Footage collection with Adrian, friends and family – Yorkshire Culture, UWGB, Lucy Spendlow, Egg Drop Soup, Frode Tufte, Njardarheimr, Alda’s Viking Kitchen, Lamb Stew, Steam Tales, Daily Distraction, Skipping Day, Scarborough, Georg and the Rooster, Sigrun Design, Alda on Top of the Pops, Real Good Time, Latvian Vikings, Dan Webster Band, Nisswa Viking Festival, Society For Storytelling, Jamie Cooper, Natcha Dauphin.
An audio only set first. I was commissioned by Professor Rebecca Nesvet, Assistant Professor of English at University of Wisconsin, Green Bay to create a presentation on Yorkshire culture. This was recorded by Kate Farley, Instructional Technologist at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.
Next I am very proud to show you one of the cookery programs from top chef Lucy Spendlow; Egg Drop Soup.
Here is a visit to the sadly missed Njardarheimr Viking Town in Norway to see our CEO Forde Tufte walking the sheep. I hope we can join you soon. https://youtu.be/TGJBjUIpZII
Alda’s Viking Kitchen presents Lamb Stew.
Snippets from my forthcoming book Steam Tales, written in collaboration with my late father Ronald. This was presented as a ‘daily distraction’ via UW-Green Bay College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. I am proud to be assisted on this publication project by the History team of students while working with Professor Heidi Sherman.
Skipping Day in Scarborough.
My chieftain Georg blesses the God statues while accompanied by the Njardarheimr cockerel.
Top displays at London Fashion Week and very much in demand; Sigrun’s Viking fashions are modelled well, but never as well as now. Here is your chance to see me in my Viking Shirt from sigrun.co.uk
This is Alda with her hit from Top of the Pops revisited
Heidi filmed these two wonderful Vikings from Latvia, Līga Reitere and Zane Danoss, singing to the very essence of nature and the power of the light.
The brilliant Dan Webster Band performing Sand.
The Viking Era Was Brought To Life During First Nisswa Viking Festival, (Nisswa is a city in Crow Wing County, Minnesota) – Thank you to Trodin Hegn for this link…
Members can post events in here, so I guess it is worth a look…
Setting out from Heidi’s – some of our travels in America
Alright, this one is ridiculous…
I was fascinated by a mid west wedding…
They just fell out of the pack that way, honest. So, in Britain we have sweets and chocolate, is that right? And in the US they have candy. Plus! They sell bags especially for Halloween, how about that! We call them bite size.
Bring back Marathons I say.
Now back to halloween, or should I say Hallowe’en?
The above was part of the display at Sons of Norway, Green Bay (mostly daughters).
Dwayne and I went in the Goodwill Store (Charity shop)..
They say everything is bigger in america, it is definitely true abput the charity goods stores…
Oh, and here are model ships in Scarborough, Yorkshire – in a much smaller store…
I thought this tree was beautiful…
The amazing Scandinavian festival in Minot, North Dakota where I met the rope making team…
I was quite taken with the town of Scales Mound. We were on our way with Nathan, Heidi’s cousin to her aunt’s funeral and suddenly realised we were where her auction house was. This is where Heidi and Arnold got married and as well as an auction house it is an opera house. Now don’t ask me why, but as much as I loved Scales Mound, it also reminded me of the Q continuum in New Generation Star Trek…
Ah, here is, the auction house itself – Dr Woodchucks…
We went to Johnny Pamcakes while in Rockford, but mainly because Mark wanted to look at the Harleys…
There were bus journeys through the wild…
Alien abduction during my time at Pepper GB, WI, USA…
OK, back in Scarborough we don’t get the huge amounts of snow, but we do get heavy rain….
Mum has been helping prepare for the wedding. the theme will be quaint and quirky British history. Heidi wants to wear jet, aint none o this jet I don’t think, but there is some beautiful stuff here….
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. I 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. I 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. Along 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. The 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.
Poppa-Varg, Poppa-Volva and the other children climb Yew and Maythorn trees back on the higher ground.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
What 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.
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. This is a feast of many things, the largest of which is joy. Joy.
We have pledges to renew and enjoin.
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. 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.
They sit and they spin. They walk and they spin. They talk and they spin. They ride and they spin. They spin.
Them 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.
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,” 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”.
“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. 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.
“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 dark – 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. I 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. 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.
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.
“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 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.
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.”
“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…”
“And treasure as well my love.”
“Armour and two swords!” beamed Bjarki.
“I made those.”
“And now you are my beloved Bjarki Famed Fletcher.”
“And father of three!” grins Bjarki.
“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.
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”.
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.
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!”
“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.”
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.
The best of times the worst of times, this always seems to be the way for me. So it is on this trip to Scandinavia. Yes my health seems to have taken another of its backwards steps whilst I am supposed to be getting better each day a bit at a time.
I have been saying over this ill health year that there are good patches every day (my pal Donna wants to know where I buy these patches) I cannot even say this at the moment; no, no good patches but good people. Good people here every day and we feel like being here every day. So if you never see Sigrun, Alda and Svanhvit again it is because they have stayed here with me in ‘Wolf Town’ forever. Well, either that or their car fell completely apart on the way home. It started on the way here, and quite frankly there isn’t much left – except super glue and Gaffer tape.
I can be ill here and still happy, I would be just as poorly if I was at home and I am surrounded by laughs, love and ‘loveliness’ yes.
The Norns. We are the three Norns and life is only perfect when we are united. Oh no, they have their mum with them! So I have promoted her to the position of Norn – where does that leave me? I guess I am the devoted follower; a bit like the besotted, squirmy, devotee you see with vampires. I am the Norns assistant.
I got here though – we are back in beautiful Denmark; last year I did a review, with a main feature on Danish design: It is rubbish! Unless it is eggcups of course, they are good at them.
Not that you can tell they are eggcups by looking at them. If you were out shopping for them you would probably pass them right by.
So, if you see something and you don’t know what it is, buy it, take it home and stick an egg in it.
When I say design what I mean is; if you build a thing you have built it, but if you spend time beforehand thinking not only about whether or not it looks cool but about whether or not it will actually work, or even better finding ways it will work better and in new ways – then – it has been designed.
That isn’t how it works here, well not in my experience last year, admittedly my very limited experience of just one apartment; a grannie flat actually.
Converted from a cellar and retouched recently to be lettable to mugs, sorry I meant tourists.
The loo was under the stairs in a miniscule cupboard where you couldn’t even stand up at the sink, yet the bathroom was gigantic. One of those semi basement places where there are huge windows all along the back wall with no nets; this is all over looked by a children’s play area for the people upstairs. Needless to say, the second time I went in there I wore clothes, at least till I got the curtains closed.
The water from the shower hit the back wall of the bath and followed a runnel around under the shower heads. I realised as I got out it was flying to the tiles like a waterfall. I mainly discovered this by stepping into the lake my clothes and towel were in.
The dining area was in my bedroom, the couch and computer desk were in the other bedroom. The wardrobes had been newly painted and were sealed shut as a result.
The kitchen was minute; a short passage with a narrow cupboard by the window. A mismatch of tiny pottery hung on a rack and the one cupboard held the fridge (which ripped your skin off every time you opened it). When you turned on the really high tap the water hit the tiny round sink in such a way that it turned into a geyser which visited the electric hob in torrents, (most of us survived intact).
When we discovered the final straw of opening the window we were almost glad that is was impossible to close again because it was out of reach so at least the owner would understand that fault.
Don’t even get me started on shopping in Velje!
But no it is this year and that is all behind us. The 2017 review. This time it is Ryanair.
The engines are not powerful enough to be able to keep the lights on during take off. If they didn’t make us all sit in the dark we would never get off the ground, well not all the way up anyway. Similarly make sure you turn everything off when about to land or the engines will never get us to the ground.
Magazine racks are an optional extra same as tickets and seats are.
As for passengers, I don’t think it is just my mood but everyone travelling with Ryanair is really irritating. It is urgent to get to the plane as soon as possible. Some race across the runway to get to the back steps before you, even at the expense of a young family member, only to discover she has the now needed boarding passes and is at the bottom of the steps behind everyone. Hah hah hah hah haa.
Hah hah hah hah oh I have to wait until she can bring them till I can get past them.
Yes I know the boarding passes were checked at the boarding pass checking gate before we set off down towards the plane so don’t need checking again now we are all passengers getting on the same plane I know, I know, I know.
They lied about extra leg room, I didn’t fall for paying for extra leg room; it turns out what they really meant was actual leg room.
Flying Ryanair without paying for all the extra extras is like being in a plaster cast – and I had to share!!!
They brought me wine, though things are not what they were, one glass and I fell asleep.
That’s where I got to dream that there were two rival singers running airways; Ryan Adams and Brian Adams. I was lucky to be on Ryanair. Brianair is even worse, “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be charging you.”
Let not my whole review of our holiday in Denmark be critical and bad I shouldn’t poke fun all the time.
The cabin is fantastic – cheap too. Here in Ulfsborg we are in the depth of woods and I am the log man.
There would be no kindling without me without me there would be no kindling. The fires they burn because of me because of me the fires burn.
I have another important job too, that of fire monitor.
It might be worth noting that I have a specific walk for each of these important tasks, so the mere girls know what it is I am about.
I may have failed occasionally, when one of the ‘girls’ points out that a fire is getting a bit low. What they fail to realise is that they real man fire monitor has an inbuilt sensor and was just about to get up and add another log. Chop chop.
The area is beautiful. I admit Norwegians are wrong; whenever you say to one of them, “What’s Denmark like?” They reply in the same way every time, using the one word, “Flat.”
They are right yes, but they are quite condemning when they say it, dismissive, they cannot bring themselves to say more, for indeed there is nothing left to say.
In future I may respond with, “And happy!”
It is not quite as flat as they say, not like in totally. It is beautiful with much nature (Beaches are hard to get to or even see without owning a holiday home among the private dunes) but there is so much protected wildness.
I have enjoyed: thatched rooves, wooded estates, gladioli (so yes it is beautiful), lille frogs, lille cakes, sporadic songwriters, antiks, crafts, fleas, fungi, pagan sacred areas, sculptures, sand sculptures, marinades, free vodka, fish cakes, Asatru forests, carved gods and goddesses, mother goddess shaped sacred areas, recovered long-ships, towers of hope, mjord, home-baking, proper bread, fired steak, thatch dryers, lille horses, bus shelters, everything.
We have planned: future trips, future residences, bake houses, barn conversions, Jorvik shows, poodle tales, Hastings, graphic novels, fan trips, London fashion week, TV series, rock opera, Vegas trips, tunics, wood carving, Greek myth shows, book launches, landscaping, stalls, food festivals, story shares, sock making, everything.
We look around, everyone looks happy, really happy, as we sit with chocolate Soft Is (not me thank you), they smile, as they pass they are so so happy – I hate them!
This is the happiest place to live in the world – How irritating!
Oh if only we had so much spare time. As we sat in Sandwichvej, Holstebro thinking of our drive back to Klitvej Cabins it wasn’t like we were on holiday at all all of a sudden. We looked around at a happy happy people who have half a vacation’s worth of time off every week of the year (I swear they retire at twenty nine and a half) it as like we were already halfway back to Drudgevej, Taskmadby.
They are so relaxed they don’t even realise bicycles are for exercise, (actually they are not, they are for getting from A to B cheaply and in a hurry, but there is no way on earth they would get that idea) they are a gentle occupation of the ‘occupy your time’ generations of this Nordic land.
They walk like they have those bouncy blades Paralympians use strapped to their feet, but not to hurry at all, oh no.
Slow cycle, slow, we have a lot of time to fill, a lot of time.
They haven’t rushed since they leapt off the Viking long-ships and charged into your land roaring.
Ah, all of those guys stayed in Iceland, Belfast or the Gorbles. These are the descendants of the remainder.
Not a lot of these oceans of spare time are spent on appearance; utility is the only option – and hairdressers for women must only possibly survive if they charge an immense amount per cut to whip it all off. Not one woman in Denmark has long hair. Boy cuts. Dead straight forward boy cuts, but hey ‘we gotta get out there and cycle slow looking happy’.
‘We are so relaxed we can not even be bothered clapping singer songwriters why should we have long hair?’
‘What do you think we are – Vikings?’
Hang on – there’s a fashion statement – there is someone coming up the street in a T shirt – with something written on – it says – it says – Let’s Party and Dance. They even need extra instructions on how to party!
Here on the way home I reflect in a more serious mood on how nice everyone was and what a great time we had.
I sit now with my sandwich of bacon, wettuce and what-once-was-tomato and recall the beautiful scenery. The forest deep in the centre of the country was my favourite part. The centre should be designated an area of outstanding unflatness as it is less like Bonnie and Clyde land and more like Yorkshire with extra wildness. It rolls.
We got lost. All we had to look out for was a particular tree but it could only be seen from the west of the trees and we were driving from the east (I think). My favourite part of the trip, of the whole holiday in fact, was getting lost in the wrong forest. I don’t think the three drivers were as chuffed, indeed I guess, Jonas wished he had come in his truck. It was magical nonetheless; and we did eventually find our sacred forest with its large carvings of the old gods and goddesses.
We will be going there again – by a more direct route.
I almost forgot – I am a Viking Chieftain!
We dressed up – no we didn’t – ‘we became’. Off we went to the meandering magical village of the ancient Danes.
This village has been built so well, modelled on dwellings and arrangements of the area and on buildings from other regions of the Viking empire such as Iceland.
The variation added to the natural appearance of the village which rolled and wandered just as if it had gradually developed.
Now, when I go back to Norway I have sailed the sea in many ships over in Denmark as soul command.
Christian (Schuetz) the storyteller from Germany was so impressed with my interpretation which cannot be described as untrue that he invited me to the long house to sit upon the tall imposing chieftain’s throne. This I did and promptly declared myself chieftain. I can tell you that I addressed my subjects and all those around me obey my every command; wave I command and they wave etc.
In this land where I sailed those ships I had sat as chieftain yes.
And if you want to prove wrong my cheeky descriptions of boring unimaginative Danish people then go to the marvellous Café Sajd in Jelling and their highly exciting Mythological Festival. – http://www.cafesejd.dk/mytologiskartfestival/
God‘s bless Ya!!! – These are the stories for the show, when you come to see us you will experience the amazing music and song that these tales introduce; you will hear Alda!
You will also see the stunning Goddess costumes created by Alda Raven‘s sister Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir as an integrel part of our show featuring myself with Alda and our stunning models we present costume, music, song and story for a Goddess experience.
These costumes will be woven into the story by our talented actress / models as they were at our showcase event for Jelling Mythological Festival.
The Creation Of The Cosmos – Before anything there was nothing but darkness; the black abyss of emptyness: Ginnungagap.
Yet far far away to the North there was a land. A cold unforgiving land covered in frosty black ice, with a freezing fog that slept on the land with sharp icy thorns. This was Niflheim. A world of frozen hell-like misery and darkness.
Far south of Ginnungagap was another land; Muspelheim, and it was a complete contrast to Niflheim. This land was a burning hell hole where lava-demons and fire giants spew flying fire-balls into the air like shooting stars of death.
With time the lands of fire and ice got closer and closer until one day the fire balls shot so close that the ice started to melt – drip drip drip.
The creation of the universe
From a giant’s bloody corpse
His blood filled up the oceans
The mountains are his bones
(For the fuller version of the above – Come and see the show!)
Water of the well of Urd is carried by the Norns, the destinies, to nourish the ancient tree. Here, where the gods gather each day in council, reside the three Norns, the women of destiny. Dressing the tree, they heal its wounds, they advise the gods and they twist and shape your lives. They look down now; Urd, Skuld, Verdandi. Fate, being and necessity are but twisted twine to their wise eyes. Bringing new born creatures to the worlds, casting monsters to the deep, they peer and see what you deserve, judge you by your inner thoughts to turn your wishes into deeds. These fine three weave the threads of your life, twisting, tightening, loosening, colouring, blanding, paling – they are shaping your lives, wild and exciting or bland and drab; you had better hope they favour you, but not too much.
As the three wise old Norns weave the threads of your life far above upon his great high seat sits the All Father himself Odin, looking out with his one eye, from here he can see everything; the nine known worlds and all the other worlds as well. Upon his shoulders sit the ravens, Huginn and Muninn; wisdom and memory and he sends them out into the world where they decide what is important, remember and return to whisper in his ears. As they fly he worries so, for he sees many dangers.
They fly over Sif. She is stepping out anew from her chambers for the first time since the evil Loki played such a cruel trick on her. He cut off all her hair! See her now as beautiful as ever, as beautiful even as Frejya. Pure gold her hair. Fashioned by the Dwarven smithies with their magic it grows each day and brings her riches.
The ravens saw the cruel deed and now Loki seeks them, in his eagle skin he flies high and is yet another danger for the ravens. Odin loves them both yet favours Munnin, he worries so and wishes their return.
Beware, for here walks Goddess Skadi, wild huntress of the far north. Beyond the blue crevasses, far over highest mountains, far beyond the loveless lava-flows, there is her abode; where stones crack, there stands her towering halls upon dark rock heights. For the full Skadi story see – God’s Bless Ya!!!! 01
Look to the skies, for life is a battle and a goddess is looking over you, Brinhildr the Valkyrie. Her winged helmeted deities fly over you seeking who to choose. And if they choose, as the raven would eat the heart of the victim so they will wish for your heart. They wish for your death. We wish to be chosen, for we are glad to die, we want to die, we laugh at death. We wish to go to Valhalla to feast and fight forever. Choose me. Choose me.
Brinhildr tired of this way, of being perfect and she wished to breathe and be mortal and truly alive for a while. She threw off her shapely armour, her warrior attire. In Freyja’s swan-skin she flew down here. There by a lake she threw off the feathers and dived lady-naked into the
waters. A man stole her feathers. She was trapped. He would let her go if she would change the fate of a battle for him. She looked down from a hill upon a huge field of armies and she chose his enemies to die.
How Odin was enraged to hear of this; he cursed her.
“You are cursed!” “Cursed to die into loveless sleep forever.” “Encased within a ring of fire.” Odin cursed Brinhildr and she fell into lovelorn sleep. He entombed her, just as she was, upon stone, within a tower, upon a mountain, he surrounded her by jagged rock which he set to flame. In this burning ring she would lay.
The dragon slayer was riding that way, Sigurd, with his curse ring of death in his pocket and his other booty from the slayed dragon’s hoard. He rode upon a horse which was afeared of nothing. This horse leapt from the top of a mountain, across the sky. It leapt through the flames and through the window, to land beside the stone slab bed. He dismounted and touched her upon the shoulder, as soon as he did he was deeply in love. It was this love which woke her. She opened her eyes and looked into his. Their love was to be forever. As she rose up he fell to one knee and placed the ring upon her finger.
Born of a giantess who loved the unfaithful-one she was taken away because of her monstrousness. Hel’s mother Angraboda was bound in her sleep by the Gods who despised her, and so hated her daughter. Hel is a putrid thing, half dead half alive. See the full Hel story at God’s Bless Ya!!! 02 …awaiting the battle, the final battle to end all battles where everybody dies: Ragnarok is coming and you dark-hearted ones are ready, to rise up, rise up, rise up…
The next God’s Bless Ya!!!! blog will be all the footage, pics, dates and links so venues can book us and for people who want to book to come to see us.
And for the last word on the matter (for now) this lovely letter from Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir:
It has been an absolutely incredible journey and the 11 days spent in Denmark were nothing but amazing. There are so many highlights that it is impossible to simply choose one but one thing they all have in common is the incredible group of people I have been blessed with meeting during this trip.
This was the first time that Adrian Spendlow, Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir and myself worked together like this so it was reassuring to learn that we work really well together and are all on the same wavelength. It will make our lives easier as we continue to work on the full show God’s Bless Ya!!!.
If it hadn’t been for the generous and hospitable people of #Jelling Heritage, Flemming Midtgaard, Ole Grangaard Olesen and Bjarne Taudal @ #CafeSejd, we wouldn’t have been able to experience this amazing journey so to them I’ll be forever grateful and they can always rely upon my support and friendship. I’ll come back anytime they want me!
The same goes for the wonderful photography and modelling team. Jimmy Frisk turned out to be an absolute diamond who didn’t just take amazing photos of both the opening ceremony and the God’s Bless Ya!!! show but he provided the perfect locations for some nature shots, drove the team to the locations, provided images to display my creations with the mannequins at the week-long gallery show, provided images of the girls getting hair and makeup done which was donated by a hugely talented and brilliant team at #FrisorLyhne (thank you Marie!) but he also provided us with lots of laughs and support throughout the week.
We also could not have done all this without our stunning models Eydís Ósk Jóhannsdóttir, Anna Csukás, Tine Nyborg Jensen, Emilie Johansson and Tanja Thomsen Andersen who took to their characters with passion and made me proud that such stunning girls want to wear my creations. Each of them got to know their characters and took active part in the creation of them. We were also very lucky to have Egill Egilsson on-board with us as he tirelessly helped to sort out models and MUAs and who made a long journey for the opening ceremony, just to be a part of the team and took fantastic video footage, not only from the actual ceremony but he interviewed the girls, documenting this mind-blowing moment where the 3 Nordic goddesses and their Valkyrie Warrior Maiden, walked down the stunning old Viking UNESCO heritage mound. What a moment! How privileged are we to have the opportunity to do something so amazing! It humbles me. I cannot wait to see the final product he produces! He also took some fab photos during our shoot and I am grateful for his support and contribution.
On a personal level, the time spent with Perry Stenbäck was very precious to me and I would have wanted to spend a lot more time with him. It is hard to catch up with 30 years in a few short moments but even more precious is the new memories made. To be able to hear his band play at a random house in a random place was nothing but fantastic and I strongly urge everyone to check out #Bragr on YouTube. Even better was a proper Danish lunch that he prepared for us in his magical forest house where we ate some beautifully prepared Danish Smorebrod (I need the recipe for the remoulade and the svampthing) and were introduced to some award winning Danish ales. I personally really liked the liquorice ale! Yumm! This was the moment when we then got to hear him play the old traditional Swedish Viking instrument, #Nyckelharpa. There is something very magical about meeting an old friend and realising that although 30 years have passed, their fingerprints were embedded in your heart for a reason and that you will be friends forever, no matter how time passes. Perry – I love you.
A very sweet moment was getting to know Eydis and her twin brother Jóhann Pétur Jóhannsson. I had never met them before but they are my little cousins and from the moment I met both, I felt as if they were mine to hold and to protect. I guess you could say that motherly love came over me and I am ecstatic over having been able to spend some fantastic time with them, getting to know them – and finding out that they are so much like us that the family DNA cannot be denied! My family just got a bit bigger and better and my heart has two new fingerprints on it.
I was also left deeply humbled by the fact that 5 members of my family, Esther Gudjonsdottir, Joi, Ingvar Jóhannsson, Ragnheiður Hallgrímsdóttir and Guðjón Jóhannsson who live in Iceland, made the journey across the water and came to support us. These beautiful humans, whom I am proud to call my cousins, have supported me throughout my creative process and provided me with materials I would be unable to get if it wasn’t for them. It is because of them that I was able to create Hel’s headpiece for instance. I cannot thank them enough for believing in what I am doing and for their support. I love you all!
The support we received didn’t stop there. Mum Svanhvít Erla Hlöðversdóttir and Dad Ólafur Þór Tryggvason and Andres also flew over to offer their support and again, I am utterly humbled! I owe so much to these 3 people. Andres has provided me with a space to work to create and cut patterns, he has tirelessly been available when I needed him and he has sat at a sewing machine and helped me sew when the task of these outfits in this short space seemed daunting.
My mum and dad have given their all in support to these creations and my mum has spent weekend after weekend with me here on my patio, teaching me the craft of tailoring and sewing in a way that she was taught by generations older and so forth. She is an endless fountain of knowledge and her patience whilst I stumble, make mistakes and have to re-do tasks – again and again, never faltered. My dad, never complaining, has been at hand at all times to drive back and forth, fix my dishwasher, set up a cover so we wouldn’t get rained on whilst sewing outside, installed a watering hose outside for me so that I could save time watering my plants and when the sewing machine fell apart, he, with his engineering genius, sat and repaired it until it was as good as new. The fact that these 3 were able to see the show that they have so much a part in, was the sweetest gratification there is. This was their show. I can never thank you all enough!
As part of our show featuring myself with Alda and Sigrun Bjork Olafsdottir and our stunning models we present costume, music, song and story for a Goddess experience.
Here are poems inspired by Lady Hel herself, ruler of the dark lands of the in-valiant dead followed by my narration for the cat walk and the stunning Hel costume designed by Sigrun is elegantly shown for us by our talented model displaying for you to the unique magic of Alda’s composition.
The Hel Poems
Warning; Enter if you dare – here is contained the Viking history of belief in death, suffering and hell.
Read on only if you are of strong mind, will and maturity.
Ride beyond Modgud the bandaged and bleeding one if brave enough to cross her chasm path.
See eyes in the dark as growls rumble; guard hound Garm will let you in – yet will never let you out: see fire-eyes, hear blood drip as you slide by.
Hear forever screams from the long long long drop of the worthless as you leap the abyss.
Hel Poem 01 – What is Done Can Never Be
Born her of giants,
their shape-changer essence perverted her form
Until she matured monstrous
Living and dead
Rotten and luscious mixed
Yet somehow alluring
Attracting you into her power
Commanding in presence
She pulls you into her will
You forever admire
Beg to endlessly serve
Wise Norns spoke of the danger of her
Born of beings of evil
Begatted by badness
The evil pretender god
With the hulking death volva
She was destined toward greatness
Forever be fearful
Hel Poem 02 – Kenning
If you wish to share,
Hel is just down there…
Hel poem 03 – Go Now Down
To where the cursed one fell
Ride nine days down
The north beneath the north
The world beneath the worlds
Hel’s citadel in hel,
Built forbidding from her mighty will
The darkest of powers of construction
Power out of destruction and death,
Here recreated from dread essence
Built of bitter cold,
The unending nights very core
All that remains of the dust of suffering
These her tools
The falling screams
Welts poisons spray cements and bonds
Take not your toe nails with you long
Naglfor is rising in the rising sea
To fly to war, to death of all
Oath-breakers island over rivers of spears
Living serpents bind and twine,
to bite the liar encased within
Niflhel her misty hel
Her towering walls are thrusted
Meer strength of will these gates forbidding built
From living witches buried deep
There grows the putrid plants of undead sustenance
Hel built all this
From dastard whim
Hel Poem 04 – Enter Forever
Doors open for you
To cavernous hall
Countless faces turn to you
Slowly the new dead turn grey face
The rotting and green see you
Further in the darkness,
are the less flesh than bone
Hear a drip drip drip
Watch your footing as you walk
Welcome to the land of the dead
Of the waiting
Lives of the countless
The pitiful, the unanswered,
The resigned and the scowling
Here are the leering, the most treacherous
You are stared at by the murderous
Feel if you can for the agonised
Beyond them the angry
Eyes only for you
Speak not to the dead
For then they can all speak to you
All, all at once
In their many moods and wishes
Many broken sounds.
From her glimmering veils of misfortune
She steps dangerously forward
Mottled and mouldering
Be caught in a tear fall forever to have seen her
To be doubt-filled, untrusting, contrary to the full.
This is a testing, so beware her
Let all weep for your passing
Or scream silently forever in living hungry death
Shades in the shades see you
She holds the very god of light and beauty in her power
Your tears melt the rime, these are meltwater tears
Beware her lest she summons her father
In his shape-shifter form he will remove all your hope.
She has you under her power
Will feed and keep you, all bedecked in gold;
those of you who see yourselves witches or herbal
Prepare to whimper under deep dark earth buried forever
You are summoned
Weep till you weep dry tears
Hel Poem 05 – Witch Burier
Rust Red the cockerel awakens the dead
There is one who has not slept
Alive she is buried
Buried by Hel,
Daughter of Angraboda, born in Jotenheim
Here in Niflhel she buried her witch mother
Aware under there
So she Angraboda will know forever
That she is dead
Summon her from the earth if you dare
She will answer three questions
Yet all she wishes is,
to return to her dark earthen misery
She will take you with her too if she can
All she needs to know is your true name
Down you will go
Hel Poem 06 – You Cheater
If you spat in barrel,
and then broke your word
Then yes you shall go to her
Are you a liar?
All oath-breakers travel to her
Worst of the worst is the unfaithful
That is a promise which must not be broken
Meer human you have faults
So hence you will go to her
You know in your hearts
You are unfaithful; a liar
You cheat and you steal
And the tower awaits you
Step now though the waters
The icy waters of the river
The fast flowing river
Forged only of frozen
Each of the ice parts
Is formed as a spear head,
A seaxe or a dagger point
Bleed as you scream as you wade
Do not hurry though
For a torture of forever is waiting there
A tower of serpents
They will bite you forever
They will burn you with poison
Forever is forever
Oh how you will scream
Hel poem 07 – To Dream of Hel as Balder Did
Escape dark shapes in nightmares if you may.
For she will call for you
And oh yes, you will offer to go
As now each night in readiness she grooms
She brings you the despicable. Yes,
Gasp and moan. Be in half light, turn grey.
Whitening to the emptiness of the whitest weed
Feel not the sun’s warmth ever,
even when you walk awake
Seek deeper sleep…
Shadow skulkers shapeless now
Ghostly skull guests creep
Monstrous forms will snuff you
Thrash and kick all you will
Oh hope your screams will wake you
The lingering feelings will remain:
Naked doomed fear has grasped the living
As she was hurled into mist and darkness
You too now yearn for the world beneath worlds
Odin’s curse Hel wishes to share
are falling and falling
Hel (Prose) Poem 08 – Half Dead She Will Kill US
In her home beyond the sheer rock, she still hears the curse words,
“Share all that you have with the dead, adorn them in gold and feed them your putrid foods”
Her brother encircles the world.
While her other brother above bound to earth howls to be rescued.
One day her father will howl out in agony with hope in his dark heart that his offspring shall aid him, vengeance will be theirs together; Oh yes.
Capable of great structures, dark creation, from dark materials.
She has a ship readying, a dread vessel filling with undead.
Her Man-servant Ganglati and Maid-servant Ganglot they move so slow as not to be seen, until they are upon you; like weeping dark angels of stone.
She eats from Hunger with her knife Famine thinking only of the moment.
Sleeps in Sick Bed, her bed curtained by Glimmering Misfortune.
She dreams of the death of us.
Vengeance shall be theirs, Oh yes.
The Catwalk Talk
Born of a giantess who loved the unfaithful-one she was taken away because of her monstrousness. Her mother Angraboda was bound in her sleep by the Gods who despised her, and so hated her daughter. Hel is a putrid thing, half dead half alive. They cast her to Hel as her home down below us. As she fell and fell through the misty dark gloom the words of Odin echoed through her. “You are cursed, in your half-rotten half-beautiful self you are fitting only for death, live the forever death building cities for the dead.”
As she fell, as she landed, as she built, she swore her revenge. Oh how the world will end. Her great halls are filled with the myriad dead, only those fallen, who lost badly or while running, none of the brave go there. Die well my friends or you will join her. She looks at you now and feels the lies in your heart, the fears from your dreams and she knows. Your twisted dark desires glow out from you like a punishment, you have it in you to be one with her. For yes Hel is beautiful, entrancing, but once in her power when she turns to her other side there is the putridness you will worship forever. Oh yes, she knows. She knows you will be coming to her, you will feel the call in your nightmares and then forever in her halls hungry and bitter, awaiting the battle, the final battle to end all battles where everybody dies: Ragnarok is coming and you dark ones are ready, to rise up, rise up, rise up.
As part of our show featuring myself with Alda and Sigrun Bjork Olafsdottir and our stunning models we present costume, music, song and story for a Goddess experience.
Here are poems inspired by Skadi the huntress goddess followed by my narration for the cat walk and the beautiful Skadi costume designed by Sigrun is elegantly shown for us by our talented model displaying for you to the unique magic of Alda’s composition.
Skadi 01 – Follow Her Way
Thrymheim – storm-home
Beyond loveless lava flows
Where ice burns
Beyond the burning blue crevasses
See her icy fury
Pale eyes growing cold in rage
Vengeance upon murderers
Stars of the father
look upon the just and fair
Be safe with Skadi
for as long as there is night
Her kind wildness in your heart
Skadi 02 – Finding The Warmth
Let love of winter lands
Bring firm cool flesh
Breasts and belly proud and smooth
By the cold
Yes fresh is best
All the better to fire the pulse of man
The beat of the heart
The stand of the man
To find and join at last
With the inner secret warmth
Let flow the icy breath of ecstasy
Skadi 03 – Free Will’s Arrow
Goddess of the victim
Bringer of justice
Rights of the underdog
Skadi will make you strong again
Watch for the buck’s run
Or the burst of icy waters
The stag’s breath
Be quick of eye; back on target
Laugh with all your heart
A giantess among women
The stars shine especially for you
Go where you will;
Free to love
Or free to love life alone
As and when it suits
The huntress in your heart
Beware, for here walks Goddess Skadi, wild huntress of the far north. Beyond the blue crevasses, far over highest mountains, far beyond the loveless lava-flows, there is her abode; where stones crack, there stands her towering halls upon dark rock heights. Here she oversees the winter. Looking across the worlds of men and gods and darker beings. She sees you. She watches, ready, so beware, Skadi: judging the harsh, the cruel and the killer. She is your guardian dear victim, if you have been painfully treated you can call her spirit to you. You, yes you, she is here for you today. For she would stand against gods. Let her father’s eyes the stars look down upon you from the blissful dark.
Snow-dweller of cool firm flesh she has an inner secret warmth that she would share if you have the heart to be as free as her, yet how she loves, let old man Njord of the noisy sea dare to climb with her above the scree and ice crags, his beautiful feet clad in woven shoe, and he will find a young heart within him when he lays with her. Yes, she has joined with the oldest element of fertility, the ruler of the very winds, the tides; his currents flow as young as ever now. He brought her bounty and she brings bounty too.
Be swift of eye when she is with you, watch the buck’s dash and let your arrow fly. Let men wish for your darts of command so they may be with you for just one night. Let the toxic sharks dangle on your hook with forlorn hope, that they may be reeled in to breath the ice-cold air of redemption. You who brings in the wild goodness and embraces the gleam of low light that shines through the sheets of blue and yellow and silver ice. Let tall battlements be nothing of obstacle to those who know what is fair and just, for strong will be the icy rage if your Skadi-heart is not listen to with expected respect. Stand and face gods and Giants you follower of Skadi you.
Brave tall peaks of the impossible with her beside you for she brought laughter from the gods for all the worlds to be giants of reckless joy.
We are thankful now. For your wildness, for your beauty, for your joy, for your strength of heart and keen arrow. Skadi, we thank you, thank you Skadi.
And here is my Poem of the Goddesses, I have blogged it before but as it covers all the Viking Goddesses and the empowerment they bring you I thought it was worth you having a look see here. Besides, it just might give an insight into the future for Sigrun of just how much sewing she will be doing as our show grows and grows!