Wednesday, April 16, 2014


 Genetic studies in Iceland have found that many of
the women who were the founding stock of Iceland came
from England and what is now France.
Some were probably captured and carried off in Viking
raids only 40 generations ago.

Keith Henson

Good morning, and a happy Wodensday to all. The storm has moved on, but in its wake we have cold temps and wind.  Not too long ago these temperatures would have actually felt warm to me.  Now that we have had a few really warm days, what once was warm now feels cold.  All is in our state of perception. I stayed home yesterday, and to be honest, didn't accomplish a thing. It must have been the weather because I felt very lazy. Oh well.   It sure did feel good to take it easy for a change. We all need those days.

As you may have already guessed, this post is about Vikings.  I have become obsessed.  My DNA test showed some Scandinavian markers.  A small amount, to be sure, but there nonetheless.  And, truth be told, be it  Vikings, Romans, Anglo Saxons, all raiders of ancient Britain, intermingled with British women, so who really knows what true English DNA is?

Has anybody been watching Vikings on the history channel?  Gory as it may be, it is such a fascinating view of history and the battle of Christianity and Paganism.  One way or another, be they Viking or Celtic, this was my ancestor's story.  I purchased a Viking history book to follow along, and was thrilled to discover that the characters in this series really lived. I am fascinated with depictions on how they revered their gods as well as the strength of Viking women.  I love Athelstan, an Anglo Saxon monk, kidnapped by the Vikings, who finds himself torn between Paganism and Christianity. And I can't forget King Ecbert, the closet Pagan king of Wessex. Ragnar Lothbrok, Rollo, Floki (who reminds me of Loki), the list goes on.  I love all the characters, but I am especially  enthralled with Lagertha, the famous Danish shield maiden who joins in on the raids and comes across as equal to her male counterparts in all ways. Fascinating woman.

Did anybody catch the Blood Moon eclipse?  It was way too cloudy here to see much of anything.  Such a disappointment, but there are three more coming. The next will be on October 8th, and in 2015 it will be April 4 and September 28. Some are saying that this signals the 'end of times'.  Feeding this frenzy is the fact that it is extremely rare for eclipses to fall on the important holidays of  Passover and Sukkot for two years in a row. The Vikings would say it signals 'Ragnorok', the doom of the gods.

Before closing, I wanted to share the following Viking poem I found online at  'Rune Web Vitki'
I am old now, my only companion Thor’s weighty wrestling friend.
Old age brings mighty warriors to their knees.
I still think of you Ragnor, shield wall companion
I see you again by the mead hall hearth, A boy dreaming the old sagas, Ragnor the *coal biter, idle boy, then warrior
My childhood companion
Playing with a toy long ship your mother gave to you
To sail with the Vikings, standing at the sternpost
Steering a fine warship, hewing down some foemen
And then heading back for harbour.
Mighty warriors with mighty swords, shiny helmets and shield bosses
We sail over the German sea seeking plunder in Angle land
In Wave Walker, a warship, steed of the waves
With snarling dragon head.
Let Saxons quake in terror before the seventy sea oars
Gained well earned rest cleaving axe and sword
Slippery with blood labours of the ocean
Now labours of the ravens.
Norwegian arms driving Wave Walker iron studded dragon on the seal plain,
Over storm-tossed waves the gannet’s bath, the German Sea
Wave walker on the whale road, seventy Norwegian Sea oars,
Like an Eagle with beating wings Ragnor, eyes the colour of the sea
Crashing under cliffs, the waters swirling up inlets
Cobalt and turquoise burying the shingle on Angle Land
Where we planted our banners the hammer and the raven
A bright winter’s morning when midnight frost stayed white
In long, cold shadows Stretched across silent fields.
Seventy Norwegian shields left to warm their hands
On Saxon village fires.
Ragnor, hearth companion staggering from the warship
In small circles on sea legs like a drunk on a pony,
Turning and bending to touch the spinning Earth
Finding again lands legs.
Wildfowl whispered on marshland like old women around damp fires
Cold air escaped from feathers when they shivered
Snow melted as we marched in morning’s new and different light
Beneath the Hammer and Raven.
The hard V of geese came in, a small stitch in grey sky
Growing larger until finally it broke apart.
Seventy spears and shields glistened in the morning air
We feeders of the ravens.
Valhalla rose to meet us that day with the morning smell
Of mutton, smoke and sweat. the omen sun barely rose red
Over silent fields mist silvered like premonitions
Between birch trees three hundred Saxons waited
Steaming outside the village sweat soaked in the mist.
Arrows echoed in the air, then came the battle cry
And with it a metal shower of rain!
Spear and arrowhead tattered flesh in the rush
Odin! The cry filled lungs and we fought to fill Valhalla.
Chosen to be with Odin, fighting with him at Ragnarok
Heroes to the end of time.
Not men but demons fight and kill or die!
In this game of iron do not think and fight
And ignore the pain, smashing the shield wall
And the Saxon line.
Disregarding superior numbers, thinning Saxon ranks
With obstinance and blade we smashed their shield wall
And sacked the village, howling we killed them
We mighty warriors.
See how bright these swords and spears shine!
See how they sweat bright blood
From slain mail coats, howling we killed them
We feeders of the ravens.
Raging red fire ate up their roofs
And kites wheeled in this game of iron.
Sword arms ached as howling we killed them
We proud war smiths.
How well we Vikings clash slippery in the sea of wounds
Beneath the Hammer and the Raven,
Skewering mail coats sprawling in the village gateways.
Howling we killed them, warriors eager for fame.
We held the village until a spear
Shattered your right thigh
And exposed the bone, I could not see Odin,
Blinded like Hodur in a sea of sword sweat
Rain of blood soaking dirt into a gory mire
We had to retreat crossing a path of comrades
Fallen in the mud, where are the Valkyries?
Shield maidens of Odin?
Terrible now to look as a blood red cloud darkened the sky.
Heavens stained with the blood of men
As the Valkyries started up, their songs filled the air
Seeking the bravest warriors.
Over dead and dying men, the Valkyries choose the battle slain
For Odin at the Ragnarok, end of time for gods and men.
Heroes laid like battered planks on the bloody road
Paving the way to Valhalla. I laid you down
On the earth to rest. turning to flight, more arrows
Rained cutting through , turning my shirt red.
I fell but crawled to you. Ragnor, I saw the paving
That morning in the mud. Your breathe came soft.
Eyes gems of pain Ragnor, hearth companion,
Soaked with sweat and blood, Valkyries, a warrior for Odin! Ragnor, my childhood companion, urging me away.
I will stay with you and we will fight to enter Valhalla.
But we charged and retreat yet again?
The setting sun shone red whilst quiet
We listen to the cries of dying men
For water, help and death. seventy Norwegian shields
Against three hundred Saxons! Howling we killed them
We proud war smiths, the smell of blood drew hordes of wild pigs To feed on fallen men, a sight I never want to see with my eyes again
Only death and the Valykrie call will let my eyes forget.
We stayed awake that night, clubbing the pigs
With our spears then Odin answered cries for water
It rained a deluge and then frost returned, drowning the body heat.
The rain stopped at dawn and frost encrusted the lips of heroes,
Light filled the smouldering village and battle recommenced
The pigs had gone but we dared not look at their feast.
Through battle and death’s smell we fought,
Aching for the Valkyries song, to join Odin in Valhalla.
The Saxon ranks broke, seventy Norwegian shields
Fighting the Saxon hordes.
We returned to Wave Walker, but you left your leg
In that burnt out village, you died on the seal plain.
Lost to me on the whale road Ragnor, my brother in arms
I am old now, With Thor’s weighty wrestling friend.
I will fight again, seeking fame beneath the Hammer and Raven.
Through the haze of blue-tinged smoke in the mead hall
I still think of you. Ragnor, shield wall companion You liked the mead hall, sizzling beef and herrings,
You the drinking horn, roast wildfowl
And sucking gulls eggs, I still think of you, mighty warrior
The mead hall, carved benches, hero-marked wooden tables,
And shinning shield bosses reflecting firelight
And the smell of tallow. drinking horn and all of it famed
By our heroic sagas.
This is the World you loved, warm cosy and familiar
Serving maidens with mead and Ale filled horns
Oyster and mussel shells with bread on iron griddles
Baking on the longhouse fire.
The conversation tasted of raids, plunder, unfaithful wives and adventure;
Long ships, slaves and swords all of this you loved
And in such places, I seek your voice And your laughter
For the serving maidens. Ragnor, mead hall companion
I still seek your drunkenness and disapproval
When it is time to go in the blue-tinged smoke,
I still see you now and then Sitting there waiting for me.
'Ragnor's Saga' by  Wulfstan Johnson

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mary, I am absolutely obsessed with Vikings right now too! Both with the series on History TV and historically. My European heritage on my mother's side is Germanic so I'm sure my barbarian ancestors did plenty of intermingling with the Vikings too, LOL!

    I'm also hip deep in Norse mythology right now as well. Much to my astonishment, the Divine Masculine has re-entered my life after an absence of 30-35 years. Loki is turning things upside down and wreaking much chaos, havoc and mayhem at the moment. I haven't blogged about it yet but will by the end of the month. Thor is attempting to restore order. But all is well. I need both of them.