Visiting Viking Attractions: An Idea Swap, ‘First Draft’.

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is tdb-samples.jpgVisiting Viking Attractions: An Idea Swap, ‘First Draft’.

(Book mark it or save the URL now for you will want to come back and back.)

So, here I am back in Blighty. Bit of a rest-stop before it all starts again.

This isn’t a travelogue,

mountain by kris
The journey there by Christof

I have a feel for something a little more intellectual; an idea swap. There are ‘transferable models’ out there and we are the experiencees.

I have called this the ‘first draft’ because I just know you all have ideas to share.

When I say all, I mean Viking related peeps; if you are coming from other directions or none Viking ‘attractions’ OK well we would like to chat with you too you poor little things.

Think of this as a Birth-Product for we know there are ticket buyers out there and we want them in – and besides, gosh, we are engulphed by our own enthusiasm.

You hobbyists you.

Er, sorry, Vikings. x

Right.

tindefossen
Tindefossen by Christof

While I was at Njardarheimr my good friend Christof took me to the

Voss Folkemusuem

carved name

(link below).

It was a wonderful experience.

Gaius Cornelius Tacitus wrote of the concept of farms as a commune, Karl the guide in Njardarheimr says so, and so does my friend Susan who lives on er, well a farm.fm overhead

An expanded community almost in the same way as villages in Britain etc.

The farmhouse gets longer as we add people on. The square of the building becomes, er, squarer. The farm.fm 01

A Viking-age cultural development still relevant today.

Voss Folkemuseum came from such a community development.

We had a lovely time there. It wasn’t ‘populated’ like Gudvangen is, but on the other hand it felt good to be free to roam. We shared the experience and did so in our own time and in our own space.

Not all of the things we spotted and liked on the farm would have been used in the Viking age, yet share them I shall. You may know otherwise, or ideas may come from them.

from stalheim
The Journey back by Christof

One such thing which I loved was the work-stool; a stool yes, but with an extra bit to slot tools in, be it crafting or carving.stool

Another item of furniture I loved to see, but they were probably 18th or even 19th century, were the giant cradles or cribs which were for adults; sort of like box beds and wonderfully decorated.beds

They were free standing but reminded me of the fitted double-bed bunk (with the cute foot-hole ladders) you find in your typical ‘Viking Hus’.steps

Skipping over to the Njardarheimr town for a tick, I am reminded of the words of a visitor, (from Hungary). He was very moved by the sight of the bedroom in the chieftain’s hall as he recalled that he had slept in one just like it as a child. Except that he said it was higher because the potatoes were stored under it.no sword

Back to the farm:

Containers:- In Viking areas we tend to have buckets and bowls aplenty but I was struck by the widespread selections of larger containers. Huge amounts of water would be required on a daily basis. There’s a lot of sauerkraut. Liquids would need storage. Drinks would be fermented.bowls barrels and cauldrons

Ale or wine, mead, all would need barrels, big bowls, large kettles, massive buckets, (massive).

In medieval times they fermented lighter ales as a way of purifying water.

All that water would need transportation too.

farm view
Veiw from the farm by Christof

We enjoyed going upstairs, exploring different levels, down into the dark. Such activities may be less practical in Viking age constructions although, surely, they had barns and other farm buildings.path

I will talk further on this in the Viking section as this idea of exploration can be developed for children’s activities.

The big one for us was saddles, they had almost too many! I believe they were circa 1750 and onwards but they reminded us of Norwegian saddles of an older period. Viking-age saddles and tack would be a great addition for Njardarheimr.cradle

Another feature I noticed was the rounded edge planks which retain some of the shape of the tree trunk; walls made of such were very atmospheric.

They had chickens.chickens We got chickens. Although I note ours are more free range. That I guess is to do with the fact our place is populated (and cockerels wake people up). More on the widespread songs of the cockerels when you get to the Njardarheimr section below.

We loved the photos; grainy old atmospheric images full of folks of such character. These often are sent in, copies offered, bequeathed. They are of the age of course, plus they didn’t have cameras in the Viking period that I know of. Vikingesque areas could have displays. All the attractions we are looking at have distinctive areas which are more modern; cafes, galleries, ‘meerkats’, lots of methods.screen

There could be scrolling big screens in cafes and dining areas.

People like to send in photos and footage.dried fish

They like to do art too. People, artists, kids. Send us that stuff.

Why not even an international arts display.

beth viking 07
Bethany aged 7

More scope on this below.

This is an area which not only would benefit from a touch of research to see what there is out there; it also could be a good cooperative venture with ‘sister’ places.

Talking of display areas; the farm had a separate children’s area, well, it was one of the actual buildings and it was set aside for activities (not actually moved aside of course).

beth viking boat 07
Bethany aged 7

One thing that struck me as being a great idea in there were the benches and tables. They were lower. How empowering. You go in, there are things on the tables, the kids sit down. No having to be lifted up or being supervised climbing on. They sit straight down. They weren’t so terribly low that it was too uncomfortable for the adults but were low enough for most children.

great feast
Sadly I only have an image of higher benches

On the tables were a couple of sets of cut outs. One set was historic figures to dress up. I was reminded of the dollies I used to cut out for my sister from her Bunty comic. And the others were buildings to cut out, colour and glue.bunty cut out

Great for those underused Vikingesque areas.

The Jorvik Centre in York has a great selection of activity sheets; colouring in, quizzes, games, which also might be useful as a transferable model.colour ship builder

Fight-of-Vikings-coloring-pageSome of the photos of the farm depict children in period costumes. So there must be dressing up opportunities and presumably re-enactment days too.

The management for the farm museum expressed interest in working more closely with Njardarheimr.

stone base
Note stone bases and grass rooves

This could only be a good thing. Co-promoting comes to mind, perhaps forming sister sites. Certainly visits and sharing ideas and issues would be useful and could also be used as reason for media coverage.

 

Norsk Høstfest,hostfest banner in North Dakota was an amazing experience. It is a gigantic festival with 1100-plus stalls / display areas and many stages. The whole thing has a Scandinavian theme, and I am going to concentrate on the one area – The Viking Encampment of course.

There are three areas within one; to the right as you enter from along the covered walkway there is the stage, café and activities, to the left of this is the village, (again all indoors), this area has around a hundred stalls and tents all providing activities, sales or displays, there is an outside area too.stage

(Tim has kindly corrected me here, as my perception doesn’t reflect the accuracy of the way it is all organised – “The building we use is two different areas, the Viking Village and the other is the Tromsø Cultural Village, where the stage is, but we share the performers and presenters on that stage,” thanks Tim.)

I understand there were fight re-enactments outside but I didn’t see any of that myself, I did see tug of war.

There were two forges demonstrating bead making which was captivating to watch,

host beads
Alyssa Harron and freind beadmaking at Hostfest Viking Village

and a food area. I was fascinated by the different foods being made although I didn’t get to try any. The blacksmith display area showing different stages of the process of working with metal was intriguing and the blacksmith kindly let me share images with you all.bs 03 him

bs 02 bladesbs 04bs 05bs 06bs 07bs 08bs 09bs 010bs 011bs 012flint(Tim has kindly reminded me that the blacksmith with the ore display is Daniel Kretchmar (Danr) and the other Minnesotan blacksmith is Doug Swenson.)

People visiting were certainly interested, the crafters indoors were all kept busy demonstrating and interacting.

christopher heth
Sorry not got Chris in his outfit

lathechest makerThe friendly Norwegian Forest Cat was very popular.nf cats

I had a small area in this section for storytelling to small groups when I was not on the big stage and True Thomas had an area in the children’s activity space, (“He paints images directly into the mind.”).true th

The stage itself had a big screen and had a constant flow of acts and films. I was delighted to see the film on the Stamford Bridge tapestry which I had recommended.stage There were moving presentations on the Sami culture and concerts by Sami singer Stina.

There were samples of foods to try, I would have liked to have seen a more café-bar style with a menu widely available so visitors could drink, dine and watch shows.

I loved the alternative pallet seating.more seats

Felt making was very popular, as were all the activities in the children’s space, (might it be better to say ‘family space’? I enjoyed being a kid again).felt lady

felt 01

Troll Island was a highlight for me,island one and a very transferable concept. I love models and this was a model of an island, intended as a display base, but I enjoyed it in its own right.island 02 Perhaps if Gudvangen were to take up such an idea we could have a model of a fjord settlement.harbour darkened

I found all the trolls delightful and so did everyone. If this was to be utilised in our settlement in Norway there would need to be some adaption. IE eyes made of natural materials or beads. Imagine what could be done with beads. Another way to adapt this would be to have kids create buildings, fences, structures; clay, sticks, natural materials. Possibly populate this village with little clay people and animals.box seat

Folklore and troll would be great to talk about at such an attraction and would influence the model making.

Imagine the films and photo shoots that could come of this.troll 01

left island 03troll 02troll 03troll 04That’s my kingpin idea that is.

It is worth noting that the Vikings got very well looked after, drinks constantly available and hot food turning up a couple of times a day; this was none Viking and in an area not open to the public. It was quite nice to sit and mix away from the hubbub; lots of networking going on.

I got biscuits and gravy with creamed potatoes and beans. There at times was such as pizzas, fried chicken, hotdogs, lots of salads.

They had set aside time to be available, to check on how we were all doing. Yes we were very well looked after, lifts to and from, including to go shopping.

The main reason they were free to support participants was because all the work was done. What I am saying here is that they were very well organised and had been working ahead for a long time. I got a distinct impression they were very good at learning from the past, “Ah yes that situation….”

This all gave time to laugh.tim

UW-Green Bay Viking House

I was excited to get to see the grindbyggning, (built and then later donated by Elspeth and Owen Christianson) and there it was in the grounds of a very large beautifully rambling university.skaldic poster

It is a phenomenon. It is a marvellous piece of work. It is more than this. It is a concept. It is a hope. It is a symbol. It is a way of being.

It is real atmospheric inside.langhus

I am quite staggered by it. Yes it is wonderful, but it means so, so, much more than itself to everyone involved.cloak

When I say involved, gosh, I don’t just mean the local Uni community, I don’t just mean the local community who want to make mead, I don’t just mean the myriad of groups and funders, I don’t just mean us crafters, I don’t mean historians, I don’t just mean the head of history, I don’t just mean the original gifters, nor the whole host of internet observers, I mean…lh dark me

Oh, I don’t know what I mean, because the future hasn’t happened yet. I do know you will all be in it, and I do know there is a future, I know in the depth of my heart that it will be even more wonderful than it is now, even more magical, even more participatory, even more… (OK you get the idea). I do know I want to be there.

Here.

Want me to tell you an individual story of involvement to get you all wound up? There’s loads of those.

Mariah the Jarldriss in Waiting. She does so much. She does so much with her car. She does so much with her cauldron.hus lantern

Do you know, I think I might want to suggest that everyone steps back at this point because she is bubbling.

Who knows what is coming next. I am not even sure that Mariah knows. It is all going to happen, and you are all going to be drawn in.

Historic joinery is not what it is about. Mariah is. No calm down Adrian, people are. All the people. The enthusiasm. The village in the mind.

It is happening.

Skaldic skills are growing fast too. As well as doing shows in the house, er, hus, we had a ‘Share’. A story circle. Adrian’s Alþingi.

We created our death poem for Bragi to recite when we head to Valhalla (or the Viking-age afterlife of your choice).

Then everyone told tales, all sorts of topics were covered and different periods in history. It was fascinating.

deer
Pig

One of our friends, who came to everything we did and is now a regular participant, made notes throughout each telling. She had gone away armed with ideas. I am sure what is coming out of her at ongoing gatherings is totally different from the source (me) as all our minds work in inimitable ways, and she is a wonderful, unique individual. I was thrilled to hear Professor Sherman describe her recently as Erica the Viking House Skald.

There are people who should be thanked for this amazing experience, (See I still can’t quite bring myself to say it is a building, because it has grown beyond). Elspeth and Owen Christianson, two people who have a farm and they had a building and it came here, simple yes – wonderful too. There was a lot more to it than that. Their marvellous creative genius and generosity propelled a sense of Vikingness into thousands to come.

There is a wonderful guy to thank, he generously funded the process, making the establishment here possible.

There is a university to consider.

There is Professor H Sherman. She is what did it, made it what it is; it happened.

These are no sticks in mud. There is Heidi.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is heidi-and-me.jpg

If you happen to walk by Green Bay in your travels of the world make sure you go by Heidi. Go explore the very concept of Viking heritage. There is a concept of Vikingness and it is called Heidi Sherman. No sorry I got a bit carried away and ended up that I have got it a little muddled.

There is a historic building. There is a complex of structures (three to date), there is a community. There is an invitation. (It is Heidi who makes it all happen.)

Wander by and discover.

Go meet the Jarldriss (Apparently students named her – Jarldriss Flaxblood Soul-breaker, but at least we can be thankful we are not students)hobb class

When I talk later about the way ‘Chieftainness’ has developed in Gudvangen; the way respect has played such a great part. When I talk of such, I will be talking of here.

Georg once received a letter through the post addressed to The Viking, Norway, he got it.

When I talk of such I am also talking of here – UW Green Bay.

For there is the same concept of love, respect and power developing for a pure and good soul here as there was twenty three years ago when my chieftain stepped onto the ground which got to became the Viking Valley of Norway.

A community of love and giving developed around my Chieftain. He became such a chieftain because of them.

And so will Heidi.heidi solo

There is a Viking community growing, building by building, concept by concept, artefact by artefact, in the grasp of her delicate fingers.house through fire

I can see it.

Go now while it grows.

Go again once it has grown.

Vikings.

When we shape from wood we become.

Go see the amazing building and area now for there is far more to come.

Join us.

For we are Vikings.

And that is not just wattle.wattle

There were amazing responses to my activities and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, plus the company was smashing, I think perhaps the most valuable aspect was utilisation. My skills were studied, my background researched, my energy levels considered and then I was utilised. Often places have an idea of what they want and they get you in to do it. They will probably have seen my work and think, ‘We want that’.

Here though more diverse aspects of my persona were delicately cherry-picked. I ended up doing all sorts of things.train cooker

It was a brilliant experience to do the National Railroad Museum;AdrianSpendlow_Ghosts-Trains and it was a sell-out – over capacity.full theatre I actually performed stories of my late father’s on what would have been his birthday. I was thrilled that my niece and her husband were able to come over from Rockford to be there as an enjoyable sort of remembrance.ron 2

Out there in the world of blogs and internetting Heidi saw that I was the son of a steam engine driver (who had written his memoires),dad uniform and that I was also the son of York’s first ghost walker (my mum). So she teamed these aspects up to have me create a show. It was so fulfilling.

I mention blogs; they can perform an extra service. I wrote a twelve-blog series on how to be a storyteller (link below).to guy This was there beforehand for anyone to see, it was there for preplanning and it is there as a development area for the future.

Footage of my performances is to be shared. The ones from the jobs for Heidi have had great responses and the films of my show on trains and ghosts is to become part of a web feature on the high-profile Railroad Museum site. There is also talk that this will lead to requests for shows at other railroad museums and attraction across America.

800px-LNER_Class_A4_4496_Dwight_D_Eisenhower_at_NRM
800px-LNER_Class_A4_4496_Dwight_D_Eisenhower_at_NRM

Think of the publicity such coverage brings in for the relevant attractions. Anything of this nature is worth considering for your attraction, word spreads and any diverse opportunities are, well, new opportunities which give the media the newness and fresh angles they thirst for.

We need to ask – What skills and experiences do our workforce or potential workforce have to offer?stage phone

I am reminded of the theatre group I work for – We Are Theatre, they too can see beyond what you are, bringing you opportunities to reach a greater potential. Something challenging and new to you that as you start doing it you realise it is a just right thing for you.carpe-jugulum-poster-wat-1_3_orig

This is one of those transferable models I keep banging on about.

There were of course the classes. There were classes mixed together.poem to class There were suggestions of themes. There were adaptions. There were interactive activities. Half a group listened to a story and then the other half came back in and listened to me; they then had to tell each other the tales they had heard.

While each group was out they had to jot down aspects of the Volsung Saga which went in a hat and then I improvised a story around a character.

We had discussions and skills and techniques which could be utilised after I had gone.

We will adapt further in the future.

I also did a show in the library theatre, thus bringing in different parties and individuals. This allowed me to cover different themes.dragon poster

Something we would like to expand for future visits is interaction with Native American parties. The comparative work between different cultures and different perceptions was enriching and enlightening. There is loads of space for a similar interaction between Vikings and Sami people.Indigenous Sami

Another thing which will come from this is a coach trip to Finlandia (I didn’t know that was a place, I thought it was a vodka you see in duty free.) The very first Finnish Viking festival in the US. I am thrilled to be joining a coach to go and perform there.

A lot of the people who visit Gudvangen are exploring roots, and connections, or links to past life experiences, and many other inspirations. Here so too. In Green Bay though there seems to be more of a feel of organised groups, societies. For example, the fascinating group the Sons of Norway, (more women than men I noticed).a960b1c536e2a1960b64c978eedf95a

Other attractions could foster this sort of visit. Events put on especially for certain societies. Research needed.

I am very grateful to good friend Rob Wildwood of jelldragon.com for introducing me to Tim of Norsk Høstfest in North Dakota and Heidi of UW-Green Bay Viking House it has all lead to so much, especially great relationships.

Njardarheimr Viking Town, Gudvangen, Norway

This is our Chieftain’s dream, alright so it has been massively supported from the outset years and years ago, and it is a marvellous cooperation of local businesses and investors. This place isn’t funded by Government, Unesco, the council, charities. This is the Chieftain’s dream made real by the spirit of those who bought into the idea with their hearts.

grethes house
Grethe-Iren’s house

What is it. There has been a market (or festival if you like) for at least fifteen years, there have been events, there have been visitors.krauka Now. It is a Viking town. In an amazingly short time a town has been built. A small few people have found the way to make this happen. It was a massive battle to get permission and atone opposition, but it has happened.pots and weave

If you go visit (and politely ignore the hidden half-built entrance way part) you will think you are seeing a full town. No there is as much again to come.

It will double.

Winter and summer our chieftain has watched every step,cheif (and the hotelier has watched every digger and crane – he won’t thank me for that).

Why is Georg Chieftain? Well, a long time ago he decided that if he was going to be making this thing happen then he had better declare himself Chieftain.georg

Why is he still Chieftain?

He is not Chieftain because he is strong.

He is not Chieftain because he is tough.

He is Chieftain because he is loved.

That love is strong.

He will tell you himself that it is all about love. He feels it strong yes.

There is another factor. Thousands of people love him.light on stage

So it works.

It is wholeheartedly, overwhelmingly, undeniable.

The aspects of Chieftainness which I have alluded to in earlier sections. Those of you who do so very marvellous at running festivals and attractions do not always realise, or admit to your selves, that it is love which is the lynch pin.monika marcin einar

You care and people care about you.

This is lesson to be learned Numero Uno.

This brings us to; please have this sword syndrome. “I have made this sword, please will you have it” Georg’s home is filled with gifts and collections. An accumulation of respect and service.skaldic corner

Carpets, ceremonial bowls, gods and horses.

I mainly mention this because I foresee how this can develop elsewhere.

Let us see some of the items to help us see how that other hall across the pond might become adorned.

One thing I have found to have far reaching effects is our incense burner. Coming from Poland for a pre-visit to bring Georg the gift of this beautiful piece of brass work, the lovely couple brought him the very first one from the mould. Modelled on one found in a boat burial in Norway it will have been used by Asatru (or Pagan) Vikings and then later in Christian ceremonies, it had originally come from a middle east area so will have then been Islamic. So this ceremonial device has been used by three main belief systems.left table

When it was the big market I went around to each tent or stall and explained that my Chieftain had instructed me to utilise the pine, charcoal and myrrh fumes to bless each area. As I swung the burner upon its chains everyone was visably moved and emotionally effected by the experience.

We parade. Each morning we parade with drums, chants and horns around the tents and buildings to the stage for the opening speeches. Incense wafted along as the burner was carried by Christian, Asatru and Islamic people in turns.

tdb emb gold dragon 02
Toni DB’s work

I have even told this story via video link to an Islamic leader upon the request of his cousin.

People are finding their roots here in all sorts of ways, here at the home provided for us by Njord; the fjord is dedicated to him and this is thought of as his land. He oversees us from the seashore and every year his statue is blessed with mead and recited to.njord gud

This is the longest, the deepest, and in one place, the narrowest fjord and a tall runic stone is planned to dedicate these facts. We plan to proclaim.

serpent stone
A smaller sone

Njardarheimr is populated. People actually live in the houses (and some other onsite accommodation btw). This is a living village.corner

I am telling you about all this to help each other get fresh ideas so all attractions can develop. I am not telling you all of this because I am any sort of expert, and certainly not as any type of official spokesperson. Indeed I ask now that you all react. Send me ideas, further info, news and developments. Let us all help each other.

When it is the market it fills up even more with several hundred Vikings in tents.einar

You can come.

There are those of us who are employed here. Working in reception or retail, delivering historic walks and in the case of Georg and myself, presenting the great hall and telling stories.

There are also people living here for periods of times for various reasons. These are the Freemen.tablet lady Robin for example comes over from Californian for a week or two at a time, lives as a Viking, crafts as a Viking and generally chats to people.

robin witch
Striking a dramatic pose at an event in California

Ravn runs Ravnstova (link below)ravnstove as a more of a professional service; outfit commissions, textile salesravntove – as well as demonstrating dying and candle making.dye spiral dyingConner and Audhild create jewellery and other metal-works on site and have a stall to enable them to ‘thrive, survive and live Viking life live’. Jenne weaves and supplies food.cockerel close cockerel loomKarin comes with her kids to live and share.dying pale

madderThere is also the Viking group with many members Njardarlag, they come and live and work and entertain – and all as volunteers.

Freemen.

Get that concept into your head.

(Well, in a gender-neutral way)

As well as many wonderful activities and offerings Karin and her two also bring the cats. A wonderful addition to our extended family. (More on animals later.)

Another category of visitors of course is the tourists – the mainstay, the raison d’être.

throne
The Chieftain’s hall all ready for stories

They are what brings in the money. When I say the place is all about the people, it also includes the tourists – you get some amazing people. Folks can be massively affected by visiting us.

When a Mexican teenager sits back down and says, “You are the best thing about my whole summer in Norway,” you know you are doing something right.

“We are going back to Minnesota and going to have a long hard think about how we can make our lives as fulfilling as yours.”

Another wing is what we call VIPs – this mainly just means that they have arranged for a private dining. There are other aspects to it, they might want to come after 6 when there is just them. They might even want Einar of Wardruna, or stories from me, or Krouka playing. They might want a big party. Torill is willing to be open minded, enthusiastic and adaptable.viking girl

There is another type of visitor lined up. Residential parties. Part of the new building program (it might be all done for all I know) is what is being referred to as Warrior Halls. Two great big halls where groups can come and stay. These could be organisations, reenactors or school parties – as long as they will live like Vikings, (during opening hours at least). There can be whole programs of activities for them.half temple

Oh I am so excited about them because there are whole groups out there which deserve our contact and there are whole groups out there who wish for us to go and reach out to them.

Community is a timeless prospect.

While I am on new structures, I hear there is also going to be a stone round-house with a central fire-pit, I think it is being referred to as ‘the men’s place’, referred to, in a historic way. Is it possible that only men will use it? – Oh yeah like totally.

There will be developments in the arena of ceremonies, in the field of drama and the terrain of performance. I’ve seen plans for a more permanent stage facing the open playing area (see pics of the amazing Einar and uplifting Krauka) and many concerts will happen there, as well as in the huge Heidrun hall. I plan to do interactive dramas from that stage, where the audience act out according to my story points.

(We also do stories in many languages and this is linked to below.)multi pre A

There is going to be a temple.

That was a statement which deserved its own line if ever there was one.

Now I know I have already stated that I am not in charge of anything. I have no power or valid opinion, beyond the fact that I signed myself up for a blog, but I will speak now: There is going to be a temple and everyone will be tolerant of each other.

There is going to be a temple and everyone will be tolerant of each other.temple

It will be a place of celebration, so I understand. We often have weddings, blessings, naming days, funerals; moments of life. Well bless Gudvangen, it is going to continue happening.

It is going from a holy hill with a couple or three statues, and me announcing spiritual Galda; i.e. from the runic inspiration of Lars Magnar, to having a temple for him to call you into.

galda 01
My attempt at a simple Galda

There will be drama, there will be inspiration, there will be re-enactment, there will be the deeply moved, the past life, the happy to act, the incense swinger, there will be wonders to behold.

The entrance way complex will be completed real soon; with a café/bar, shop, display area and reception.

There will be other new buildings.

One day, one day, we will have a harbour.

I did say this blog is all about opinion from a verbose storyteller who has no power but just you stop and listen to what I say now.

One day, one day, we will have a harbour.ships painting

The Skald he has spake.

Or was that spaken?

People travel from one market to one market to another; this itinerant lifestyle goes on in Scandinavia from spring to autumn (fall) with crafting-up going on in the winter, (I think it is addictive), I have a vision about this, (in my optimistic way); this will happen in America.

aldas bonfire cropped
Njardarheimr is open all year

Gosh for a powerless upstart I do keep wanting to proclaim about how I have spoken and therefore it will be. I guess that is the theme of this blog if you boil it down to ego. No, if you boil it down to Utopianism.

I have spoken.

Here I go again, carrying on…

Some of the stuff that works so so well at Gudvangen…

This is a blog about a writer / storyteller / personality (me) – who is funny: it is not a photo blog, there is text and it isn’t to supplement the art or photos, there are photos etc, they are not there to accompany the text, it is almost like they are separated ingredients ready to fry – but here for a first, and for a very, very, important reason, I am referring to a photo:- Write your name in runes.

A quiet stroke of genius. Write your own name in runes.

‘Now look I want to take credit for this because I bought the charcoal sticks.’ ‘No I brought the plank of wood – and the string.’ ‘I got the huge gift from the tannery we used some of for people to write on (with my charcoal sticks actually BTW).’

‘Now look will you two stop bickering in the Chieftain’s hut, it is like hearing some old couple.’

Oh alright – I admit – Georg was right.rune board

It was a stroke of genius quietly put together and agelessly displayed, subtly offered.

Not only can you take part on the spot.

Not only is it done in a none modern way.

You can take a photo and take it away with you.

Think of it as a travel activity.

People love it when I suggest that.

Yes, Georg, it is a really great idea.

You can play Hnefetaflr.

The Viking Game.

tafl and oil
Note the hanging oil lamps – glass and iron

You can listen to me or Georg telling you how it is played.

Many just love to hear about it.

“I am duty bound to inform you that there are sets for sale in the shop as you leave,“ usually makes them laugh.

Some want to play.

Georg is very good at being the opponent to singles.

Some will sit down opposite each other and play and play and play.

It is a very good job that we allow people to stay overnight!

Just discussing and looking at the runes is a great thing, people are fascinated.

There is so much to say.

I am so glad we just have the time to talk – and to listen.

We also offer a game, or just talk about it, that I only know from the medieval attraction in York; Barley Hall (You must go there – link below) so my name for it is of the wrong age, but, Nine Men’s Morris.to the kitchen

Folks like that.

There is a piece of leather on a table. ‘I got the leather and the charcoal to mark it up.’ ‘They are my precious playing pieces.’ – ‘Alright you two shush now.’

rune corner
See the iron candelabra

OK it draws attention – it is tic tac toe – it is noughts and crosses. It isn’t, it is earlier. You get three pieces each. The chances are you won’t get a line in three placements. Then you start moving the pieces one space at a time. It is really cookie.

We have the Lewis chess set (I am just randomly talking at this point so don’t think I am any sort of expert or even anything), I understand this is thought of as post Viking-age, but isn’t Lewis in Scotland, didn’t they have Viking kings till 1250ish. Way later.

to the kitchen
(Some interesting lantern set ups)

The Vikings knew chess OK.

And anyway, it is probably from India or China, or wherever it was Snorri says Odin and the rest of the Aesir arrived from (cough).

Anyhow – chess is very popular. You pop out, you come back, there are two people playing chess. You start stories. They never notice you.

They go on for absolute hours.

Tacitus the aforementioned diarist spoke of runes from when he visited Germanic tribes. The Father of the farm chopped a branch and marked it with his own signs for the gods, (so we are sounding kind of pre-rune here), then he divined. So I have a bag of my own signs for the gods and I draw you one out.mixed media impro

I also offer rune readings, (Elder Futhark), and where people are happy for me to, I add in the crystal ball – scrying was of the period. The Jorvik Viking Centre have employed me to do readings for children, that was very interesting.

The runes could be compared to Ancient Egyptian symbolism; each has a meaning as well as a sound; Water, Birch, Riding etc.

The Jorvik Centre I believe still use the Elder Futhark, as do I, whereas in Njardarheimr the smaller set, the Viking runes are favoured. So one needs to decide. Runes are planned to be used for signage, so I will discuss this in that section.

More of an ornament or artefact than an activity but I just love Georg’s scales; especially crafted for him, and people love to see the engraved weights, they are a real talking point.outdoor table

My chieftain has the aim, (and passion), that he will make some improvement every day, (perhaps that might be the main lesson of this blog?), and he had the blacksmiths create him an inverted L-shaped hook-stand to bang into his log-shaped table. On sunny days when we choose to bring all the activities outside this really allows the scales to look at their best.

Peter the highly-gifted bone-carver across the path has described us as a Viking-age theme park.

There are weavings hung down the walls, I would love to see them adorned with a couple of embroideries each. Such as the wonderful silks ones made by Nine Worlds Clothing, the best I have ever seen, (link below).

tdb emb better lady one
By Toni DB

No I cannot talk of how great our coin minting activity is without tipping a ginormous hat to the Jorvik Centre. You have paid to come in, so extra revenue is a bonus, and we want activities don’t we, so you don’t charge a fortune. Having a path to follow helps too as so often you see people roaming, no dashing, straight past things.coin

Georg’s coin-making equipment is very popular. He even offers silver ones.

I cannot refer to the Jorvik Centre without talking about the flood. So we shall take a brief interlude from discussing the activities at Njardarheimr and visit York. I must tell you of what I heard. Now I am no news hound or anything, but if what I was told is on the button there are staff at the centre who deserve a medal. The reason it took so long to rebuild and reopen is that it wasn’t just floodwater that came up into the place it was something far fouler. The lower section flooded and I was told that a group risked their lives by going back down the stairs into the slightly higher section where the genuine artefacts were. Engineers took off a fire door and actually gaffer-taped it across the open doorway to hold it all back! It could have burst at any moment! The atmosphere must have been quite toxic too. Staff then saved all of the precious items.

I think we should tell the queen.

(BTW If I haven’t got all the details here I would be glad to hear more.)

One or two ideas come to mind from my experiences there. One activity I’ve been employed for is queue busting; from me that is fun characterful chat, others demonstrate their kit, and archaeology students demonstrate finds.

I frequently enjoyed borrowing interesting jewellery from stalls and telling a story related to it. People would often go over and buy jewellery as a result.dragon_brooch_pin

All this ideas swap business suggests to me that there could be exhibitions of regional finds on loan from other establishments.

Representatives from Viking attractions I am sure would be welcome in Njardarheimr, not just as ‘Freemen’, also to demonstrate skills and share information.boast-218x198

Back to the chieftain’s Home in Njardarheimr, Gudvangen, Norway and how it came about. It is real with objects in a home not in cabinets, with people in the beds!

It has a kitchen. We are especially grateful to the volunteer joiners who created this area. When you train in your craft in Switzerland or Germany you pledge that once you are qualified you will travel away and work for food and lodging (I think for two years). These wonderful people created many great things including the kitchen and the Hnefetaflr table.kitchen

Oh and the skittle castle. That has gone down great. Georg carved wooden figures to stand on it and folks love it.

We plan a larger castle for next year, to go in, and I am hoping to be able to paint it.

Other games include Kubb, Knutlegg and tug of war. I am not going to mention the Loki run.

tactic-kubb-utomhusspel
Kubb

Oh yes and axe throwing, (not hatchet catching) and archery.

Then there is fighting. There is competitive fighting, (in twos), there are battle enactments and there are choreographed shows. There is also Glima the wrestling of course.

That leads to dressing up. There is an area with mail and helms and weapons where you can don them for a photo. There is also an area with play weapons; wooden swords, shields axes etc.

dolls
Or dolly dressing

Georg made me a three-metre spear and I started doing shield wall re-enactments with kids. They would line up against an imaginary enemy with me behind holding the spear between them. That was great fun and made for great photos of us stabbing warriors and horses.

Dressing up could be massively expanded. I would like to see more wooden weapons, a couple of saddles to sit on and lots of clothes for people to borrow. Fun for all ages and lots of memories to be made.

I also wondered about having a photographer. Perhaps a photo wall offering pics as you are leaving (like the ones when you come off a roller coaster).

Having a blacksmith’s shop on site is a marvellous thing. A great team of smiths too. We can all work and develop together.

All the kitchen fittings were created here. Hooks, nails, hanging oil lamps and bowl candle holders are all transferable ideas. Nails, it’s all about nails.

There is a great display of wares hung in the blacksmiths; fish hooks, knives, dozens of objects – nails! I love nails.

The annual market brings in hundreds of Vikings and of course many more visitors. Huge arrays of skills and crafts and goods come to us.

A whole series of events are programmed, worthy of far more attention and publicity. Entertainments, demonstrations, dramas. We also have always had a series of courses available. These can be a way to make it more financially viable for visiting experts and add massive value to the visit; needle-binding, storytelling, fight skills, many skills are on offer.

Story circles come fondly to mind, something we could bring back in the stone roundhouse perhaps. These tend to draw in teenagers and young adults too.

A new development for me at the 2018 festival was improvised storytelling, or perhaps more like poetry. Great musicians and percussionist joined me while I pulled one of my signs of the gods out of a bag and then we made up a piece with music and word and song. Wonderful experience.mixed media impro

This year I noticed that lectures were added to the repertoire. Women’s lives, Women at war, Viking-age music, and the Viking year were on offer.si

As promotion improves and these activities are planned well ahead the amount of people who come especially for a certain course, show or lecture will greatly increase.

The historic walks are a brilliant feature, they are actually referred to as guided walks but I appreciate the history side the most; you come away from these historic walks with a greater understanding of the concept of Vikings.

I do wonder if these will change in the future, as the place becomes busier, (it is going to get packed out), that there will be members of the village stationed here and there strategically around all the different features and sites with visitors going from one to another. That is just a thought I am throwing in the pot and would develop on from what is already offered.steamy cauldron

Visitors are international so guided walks aim to be so too; currently there are tours in Norwegian, English, Spanish, French, German, Latvian and Russian available most days throughout the busy season and I believe this will increase. I guess the majority of people who visit are able to speak and understand English so it tends to be more common.

Should there be Meercats? – Meercat is the nickname for freestanding information boards. I like the idea and think people will appreciate them and not think of them being out of place and out of time because they are expected and useful. I know Georg prefers the idea of only signs in runes to be more in keeping with the timelessness of living Viking style in the nowadays.

That thinking has led to the ideas of a treasure hunt, spotting runic inscriptions, plus a printed guide which tells you which runes to find for which feature.received_2080291925573466

The place has become more popular due to people developing an understanding of the place and getting the idea of how long they could visit for. As tour operators start to offer longer schedules and as publicity gets out to the people who may plan to come more and more effectively, people are able to stay for longer.

It is a genuine experience coming to Njardarheimr. It changes people. One thing you hear sometimes is, “Is that a real fire?” Many people have never seen one before and now suddenly they are being invited to sit by one. They can make bread to eat. They can mix with Vikings.real fire

People take photos. People can be encouraged to share their photos and footage with the online presence. This is an area which could be greatly increased.

More could be done with art work, exhibitions, there could be art competitions, poetry competitions. All with galleries displaying them, both on line and in the reception area. Folks could pop in and out of the café/bar and end up watching for hours.

Just some of the ideas which have been bandied about.

The walls of the Heidrun hall could be filled.

tdb emb blue creature
By Toni DB

This could even be tied in with the problem of guided tours in bad weather. Do you know when you go out for a meal, in a Greek restaurant, or a Thai place, right, and they have like 3D artwork on the walls – this makes me think that there could be relief images of the areas of the town along a wall so talks can be done inside. IE of the god statues., and the weapons

Highlights of activities must be the pottery and weaving via Marcin and Monika. People love their time there learning and they love the things they get to take away with them.basket half

I am just doing some math – hang on – I am, nearly there with a new idea – just before going to hit publish – hang on – I am thinking – 3D displays – experts on pottery and weaving – put them together – what have you got!

Moving along…marcins pots

I understand there is someone in the Green Bay area who does wattle and daub and I was thinking that might be something to be developed ‘ower ere’. Living sculptures, archways, and fences from something like willow are also exciting.

We’ve talked of large containers for storage, preserving and brewing etc, I also was wondering about the idea of buried food; fish and venison. (Get your muslin and your spade and then discuss.)

We have all already made a start on gardening. A great start. Collecting or buying plants of the period and of the area. So the outside areas are ‘growing’, becoming more real.ramslork

A thing that needs looking into is that it has been established that composting was done in the Viking-age and we might want to look into this. Of course this is a modern age and people living in the village will be concerned about the environment so will want to compost for the earth’s sake.

I love the peat walls which flourish with wild growth and greenery as do the rooves.

Ravn and others have demonstrated candle making and Holger has utilised old wax with moss to make candle bowls; wonderfully atmospheric.candle bowls

Talking of composting leads to the topic of poo. We got chickens we have. In the future there may be more poo available as the range of livestock grows.

It is lovely when chicks are hatched, but a shock when they turn out to be male. I understand that currently there are plans to set up a second hutch in a different area. Residents will definitely be woken early, wherever their hut.

As I’ve said these chickens are free to roam and can be seen all over the town. This I hear, there is also a possibility of a different animal, I heard talk of there being a small friendly breed of Norwegian pig and two or three could roam around.

Cows would always be a no no because basically there would be far too much poo.

Cats we also have and as I mentioned above there is a breed of Norwegian Forest cat which might settle to roaming the town.

I wonder if sheep or goats might be a possibility in the future, or even deer.

We almost got rabbits, but at the last minute someone said that the Vikings only had hares. Personally I think no one would mind if we had rabbits, but would also like to know if hares might be a possibility, IE would they settle to wandering here?

(NB rabbits dont ever dig upwards, they dig down and along, so would proberbly stay.)

mini butter
I am running out of suitable photos; aren’t American little butter packs really cute

We do have horses visiting at times and this is something that would be popular as a more frequent occurrence.

Someone suggested pet polecats or ferrets in a hutch with a run, but that would have to be quite secure.

These are all things that need to develop along with the gradual increase in visitors to be sure of adequate staffing levels.ships

Any other suggestions?

You may recall how I had enjoyed clambering up and about at the farm museum, it gave me the idea for a feature for kids. Children like up, under, in and over. A Viking style equivalent of a climbing frame or adventure park. A forest. Buildings. A fort.

mini outfit
Mini dressing up

Talking of dark places, I have always really liked the idea of a sweat lodge. The building of it and the idea. A hole with seated sides and a pit in the bottom. A bender cover of leather over saplings. A nearby fire pit where stones are heated which then can be rolled in using big sticks. Very exciting.

There is much scope for a program of online activities and all events would benefit by lots of advance planning; this would also help fill time on the rolling displays in the entrance or café/bar. Attractions could run features on each other. IE wouldn’t a film on Njardarheimr go down brilliantly at Norsk Høstfest (or film and talk).

An online feature on how to be a Viking would be brilliant.

Examples of stories also, so Vikings can learn, skills too. People pre-armed and able to contribute.

workshops
Workshops are always populat and could be prebooked

Many thanks to all who have supplied photos, especially my chieftain Georg who very kindly took images of many of the items I wished to talk about.no sword

Gudvangen has a great set on how to fit in as a Viking. (“Everyone is welcome here except those who don’t make others welcome” Georg Hansen.) Policies have been developed on etiquette and authenticity of atmosphere so I am hoping to feature info on these in the future.

Thank you for reading all this way. I hope some of this is an inspiration for you and do enjoy the links below.

Adrian

All my own mistakes, I mean work.

 

Links

Adrian at UW Green Bay Viking House

https://www.uwgb.edu/viking-house/viking-storytelling/

University Wisconsin; Green Bay Viking House

https://www.uwgb.edu/viking-house/

And UWGB Viking House on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/UWGBVikingHouse/

Adrian’s Guide to Re-enactment

National Railroad Museum – Green Bay, Wisconsin

https://nationalrrmuseum.org/

Norsk Høstfest Viking Village

http://hostfest.com/experience/viking-village/

Voss Folke Museum

https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/voss-folkemuseum/4832/

Aurland Photography (Mal Dickson)

Nine Worlds Clothing

tdb samples

Ravn Design

Back In The Day Reenactment Furniture

The Viking dream-life stories I

Sweat lodges in the Viking dream life blog string

The Viking dream-life stories latest edition

The Virtual Ghost Walk of York

We Are Theatre

Prose poems of the Gods and Goddesses

Adrian’s online tutorial – Storytelling is…

Multi-national Storytelling in a Nutshell

Barley Hall, York

Sons of Norway…

Jelling Dragon – Viking Crafts & Living History Supplies

Storyteller True Thomas

SigRun Viking Art & Design

Guntis Jakubovskis; Jeweller

Viking Comics Inc. featuring images from the Stamford Bridge tapestry.

Battle of Stamford Bridge Tapestry Project

Njardarheimr, Gudvangen Viking Valley, Norway

Adrian the Skald

Daniel Kretchmar – Blacksmith

Fjordtell, Gudvangen, Norway

Adrian’s Guide to Re-enactment

 

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Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

 

 

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

What is a Skald?

I could look it up, and perhaps I will, but there is almost no need of history, we are history, we are re-making it as we go along. Let ‘What is a Skald?’ be answered by what is needed of me.

Some of you are, like, yes but what is a Skald? I am storyteller to the chieftain so we can start from there.

Fame and respect I suppose. A storyteller and or poet would be noticed and enjoyable. They would be thanked loudly as well as being responded to as they go along. So it was with me I guess. I did many a performance in many a place before I was asked to be Skald. Poetry and story and most importantly, a mixture.

So audiences were aware of me. Any passing chieftains would be able to see that appreciation shown by the crowd at a glance. They would hear the applause and sometimes even cheers. They would hear laughter – but I do maintain that I am funnier over here in Norway than I was back home in Yorkshire.

There needs to be a little more than this when that chieftain comes along. He needs to like what he hears, to see where the performer is coming from with an air of expectation.

More than this though, they need to jell. So it was with Georg and I. We got along with mutual respect and anticipation right from the start. Not that we are alike, or at least not in every way; our views compliment each other. Also, as Georg says, we ‘look right’.

Not that the role is exclusive, parts of the job can be stepped into by others at times: storytellers, shamans, musicians, hosts, all play a part as happens.

Georg saw me perform at the Jorvik Viking Festival (many times in fact) and through that he invited me to go to Gudvangen.

My performances were a mixture of poetry and story and were tailored to fit the occasion, and the needs of the festival organisers. This arrangement is a happy compromise which also requires an effort to acknowledge the needs of the audience.

So it was in history and so it is that history repeats itself.

Yes, Skald, or Skalt, means poet. One needs to be a poet, experience shows however one needs to be so much more.

The praise poems are needed of course. Special occasions are marked, battles also. In this Viking town rather than just celebrating past battles the Skald needs to support in current ones; fighting the corner in more gentle or subtle ways than the battles of axe-wielding of old. One may also need to help bury the hatchet.

Other roles such as ceremonies we shall come to which often require poems; ‘poems of a purpose’ beyond the topic of the role of the chieftain.

I think my chieftain (or would-be king) continues in the role not just because of the massive levels of respect and expectation from thousands of supporters but also because it is fun.

One must have fun, one must also take ones role very seriously. I know I do. I couldn’t write for the job if I didn’t have a massive respect for the man, for his role, for our societies, and for all who come here.

I am not alone in the role, Georg has several singers, poets, tellers around him – I throw myself into the role and try to take up every challenge. I try.

I take my ‘job’ very seriously, that way it leads to a whole load of fun.

I am sure the Skalds of old had fun, I am also sure they were storytellers. It is said that their panegyrics (praise poems) were quite complicated. The main elements of skaldic verse ( to keep this brief and simple) are: beat rather than rhyme, resonance, assonance, alliteration, consonance and that uniquely Norse metaphoric construct the kenning. The naming-word structures kenning were chiefly used to refer to stories from the Norse belief system which we most often refer to as the myths.

It is believed that the Skald utilised a combination of skaldic verse and story; partly to enthral, partly to impress.

A poem would be spoken, not all of it would be understood so the Skald would look impressive, they would then tell the story or stories which related to the kennings, so being entertaining and explanatory they would now repeat the poem and the listeners would understand it and they could be impressed with themselves.

Some say there was vanity involved, even so far as to say that we only know of the myths / belief system because such as Snorri could feel immortal because we could understand his poetry.

I know that I am immensely proud of being humble and it is the only reason I have been so exceptionally successful.

My main topic here shall be my diversity within the complexities of the role it is an echo of the past in the present, and the skalds certainly diversified.

Beyond the many aspects of the role there is also the fact that it has come about through the natural occurrence of events to be perpetually entwined with occurrences of the past.

We are a rock. A bridge. A ship. A hog-back stone. We are a Heiti – A short replacement of description by metaphor.

We are a time-talker – death-spanner – eon-kin; we are interlinked by our use of kenning.

Our very panegyrics: our words of praise unite us across time.

We are the ‘sound’ from the Proto-Germanic skalliz = sound, voice, shout. The Old High German skal for sound; a skalsong was a song of praise.

Be aware we also have cross time connections in the field of mocking, insulting, word-sparing, with the current English word scold coming from the same root.

For good or bad as a skald you will be an influence, usually for the good of course. You will be an influence and may diversify further into other roles.

You will join the ranks of the keepers of culture and history and of old this often led to other roles.

Becoming a clerk or a scribe was common; a record keeper. Some became preachers, then, as of now, are different faiths and different groups. One now might be led into a role within a re-enactment society’s management, back then skalds would become representatives at a Thing; at the All-thing. You are a skald you are a prominent figure.

One thing is for certain, there were stories to tell, there was a wish to listen, be captivated, to learn. I am very glad to say there is still a place for story today; still a place for old tales and tradition always. Being the skald can definitely lead to stories being told.

One should come to this role through respect. I understand that in some societies, especially in Britain, one has to endure tests – it all sounds a bit Greek to me.

Back in the day, (The Norse day – our heyday), one might be tested by circumstance and be seen to rise above. Perhaps one may even take part in a skald-off – the old mock fights of mocking words, where you make the other look so bad that you rise to the fore – not for me that one, (unless pushed).

In many a re-enactment society to tell stories there are tests which one must. Forgive me if I have details wrong but it goes something like this… Apply to be a member, pay up a fee, arrange to go to the annual training weekend, do the village test, and acting test, three appearance tests and the skald test – you are now a skald. I would place the emphasis on ‘a’ skald and would better describe this as being tested to be a storyteller. There are other ways yet this is one way.

To become ‘the’ skald however this comes from respect.

By ‘the’ I mean the chosen representative of a leader or group; it may be a queen requiring great praise, it may be your local Vikingslag for berating the loser of a scrap or a skirmish. Be it live action role play or at a Viking activity centre it is best not to look at the role as a rank, a qualification or an employment; you deserve the role.

You will be busy.

We shall need to write and or memorise skaldic verse or stylized words for the sake of the occasion, achievements and celebration, (I use a leather binder rather than memory).

We may well help others; story circles, workshops, shares, we may even organise a vote to choose skald of the festival, of the market, of the year. We can create storytellers.

There shall be collaboration; with visiting dignitaries, event managers, business owners, societies. There will be creative collaborations with musicians, drummers, singers, chanters, marchers, actors – with bloggers, vloggers, media, artists, weavers.

Then, of course, there are the speeches, welcoming, declaring open, creating an atmosphere, thinking of fun ways of saying things – attempting to capture the essence of the atmosphere but also of what my chieftain will want to put across.

People should feel good – my chieftain’s golden rule is everyone is welcome except those who don’t make others feel welcome.

Then our chieftain shall speak and I shall have made everyone aware of how important his words shall be – I can put them in a nutshell for you though – It is all about love.

There is the blot or versions of same. This can be a ritualistic ceremony where everyone involved is deeply moved with the connection to the Aesir. The Asatru are the followers of Odin’s family, they are his family.

Such ceremonies are similar to many activities which many British would describe as Pagan.

A simple ceremony can be formed at an opening to bless and celebrate – this is often a mixture of light-hearted and or sentimentally moving. We fill the horn with mead and pass it round, as it circulates each person takes a sip (or gifts a little to the earth if they don’t drink alcohol); as I say these can be endearing and powerful or as simple as ‘Skol’!

One highly jocular comment seemed to be extremely popular when I was in the circle, “Cheerio Miss Sophie.” – this is seen by Norwegians as quintessentially English and yet, for years, was completely incomprehensible to me.

Everyone is welcome and ‘everyone’ is a wide-ranging set of people. – there is almost every belief here and many reasons to be here; Pagans may feel a connection to the place, Asatru to their gods, Muslims might be internally connecting in their own way, Jewish… – you get the idea.

We all have reasons for being here too, from the tourist to the re-enactor, from the site owner to the child of the drummer, traditionalists and newcomers, outsiders and originators, we can all get something out of this, and the nearest I can come to summarising is – timelessness.

There are specific ceremonies, ie funerals, naming days, blessings, weddings, initiations. How are these done? – By everyone sharing their expectations and wishes, to ensure that these elements are included.

You have jobs beyond the grand occasion, newcomers should feel welcome, they should not feel unsure, they should be guided and befriended. – Keep an eye out for them and point them at the right person (possibly yourself).

New ideas will come and you will seek to be encouraging and informative.

Off-shoots of my role have included, contributing to newsletters, blogging, arranging tapestry presentations across the globe.

The biggest thing perhaps is the parade; the background to it and the resultant ceremony.

Background indeed, often an aspect hardly noticed IE there are drummers and pipers hanging around wondering what’s going on. The film crews will be arriving in about five minutes. “Could you drum so they hear which way to come?” “Maybe blow horns when they are in sight?” “Could you be at either side so they walk through?”

To the chap with the three-metre spear, “Could you accompany the chieftain and I so you are his honour guard on the stage?”

“You warriors, when I hold up my hand for silence for the chieftain could you run in front of the stage roaring and clash your weapons to your shields?”

“Galda man, when the shields have been clashed and the horns have been blown could you make one of your spiritual screams?”

“The crew won’t be set up in front of the stage for ten or fifteen minutes so we all could parade around the full camp following our chieftain.”

I shall call onlookers to follow us so we have a crowd from the stalls.

So, everybody marches.

Being adaptable and able to respond ably to commission are vital skills.

People need to get there too. How is the place represented? Can you improve upon what is out there? During the course of writing this blog several people have enquired upon how to visit my chieftain’s town.

The getting there is a story in itself and can be made very entertaining, especially if you make it seem of the Viking age.

I was lost at a huge place with many stalls, all selling odours and alcohol, water was highly priced. I became lost in this accused place and passed many many gateways all leading to other worlds. When I found the right gate and donned Freyja’s feathers I landed in a place of many tunnels – no wonder you people believe in dwarves.

I am from the new lands and have returned to the old stone to remember they ways.

The narrative of the day is also important. Letting people know in a fun way what to expect and what they can take part in.

Activities can be acted out see………………….

I of the new lands must admit to forgetting the old ways – we no longer have grass on our rooves – we have done the terrible deed of missing with the others – Saxon! Angles! Even Parisii!

I may have an advantage; being fluent in English as the world of the Viking is multinational and English is a common tongue, giving me advantage of a Norwegian speaker slightly, possibly, maybe.

We have told multinational stories in over twenty languages and dialects. See Norway in a Nutshell.

Viking Saga in a Nutshell – As performed at Gudvangen Viking Market 2017

On the topic of tangential roles I have recently been asked to write a story to accompany every product on a Viking website.

My own blog keeps me busy with its various strings. This blog is part of the Storytelling is.. string. There is also a series of prose poems on the Gods and Goddesses. Plus another string on my many visits to Gudvangen; this set or series has recently been widened to include My Viking Dreamlife which mixes reality with myth and folklore.

The roles and off shoots I have described are the main elements defining the Skald in a timeless way through the needs of the community. As it must be so shall it be and so shall it always be in the before.

And that I show I ended up with a blood brother and living in a little hut next door.

 

 

 

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Collection by Adrian Spendlow 10 2017

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The shirt was white-flowered blue with paler cuffs and collar

Crispy salad and crunchy cheese

Cold boiled new pots. and huge old ham

Making sure the home-made lemonade is keeping cool

With regular bathroom calls for personal appearance checks

When at the door to admit her, a blob is spotted

A breakfast blob below the collar

 

Turned out she was into S & M

 

                                           Adrian Spendlow

 

 

Aloud and Wild

 

I cry

 

I cry who I am

 

I cry

 

 

                       Adrian Spendlow

 

 

Nothing More

 

A friend who loves

 

I know

 

And am understood

 

There is

 

Nothing more

 

Adrian Spendlow

 

 

 

Galvanised Experience

 

We weave back into the past of reality

For this is more set in stone than actuality

The happenings of the happened must have their glory

Nothing of the now is as real as the story

Blind to the flowerings of the rockery

Present view point forever slippery

 

                                                Adrian Spendlow

 

 

Upon a time…

There once were children

Until imagination

Took them to an island

Where inner callings

Turned them into tribes

Happy they were in pretence

Except that –

Something happened inside

A darkness overcame them

They writhed

Hearts heaved

Other ancient aspects of them

Steadily started to rise

Something monstrous

Arisen

As one, they wizened

Scaled and fearsome

Winding wildly

Onward

Moving gruesomely on

They have become

A…

Dragon!

 

                        Adrian Spendlow

 

 

 

I Was That Janitor

I was abducted by aliens

Abducted

Examined

Stimulated

Tickled

They took me in their

Metal ship

They stripped me with their

Metal probes

They fed me with their

Metal chips

They thrilled me with their

Metal nodes

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

 

Abducted

It was smashing

And they had

three of everything

They took me

OOOOOOOOH

They took me

from this place

This paltry earth

Did what they did

Then

They

Brought me back again

It’s true

I know

It happened to me

 

They brought me back

To the exact same place

At the exact same time

But they wiped the memory

From my mind

But I had had a

premonition

That I was going

I know

The question on your lips is

When……

It happened in the middle

Of this poem

 

                                     Adrian Spendlow

 

 

Kick

The myth of magic speaks in this

The embodiment of solid stillness

I have walked in fungi forest

In it’s secret oozing silence

All around the lake

 

Everywhere a brooding, living beauty

And it spoke

The runes ran thick

Quick the age old message

From root to stick

 

Oh the air

It was in the very air

A sporeform finger

Investigating

“Get out”

“Go away”

“Your not a growing thing”

 

I felt the sickly sing-song sting

It’s clamping, poly-primal cling

It threatened me with everything

And so I ran

 

Pale blues – Limes –

The palest shade of pink –

Spotted scarlet sporting spots –

Balls of pustule puffing putrid stink –

I ran past parasols that turn to ink –

Penny Bun Balletes –

A tree, – no longer visible

 

I hear the age old message

Air so liquid thick

They tell me

Just what I should think

I understand

And so I ran

As planned

 

            Adrian Spendlow

 

 

The Strength of Strangers

 

A witch may wish

Or visit here

Bringing upon us

News of her wisdoms

 

Ravens may fly here

Foretelling of arrivals

Ships can be seen afar

 

Fires will burn

Hot and sudden: red

All will ready

 

Arming themselves

Forging an iron resolve

Death or glory

 

Farm safety

Depends, it seems,

On bloodied victory

 

Our history however

Echoes a message,

 

Sometimes

Those apposed to us

Can be traded with

 

 

Adrian Spendlow

                          as Skald

 

 

Times

I rise above

I lift

I like to be

 

I roll without knowing

I should know

I should

 

I am the news

 

The disaster

The fascinating

The moment

 

And the fall

 

I rise above

 

 

             Adrian Spendlow

 

 

 

haiku

The long dusk; the low sun

Before Autumn twilight

All golden now

 

                    Adrian Spendlow

As there is this Me Too thing going on at the moment i thought I would reblog a couple  of my survivor poems (from a forthcoming book)…

Soul Property

These little subtle things of hate

Somewhat less often of late

The trick is in anticipation

Playing upon preoccupation

 

Returning to times in memory

(Unaware of victor’s glory)

Which hurt beneath the levels of aware

To always inside still be there

 

Recollection ever present

Something of self is rent

Quietly said, privately spoken

Hit and hit again upon the broken

 

Words quietly said, privately spoken

Hit and hit again upon the broken

 

All time lost to anticipation

 

Adrian Spendlow

 

I used to perform this one with a blues band…

 

DEEP IN THE NIGHT

 

Deep in the night I just want to cry

The rest of the time

There are things I am after

Reaching

To be – What I’m driven to be

But just not being up to it

Leaves you inadequate

Deep in the night,

When I touch the unreachable,

That’s when the heart is,

Wanting to cry

 

Then a mask falls

I’m living – and fooled into being –

Happy – Go lucky – Hardworking – and me.

Believe it.,

“There’s nothing to stop you”

“You are who you are”

 

Deep in the night I just want to cry

Passion and pleasure

Fulfilment, procurement

I can do it. I can make it. – Keep my wolf away.

Sensuality saves you – you forget you have feelings

Even inner peace, on the odd time I achieve it,

Rankles, on my heart, as merely a sham

 

Deep in the night,

I hear,

Deep in the night,

So clear,

Deep in the night,

Comes the echo,

“Just what is you justification for being on this planet”

Damn! It’s a voice! I can hear it.

And sometimes I buckle

 

Tortured for the moment and blind to the dawn

Deep in the night sometimes

Deep in the night I just,

Deep in the night when I falter

Deep in the night I just want to cry

 

                          Adrian Spendlow

 

And an old fun one from back when I smoked…

                Jelly Baby Continuum

 

OH OH   Out of Rizlas   Out the house   Corner shop

Oooooooo   Jelly Babies   Mmmmm   Scoff

All the way back   Home   Empty pack

Time   For a fag   Out with the baccy   Rizlas

Reach in pocket   OH OH   Empty pack    What!

Er   Jelly Babies   Scoffed   Packet in pocket

Cig papers….   In bin   Damn   Back to shop

Ooooooo   Jelly Babies

 

 

                               Adrian Spendlow

 

 

Here is the previous collection

 

Discworld blog

And here is the last magazine type blog I did…

Do buy the guy

guy-link-board

 

Click ‘Poetics’ in the footer bar below to go to the first poetry blog and then keep clicking ‘Next in Current Series’ to work through them all…

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Viking Saga in a Nutshell – As performed at Gudvangen Viking Market 2017

Viking Saga in a Nutshell – As performed at Gudvangen Viking Market 2017

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See ‘how to’ at the bottom for ways to turn these shortened sagas into performances

Sigurd the Warrior038 sig sword up

The warrior thrust his sword – into his scabbard034 sig sword

Mounted his mighty horse – and rode through the night035 sig horse

And the next day009 rode all night

And the next night008 ride all night

Ahead was an enormous mountain036 mountains

In the mountain was a huge cave037 cave

He leapt from his horse – and strode in038 sig sword up

Up a long high tunnel084 up tunl

Towards an enormous cave087 to enor cave

In the cave was an enormous heap of gold010 pile of gold

Upon the gold was an enormous dragon007 dragon on pile

“Roar”039 dragon

He crouched in fear, “I cannot kill this thing!”089 crouch fear.jpg

Two birds landed on his shoulders and whispered,013 two raven

“Dig a hole” “What with?”090 dig what.jpg

“Dig with your sword.” “Why?”092 with sword.jpg

“Just dig, dig, and leap in!”094 leap in.jpg

The great monster awakes039 dragon

Sigurd the warrior crouches down with his sword012 wait in hole

The monstrous dragon flies out through the tunnel095 d flies out.jpg

Sigurd stabs, stabs, urg, hu, arg, p,dumph096 s stabs

The dragon bites, RRRRaphnth!011 dragon head

Sigurd slices, “Hahahahahahaha!”097 haha 01.jpg

“Hahahahahahaha!”098 haha 02

 

 

Sigurd Awakens Brinhild

Sigurd the warrior raised his sword034 sig sword

He sliced right through the dragon’s neck025 neck slice

And from its claw he took the cursed gold ring026 ring

“I will go and seek my fortune”099 seeks.jpg

“Hang on, I already have a fortune”010 pile of gold

He filled his saddlebags with dragon’s gold028 sadlebag

He rode away on his horse which was afraid of nothing – nothing030 sig rides

Nothing076 man horse 01 flipped

Forests, swamps, mountains029 terrain types

Upon a far mountain is a tall tower0100 on mount.jpg

Surrounded by flames0101 in flames.jpg

The horse leaps0102 leaps.jpg

Through the air024 sig leaps

Through the flames031 sig through flame

Sigurd dismounts inside the tower0103 dismounts.jpg

Laid asleep upon a stone bed is…0104 asleep.jpg

The most beautiful woman he has ever seen0105 most beaut.jpg

She was unclothed027 sleeps

He took her in his arms0106 in arms

He kissed her0107 kiss.jpg

She awoke, “I love you”0108 awake

“I love you too – will you marry me?”0109 will you.jpg

He put the ring upon her finger0110 ring on

The cursed ring026 ring

That is just the beginning of a story – where0111 beginning of.jpg

Everybody dies0112 ev dies 01.jpg

 

For the Love of Freyja – and the Walls of Asgard

The big boss god of all the Viking gods?054 god war flipped

OOOOOOOOOOOdin047 odin 01

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOdin048 odin 01 flipped

His city was in ruins049 asgard

Ruins050 asgard flipped

Along came a handsome stranger044 h stranger

“I will build the walls of your city for you”045 h stranger flipped

“And all I want in return is…”078 hs 02

“The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”0114 str the sun.jpg

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”0120 sun 04.jpg

Odin said, “You want what!”069 odin 02 flipped

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”0115 ev the sun group 01.jpg

That is a lot, I will ask Loki070 odin loki heads

“What does he want paying?”057 loki 01

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”055 odin and loki 01

“Only if he can get it done in less than half a year”059 half a year

Odin told the stranger…068 odin 02

“But will you still pay me “Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”0116 sun 01.jpg

“And can my horse help?”046 hs and horse

“Hahaha what good is a horse? It was a magical horse060 horse mountain 01

It flew down and picked up a mountain061 horse mountain fly

The stranger used it as a brick065 hs brick 01

It flew down and picked up a mountain062 horse mountain fly flipped

The stranger used it you get the idea066 horse to hs brick

He will get it down in time and then we will have to pay him067 hs brick to wall

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”0118 sun 02

Loki turned into a beautiful lady horse brrrrrrr071 loki turns horse072 lady horse 01

The stallion followed her075 man horse 01074 lady horse 02

Into the magical woods077 into magic wood

Now the stranger wouldn’t get the job done in time and he wouldn’t get paid…078 hs 02.jpg

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”0119 sun 03

He threw off his handsome disguise and became the rock giant he really was079 off to biff

He went to biff Odin0121 goes to biff.jpg

But Odin biffed him080 odin to biff

He biffed him so hard he flew all the way back to the land of the giants081 biffs giant

The walls were nearly finished and Odin didn’t have to pay…0122 nearly wall.jpg

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”0123 ev group flipped.jpg

 

Loki

The god of mischief058 loki 01 flipped

Trickery0124 trickery.jpg

Cruelty0125 cruelty

“When the goddess awakes see how she screams”0126 she screams.jpg

Loki laughs “hehehehe”0127 l laughs 01.jpg

“Hehehehehe”0129 l laughs 02.jpg

He is also a shape changer god0130 shape change.jpg

(say to the cast,) “Say the names of four random creatures or things”0131 creatures.jpg

The gods had had enough of him056 odin and loki 01 flipped

They threw away his children0132 throw ch

The giant snake they threw into the sea, “Roar, sploosh”0133 throw snake 01.jpg0134 throw snake 02.jpg

The monster wolf into the ground “hoooooowl”0135 wolf in

His putrid, rotten daughter down to the underworld016 hel falls

Scream!014 hel

Burning poison was dripped on Loki’s face0136 poison face.jpg

“All scream together!”0137 all scream.jpg

“See my daughter fly her ship of the dead”0138 her ship

“And we will kill you all!”0139 kill all.jpg

“Hahahahahaha” –0142 haha 01 “Haha”0143 haha 02.jpg

That is the end of Loki’s story, in which…0140 l dies

[Say to the cast] (“All say together, “Everybody dies” on the count of three.) 1 2 3 “Everybody dies!”0141 ev dies

 

 

Ragnarok

The end of the world, where everybody dies0151 end of world

Gods, Monsters, wolves and slaves0152 gods monsters etc

Everyone fights together until they die015 all fight

Did we mention everybody dies?0153 dd we ment

Because they do0154 cos do

The sea rises up and swallows the land033 yg wave

Lightning strikes the great tree032 yg lightning.jpg

The great tree falls,017 yg falls

eeeke, creeeeak, vrooooompht, budoumpht, budoumpht, budoumpht0155 eek.jpg

budoumpht0156 bdumpht

One branch019 yg twig

One branch remains standing free of the water019 yg twig

The bits of the old world gather around the branch018 yg

Two figures climb down to this new land020 lithr babe

Lith and Lithrasia0150 l and l

New life begins, cradled in their arms021 babe

The power of the old gods rises from the sea0157 old gods.jpg

The light of life and hope023 yg old gods.jpg

We raise up our arms in wonder and say, “aaaaaaah”022 l and l arms

 

 

Njord; the god of the sea

He leads us0158 he leads.jpg

Guides us0159 guides.jpg

Stare out to sea with him0160 stare

For under the sea is a terrible goddess0161 under is terrible g.jpg

Ran! She is wicked and twisted0162 twisted.jpg

She swings her net and catches sailors “aaaaaaaargh”0163 swings

They wander her home forever0164 wander.jpg

“I am cccccold.” – “I miss my familyyyyy”0165 ccold

“I wish I hadn’t drowneded”0166 drownded.jpg

“Hahahahaha” Ran laughs and claps0167 claps.jpg

That is how sick she is0168 sick.jpg

Njord is good; 0169 good.jpghe guides us0170 guides.jpg

This is his home0171 home.jpg

Njardarheimr0172 njard.jpg

He stands now by the sea0173 by sea.jpg

Bless him with mjord and ol0174 ol.jpg

Gudvangen! Njardarheimr!0175 gud

 

Although I wasn’t yet strong enough to face being at Gudvangen this year I was thrilled to be asked by stand-in host Annabelle to allow her to continue my tradition of multi-national stories. So each of the scripts I have published here has been performed in my honour by Annabelle with a gang of pals such as Karin in many languages and dialects simultaneously.

‘How to’ guide:

If you are working with children they can repeat each line altogether after you and act it out; remember, many of the stories from the mythology are quite gruesome.

The multi-national story; you need people who speak different languages (and English) you can also encourage different dialects for a bit more fun. You say each of the lines and one at a time they saying along the row in their own language. It works wonderfully well, it works far better than it should! Prepare to have great fun.

I look forward to be being welcomed back into the fold at Gudvangen next year (or even sooner).

Love

Adrian

OldMan Comics – Cancer Care Capers

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God’s Bless Ya 02 – Hel – Ragnarok Mythology Festival, Denmark

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God’s Bless Ya!!! 02 – Hel – Ragnarok Mythology Festival, Denmark

(for bookings visit our site.)

Hel

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.hel

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.studio

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

Empowering

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 to be fearful

hel press

Hel Poem 02 – Kenning

Stronghold-builder

Greif-giver

Tear-bringer

Flesh-rotter

Death-perpetuator

Glad-torturer

Witch-burier

Decrepit-concealer

Beautiful-enchanter

Toxic-user

Hel-builder

Coward-welcomer

Truth-despoiler

Serpent-inflicter

Balder-hater

Loki-daughter

Volva-loin-springer

Deathship-constructor

World-ender

Scream-mother

God-stealer

Light-hater

Hermod-scarer

Wolf-sister

Gloom-harbourer

Harm-danger

Cursed-leader

Misfortune-sleeper

Nightmare-enterer

Corpse-mother

If you wish to share,

Hel is just down there…

door 02 coloured.jpg

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,

Her Niflheim

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

And builds

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

falling darkness 04 up painted.jpg

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

Cry now

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

Weep;

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;

Except witches,

those of you who see yourselves witches or herbal

Prepare to whimper under deep dark earth buried forever

Enter all

You are summoned

Weep now

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

Hel’s Mother

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

And you,

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.

Hel

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.

See also God’s Bless Ya!!! 01 – Skadi the Huntress