so I was born and bred upon the road and have never seen my homeland. I learnt of the letters though, and so I have written. chinese 01I sent my ancients letters in a message to be sent to my grandparents in our faraway land”.

“Ah yes I have seen those pictures that you write which are like complicated runes,” adds Nils-Harold.

“They are our letters. I dimly remember how it is done from being a child and Add ri An commanded that I should send word. I will never be able to visit as it is so far away and I am a Viking now. If I could visit I would take sore eyes to my grandparents, but as it is I have sent the letters at the command of the Skald.chinese 02 He said I should say that they could congratulate me on being a good soul who knows their own path and is strong. I told him (didn’t I Add ri An) that I would be too blushed to say so even in writings. Yet he commanded it and Blathnaid-Brigid she also insisted that it be so. Mind you she also suggested I ask them to send us some silk!”

“Let the truth be known at your homes Add ri An told me and I admitted that his command was my command (‘Wise old man that you are,’ I added with a wink)”
“Hahaha he agreed reluctantly what a great honest skilled respected wise man he is who is strong and we are proud of. and he eventually agreed to say. Ah no come to think the wise bit was about me,” laughs Add ri An, “Say that a wise man said, that’s me. He promised.”

“What a noble errand indeed,” is the final word of Blathnaid-Brigid.

“Eh, it’s a good yarn,” smiles Teresa-Linn.

“I recall that when I came here I asked what the white stuff was on the tops of the mountains and now I am sending word of how well I am thought of here.”

“Your grandparents will have sore eyes,” adds Lis-Ravn..

“Wood-smoke fills us, fills this place, it will clear it will clear.”

“Tears are smoke,” acknowledges Tyra av Rafnsblõt.

“Tears are smoke and a sea trip will cheer us,” states Linnea-Ingeborg..

We sleep and as we wake we see the distant Sami climbing. These creatures are fond of welcome; fearful of a goodbye.

So, after feast leftovers are filling us to break our short sleep fast we recall the pledge of line and net to cast.fish

To net and line and catch and gut and clean and work together.

“A fishing trip, a boat outing, a pleasure to cruise among the fjord walls which in places never feel the step of man,” announces Linnea-Ingeborg.

“Lars-Eirik claims to be the only human to have stepped ashore at every one, (he does fish from his dugout often),” laughs Loke-Daan.boat

“Pale skins may have stepped there, but often it is as if my feet are the first ever human feet to stand a being tall upon these hidden inner lands, yes,” says Lars-Eirik.

Skirts are held. Arms are held. Ship bows are held.

And tensions, as we gaily step, are released.

This is a ship trip.

The waves skip.

More coming in than river ripples outwards. They bring a mix of clemency.

And we are ripping out.

A turnabout, we feel the drift, the tide within the turn within the burn; is going out. We row anyway. Sails in fjord waters are for gentle sessions or sheer emergency. We seek wider pass where half-rig will tender bob us on. While we sojourn.

Light twinkling on the facets of the stone sides gives a promise of spring,

“And while we idle,” muses the Johnson, “let me intrigue with a riddle…”

“Ooo yes we like a puzzle,” enthuses Svanvhit Smedsdottir-gjenfødt.

“I riddle…”

 

I am your ally on the hunt

But do not walk with me

Lest I be warning to your quarry

 

Eye glaze and there is quiet for a while.

Some know.

Others will think longer.

“I shall tell my tale,” says Bjarki, “For this journey reminds me of many,” he says as he sits and spins.

“I went to Hildrgard, beautiful Hildrgard,” he glances fleeting to the side, “and I told her – I had made a lock and attached it to my dwelling at the other side of the by, then I untied the key from my belt and offered it to her.”

“He clearly was asking me to move in with him,” chips in Hildrgard from her rowing perch.

“But you wouldn’t would you.”

“I moved in,” she added, “I said I wouldn’t be with you because you had nothing.”

“I cannot help being an orphan; a victim of chance, war and plague.”

In a stirring of mail across towards the prow T’or-Gunlodd asides, “Balder wasn’t there for you was he.”

“No T’or-Gunlodd there was no sense of family for me,” agrees Bjarki

“Never-the-less,” states Hildrgard, “your uncle left you the house, the small house. The blacksmith Svanvhit Smedsdottir-gjenfødt taught you how to make the lock and you still owed her for the iron, not to mention for the lesson.”

“I pledged to pay the blacksmith in the same way I pledged to pay you; a future promise.”

“I wondered how you could ever repay of an equal value to such pledges. Then I learned you had arranged to go Viking.”

“So Hildrgard, you arranged to move in.”

“I agreed to move in on my own, then, when you returned, if you didn’t return dead, I would let you in if you brought treasure.”

Bjarki turns to the crew, “I came back with nothing. Nothing but an agreement to go again.”

“That wasn’t good enough, but I did admire your determination. I couldn’t agree to anything until after your return as you had no skills.”

“I used to watch my mother spin.”

“And on this ship, I asked him, there are times when you just sit?”

“Yes, yes.” Bjarki eagerly nods as if still in that moment.

“Then, I said, take this wool and this spinner and then we will see.”spin

“Few of us returned alive, all of us with nothing.”

“Except you, you returned with sacks of yarn. It was nearly enough for me to let you in, but not quite.”

“Then you had another idea, and I had planned another adventure.”

“I asked, when you are in foreign lands, do you sometimes sit by a fire? You said you did so, so I said, if you return and you have dyed this yarn I will accept.”

Bjarki looked proud, “I returned with blood-red yarn…”yarn sacks

“And treasure as well my love.”

“Armour and two swords!” beamed Bjarki.

“And arrows.”

“I made those.”

“And now you are my beloved Bjarki Famed Fletcher.”arrow

“And father of three!” grins Bjarki.

Everybody spins.

“I am looking forward to the goat hunt in the spring,” smiles Tove-Marie.

“I less so.”

“Why would that be Add ri An?”

“I clambered the old path by the Galda Cave and through the forest came a whole pack of wolves. They were running, running wild for the sake of it. They brushed right past me. One stopped, she was a large silver-grey she-wolf. She hissed breath in and out of her teeth and it sounded like, “Rieka Sølvulven runs with wolfs,” and then they were gone.wolf

Among the very mixed reactions is a sharp intake of breath everyone looks round, they are relieved to look away from Add ri An.

Olafr-Andreas speaks, “As I was about to die upon that tied battle ground at sea I saw a shadow of that famed she-wolf and the tide turned – the tide of the battle that is – I heard the shadow as it fell upon him say, May you feel the burning of a thousand suns as they rise at one upon you. And then I stabbed”.wolf shadow

The eerie silence is broken, “Perhaps once the returned ship is repaired it will be time to build another,” suggests Leif-Lasse.

Myrull-Ylva speaks, “This can be a good opportunity to be a fighter Viking for a big and rich chieftain. Maybe he will allow me to go to Gardariket also. Then I will fight for the big sultans and be rich me too. And then, I can go wherever I want after that. And get my own army of ships and Vikings. I can see me standing there with the big kings and chieftains, with sword of the best blacksmith in our known world.”

“I am a big rich chieftain,” proclaims Freyr-An’ersh.cheif

Happy laughter bursts from all.

“Back to enjoying the boat trip,” Linnea-Ingeborg.

“We are not doing much fishing,” adds Poppa-Varg.

They all laugh and look around.

As the boat gently bobs, their chieftain Freyr-An’ersh adds, “It is enough to know we have worked so hard. That we have enough of everything. To be thankful to those who gave. We move onward in our town in happiness they earned for us. Parties are not the only way to happy. Nor are stories. We are a story. We are taking a boat trip and it is fulfilling. While there is light enough.

Take time to feel the bobbing of the rhythms.”

Poppa-Volva chips in, “Oh look it is time to turn back!”wave

“Hahahaha”

 

“And so we return to sleep till spring,” adds Thorfinn Asmundsson.

“Ha you wish,” musters Tyra av Rafnsblõt, “This is when the work starts”

“Oh I long for spring,” sighs Blathnaid-Brigid, “Where I am pleased to know we will witness little miracles growing all around. I am sure we will, I am sure we will, and am so very excited.”spring

Footnotes and Credits

The element of the story where one ship props up another in a fjord rescue is based upon the real-life memories of my sister-Norn Sigrun watching out for family members returning upon a fishing vessel; hers is an extremely moving tale to hear.

Thank you to my chieftain Georg for the story of the dragon head and the Vanadís.

The traumatic effects of burning the fruiting juniper branch come from the book Legal Highs.

The riddle is the first of a few I shall feature and come from a small book of Vikingesque riddles by highly skilled bone-worker Peter Merrett (and I am sure many of you will wish to add comments below).

Thanks to my good friend Grethe-Irene for her tale of the warrior Viking.

The natural phenomenon of the ice rain in the Rockford area was brought to me by my niece.

Thanks go to Judson, Atle and Holly for discussions on kilts.

 

My Viking ‘Dream-life I

My Viking Dream-life II

My Viking Dream-life III

Storytelling is…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Skaldic Kennings for our Chieftain

Skaldic Kennings for our Chieftain

A film team from France were creating a documentary about the Cheiftain of the Viking town in Gudvangen, Norway and I was asked to write a poem in my role as skald to be part of the film…

Njardar Viking Town

Look around

What brings you here?

Dream-creator

World-shaker

Love-bringer

History-maker

Community-seer

Remove-fear

Happen-here

Team-steer

Freedom-father

Gudvangen-leader

Gift-sharer

All-carer

Past-weaver

Peace-caster

Doubt-killer

Hert-filler

Originator

Let love and growth sustain

All because of

Our Chieftain

A man who has no power

And no official role

Who makes things happen by the hour

And gives this place its soul

Let me say it here again

May your gods be thanked for

Our Chieftain.

 

AS

 

 

 

 

 

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

 

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

 

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Gathering in a circle with the theme of stories is more ancient than we would generally imagine and yet is totally relevant.

Circles as part of a festival can be mainly a safe environment for people to listen and to input to a degree. A safe environment to share with the storyteller. So the element of being a show continues somewhat. This kind of environment tends to attract young adults and teens although does work for all ages.

Indeed single people who are not always confident at going out on a night or into bars will be attracted to such circles as something they feel happy within.

There is always the opportunity to share and sooner or later most people do. There is no better time for a circle than after a workshop or series of workshops. It is something to work towards. Somewhere to celebrate.

Circles empower and give confidence.

As well as working towards a solo performance at a circle there is the opportunity to share group work.

The Yggdrasil chorus with taking turns to epitomise elements of the worlds is a good example.

As is a multinational story where everyone translates into their own language a line at a time; always goes down great.

A story in the round from prompts can be great fun.

A trigger phrase also is good IE “I am that Viking who…” (fill in the gap) – “and I…” People can always pick up on it when they are ready.

I am often told I am a great teacher and when I question they say I teach by example. My storytelling is stimulating, my approach is encouraging.

Having an expectation of those around you can lead to miracles.

Here we have a safe environment not only for telling a tale but for discussion. A great place for feedback; both ways.

Suggestions can be made.

Ideas can be practiced.

Discussion prompted by a circle often leads to the group working together to help each other.

I usually start off with a batch of stories before developing the circle further.

 

As with shows, lectures, workshops the circle part of the package empowers the individual; to feel better about their skills, to better understand the process and to be more able to tell.

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

 

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Welcome to the workshops.

We shall be chopping stories up. Following on from the ‘knowing’ comic strip, (displayed on the wall), we can look at the idea of gradually working away from scripts to a far more free-flow approach where important elements come to the fore.

There, that is all you need to know, goodbye – oh no I’ve already done that gag.

 

S.T.O.R.Y. shall be displayed for discussion, and possibly for a rewrite.

Story is to stare at

Traditional told anew

Oral always, abandon all scripts

Reinvent eventually through practicing live

You should be the centre of attention yet forgotten altogether

 

There that is all you need to know – Oh gosh this theme has become really repetitive.

Let us look at story breakdown.

 

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques Subsection #8b The Breakdowns

(Scroll down to see full details of many.)

Here are some tales…

A Survival Tale – Bamboo Girl – Brynhildr Sleeps – Cinderella – Creation – Hansel and Gretel – Old Eater – Hare and the Tortoise – Loki’s Daughter – One Thousand and One Nights – Rocky and Bullwinkle Meet the Mermaid (based on the talking fish) – Sigurdr Falls in Love – Statue Boy – The Bones of the Mother – The Selfish Giant – The Sumerian Tale of a Giant – Viking Sea Travel Issues.

They are below you.

Go scroll down and be back, but rest assured you have just played the breakdown game.

You are back.

You may wish to work out the stories from the snippets as an interlude.

There comes a point where you don’t need this mini script but you may still have places where you falter so you need notes as reminders of these points you find tricky.

Then eventually you need no notes.

Then you don’t need to decide which story to tell until you stand up.

You may even start to weave between tales as you go.

A prompt is always good ie Rebecca’s Babe (it is a title really) – you are building a set list and you may add essentials as a footnote ie 1411 St Marys.

Rebecca’s Babe (1411 St Marys) – Go tell.

We are talking storytelling not Snorri repetition – thanks to all you folklore documenters in one big lump, (especially the female Irish slaves employed as scribes in Iceland), thank you all of you, (often vicars for some reason), fairies and trolls only exist because of you.

Creating the tale from its pieces is still traditional – no, it is even more traditional.

We are the tellers.

(BTW We say full stop in the UK where in the US you say period, period might fit better here.)

We need to get it into our heads that there are elements which have to be fitted in. That is all really.

And then practice.

Now juggle.

Let us take those vital elements of those particular stories and juggle.

Let us deal out a share and seek to create a story of them.

Let us add in our own stories as breakdown (scribbling during a coffee break).

These can be from a wild selection of areas and types.

Think of stories you are familiar with.

Consider the idea of key points and make a list.

Let us add them to the pile.

We are creating the now.

From the then.

So, once they are shuffled and dealt and we all have a few in our hands it is time to create story.

Move them about while you think, (ask to swap one if you are stuck), work out an idea for a tale. Then tell your tale to a colleague.

Once practiced it is time to share, if we feel really confident the listener tells the tale they have just heard on behalf of the creator.

 

Tell me about children. Anything which come sot mind; habits, quirks, feelings, characteristics, choices: anything.

Now pick a few of these and apply them to adult Vikings.

You have a story.

IE Jealousy is very different thing if it is regards a powerful woman with a spearhead hidden in her cloak

Holding hands can conjure up all sorts of possibilities.

Children what are they like!

Be long and slow in your considerations of what your topic needs and fluid and witty in your storytelling

I also shall create a set of prompt cards, similar to the Ales and Tales ones found through the links blog but specific to our topic.

I carry a treasure chest of tiny things to use as prompts always, these make a fun change.

We can also use the snippets to create a group story.

Pull one at random – start a story – then let someone else go along with it – this is for fun – but also releases the imagination.

Often when I do a storytelling show I have different groups attending. It is good to get them together afterwards and have one group tell the other one of my stories.

This works even if you have already heard it because it comes out quite different.

Scripting. OK you might have written a story, or written something down, or written a script I add. I admit I have. Take out the elements and use these to tell. Allow it to break away from its rigidity.

We all have faults and failings. I say play to your failings. I know it is more usual to say to play to your strengths and yes that works too. We have our failings with us and it is them which need playing to. To be aware of where we might go wrong and think of strategies to deflect or prevent. This is mainly to get rid of the anxiety which can come with concern about faults. My big failing is names, I struggle to remember names and or numbers; let’s be honest, I am rubbish at facts. I found I relaxed into telling a lot more once I had realised. Once I had given myself permission. If I could say ‘his son’ – ‘her lover’ and get around the forgetting of a name it helped me relax. It helped me relax to the degree that I probably remembered the name, because the pressure was off.

I allow myself not to be perfect every time.

It was the start of my realising each telling is unique.

Areas which were issues when I first started; all in one tone, not using voices for characters, digressing and losing track as a result.

Describing characters, places or situations without using their name is an interesting exercise. I shall supply a list of suggestions and ask participants to add to the list. Not as a trick or puzzle but with obvious ways of describing so we know who or what it is. This helps with descriptiveness.

Experiments with use of space and ways of moving follow on nicely here.

Dream you have done it – come back tomorrow.

I have always found that performance example inspires and encourages people so will refer people to my storytelling show and look for reaction and discussion. Help us find out why we are here and to self help us into improving.

“I am that Viking who…” (fill in the gap)– “and I…” – This is a good one to throw in to a story share. So people can pick up on it when they are ready.

What is a skald? – imagine you are a chieftain – what do you want from me? We piece together an image and then seek to fulfil it.

You are not a strong brave important warrior or leader, you are other than this, imagine yourself as a less dynamic character, perhaps limited in some way and then consider how you would fit in. Tell us of life on that farm.

We are Yggdrasil and all is gathered within our growth. Then each person personifies a place, character, situation, creature etc; I am wolf. Then repeat the chorus piece and so on. A good one to practice for a group performance.

Creating this blog allows the reader to consider which elements would be most helpful to them so we can shape the workshops between us to best suit our needs.

 

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques Subsection #8b The Breakdowns

 

Warning these story breakdowns are spoilers!

A deity can tire of endless perfection – desire to be human – wear a swanskin and fly to Midgard – Strip and swim naked and mortal – A man recognised her, took her skin as blackmail – Make my side win, she did – As she set off to fly home Odin cursed her – ‘Sleep a loveless sleep for ever’.

A huge downpour – God asked Noah to build an Ark – Take two of everything – Noah called and they all came – the unicorn were all playing in the puddles – they missed the call.

Big storm – Fishing boats turns upside down – all drown – except the chef he is clinging to the upside down toilet – dark with a bit of air, fish start to bite – he swims down to the ceiling and pulls out some of its boards – he floats on the boards for five days in the dark upside down galley – there is a knock on the hull.

Eater down by Tongue River, of the Cheyenne – Caught one of his horses – as he rode away, one was missing, Grey Face! – He rode all day looking – Upon his return his wife hears his tale and says you are riding Grey Face.

Jack’s mother says nothing will grow, us and the cow will starve – Go to market and sell the cow – He comes back with five beans she throws them out in disgust – Jack climbs the beanstalk that grows – in the giant’s castle are a hen that lays gold eggs and a harp which plays – he steals them – then he chops down the beanstalk as the giant is coming.

Loki falls for Angraboda and sees her without his wife knowing – They have three monster children , one is Hel – The gods come to dispose of them – Hel is half beautiful and half rotten – they throw her down the long drop of the dead – She rules the underworld – Her dead servants are building a ship so she can bring an army to Ragnarok.

New step mother is cruel – They overhear plans to dump them in the forest – Sneaking out they collect stones to later mark their way back with – Upon return they again hear plans but the door is locked so they keep the bread from supper – Birds eat the bread crumb trail – They are lured into a gingerbread cottage – She must work to fatten up her brother – She pushes the witch into the oven – Step mother is also dead or gone when they return so all is happy.

Poor fisherman catches mermaid – agrees to release – wife cross makes him go back – grant me a wish of a palace – she keeps making him go back for more – ‘queen’ then, eventually, ‘Goddess?’ – Mermaid asks what he wants and he just wants to be happy like before – “Come in I am so proud of how neat I have got the hovel.”

Poor old bamboo cutter finds golden babe – They bring her up, finding gold to help – to city – many men propose – she falls for the young emperor – discs of warriors and a king appear in the sky – she has learnt her lesson and must return – her memory is wiped – as it fades she throws an eternal life potion so he can find her – he cannot bear forever without her – servant throws it for him – it hits Mount Fuji and burns

Shahryār is enraged when his wife goes with another – Every day he marries a new virgin and executes her the next morning – until there is only the vizier’s daughter left – Scheherazade tells a tale without and end (Tell half a tale) -The king postpones her execution – She finishes the tale and starts a new one each night (You do the same).

The Happy Prince was a gold-leaved statue with sapphires for eyes and a ruby as a sword hilt – A swallows love for a reed make shim miss migration time so he befriends the statue – The once happy prince can see the city now he is dead and feels sorrow – A poor woman cannot buy her poorly son oranges – Statue bids bird to take his ruby – More sad cases until all the gold leaf has gone – Then one of his eyes and then the other – Perhaps when the swallow dies they will be reunited in the meadows of heaven.

There was nothing – in the nothing was ice and fire – fire melts ice old muck comes out – Muck makes Imir – A giant cow floats by dripping milk – Imir drinks – the cow is hungry so licks salt from the ice – Buri forms from the ice – Imir’s angry sweat forms into more giants – the earth’s first beings were giants (and a cow).

We fear as we travel the seas – Ask Njord for help – Ran under the sea sends her nine daughter – They are the waves – Ran throws her net to catch drowning sailors – they will entertain her – Call to Njord, Call to Njord.

Young warrior has killed a dragon – he has gold and a ring (the ring is cursed) – ahead a mountain-top tower shrouded in flames – He rides fast and his horse leaps – A naked woman sleeps – He dismounts and kisses her – It is love – He puts the cursed ring upon her finger.

Zeus gets angry with humans, yet again – big flood – Deucalion builds a big floating box for him and his wife Pyrrha – they land on Parnassus – floods go – Oracle Themis says throw the bones of the mother behind you – so they throw stones over their heads – the stones turn to people.

 

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

 

blue

 

Quote from John Thor Ewing

“It has been a while since I’ve done a “storytelling” show as such, although I still use stories in performances. My own style was always to cut through to “the story itself” as quickly as possible and, although of course I always adapted both wittingly and unwittingly, I always felt that I was telling it “straight”. So, I don’t think I could ever do what you do, which seems to deconstruct the idea of storytelling, as if Chaucer or Bocaccio had decided to concentrate on the storytellers rather than the stories – in my mind, it shouldn’t work and, although I know that you can make it persuasive, thought-provoking and entertaining, I have no idea how you do it. Which is a roundabout way of saying that I really don’t feel I have anything valid to say about this, but I have confidence in your abilities.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

 

flag

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

LH – Living History characterisation tips for re-enactors – My most viewed blog.

A modern continuation of the Viking mythos, I scribble, artists from all over the world replace my images – The Hammer FliesOski and the AmuletThe Horned God and the Wild Hunt

Facts and Fiction storytelling magazine – I am grateful for so much from this by post magazine – in particular the Storytelling is.. poem is published there – The comic strip too.

I cannot wait to get to this amazing festival to perform…NHhorizontalheadline

http://hostfest.com/ – https://www.hostfest.com/experience/viking-village/

I am also looking forward to going on from there to University of Wisconsin Green Bay where I will be lecturing, running workshops and storytelling in their Viking longhouse. https://www.uwgb.edu/viking-house/

I have written prose poems and travelogue pieces as Skald to the Chieftain  click here for the beginning of the series and then click ‘Next in the current series’ on each of the 26 blogs on the topic!  The start of the skaldic writing links

I was commissioned to create an ‘It happened to me’ performance for school children attending Cliffords Tower on the effects of the Normans. Click here to enjoy the blog which is written in the style it was performed.

Under the wing of Viking Comics Inc. comes the quirky series OldMan Comics, here is a link to one of those where I actually change the course of the battle at Hastings, (oooops sorry OldMan does).

I actually am Hobb the Pig-man, originally created for a commission for Barley Hall in York ‘he’ tells tales from a medieval point of view. ‘He’ has also worked on many projects for Scarborough’s Create and here is a project created for the Fossil Festival. Fossils? Yes cos it is Hobb. Hobb the Pig-man, he has also been Hobb the Night-guard and here he is as Hobb the plough boy.

A big thank you to actor Graham Scarisbrick for voicing this piece from my, soon to be released, audio play – The Boat Rises – Click below to hear A Viking Trojan Horse…

 

 

 

Actor Donna Jones, (for those of you who know her, aka Donna Kitching), voices here, the possibly, first ever documentation of a UFO encounter, (of the third kind), in a six-thousand-year-old folk tale; The Bamboo Babe.

 

 

 

 

One of the most interesting jobs I’ve been given was to be paid to sit in pubs listening to people telling me stories. Hundreds of fascinating stories came from the experience, you can read them here.

The main tool I used to stimulate anecdotes was a set of prompt cards. You can see those prompts here.

I am always pleased to be able to work with Alda and to promote her music. Here is a link to her single A Real Good Time.

And of course her sister’s company SigRun Viking Art & Design.

The three of us together produced Alda’s Rock Opera Gods Bless Ya!

For my multinational stories I reduce a popular story to a few lines so those of many countries can help tell the sagas in a nutshell.

One of the roles of the Skald is to host Opening Ceremonies.

 

The Series…

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 3 Being Skaldic

 

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

 

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

red hat

 

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

You are a storyteller of great renown – it has been posited and it will be so

(If anyone can think of a way of describing my pontifications I would love to hear.)

There are proud moments though.

(You should strive to posit so, it may even be an expected role of the storyteller.)

Think.

Embrace.

Story.

Proud moments yes.

Odin was a giant.

He sought power.

He was Borrsson.

The All-father thing. It is all timeless and mixed up. This is the gods, they can be from whenever they wish.

One of the Vanir wasn’t even born when he turned up at the God-swap with the Aesir.

These are the things which I think in the dark of the night and these are the things I fit into my stories. Think of things for yourself, these are your things.

Those proud moments.

There on the tee vee is a pal of mine. He is telling the world of how his team of archaeologists have definitely recovered the bodies of Roman-age York-based gladiators. Next thing I know he is calling ‘hi’ across the street and I am going to him to thank him for a great presentation. They are hoping to find the arena so I commented that many Roman features were still around when the Vikings arrived; they commented on the roads, they will have utilised bathhouses and a temple as a palace. If there had been an arena they would have used it as their all-ting (circular government). He looked really excited at this and said when they find it the first thing he is going to do is look for Viking-age items.

Another archaeologist friend was very interested in my thoughts on Lindisfarne. I had picked up a tourist guide and saw it mention the 1500 Scottish Border Report which stated there was a large hidden natural harbour which could house a whole fleet as it prepares to invade. I pointed out that if it could hold ships then it could hold long ships and perhaps the Vikings hadn’t just raided the monastery they had set up camp there to do raids of the mainland. The next thing I know my friend has promoted a talk on a whole new look at the Vikings on Lindisfarne.

Proud moments yes, new lines of thinking too.

Adaptability is important. Places and events want storytellers. They have a theme or a period of time. You get some strange requests. So one needs to put stories and elements of stories together. A fitting set list.

The composite – the gathering of the information and the melding into one tale.

This can be a string of known tales but once you have researched the topic (within your own know how as well as in your sources) you may well have a collection of snippets and so. Folklore, history, characters. The most common way I weave these together is in an ‘It happened to me’ style. This works well in performance and allows one to ‘hide’ behind a persona. It is easier to act things out if you are a character.

You will need a fitting costume however.

Or at least a hat. Perhaps a few.

The sagas are bitty, the myths especially so. Partly due to being patched together from many sources and partly due to being frozen in time. I love a good index. Kevin Crossley-Holland comes to mind. His work on myths is a good source.

By working through all the references to a particular character or topic within the index you can piece together a fuller picture. Then you can see ways to tell. Stories leap out of your research and juxtapositioning. All new and always.

Vikings: We only have so much material and it is laid out in a certain way and we need to explore what we can do with it.

We can try and reach back to the teller of the time and try to gain their skills by studying thoughts of their motivations.

Let us look at their whole empire, the stories from it all are often hidden within the myths.

Let’s see what can be dug up.

I don’t sing. I don’t play an instrument (except the cave harp). I love to work with music. It changes everything. And with singers too. Melding my stories and prose poems in with their ballads etc.

In the Gods Bless Ya! show my stories set the scene for the songs of Alda Raven and I seek to fill in any gaps in the flow of narrative. I also perform her words (yes, I admit to the use of a script!). SigRun Viking Art & Design create the costumes and supply the models to be the goddesses, part of my job is to create a narrative to accompany them; to get the timing right and to direct their actions subtly.

Thus are stories dramatized.

We can take part together and play roles and allocate parts.

Re-enactment groups post up a story and say who would play which part? IE The priest was very angry about this and stormed off to the sea captain. The sea captain agreed a fee to ferry him and waved him aboard his ship bound for Normandy. You volunteer and you go along. Except for the odd word or two shouted from the field it is crowd scene acting with a narrator over the tannoy.

The ways the storyteller can be utilised, the roles expected, bring me to the idea of the skald.

I haven’t so much looked at the history of the Skald, as at the necessity of the Skald, by being one.

I have looked at skaldic verse with its beats and echoes and, of course, the kennings. It is believed that they were written in such a way you would not fully understand on the first listening, but then the Skald would tell the stories which are referred to in their poetry and then read the piece again. That way on the second listening the audience would understand.

As modern-day Skald to the Chieftain I have many roles, as we are seeking to echo Viking-age life as clearly as possible. I write praise poems for my chieftain and to mark occasions.

Practicality leads one towards storytelling and uses those skills as part of the needs of an occasion.

Leading parades with my chieftain. Opening festivals, markets and events. Collating other performers and introducing them along with course leaders etc. Acting as presenter at events and as entertainer at feasts.

Providing performance opportunities for members of courses and circles. Creating group dramas.

I find that circles draw in teenagers and young adults more than any other age which is very refreshing, they have seen the shows and want to experience more.

Getting others involved can be great fun. The walk by at opening ceremonies has caused great fun. As I talk of leather working classes a glamourous presentation of their produce parades back and forth in front of me. When I announced the timber has arrived for the new constructions two men with a plank hanging down between their legs groan their way across the arena. People clamour to take part with ideas of how to promote their activity. As I say, “Visitors are invited to take part in the Glima at their own risk,“ a huge wrestler whistles as he carries a ‘dead’ body.

The multi-national stories go down far better than I ever expected they would. I strip a saga down to a few dramatic sentences and then invite people of different nationalities or dialects to stand alongside me and translate one after the other. Great fun seeing them all acting it all out.

It is always an honour to be asked to take part in a ceremony; be it a naming day, a wedding, or an event blessing. I may accompany my chieftain’s activities with a relevant poem or tale. I might utilise the mead horn, statues, a mirror bowl, the chanter’s chair or the threads of the Norns.

One ancient tradition which must be respected is to do what the participants wish.

I am reminded of the words of Jane Harrison in Ancient Art and Ritual where she talks of the 1 2 3 of existence. The one being you. The two is you and the world and the three is: you perceiving the world, the world effecting you and you reacting to that. We are destined to perform ritual.

So, what is a Skald – imagine you are a chieftain – what do you want from me?

And so to my greatest powers; example and expectation. As simple as that, my work is inspiring and I have an expectation that you will be involved and develop.

You will grow and be

I am not an academic, I am not a reenactor, I not even a Viking if I am truthful; I am a storyteller. I seek to be true to the past I am part of and I seek to be very very good. I give you part of what I am and I ask you to be ready.

As we are drawing to the close of this section of the series I would remind of story points; you can’t do a story unless you have them. Slot them in a row in your mind and you are ready.

The next section of this series will be the feature on techniques. For groups and those intending to join one of my groups I would suggest the techniques section is looked upon as a hand out, a guide, to help empower you so you can help shape the sessions.

As for endings, look at some of ‘my’ endings. I lean towards throw away, I am not very strong on morals if you see what I mean and I find punch-line type endings take away from the believability.

As we draw to a close on the lecture and move on to the techniques section it is best to reiterate; I have always found that performance example inspires and encourages people.

To summarise my personal feelings, ‘Oh no I am going to have to learn all of this.’

 

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

 

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

drum n me

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

I became Skald to the Chieftain of Njardarheimr Viking Village in Gudvangen, Norway through a respect for my work.

Lively, moving, often light-hearted there is a depth which brings enlightenment through new thought.

Coming from performance and poetry with an independent approach can bring a refreshing new outlook.

We can all give to each other.

My storytelling developed as an interest following working in the position of Poet in Residence for York Archaeological Trust. The resultant storytelling was observed and appreciated leading to travels in Scandinavia.

I tell in far more forms that Viking, am known for bringing story alive in a unique way, in an interwoven performance.

An ability to nurture and develop bring a popularity in many fields from reminiscence to theatre. Above all known to be remarkable; never forgotten, always sought after and perpetually stimulating.

I hold courses, workshops, lectures and storytelling circles for whoever you are at whichever stage in life.

This series Storytelling is… has been created to be applied to currently planned work at Norsk Høstfest, North Dakota State Fairground, Minnesota and for University of Wisconsin Green Bay in their longhouse so is aimed primarily at those who wish to develop storytelling skills to present to their fellow Vikings; I am, though, ever adaptable.

Facts and anecdotes, also ancient things – I am a collector. Not of stamps, or of spotted things but of these such bits; couple these to whole chunks of experience and I just have to go out there and tell.

Everyone is a storyteller, knowing your audience / getting used to them makes one a whole lot better. Gaining an increased understanding of the oral tradition develops one even further.

Given time, each storyteller is marvellous. – Given a good platform each story lasts forever.

People who are quiet will enthral audiences. Those who have repertoires will thirst for more. Those who are entertainers will rise above themselves.

People who spend time in my groups are more able to storytell.

It is about knowing so let us pledge…

We shall be guided along our path. We shall increase the wealth levels of skill. We shall share. We shall grow.

We shall attend Adrian’s workshops, his atmospheric performances, his empowering story circles.