minstrel: Cultural Transmigration (was The Coming of Spring)
J. Michael Shew
jshewkc at pei.edu
Thu Jan 16 21:51:41 PST 1997
OOOOOH! I just reread my letter to you and noted I forgot one
point you brought up: Brigit being a saint...
(He pauses, licks one finger to test the wind for flame attacks,
and then begins.)
There was an abbess named Brigit. She was named for the goddess
prior to her conversion, and the Patrican church had no rules against
keeping your own name.
She served as the abbess of a Monastery, (yup, the Patricans
accepted both guys and gals. Very sporting of them!) And died "without
stain" as the old tales told.
She insited they build the first hall at a certain place, (which
seemed to be above the floods, "Glory be! A miracle!), and to dig a well
on a certain spot. (Natural spring, "Another Miracle!")
The brigit/saint brigit connection happened when the British were
unwilling to accept the Irish histories, (they were no better than
animals, according to the historians of London,) and the Irish Saint had
to be a phony.
The most scholarly work on the subject to date is the Tale of
Brigit, by Eric Strohman, (not Irish, not Catholic. No axe to grind.)
Also check out the brief mention in "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by
Thomas Cahill. (He has an axe to grind, and I disagree with a lot of his
statements, but his tale of brigit is at least accurate.)
So yeah, Freja got as close as Brigit to being a Saint. A saint
Freya is revered in Norway....Of course she died in 1105, and was an
Asthetic....Hardly the figure of our hog-riding woman!
And as to the hanging on the ash. The lines translate to, (rough
translation, not arranged for poetry. You want more "fancy" stuff, I need
a day or two!)
Nine days I hung, a sacrifice, myself to myself. My friends did
not call to me. The men in my hall did not offer me drink. Nine days I
hung from the ash, and then I clutched at the runes, and fell back
(OKAY, for you, I do the real tranlstion chore, and make it into
fairly acceptable verse:
I willed I was hung On the wind-tossed tree
All of nine nights
Wounded by spear Sacred to Odin
Serving myself to myself
No horn they held up Nor bread I knew
I looked below me
I cried aloud
I caught up the runes Caught them wailing
And fell to the ground again
Wheeh! The things I do for fellow bards...)
The bargaining for a drink was from the well of Knowlege, guarded
by a giant. He required payment for the draught, and took one of Odin's
eyes which he threw in the well.
The mead of poetry was stolen from another giant, (who had stolen
the cauldron from some dwarves, who had....Nevermind! It takes all
night!) Odin disguised himself as a giant named Bolverk, and stole the
mead, shapechanging into an eagle and flying back to Aesgard. He spilled
some of it outside the hall, so that is reserved for skalds and poets.
Yeah, I read too much...
How about we make that "how Greybeard poets aren't respected, and
how old tales get scrambled by latter day collections of Mythologies?" In
my oppinion Bullfinch should be Bullwhipped!
Did this help? Do you really want to talk Norse Mythology any
more? Is everyone heartily sick of the conversation?
Mikal the Ram; an annoying Bard of no redeeming qualities
__________________________(jshewkc at pei.edu)________________________________
That he is bright, let no man boast
But take good heed of his tounge
The silent sage , will seldom need grief
They are honored here in the hall
A friend more faithful, you will never find
Than a shrewd head on your shoulders
The Hamaval (translation mine)
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