A stunning new approach to the myths the Vikings loved; enlightening and challenging for the novice and veteran alike.
The Gods and Goddesses of the Nordic Mythos Prose Poems were created following research for Gods Bless Ya!! Rock Opera with Alda and Sigrun Bjork Olafsdottir and a forth-coming book with SigRun Viking Art & Design.
The all-bearer, the fruit bringer, she is pathway, she is rain-home, she is nurture, she is plenty, she is earthen-body and she is Nerthus/Earth; Earth. She birthed us, believe her.
Gods come from her and Goddesses became from her
She is born from the oldest of tales and of memories
She came from Night, the first darkness
She is the belief that began all belief
She is Earth
There is nature here and living beauty and plenty
Look also at yourself
for all of your faults and strengths and foibles,
Because you were born from her you monster
There is only one small hope for the children born of Earth
The best of times the worst of times, this always seems to be the way for me. So it is on this trip to Scandinavia. Yes my health seems to have taken another of its backwards steps whilst I am supposed to be getting better each day a bit at a time.
I have been saying over this ill health year that there are good patches every day (my pal Donna wants to know where I buy these patches) I cannot even say this at the moment; no, no good patches but good people. Good people here every day and we feel like being here every day. So if you never see Sigrun, Alda and Svanhvit again it is because they have stayed here with me in ‘Wolf Town’ forever. Well, either that or their car fell completely apart on the way home. It started on the way here, and quite frankly there isn’t much left – except super glue and Gaffer tape.
I can be ill here and still happy, I would be just as poorly if I was at home and I am surrounded by laughs, love and ‘loveliness’ yes.
The Norns. We are the three Norns and life is only perfect when we are united. Oh no, they have their mum with them! So I have promoted her to the position of Norn – where does that leave me? I guess I am the devoted follower; a bit like the besotted, squirmy, devotee you see with vampires. I am the Norns assistant.
I got here though – we are back in beautiful Denmark; last year I did a review, with a main feature on Danish design: It is rubbish! Unless it is eggcups of course, they are good at them.
Not that you can tell they are eggcups by looking at them. If you were out shopping for them you would probably pass them right by.
So, if you see something and you don’t know what it is, buy it, take it home and stick an egg in it.
When I say design what I mean is; if you build a thing you have built it, but if you spend time beforehand thinking not only about whether or not it looks cool but about whether or not it will actually work, or even better finding ways it will work better and in new ways – then – it has been designed.
That isn’t how it works here, well not in my experience last year, admittedly my very limited experience of just one apartment; a grannie flat actually.
Converted from a cellar and retouched recently to be lettable to mugs, sorry I meant tourists.
The loo was under the stairs in a miniscule cupboard where you couldn’t even stand up at the sink, yet the bathroom was gigantic. One of those semi basement places where there are huge windows all along the back wall with no nets; this is all over looked by a children’s play area for the people upstairs. Needless to say, the second time I went in there I wore clothes, at least till I got the curtains closed.
The water from the shower hit the back wall of the bath and followed a runnel around under the shower heads. I realised as I got out it was flying to the tiles like a waterfall. I mainly discovered this by stepping into the lake my clothes and towel were in.
The dining area was in my bedroom, the couch and computer desk were in the other bedroom. The wardrobes had been newly painted and were sealed shut as a result.
The kitchen was minute; a short passage with a narrow cupboard by the window. A mismatch of tiny pottery hung on a rack and the one cupboard held the fridge (which ripped your skin off every time you opened it). When you turned on the really high tap the water hit the tiny round sink in such a way that it turned into a geyser which visited the electric hob in torrents, (most of us survived intact).
When we discovered the final straw of opening the window we were almost glad that is was impossible to close again because it was out of reach so at least the owner would understand that fault.
Don’t even get me started on shopping in Velje!
But no it is this year and that is all behind us. The 2017 review. This time it is Ryanair.
The engines are not powerful enough to be able to keep the lights on during take off. If they didn’t make us all sit in the dark we would never get off the ground, well not all the way up anyway. Similarly make sure you turn everything off when about to land or the engines will never get us to the ground.
Magazine racks are an optional extra same as tickets and seats are.
As for passengers, I don’t think it is just my mood but everyone travelling with Ryanair is really irritating. It is urgent to get to the plane as soon as possible. Some race across the runway to get to the back steps before you, even at the expense of a young family member, only to discover she has the now needed boarding passes and is at the bottom of the steps behind everyone. Hah hah hah hah haa.
Hah hah hah hah oh I have to wait until she can bring them till I can get past them.
Yes I know the boarding passes were checked at the boarding pass checking gate before we set off down towards the plane so don’t need checking again now we are all passengers getting on the same plane I know, I know, I know.
They lied about extra leg room, I didn’t fall for paying for extra leg room; it turns out what they really meant was actual leg room.
Flying Ryanair without paying for all the extra extras is like being in a plaster cast – and I had to share!!!
They brought me wine, though things are not what they were, one glass and I fell asleep.
That’s where I got to dream that there were two rival singers running airways; Ryan Adams and Brian Adams. I was lucky to be on Ryanair. Brianair is even worse, “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be charging you.”
Let not my whole review of our holiday in Denmark be critical and bad I shouldn’t poke fun all the time.
The cabin is fantastic – cheap too. Here in Ulfsborg we are in the depth of woods and I am the log man.
There would be no kindling without me without me there would be no kindling. The fires they burn because of me because of me the fires burn.
I have another important job too, that of fire monitor.
It might be worth noting that I have a specific walk for each of these important tasks, so the mere girls know what it is I am about.
I may have failed occasionally, when one of the ‘girls’ points out that a fire is getting a bit low. What they fail to realise is that they real man fire monitor has an inbuilt sensor and was just about to get up and add another log. Chop chop.
The area is beautiful. I admit Norwegians are wrong; whenever you say to one of them, “What’s Denmark like?” They reply in the same way every time, using the one word, “Flat.”
They are right yes, but they are quite condemning when they say it, dismissive, they cannot bring themselves to say more, for indeed there is nothing left to say.
In future I may respond with, “And happy!”
It is not quite as flat as they say, not like in totally. It is beautiful with much nature (Beaches are hard to get to or even see without owning a holiday home among the private dunes) but there is so much protected wildness.
I have enjoyed: thatched rooves, wooded estates, gladioli (so yes it is beautiful), lille frogs, lille cakes, sporadic songwriters, antiks, crafts, fleas, fungi, pagan sacred areas, sculptures, sand sculptures, marinades, free vodka, fish cakes, Asatru forests, carved gods and goddesses, mother goddess shaped sacred areas, recovered long-ships, towers of hope, mjord, home-baking, proper bread, fired steak, thatch dryers, lille horses, bus shelters, everything.
We have planned: future trips, future residences, bake houses, barn conversions, Jorvik shows, poodle tales, Hastings, graphic novels, fan trips, London fashion week, TV series, rock opera, Vegas trips, tunics, wood carving, Greek myth shows, book launches, landscaping, stalls, food festivals, story shares, sock making, everything.
We look around, everyone looks happy, really happy, as we sit with chocolate Soft Is (not me thank you), they smile, as they pass they are so so happy – I hate them!
This is the happiest place to live in the world – How irritating!
Oh if only we had so much spare time. As we sat in Sandwichvej, Holstebro thinking of our drive back to Klitvej Cabins it wasn’t like we were on holiday at all all of a sudden. We looked around at a happy happy people who have half a vacation’s worth of time off every week of the year (I swear they retire at twenty nine and a half) it as like we were already halfway back to Drudgevej, Taskmadby.
They are so relaxed they don’t even realise bicycles are for exercise, (actually they are not, they are for getting from A to B cheaply and in a hurry, but there is no way on earth they would get that idea) they are a gentle occupation of the ‘occupy your time’ generations of this Nordic land.
They walk like they have those bouncy blades Paralympians use strapped to their feet, but not to hurry at all, oh no.
Slow cycle, slow, we have a lot of time to fill, a lot of time.
They haven’t rushed since they leapt off the Viking long-ships and charged into your land roaring.
Ah, all of those guys stayed in Iceland, Belfast or the Gorbles. These are the descendants of the remainder.
Not a lot of these oceans of spare time are spent on appearance; utility is the only option – and hairdressers for women must only possibly survive if they charge an immense amount per cut to whip it all off. Not one woman in Denmark has long hair. Boy cuts. Dead straight forward boy cuts, but hey ‘we gotta get out there and cycle slow looking happy’.
‘We are so relaxed we can not even be bothered clapping singer songwriters why should we have long hair?’
‘What do you think we are – Vikings?’
Hang on – there’s a fashion statement – there is someone coming up the street in a T shirt – with something written on – it says – it says – Let’s Party and Dance. They even need extra instructions on how to party!
Here on the way home I reflect in a more serious mood on how nice everyone was and what a great time we had.
I sit now with my sandwich of bacon, wettuce and what-once-was-tomato and recall the beautiful scenery. The forest deep in the centre of the country was my favourite part. The centre should be designated an area of outstanding unflatness as it is less like Bonnie and Clyde land and more like Yorkshire with extra wildness. It rolls.
We got lost. All we had to look out for was a particular tree but it could only be seen from the west of the trees and we were driving from the east (I think). My favourite part of the trip, of the whole holiday in fact, was getting lost in the wrong forest. I don’t think the three drivers were as chuffed, indeed I guess, Jonas wished he had come in his truck. It was magical nonetheless; and we did eventually find our sacred forest with its large carvings of the old gods and goddesses.
We will be going there again – by a more direct route.
I almost forgot – I am a Viking Chieftain!
We dressed up – no we didn’t – ‘we became’. Off we went to the meandering magical village of the ancient Danes.
This village has been built so well, modelled on dwellings and arrangements of the area and on buildings from other regions of the Viking empire such as Iceland.
The variation added to the natural appearance of the village which rolled and wandered just as if it had gradually developed.
Now, when I go back to Norway I have sailed the sea in many ships over in Denmark as soul command.
Christian (Schuetz) the storyteller from Germany was so impressed with my interpretation which cannot be described as untrue that he invited me to the long house to sit upon the tall imposing chieftain’s throne. This I did and promptly declared myself chieftain. I can tell you that I addressed my subjects and all those around me obey my every command; wave I command and they wave etc.
In this land where I sailed those ships I had sat as chieftain yes.
And if you want to prove wrong my cheeky descriptions of boring unimaginative Danish people then go to the marvellous Café Sajd in Jelling and their highly exciting Mythological Festival. – http://www.cafesejd.dk/mytologiskartfestival/
Without Even a Mirror to Know She Was Beautiful – Gunnlod; Guardian of the Poetry Mead
(Modelled on the tale from the Norse myths)
This deeply moving piece is not illustrated with art but with storystrations.
He was suddenly there, impossibly close, the handsome stranger. In his long blue cloak and wide-brimmed hat; he seemed somehow too big for his skin, and he loomed over the workers of the farm. They should not have looked in his eye, for they were drawn in, to fall among the worlds. Swirling wildly among the nine known worlds and all the unknown worlds as well, they could see and hear everything, and presently they came to hear their own inner voices; each other’s thoughts … “I’ve never liked you.” “You treat me badly.” “I work harder than you.” There should be less reward for you.” “I quite like your wife.”
The knives were out, they fell upon each other in rage, and presently all were dead.
The stranger turned towards the farm, “You suddenly seem to be short of workers.”
“Yes I do.”
“I shall work your farm for you, and all I wish in return is some small piece of information.”
The work was done in no time. The fields tilled. The seeds in. The plants they grew and were harvested. In an impossible time, the barns were fuller than they’d ever been.
“All I wish in return is to know where your brother keeps his treasure.”
“I could not possibly tell you, I have promised.”
“You have promised me, and all you have to do is point to the place.”
They climbed the hill and peered down at a wide stone plain. He pointed.
The stranger went to the place and called down lightning.
It cut and turned and wound and burned. Down to a cavern miles beneath the earth. In this dark cave with no entrance and no exit sat Suttungr’s daughter. She sat there long, without even a mirror to know that she was beautiful.
The handsome stranger turned himself into a serpent and twisted his long way down the deep burrow to appear far below suddenly in his handsome robes.
A torch appeared already light, “Oh you are beautiful, more beautiful than any other woman ever seen. I love you and I wish for you to come with me. All I wish in return is one small sip of your father’s treasure; the poetry mead.”
“I couldn’t possibly, I have promised, and my father would beat me terribly.”
“Yet you shall come with me and be my bride. You shall be my queen in my great citadel in the sky. In love forever. Just one small sip.”
She slowly, tentatively, pushed the three barrels forward. He took it all, wrapped it in his cloak, turned back into the serpent and left her alone.
The figure that now flew up to Asgard had the power of the mead; one sip would let your words cause love or war.
Yet deep below the earth in a cavern with no entrance and no exit, without even a mirror to know she was beautiful, Suttungr’s daughter Gunnlod sat alone. She cared not of the endless beatings she would receive; because Gunnlod was broken.
This story came to me in a dream before I had read the original myth, so doesn’t stick to the story set in ink by Snorri and the Irish scribe women! The atmosphere gives a feel of the drama of the mythos event I reckon. I put this to type recently as part of my research for the rock opera Gods Bless Ya!!!