I’ve been at odds with this existence for as long as I can remember. In the midst of creative chaos and pressing deadlines I manage to find some relief from the self-doubts that plague many inward thinkers, and then a project is complete and I am left dangling in a sea of hungry monsters of the deep, waiting to feed on any iota of contentment I might achieve. A feeling of being disconnected from the very soil I walk on has been the watermark of life for so long I forgot what it means to be whole and free until… I started watching Vikings. And then something stirred that has vastly changed my sense of self and earth.
I’ve always been a non-violent person, never watched horror movies, hated violence on television, and won’t buy into the pornographic level of gore and hatred bestowed upon us by mass media… unyet I was besotted. I am of Viking blood on my father’s side. More of me is Nordic than anything else. This is what we came from. Raiding and pillaging and fighting… and making boats and farming and fishing of course but… fighting. The beauty of it was surreal. Large scale battle scenes bore me to tears but the horrific punishments dealt to those who cast the deepest of betrayal, was breathtaking in its artistry.
Can torture be art? Apparently so. No I’m not going to go out and use this tool as my new art form, I fear pain worse than death, and as a deep empath I feel the pain of others as my own. Yet something in it stirred me; their reverence for living by a moral code with such force, the acknowledgement of the presence of respect even in the agony of violently articulated punishment. Their dedication to ritual and gods and sacrifice and reverence for the spirit that guided their path. The connection to the primal urge to hunt and protect and adventure and conquer! I’ve never thought of conquering something before, maybe it’s time to slay a proverbial beast!
It has driven me to go to the place much of my blood has come from, to smell the earth and the air more than anything. I long to take in the landscape where these phenomenal atrocities took place, and where bonds were forged stronger than steel through the brotherhood of allies. Would I want to go back to those times? Without anaesthetic or electricity or writing or art… or soap? Perhaps only in their aesthetic and spirit, and sense of community.
I always felt growing up that we were lacking in any form of cultural binding to our heritage. We had bush dancing and religious education at school, which was about it. I didn’t really know what our ancestry was; no one was really interested in learning back then. Now I feel to immerse myself in the Nordic mythology and history, to get a sense of how some of my ancestors lived and loved and created.
Sometimes when everything gets taken away and all you have is you, there is a realisation that you are more that you, you are the cusp of a lineage and your life is there to continue if not the genetic, at least the mythology of your ancestors. More on this as I continue the adventure through the history of our Nordic roots.
Written by Tjoni Johansen
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