Shepherdess Writes

ibnAdvent 2B   Isaiah 40:1-11  2 Peter3:8-15a  Mark 1:1-8

Prepare the way of the Lord! Prepare!

What on earth does that mean? I feel like we should all be scrambling around making something or cleaning something, but I’m not sure what.
Every time I hear that word “prepare” associated with the church, I think about a scene from a movie called the Thirteenth Warrior. Through a complicated set of circumstances, a young man from an Arabic royal court is traveling with a band of Viking warriors. This young man has never even been close to a weapon, much less a battle because he was a poet who spent his life in royal culture. But the story finds him in the middle of foreign lands with these seasoned warriors and a wild, fierce enemy about to attack. One of the Vikings looks at the young poet and says, “Prepare yourself.” The look…

View original post 1,359 more words


Vikings, Warrior’s Fate: It’s so much more than just a bath!

Time Slips

Before we deal with the darker sides of the Warrior’s Fate, namely battle and it’s aftermath… I think we need a few moments of amusement, entertainment and ohhh yes, let’s do spend some time in that Roman tub with Ecbert, Lagertha, Athelstan… and a rather reluctant Judith. Let’s also catch a glimpse of  Athelstan’s well hidden finer assets…

I do want to warn and advise ahead of time that this post contains some partial nudity, minor sexual contact and explicitness. The clips are from a scene that was deleted for American viewers. I give credit to for providing the deleted scene so all of us can enjoy it!  You can view the scene here:  I have pulled the stills out of it for our purposes and enjoyment!

In our previous discussion, we talked of  Ecbert, his games of strategy and his pawns in this power game. I did…

View original post 1,878 more words

Subtext and Subversion: Update


The Vikings season finale just aired this week, so I figured it’s time for an update on the show’s amazing, and in my opinion groundbreaking, central male/male relationship, which I commented on last summer. Our pair, Viking king Ragnar and his constant companion Athelstan, a former Christian monk captured in a raid in season one, have been through a great deal over the course of the show so far, and this season only upped the stakes–to a significant degree.

Will get into the spoilery details below, but the short version: The narrative of this relationship continued doing what it did all through the previous seasons: hitting trope after trope of a kind almost always found solely in stories of romantic love. While still maintaining a tiny shred of plausible deniability for those drowning in heteronormativity, it even crossed lines I never expected a show like this would cross. I have to give showrunner and sole writer Michael…

View original post 7,677 more words

Subtext and subversion: Part Two


Carrying on from the previous post, below is a detailed, episode-by-episode rundown (with pictures!) of Ragnar and Athelstan’s relationship.

I present this not as a “This is why my slash ship is canon” manifesto, but instead as an illustration of the relationship itself, so folks can understand why I’m so giddy about it. Regardless of whether one sees or even imagines a sexual aspect to the relationship, it is still one of the greatest m/m love stories in current popular media, on the same level as some of the all-time great homoromantic (if not homoerotic) relationships such as LOTR’s Frodo and Sam. And it does all this without ever once apologizing, downplaying, laughing it off, or trying to macho things up to avoid anyone getting uncomfortable with it. This is not a “bromance,” with muscle-bound Ken dolls giving each other fist bumps and Man Smacks and then going home to their hot, completely underwritten female love interests. It’s just plain…

View original post 4,415 more words

Two Historical Fiction Authors Talk Vikings – Mercenary

Sandi Layne

This and all images from Vikings are the property of the History Channel. I use them only for illustrations regarding their show. This and all images from Vikings are the property of the History Channel. I use them only for illustrations regarding their show.

The Shieldmaidens of History (Protecting the Innocent from Anachronisms) welcome you back to our review series on the History Channel show Vikings.

146a6-lissa-bryanI am so excited to be back for a third season of History Channel’s VIKINGS series! Once again, author Lissa Bryan and I spent last night on twitter (@LissaBryan, @sandyquill) during Season 3, Episode 1: Mercenary. Today, we present our discussion, recap, and thoughts on this episode. Lissa’s comments will be in blue, this season. And boy, did we have a lot to say!

Lissa: This was a great premier episode! It had everything. Gorgeous costumes (cough boot heels cough), action, love, and conflicting alliances.

Sandi: ​I was enraptured by last night’s episode. Getting to see everyone, trying to…

View original post 3,341 more words

Viking Clothing: A Brief Overview

Midgard to Middle Earth

Greetings, all! Sorry to be a bit late with this one.

Last weekend I had the privilege to attend a lecture on medieval clothing by Gale Owen-Crocker, who is a professor emeritus at the University of Manchester and is an expert in Anglo-Saxon clothing and literature. She has become famous among the reenacting and historically minded communities for her research, and it was through my connection to that community that I heard about the event.  It was just fascinating and I learned so much from her about medieval clothing production and dress. Coincidentally, I recently finished reading a book called Silk for the Vikings by Marianne Vedeler, who is an Associate Professor in Archeology at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. I very much enjoyed the book and I recommend you buy it if you find this post, Viking trade, or Archeology at all interesting. With…

View original post 2,360 more words

Martin Luther’s Anfechtungen–his own dark nights of the soul, and how they affected his teaching and ministry

Grateful to the dead

Martin Luther 2

Well, it seems that each of the three sections of my forthcoming article for Leadership Journal has ballooned to the projected size of the whole piece: 2,500 words. So if I am to share in full what I have learned about Martin Luther’s teachings about spiritual depression (Luther is the third of three figures in the article, along with C. S. Lewis and Mother Teresa of Calcutta), it will need to be here:

Perhaps just as surprising as the story of Mother Teresa is that of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformer Martin Luther. Well known is the story of how, as a young monk, Martin struggled mightily with a sense of his own sinfulness and inability to please God. This struggle culminated in the revelation that triggered the Reformation: righteousness is not within our ability to achieve; God himself freely gives it. Surely such a truth would free a man…

View original post 2,364 more words