Montag, 27. Juli 2015

Beado-Léoma, the Battle-light - Swordsmiths, wordsmiths and museum expositions

We are currently working on a very, very fascinating project. Petr had come visiting recently, and we had good fun together feasting and drinking and talking bullshit ;-) (Thanks for totally screwing our minds, Petr!:-) We´ll never get that song out of our heads, and we see mushrooms everywhere...*ggg*) as well as some great in-depth discussions. But what was most intriguing to us that we had the chance to see one of his most recent works of art.

This is the sword beado - léoma (Anglo-Saxon for Battle - Light), a sword in the line of the most intriguing epic poem Beowulf, and a very eloquent incarnation of many Kenningar for the hero himself. For instance, the animal on the pommel, is a bear that stands for the name of the warrior, for "Beowulf" means "bee-wolf", hence a bear. The bees on guard and pommel stand for honey and mead which is served in the hall Héorot, the mead hall of king Hrothgar, where the drama takes place. The sliding piece for the belt on the sheath is carved in the shape of a mead hall with shingles. Those shingles stand for civilization, a roof, that provides warmth and protection from the wild things. The garnets stand for the glow and warmth of the hearth fire.

Now it all becomes wonderfully fascinating, for Myles Mulkey, bladesmith, swordsmith, author and poet had written a beautiful poem that in my opinion reflects the atmosphere best. It will be featured in the catalogue of the exhibition, together with a translation. You can get it here as soon as it´s printed.

The magic troll and myself guided Petr to Solingen and helped him deliver the sword for the oncoming exposition "The Sword - Form and Thought", which will take place at Klingenmuseum Solingen from the 26th of September to 28th of February 2016.

And while he was not so sure the museum would like the fact he had a poem to go along with the sword, it turned out very well. Dr. Grotkamp - Schepers, head director of the museum, was quite enthusiastic about the sword and poem. In fact, it was great to see all of the staff being extremely motivated around the exhibition, so much in fact that some of them even cancelled their holiday to be able to see the first sword arriving and having a chat with Petr. The only problem was the translation of the poem...

So we offered our help;-).

For free.

Bummer, I hear you say, you are a bunch of punks, what, for free? Nothing´s free, and you could use the money!
Let me explain this, for this is not how this thing works. It is not about earning money in this case. It is about being part of a modern hero´s tale. It is about being swordsmith and wordsmith. It is the gathering of the hosts, a muster of wizards and scholars, and it is a very unique thing taking place, something that is far more than "just" an exhibition. Mrs. Grotkamp - Schepers is a dyed-in-the-wool scientist, but I daresay she feels it herself, as does everyone at the museum, as does any smith and poet involved.
And for us two it is an opportunity to give the grey god a right kicking up the spine. He takes reign over the souls and lives of men in our society, befouling our everyday life. But this sword and the poem - and the other swords in the exhibition are a whisper from the dawn of time. It is maybe a bit bold to say it is something sacred happening here, but to me it feels exactly like it. But it is nothing like a fancy or a dream. The exhibition is centered around the topic of the xiphos, an iron age secondary Greek weapon. All of the swords in the exhibition are made around this topic. The name means "piercing, penetrating light". 
In Myles´ poem civilization is represented by simple but crucial things. The roof of the mead hall, family and kin, the hearth fire, mead and food. The sword is a representant of these things, and, more so, defends them.
The sword that Petr has created is a brutal weapon. Its balance is willingly nothing like eloquent. It is straightforward and front-heavy, made to chop off the limbs of an unarmed adversary, such as an evil spirit referred to as "trolls" or "thurses" threatening those simple things of civilization, not for eloquent fencing, but for fighting with brute force.
But the culprit is, it´s made to defend, not attack. It represents the hearth fire. In its glow the new life is born, tales are told, and it gives light through the darkness of winter. The hero himself has to wield it. In order to overcome the threat he has to become the threat himself, a brute force (Eliade). He gains supernatural power, but in every hero tale there is a point where he is confronted with his own mistakes, and Germanic lore is full of tragic heroes. But the threat is to be overcome, and the individual does not count.
It is the simple things the hero fights for. It is not 300% increase of gain p.a., not the fourth TV and the third laptop. In a world of darkness the hearth fire becomes crucial for survival. Literally speaking, we live in a world that is - in a metaphorical way, of course - not so different from the world of Beowulf. It is threatened by dark things lurking in the twilight, just outside our perception. What remains is the metaphorical hearth fire to be protected, the mead hall and the birthing place as simple things that make our world. It has not changed, but has been obscured by darkness and too much light, by mist and nonsense notions. And it is a sad metaphor becoming true that the bees are dying out.
To us piercing light is shod unto the mead hall. To us the tale and the warmth and the company, bees, honey, mead and fire have a place. And the sword should defend it with brutal force.
Piercing light is secondary in that it is a secondary weapon, and in that it is the last-ditch resort of the warrior, it requires an all-or-nothing effort, speaking within the confines of the metaphor. And also speaking in the confines of the symbol, piercing light is what we need in order to analyse the threat that befouls our society.
We have to give it all or nothing to defend the mead-hall and its hearth fire.
Ask again why we do it for free.;-)
Cheers to Petr and Myles, lift your swords up high and shake them like wild boars!

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