My new friend, Kari, is a fascinating person. She has been studying runes, Nordic legends and women’s spirituality for over twenty years. She is totally awesome.
She has a book, “The Runes: A Human Journey” for which I traded a linen mat. She also has a cd (which I got at the Sons of Norway Convention) of some of her songs.
Kari portrays a Völva Stav (pronounced “wolwva” – difficult to get your tongue around, but cool sounding), which is a Stav (staff) carrying woman. A Völva travels from village to village, singing, healing, teaching. Her Stav is used as a musical instrument – Stavs were rhythm instruments before drums. The Stav is also used for protection as she travels from village to village. Now, I am sure that even the most depraved person would not attack a Völva – imagine the curses that would fall on his head! But there were wild animals that could possibly attack. The Völva will pound the Stav end on the ground and use a small stick of some kind as rhythm, striking it on the side of the Stav.
Kari wears clothing that dates back to the Vikings or even before. She has a string skirt that she wears that dates hundreds of years before the Vikings. She wore, on Friday, a Viking age Norwegian Völva costume; on Saturday, she wore an Eastern Swedish one – this one was based on the influences of Rome and the MidEast.
When Kari is ready to sing, she will put down what she is doing (she has learned to spin on a spindle), stand up with her Stav and start pounding it. If she is on grass, she has a board that she uses to help resonate the sound. So, you hear the “stomp click click, stomp click click” of the Stav and her little rhythm stick as the beginning of the song. Her voice carries, so everyone in the area could hear her singing, which drew a crowd every time. After the song, she would announce what she was and what she was doing.
This weekend, the Völva Stav was visiting our little “village” and since I was the only female in the group, she was visiting with the “head woman” of this village. A part of her duties was to teach the midwives of the village (I must have been that as well, this weekend) and help heal anyone who was sick. Part of my duties was to feed her – which was easy to do. She brought her own food and put it with ours for the noon meals (and snacks).
It was fun and educational to have Kari under my tent this weekend. I hope to be able to visit with her another time – she has promised to come visit me here at Ash Lane Farm sometime in the future!
Kari reads runes as part of her “duties” so I had her read mine. She has buckthorn pieces that she has written the runes on which are lying in a shallow basket. Of course, they are upside down so you don’t know what you picking. You pick three pieces, one at a time, and turn them up, one at a time. At the same time, you are asking a question. Kari reads and translates the meanings. My question was – what runes should I put on MY Stav (mine is buckthorn and I use it like a cane). She came up with the meanings of my three
Briefly, they mean that I have a relationship with my community, but I am pulling away from it to center on myself and re-organizing myself, then pulling the community back around me with a different purpose and meaning for all. (Kari, is that right?)
I took a marking pen and wrote them on the Stav. It took a while to decide WHERE to put them, what angle to put them, etc. Now, this week I hope to get Norm’s wood burner out and burn them on.
I might also put my name on there, as well. Kari wrote my name on the fly of her book so I can remember that, as well.
A great time with a great lady! Go to her web page and meet her. She has some songs and samples of some of her “plays” on U-Tube, as well.
On another note, I have "tweaked" the mirror that David Johnson made so that you can see details. I took out the background (not very well, I will admit) so you can see the dragon head. Wouldn't you like a mirror like this one?
It was a great weekend – it’s a beautiful day – you have a beautiful day!