I’ve written about some diverse Norwegian music artists in the 18 months I’m running this blog, but never before have I happened upon a music project based on Nordic spiritualism. “Who?” you might well ask, and if you did, you’d find about 44,000 FB fans shouting Wardruna back at you!
The brainchild of musician Einar Selvik, the project segued into a full-on musical going concern in 2003, and has since then, released three albums, the latest entitled ‘Runaljod – Ragnarok’, on the Indie Recordings/By Norse Music label. The third Lp in the Wardruna Runaljod series was released in October and is the final chapter in the Elder Fuþark inspired trilogy.
The album’s lyrical content centres around the Norse myth of Ragnarök, “a series of future events, including a great battle, foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number” of central figures from mythological…
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As Alfred (r. 871 – 899) led the remnants of his gathered followers into the Somerset fens in 878, it was unlikely that the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ was foremost among his concerns. The Viking force under the leadership of Guthrum had stealthily entered the Kingdom of Wessex during the winter and, surprising a likely de-militarised region (winter being outside the usual campaigning season), began to conquer the kingdom, forcing the inhabitants into hiding.
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As part of my preparation to go on leave (fall study abroad in London, sabbatical in spring), I have been cleaning house, electronically speaking.
Inspired by Jaron Lanier’s Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, I am minimizing the commercial aspects of my presence online, in order to reject the behavior modification algorithms and the business model on which Facebook and Google rely. I deleted my Facebook account. I am trying DuckDuckGo instead of Google as a search engine. I bought a WordPress personal account in order to remove ads from this blog. I have unsubscribed from all of those business lists, some I signed up for to get an electronic receipt, others I have no idea how I got on.
I am not doing this as a Luddite (otherwise I would delete this blog). Rather, as Lanier encourages, I want to be an…
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Finally, after five posts leading up to it, I get to my imagined script for conducting the field remedy.
One conclusion I am moving toward, so far, is that once we add in all of the Christian liturgical rituals referenced, plus some implied by the ingredients, the dominant mode for this ritual is more self-evidently Christian liturgical than the way most scholars have read this text, as preserving a pre-Christian “pagan” set of charms in Old English with a smattering of Christian wording to make it look good. Here is why that conclusion is wrong: the Latin texts drawn from Christian ritual are not written out, because they are well-known to the practitioners, whereas the specific occasion texts in Old English aimed at the Latin-illiterate audience are written out in full for the Latin-literate practitioners. Once we write out, as below, the Latin ritual texts, this thing gets really long…
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What materials does the field remedy specify or imply with its instructions?
- A field that is problematic: unproductive, perhaps cursed, or infested with weeds or vermin. It presumably had been in use but is now to be remediated; perhaps it will be left fallow to recover after this ceremony. This would be an open field that normally is ploughed in strips for a sown grain crop like wheat, oats, rye, or barley.
- The script (the manuscript). Someone needs to have this booklet in hand to direct the actions, prompt the known Latin formulas, and read aloud the Old English formulas.
- Shovel, hoe, or trowel for cutting sods from four sides of the field. The implement would determine the size and shape of the sod. This is presumably a time of year when green plants are growing either in the field or around the bounds of the field. If the sod…
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In theory, one person could perform everything specified in the field remedy. That person would need to be a priest in order to say the four masses, as well as have the clerical literacy to know the Latin formulas specified. That priest could do everything: collect the sods, prepare the required materials, bake the bread, and drive the plough, as well as perform the masses and prayers. In theory.
In practice, the field remedy’s instructions imply several persons involved in the proceedings, particularly evident in the verbal commands. So first some parsing, for those who want it. Otherwise, skip down to the cast of characters.
Or for your amusement, listen to Michael Drout reading the field remedy aloud (although not the full texts of the litanies and prayers specified, or it would be a lot longer than six minutes!).
*Most of the instructions in the field remedy…
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