Mittwoch, 24. Oktober 2012

Das Schwert vom Muttental (The sword of the Muttental) - Impressions from a day of martial rituals and chaos.;-)

 Here they come-some impressions from the "Heidenspass" (pagan fun) party at the Bethaus smithy, which turned out a mess;-). On Friday, I called Volker if all was okay, and learned, that a film crew announced their venue for the festival. Being impressed, I asked, what they wanted to film, and Volker said "To film the Scots! Erm...,and for a TV soap, too... ". I know when you cannot get any more information from Volker, so I left it at that and readied myself for a catastrophe. Years of practice, you know;-). I got the info they wanted to come at around 9.30 am, and felt assured the whole thing would be finished at 1 pm.

 We arrived early, at 11 am, that is, and I immediately wanted to prepare work, and cut the raw stock for the blade of the claymore we wanted to forge. At 11.30 the film crew arrived. They immediately closed down the entire area, and only the protagonists of the culturally dubious TV soap were allowed, including Volker, to do anything. They even wanted to prohibit us from talking at all, even at the distant end of the area, some 50 m away from the set! No harm done, really, would they have asked politely, but they were extremely short-tempered, cynical and plainly insulting, and yes, I have no problem ranting about them in this blog. Everything bad has a good side, too, for in this situation I really learned to love those weird guys and gals from Clan Mc Laren friends of Germany. Click on the link, there´s a load of photos! In situations like that you can estimate the quality of people.

We had a laugh, with whispered shouts of "Creag an Tuirc!" (Rock of the boar), the warcry of Clan Mc Laren and fun with bagpipe adjustment*ggg*. It was also funny to see the head admin of the crew stood there with a disgusted look on her face and a shawl pulled over her nose and mouth to fend up the stench of the smithy (which is outdoors), and muttering to all who would and more that would not like to hear how inferior those blue-collar men were and how sorry she was she had to work with ´em... I guess it was a good thing she did not hear much of what those guys and gals had to say about the behaviour of her crew. I do not like talking behind the back of people much, but this is just fitting, for mobbing is the job of corporations producing casts like "How we destroy the life of some poor fellow living on the dole already by making a feature about exactly how his sleeping room stinks" and other medieval mindset cripple shows. But as is, that crew was not so important that we did not have other topics, too. We made good use of the spare time by having a good strong coffee and chats about this and that, and I learned a lot about the Mc Laren Clan.
 To the right is Jogi, second in line to the McLaren friends´ chief role. Looks a brute, but is one of the nicest guys I know!
 There was plenty of life around, and we certainly had fun.
 I followed Sylvia into the kitchen to get me another mug of coffee. Jochen was there, too, and we had a chat. I asked him: "Will you stay for the evening party today?" He looked up, a bit irritated, and replied. "Yes, of course, for it´s mine! There is a party going on, and I booked the location 4 months in advance." As did I. So, we took counsil.
 Fortunately, I must say, my cellphone kept ringing with storytellers, druids and other weirdos canceling their appearance, so it was just Clan  Mc Laren and myself left.
 ...there is worse company (from the right) than Ralf, Rübe and the others.
 They were as nervous as I, and tprepared their attire quite thoroughly... mess it up completely in the barbecue;-).
 Rübe enjoying a great handmade beef burger.
 ...and the rest of the lot. Of course, no barbecue without a catastrophe on this day, for, even if Volker said the grill should be placed there, does not mean it is so. Sorry, Volker, but that´s how it was for me. Jochen had a problem with customers inquiring about a BBQ meal, and so the position of the grill was not okay at all. So, speed grilling it was, and off to the feast.
 What I like best about the clan is their stubborn refusal of anything unnerving them or taking the fun away. They simply make do and enjoy themselves. I like that.
 And I understand that someone is proud of this banner.
When the morons were gone, we set to work in earnest. I had prepared a ritual, and it was a goosepimples experience to all of us. The Eldest of the clan, Reinhold, was chosen by the clan to respond.
Text of the ritual:
(Fran dagen, fran natt, rekkur varom koman, fran austrisheimi, uuestrisheimi,sudrisheimi auk nordrisheimi. Kvedja, kisibbjan, varför vart koman? - Att smidja sverdi! - Vad är herkalls dins? - Creag an Tuirc! - Rísa herkalls dins annat! - Creag an Tuirc! - Rísa herkalls dins thredjan tid! - Creag an Tuirc!)
At that point, the bagpipes sounded the charge;-), I consecrated them with artemisia, sage, salt water from ancient Hallstatt stone salt I mined myself long ago and drew out the ring of the elements around us all, giving a sacrifice to the elements and the first matter and the fire and lightning. When I started the invocation of fire and lightning, a light drizzle fell and a gentle rumble of thunder was heard at the distance (or maybe just a starting plane;-))
However, talk is cheap, and work is harder;-) that I am a bit light in the head did not mean there was no blacksmithing going on... Look here for more photos 

It was hard work for all of us, with permanent sound of bagpipes singing and shouts of "Creag an Tuirc!", and it was an arousing experience to all bystanders. Some passers-by said afterwards it made their hair stand on end. I understand that well, it was very archaic and martial atmosphere. Now I often state that I am a pacifist. Now I forged a sword for a Scottish clan. How does that fit together?

If you take a look around you, you might notice that we live in a very strange situation. Everywhere people prepare for war, but the last thing they want is peace. For peace is a non-profit affair. Traditionally, the Chleadhaimh Mór was the sword of the Clan´s champion, and this champion´s (Tren Fhér) obligation was to defend the clan in times of war. Often, in ancient Celtic tribal practice, war was an ordeal by battle, a duel fought solely by the champions of the armies. I can pretty much relate to that. Also, this ritual was something I did for myself. I will forge my own sword in the near future. I have studied its ethics and its mythology for 20 years now. This is not the place to talk about this more broadly, but it was a process. I have always fought against the desecration of the sacred, be it Christian, pagan, philosophical or whatever provenience, against the inhumanity of our everyday society, and I have always spoken my word. Five years ago it was that a sword came to me (another story). At that time, more than twelve people (roundabout 30) people followed me, so I could readily acclaim the status of Ansrúth ;-)after the Senchus Mór*ggg*. But I did not, for it is not my way. It´s not the easy way. It is not that I could state I was a master, nor that I belong to this religion or that, for I, (and if we are honest, we all are) am a seeker. I am not better than anybody. Instead, I concentrate on trying to not make the world any worser as it already is. I try to listen to the weak and strong alike. When I can, I try to help. If anyone wants to prey on the weak, I tend to get angry, but I try to be objective and reflect myself. That is not to say that I always succeed in doing so, but that I try. In the situation our world is, noone does that anymore. Noone treats the other with the respect even a moron deserves, and most people are but concerned with their own wellfare and prosperity, and, more so, get at each other´s throats for the slightest of reasons. It is said in the Völuspa:

Broedr mún beriaz, ok at bánom verdaz,
skeggold, skalmold, eda verold steypiz,
vindold, vargold, mún engi madr odrom thyrma.

(Brothers I see starting at each other, and strive for death,
An axe-time, a sword-time, ere the world ends,
A wind-time, a wolf-time, I see every man doom the other.)

So, I am reluctant to admit that, it might as well be the time to take the sword to hand, and in a way that is quite different to the actual use of the weapon. For a sword has always been more than just a weapon. It has been a symbol, and to it was bound a way of living, a way of spirituality even. In Japan, the sword was said to contain the soul of the Samurai, and presumeably, the sword did not mean less to the Celtic and Caledonian tribes. We might live in a world dominated by the tank, the whip (and the credit card) (Ernst Wiechert). But the spirit of the sword might be the only way to doom the idea of the tank. And the whip. And the credit card. Thusly, I did not forge just the blade of a weapon. I forged a bond between the members of Clan Mc Laren, and, hopefully, a tiny portion of a myth.
And, if the claymore was used for the protection of the weak, and I know the Clan Mc Laren friends well enough to estimate what meaning the forging of a sword conveys to them, I can forge this sword even if I am a pacifist, for that does not mean I am a misty-eyed dreamer. 
I am certainly not an accomplished swordsmith. This is my fourth blade, and I have so much to learn my ignorance is vaster than an ocean still. But noone else did it, so I had to.

Back to the forge now: As I was in the middle of the work, my cellphone rang. It was Alex, who helped me a lot at the Meilerwoche festival. Turns out he was on the way but got lost in the woods. He applied for working and helping with the kids, and said he would come with a rather dubious friend of his, a drunkard, to be quite plaintive. In the meantime, it was 3 pm. In the brief time of  talk we had it became clear that he was drunk also and had no money to get anywhere. He wanted to come to the smithy nonetheless. So I took some tiny bit of time to get him back on track (in several ways, or at least I hope so). He called several times, and I agreed to give him money to get back home. Look above why I did this. It was getting on my nerves, what with all the epic failures, but I guess I tried to be fair.

All the while, the forge I was provided with did not work properly, Volker asked me to forge mini horseshoes, people called to cancel their venue. Kai, Marie and some friends dropped by, Erdmuthe;-), Jandark, and Bastian came in a haze, and myself and the Mc Larens were bound by the forging of the sword, as we worked on binding the spell into the metal, Alex called again and again, and Renate and Sylvia and Jochen and Volker went mad with each other. It was a mad dream. The day came to a close, and somehow we decided to finish the blade on another occasion. Then Alex suddenly was there. I spun around madly with all the friends enquiring and the clan feasting and Alex and Volker begging for attention.

And then it was all over. We had a drink and said goodbye, and it was mighty soothing to learn the clan really had enjoyed themselves. They all had that spark in their eyes that kindles the fire of a heart. This was beautiful to see and very rewarding.

Because I was done - and all fluffy at that - I had a chat with Jandark, Julia, and Bastian, who wanted to go to a party of the president of my club, zee aylienz, and we appointed a rendezvous for them to fetch me. Of course, I had forgotten my light, and it was exactly 15 turns of the cranks of my bike for it to start raining, and what was a light drizzle at first, became a downpour after some minutes. What was real funny was, that the metro train that passes through the Ruhr valley, can be seen from the bike lane. There, it overtook me,  wet, cold, and shivering from fatigue, with SOMEONE *ggg* sitting inside warm and cozy, with his third beer open, from the money Volker then lent him. No jealousy, really, but I simply had to stop, I was laughing that hard. And I would be laughing harder still, when on a steep incline my chain broke. I fixed it, in the dark, with rain in my eyes, cold fingers and a laughing fit so intense I had muscle sores from it the next day. I arrived at home quite early, had a shower and some food and  was off to the party. Maik welcomed me warmly, and I had not expected that.

Then, when I ladled food on a dish and had my beer standing nearby, I tore down the bottle with my elbow. I had broken my middle toe some three weeks earlier, and the bottom of the bottle broke exactly the next one. I took up the bottle, mopped up the beer, finished ladling up my food, drank the rest of the beer, said "ouch" and had another laughing fit.

For I understood.

And I have learned a lot that day.

And it´s better to encounter chaos and misery sometimes than not to live at all.

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