you can almost see the cells multiply

Archive for February, 2014

The Ballad of Sinclair

I loved Tyr’s version of this song, but didn’t realize how much longer and more poetic the full version is.  The song describes the Battle of Kringen which took place in Norway in 1612.  An excellent overview of it can be found here.

“Listen to me! The enemy has invaded us!”

We are reminded that the once proud Norwegian people took it into their own hands to defend their land against invaders (in this case Scottish mercenaries).  Monuments and folk songs immortalize this honourable deed.

Translation (by Google Translate, by no means accurate, and corrections are more than welcome)

1 Mr. Sinklar went over salten sea,
against Norway his course meaneth stands;
among Gudbrand’s rocks he found his grave ,
there hung so bloody a forehead.

Well up before day
they’re coming across the heath.

2 Mr. Sinklar crossed the ocean blue
for Swedish money to fight:
Help you God, you surely must
in the grass for the standard bite.

3 The moon shines at night pale,
the venture so softly rolling;
one mermaid out of the water rose,
She predicted Mr Sinklar ill:

4 ” Turn back, turn back, you Scottish man!
it applies to your life as phage;
Get To Norway I say the truth
right you are never going back!”

5 “Lead is your song, you poisonous troll
always you predict about accidents;
Catch you again in my power,
I let you chop into pieces.”

6 He sailed for days, he sailed for three
with all his hired followers,
the fourth morning he did Norway’s wonder see
I will not conceal.

7 By coasts of Romsdal he steered ashore,
declared himself an enemy;
he was followed by fourteen hundred men,
all of which had evil intentions.

8 They scolded and burned where they went,
all rights they violate;
the old man’s helplessness touched them not
they scoffed at the weeping widow.

9 The child was killed in his mother’s lap,
so and gently as it smiled;
rumor of this weeping and wailing
to the core of the country hurried.

10 Bavnen glittered and budstikken race
from canal to the nearest canal;
Valley’s sons into hiding not crept,
it had to Mr Sinklar true.

11 “The soldier is out on the king’s parade,
we must ourselves the country defend;
cursed be the unrighteous,
who now his blood will save.”

12 The farmers of Våge, Lesje and Lom
with sharp axes on necks
in Bredebøjgd together came,
with the Scot would they talk.

13 Close below like running a path
as you wonder Kringen cold;
Lågen rushes there over;
in it the enemies should fall.

14 The rifle hanging on the wall no more,
yonder aims gray-haired gunner;
nix lift up his wet beard
and eagerly await its prey.

15 The first shot at Mr Sinklar prevailed,
he roared and gave up his spirit;
every Scot cried when the colonel fell:
“God deliver us from this dilemma!”

16 “Above peasants, above, in Norwegian men,
beat down, beat down for food!”
Since wished the Scot back home,
he was not quite gaily to fashion.

17 With dead bodies were Kringen strewn
the ravens had enough to eat, –
the young blood, which flowed out,
the Scottish girls mourn.

18 Not a living soul came home,
as customer, his compatriot tell
how dangerous it is to visit them,
who live among Norway’s mountains.

19 End towers a support in the same place,
as Norway’s enemies wonder true.
Woe to every person here who are not named,
so often his eyes the spectacle!

Well up before day
they’re coming across the heath.


Birds of a feather flock together: The sacred feast of Váli

Festival of the Kin. I very much prefer that 🙂

Vinland Heritage

Dear pagan readers,

February 14th is commonly being designated as “Valentine’s Day”, the day of lovers that is nowadays celebrated with roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, romantic gifts and valentines given to those beloved. Some couples even make a point to go out for dinner or to go see a movie on this day to express their love and rekindle their passion for each other. February 14th is indeed a very special day. That is exactly why the early christians felt the need to assimilate this pagan feast in order to facilitate the conversion of our forebears. Long before the two early Christian martyrs named Valentine that this special day is currently named after lived, the ancient Europeans in Northern Europe celebrated February 14th(around the 24-25 of Sokkvabekkr in the ancient calendar) as The Feast Day of Vali also referred to as The Festival of the Kin. This day was…

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On Plants

Asleep within the seed the power lies,

Foreshadowed pattern, folded in the shell,

Root, leaf, and germ, pale and half-formed.

The nub of tranquil life, kept safe and dry,

Swells upward, trusting to the gentle dew,

Soaring apace from out the enfolding night.

Artless the shape that first bursts into light–

The plant-child, like unto the human kind–

Sends forth its rising shoot that gathers limb

To limb, itself repeating, recreating,

In infinite variety; ’tis plain

To see, each leaf elaborates the last–

Serrated margins, scalloped fingers, spikes

That rested, webbed, within the nether organ–

At length attaining preordained fulfillment.

-Goethe, The Metamorphosis of Plants (poem)

As spring draws nearer, I find myself thinking more and more about the nature of plants, and how much we can learn from them about ourselves.

Over New Year’s, I spent some time at a biodynamic farm, and had a chance to learn a bit about what biodynamic agriculture is all about.  The idea is that the land itself is a living entity, and that the plants, animals, and humans that live on that land are part of a system that is interrelated.  Compost plays a large role in this: only organic matter that is generated on the farm is used in the compost, and there are some very specific and rather odd preparations which are added to the compost (dandelion flowers stuffed into cow mesentery and buried over the winter then dug up in spring for example).  The point of this as I understand it is that the health of the soil is paramount to the health of the farm and everything on it, and these are methods to re-introduce minerals and nutrients back into the soil.  Of course they have done studies trying to quantify the value of this approach in terms of yield, versus regular organic and conventional farming, but I think that is missing the point.  It’s not about what you take from the soil during this growing season, but about what is put back into the soil for subsequent years and generations.  That’s where it really spoke to me.

Craig Holdrege of the Nature Institute writes in his recent book Thinking Like a Plant:  “By taking root in the earth, plants become in a way more dependent on their environment and more vulnerable than a roaming, self-mobile animal.  But this dependency is the flip side of openness to the environment and the plant’s ability to engage with that environment and to do what animals cannot, namely create, essentially out of air and water, living substance.”

All living organisms are adaptive.  The genetic predisposition of a plant to achieve a particular form is shaped by many factors in its environment, much like animals and humans.  Through its leaves, through its roots, it is in intimate contact with its surroundings and responding to stimuli.  Although a plant can survive in less-than-ideal soil and light conditions, it will not achieve its true ideal form: its growth will be stunted or it will appear retarded.

It is no surprise that when you plant native plants in your garden, they are more resilient and drought-resistant, they attract and support local wildlife like birds, butterflies and bees; they are specially adapted to the geography, climate and ecosystem in which they live.  The plant knows how to function as a part of that system.

We also know what happens when invasive foreign species of plants are introduced into an ecosystem.  They can quickly become out of control, squeezing out native plants, shading them from light or choking out their roots.  They can even change the pH of the soil to make it uninhabitable to native species.

Cultivating and observing plants is great for the body and mind.  I encourage you, even if you don’t have a piece of earth to call your own, bring a plant into your home and see what it can teach you about yourself!

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