Lokadottir

Lokadottir ©2014 Eliza Murdock

Lokadottir ©2014 Eliza Murdock

Now Hel’s abode was beneath the second root of Yggdrasil,
There cast down by Odin, where a portion of the dead are taken.
In winter’s maw she dwelt, within the hall of Éljúðnir.
Her countenance eclipsed, her weeping rose
Even to the ears of her father
Who desired to know the source of such grief.

Then spoke Loki, “What has turned your eyes to seas,
Oh daughter?  What your brow to blackness?”
Hel replied, “For the face of he, oh father,
Who is counted fairest, whom I am denied.
For the company of my heart’s desire,
Barren in my breast as my bed.”

Then spoke Loki, “Be still, oh daughter, and quell your rivers.
Call your servants to array you in dresses and jewels
Your heart’s desire shall be fulfilled, but in time.”
Then upon her father’s cheek Hel gave her offerings of obedience
And her servants bore away her tears in vials of glass,
To make of them jewels upon wires of sunlight and threads of moonlight.

But Loki returned to Ásgarðr, purposed already in his mind
For what father could be blinded to such sorrows?”
Then taking upon him the appearance of an old woman
And in disguise, he persuaded Frigga to tell him Baldr’s weakness;
For the mistletoe alone had she not secured the promise
Of bringing no harm upon her son.

In this was found the chance Loki needed,
And from the plant he crafted a spear.
Giving it to Baldr’s brother to throw
So that it pierced him and instantly he fell dead,
Thus would the fairest of the gods be sent
To the Grave-warden’s halls upon flaming ship.

As Odin banished Hel, so Loki sent Baldr, also,
And to her bosom he was received, fairest of the gods.
When the Æsir came with supplications for his return
She replied that unless the whole of creation grieved –
Even as she had grieved for his absence –
Then he would not be released from the grave.

All creation grieved, save for one alone;
Who, being Loki in disguise, ensured his daughter’s joy.
What father is there who would do more?
As Odin banished Hel, so Loki sent Baldr, also,
To bind them until Ragnarok.
For as Odin does, so too shall Loki Laufeyson.

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Stones

So, I said I had more stories, and here’s another one.

While I was in Navajo Nation, I got a chance to listen to a young man talk about his pottery.  I won’t even begin to do this story justice, but basically he lives in an area that was once inhabited by the Anasazi people, and he can walk around his house and around the rock formations and find old pieces of broken pottery, formed and painted so long ago.  And it inspired him to start making his own, based partially on what he finds and partially on a modern twist to their forms and designs.

I thought that was one of the coolest things I had ever heard!  He had some pieces he showed us, and told us about how he makes and fires the pottery, and how he creates the dyes, and all of it how it was done for centuries.

His story then inspired me to do something like that!  I can walk around my house and pick up stones, and then just like *my* ancestors did, I started making stone carvings!  Ok, so I cheat a bit and use a dremel instead of arduous hand carving with manual tools, but still, I’m loving this so much!

My sister got the first one.  She asked if I could do a scrolly design in green.  I said yes to the scrolly, but said there was no way I could color it that it would last, I only have water-based paints and they’d wash off too easily.  But I got a nice pendant-shaped stone and started carving away.

Then… as I sat at my computer desk… out of the corner of my eye… what should I see?? But green nail polish!  Yes! That’s it, enamel, that won’t wash off at all!  And if it’s tucked into the groove of the carving, it won’t chip off, either!  So my sister got her green scrolly design in the end! 🙂

stone pendants

stone pendants

That, along with the other two, were the first ones I tried.  I was using a diamond tipped bit, so it would drill through the stone, and had to keep the stone constantly wet to prevent stone dust from getting into the motor and to keep the stone and bit cool.  (also, wear a dust mask!  The stuff in rock can be super-duper awful to get in your lungs!  As awful as that dust mask smells, it’s preferable to the alternative!)

Well, after having such success with that, I decided to try others, drilling lots of little stones into tiny bead-kinda things, I don’t have pictures of those yet – coming soon.  But then I was telling a gal at work about it and ended up making three more just tonight when I got home, two for ladies at work and one for me.  One of the gals collects heart-shaped stones, so I carved a heart onto hers so she could have a “heart stone” with her always!

Heart-stone pendant

Heart-stone pendant

The other gal gets this fabulous red stone pendant:

Red stone with crystal beads

Red stone with crystal beads

And I carved my Norse SCA name into this and then added gold nail polish to the letters to make them sparkle (you can’t see it very well in this picture but it’s there.  Trust me.)

"Sigga" stone pendant

“Sigga” stone pendant

 

So this is my new hobby to add to the growing collection.  Stone carving.  Soon I’ll work my way up to larger stones and larger images (beyond pendants) like the Norse did all over the bloody place.

 

I also painted a cavern scene.  I can’t really blame this on anything except maybe an abundance of rocks on the brain 😉

©2014 Eliza Murdock

Sub-landscape ©2014 Eliza Murdock

(that’s supposed to be an underground lake… and yes, that may just possibly have been meant to be a city down there. >.> )

 

Oh, and almost forgot, in celebration of the whole Norse thing going on, I’ll add a third poem to the prompt I posted in my last entry for every word starting with the same letter of the alphabet.

 

Vaginal Vacancy

Vikings verberate violently,
Verily! Valkyrie voices vie!

Vivid vigils viewed: vigorous, volatile.
Vanity vanishes, victory verges.
Voracious vyings, vaginal vacancies
Voluptuous vexations visit.

Valour, virtue vomited.
Vague vapors vent vitality
Vibrating veins, vindicating validating
Visceral vignettes vicariously.
 
Vikings verberate violently,
Verily! Valkyrie voices vie!

Violet vineries ventured,
Vast vats voiding vows.
Vibrant vert vale vistas
Vast vassaled vaults.

Vilified voyeuristic visits
Via vestal virgin, vandaling vulvas.
Veiled velvet vortecies
Violated viciously, vilely.

Vikings verberate violently,
Verily! Valkyrie voices vie!

I MADE A THING!

I’m so excited right now!  (not to mention my neck is sore and my hand is cramped) but LOOK!  I MADE A THING!  I’m so proud of myself!  *dances around, pointing enthusiastically*

This is a post-card sized gouache painting in medieval illumination style. All original artwork. The figures are Odin and Frigga. The runes are transliterated English, and are a paraphrasing of a verse in the Norse Edda (the saga myths) which says "Hail the Gods and Goddesses, and all the generous earth."

This is a post-card sized gouache painting in medieval illumination style. Original artwork. © Eliza Murdock 2013

This is my first attempt to do a picture after the fashion of medieval illuminations, such as these.  I gotta admit, I’m hooked!

The figures are Odin with his two ravens, and Frigga shown spinning. The runes are transliterated English, and are a paraphrasing of a verse in the Norse Edda (the saga myths). It says “Hail the Gods and Goddesses, and all the generous earth.”

Odin, Frigga, and the overall layout are entirely original, but I did base the ship on this carving:

Found here: http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/norse_ships.htm

Except for the border lines, I did this all free-hand.    Here are my ‘in work’ sketches

Pencil sketch of Odin

Pencil sketch of Odin

Pencil sketch of Frigga

Pencil sketch of Frigga

Finished sketch

Finished sketch

And when I went to ink in the lines, I realized I didn’t have a fin enough tipped pen to do it!  This is post-card scale, remember, it’s very small.  Though hey, I’ve finally found a USE for my insanely small doddle skills!  Anyway, so I had to get out the finest liner brush I had and painted the outlines in.

painted outline

painted outline

As you may be able to see, some of the details were added after the sketch, such as the extra detail in the waves, or even while I was painting, with the carvings on the ship prow and stern.

 

And now… I’m going to go take a nap!

When I wake up, I’ll make apple soda!  Seriously.

Norse Runes

I want to learn Norse. The precursor to such languages as Danish, Icelandic, and Swedish.  The two main dialects had diverged by around 1300AD or so into two main groups,  East Norse and West Norse.  East is the Danish/Swedish version and West is the Icelandic/Norwegian.

No matter which way you slice it, I’m pretty much Norse.  My mother’s side is Swedish, my Dad’s side is Scottish, but further back is Dutch, and all those came ultimately from the Norse, so I suppose if I’m going to decide to get obsessive about anything, Norse would be the most logical.

I’m hardly being obsessive for its own sake, though.  I’m trying to develop my Norse personae for the SCA, and in doing that I decided I wanted a better understanding of the language.  There are pages all over the internet where you can find the Norse “alphabet”, called the Futhark (so named after the first six letters of the language.)  This is further split into Elder Futhark and Younger Futhark, and I’m going for the Elder as it has more letters/sounds available.

Anyway, so while I can find the Runic alphabet plastered far and wide, that does nothing to understand the language itself.  So I went looking to see if there was any place to actually learn *Norse* on the internet.  Turns out, there is!  Very basic, of course.  I won’t be composing scientific dissertations in it anytime soon, but as a very rudimentary yet eloquent introduction to the language, I could hardly ask for better.

Of course, I’ve also been trying to memorize the Elder Futhark as well, which isn’t too difficult.  Many of the letters are similar enough to roman letters that it’s easy to make the association.  And I’m finding that reading them in a transliterative style isn’t all that difficult.  In fact, today during a meeting I was trying not to fall asleep in, I ended up making the following doodle:

 

list

…that’s my shopping list.

It says…

Shopping list
_____________
toothpaste
(v)inegar  [there’s actually no ‘v’ in Norse, so I used the ‘w’ instead]
dishsoap
bleach
===========
fabric dye
mustard
deep blue

It doesn’t say these things in actual Norse, of course, merely transliterating English into Norse runes.   But they say the best way to learn a new language is to make it as immersive as possible, and while I can’t exactly pack up and head to Sweden to find someone to chat Norse with me, I can practice reading and writing the letters. 🙂

I’m also doing more hand sewing again, and have sewn a populace badge for my local shire to wear on my belt.  (The SCA branches are split into several types of “chapters”, the smallest ( or one of the smallest) is called a shire. Populace badges are basically heraldry that says “I’m from here”.  Think of it as traveling to another state or country and displaying your home state/country flag as an indication of where you’re from, and that’s the general use of a populace badge in the SCA.)

It so happens that the Shire of Midhaven falls within the mundane county of Skagit in Washington State.  Among other things, we are quite well known for our tulips.  Like, we rival Holland.  Our populace badge for the Shire is, therefore, a tulip.  The tulip itself is white, on a blue background, and bordered on both sides by a white stripe then a black stripe.   I dusted off my applique skills and decided to sew up my badge.

I’m extremely proud to say that every last stitch was done by hand, and the back has a loop for passing my belt through.

Shire of Midhaven populace badge

Shire of Midhaven populace badge

Now that I’ve finished mine, I’m making two more for two of my friends who live here as well.  The second tulip looks much better than this one (it isn’t leaning) so getting better with even the small amount of practice.  The third should be just about perfect at this rate 😀

And in the grand tradition of collecting hobbies, I’m also going to be attempting scribal and illumination arts soon.  I want to take some of my more ‘medievally flavored’ poems and songs and put them onto illuminated scrolls, so more artwork and painting will be in my future, as well as learning calligraphy.  I already have a pen and ink set, so I just need to practice drawing the shapes of the letters.

For those who can’t quite picture what I’m talking about…

This was an award given me by the Baron and Baroness of Dragons Laire (a somewhat larger branch than a shire, and located not too far away.)  The date of AS 41 equates to 2006.  AS stands for ‘anno societatis’ or ‘Year of the Society’ and counts from the beginning of the SCA.

Yep.  I certainly do like collecting hobbies. 😀

First Down and Genocide

Sorry for the football reference, tis the season here in the US.

I’m going to go through all your suggestions from yesterday one by one – for the Daily Post Challenge: And Now For Something Completely Different (which, this is the first time I’ve decided to broach social and political issues so it counts as something completely different) – and I’ll be starting with Tammy‘s suggestion of:

Try documentary poetry about a current event.

Which works out really well because it’s also another season, when we “celebrate” the “discovery” by Christopher Columbus, that ambitious Italian who sailed for Spain, searching for a short route to India and instead landed in the Americas.

However, the problem with this is that not only was he not the first person to land in America (HELLO, Native American anyone?!) but he wasn’t even the first European to set foot in the Americas – that distinction is generally granted to Leif Eriksson.

In fact, today is Leif Eriksson Day.  Let’s observe that, instead.  (I propose the following to observe the day: don’t be dicks to people you meet, give to local charities, and then drink copious amounts of mead and praise Odin that at least one of our ancestors wasn’t a complete douche-wad.  We’ll decorate with Celtic knots and watch the movie Thor, based on Marvel comics, based on the bastardization of Norse mythology.  It’s horribly inaccurate, but the actors are delicious.)  Hey, maybe Leif was  dick, too, but at least *he* didn’t slaughter 90% of the people he came in contact with.  Much better first impression.  Too bad the subsequent impressions weren’t so good.  The remains of his settlement in Canada have been found.

Back to Columbus… Columbus was a dick (<- If you don’t click on any other link in this entire post, click on this one.)  He wasn’t your average, everyday white explorer dick like, say, John Smith.  Oh no, he was a very special kind of dick on the level of Hitler and Pol Pot.  Even some of his own people were horrified at what he did, and the attempt to arrest him for his crimes was thwarted by the fact the King and Queen of Spain were growing quite fat on the gold with which he was filling their coffers.  Within 50 years of landing in the Bahamas, he had managed a complete genocide of the native population.

So, to Tammy’s request to write a documentary poem about current events, I wrote about this.  But Eliza, you cry, this isn’t current events, this is history!  Well, so long as we continue to celebrate and honour the man responsible for beginning the genocide across this continent, it will continue to be current events.

Who Discovered What Now?

In fourteen-hundred and ninety two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
But history class, it was the worst
‘Cause Leif Eriksson landed first
Except, no wait, that’s still not right
Neither men were first to sight
The continent of North America
Cause there were already people here – DUH!
Sorry, Columbus, I know you tried;
You started a 500-year genocide.
So how can history open our eyes
When we’re just taught a bunch of lies?