Tag Archives: new art

The Art of FORGIVING but not FORGETTING by artist Ann Supan (FreeSpace #3)

21 May

MANILA CATHEDRAL 1600px

MANILA CATHEDRAL by Ann Supan 

 

.

The Art of Forgiving but not Forgetting

Art, for me, is the artist’s converted thoughts and emotions of a subject into something tangible such as a sketch, drawing, or a painting.

I won’t dare argue how others defines Art because Art is quite subjective. I do, however, believe that ‘WHY someone makes Art’ reflects a lot about what Art really means to them…

(in no particular order)

– adventure, fun and enjoyment

– to connect

– to edify or educate

– reuniting and recording of one’s thoughts, feelings, and memories

– to communicate

– money

– to be famous

Probably an artist should make a percentage chart of ‘Why I make Art’ instead of the usual direct statement as answer to this seemingly simple question. I myself can agree with a number of above mentioned reasons because they are sort of interrelated with one another.

It would be such a mendacity if I say that I don’t make Art for money at all…How else will I be able to buy the materials I need to create without money?

However I draw the line between trying to be “recognized” as an artist and to be “famous”. I have every reason to believe that someone can be an artist yet not be famous especially now that the term “fame” has been somehow “evolutionatized” by how the majority uses social media. I don’t intend “educate” with my art either as I am learning myself.

Nevertheless, based on my own definition of art, there is one which I agree most –

– reuniting and recording of one’s thoughts, feelings, and memories

My memory triggers my thoughts and somehow exaggerates my feelings with this imperative desire to create.

I observed that I’m having a hard time to draw when I’m happy. I’m actually able to make what I consider memorable pieces when I feel deep melancholy- a feeling that, though part of life, I wish I could just ‘pray my way out of ‘ but can’t. So instead, I just ‘create my way out of it’.

For this reason, I realized that I draw to be able to forgive too because I’m usually sad when someone hurts me. I momentarily forget about the pain when I’m able to concentrate all my thoughts and emotions in the process of creating art-

– When I draw I tend to think of something else…go to another world…whether fiction or not, I don’t care…as long as it’s not here- my real life. I create lines/shadows over and over again until I get tired and accept the fact that it’s over. Usually, this is the same time when sadness drastically turns into anger until I realize that I can’t keep hating someone forever so the feeling of self pity strikes in. As I continue on forming figures these feelings subsides and then gradually turns back into sadness.

I choose to forgive this way but that does not mean I could just choose to forget what was done to me…that is just not possible.

“Your memory is a monster; you forget – it doesn’t. It simply files things away; it keep things for you, or hides things from you. Your memory summons things to your recall with a will of its own. You imagine you have a memory, but your memory has you.” – (In One Person by John Irving)

No matter what, as long as I have a pencil and paper in my hands I can choose to draw rather than focus on this feeling of immeasurable pain brought by my ‘uncontrollable’ memory. Should one day the finished piece would remind me of what I felt when I was making it, that is “OK” because it serves also a proof that I was able to overcome that miserable part of my life and “laugh” about it now.

As artists, we presume that all the artworks we make are our favorites but, whether we admit it or not, there are those which really stands out for us. Pieces we could spend a day looking at…pieces which brings a lot of memories…pieces which we understand far beyond the audience does…pieces which we find very hard to “let go” – mine are those that I usually made from sad memories which would somehow be translated as portraits and, most recently, as landscapes as well.

The Places series is a collection of architectural landscapes pieces, in different styles, which ‘I’ve been to’ and ‘dream of going to someday’. What the audience doesn’t know, until now, is that those pieces “I’ve been to’ included on this series are of places that ‘I would rather forget’ due to personal reasons.

Since every piece is unique, to read about the description of each piece, kindly click on the corresponding Facebook link below (“Places” album) so as to avoid making this blog any “longer” 😉

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.739950812786497.1073741833.125692274212357&type=1

But why do we end up creating something tangible out of those feelings we would rather forget? – because ‘we have to’…WE MUST.

That is what creators do.

Otherwise, we could always end up doing something else instead of creating like those who just ‘drink and/or wallow their way out of things’.

*** The image (Manila Cathedral) I used on this blog is the 2’nd piece of my PLACES series ****

*** Why ‘I’ Make Art ***
50% – reuniting and recording of one’s thoughts, feelings, and memories
20% – to connect
15% – to communicate
10% – adventure, fun and enjoyment
5% – money

 

Biography

What if?’ will always be the question Ann Supan tends to ask herself every now and then. She is an Engineering graduate who knows she wanted to be an artist since she was 10 years old. She is a Filipina visual artist who loves to draw and likes reading as much as travelling. Her main interest in art is portraiture as it is her ambition to express beauty and emotion on her work. She focuses mainly on likeness as her technique and style is simple. Recently, she has been making ‘dual portrayal’ portraits in order to make her work ‘thought provoking’ as well.

She specializes in traditional drawing in the categories of figure drawing, illustration and shading using graphite and charcoal as her main medium. She also likes to use different mediums as shown on her selective impressionistic pieces.

Through years of practice and experimentations her artworks now revolves around on both realistic and impressionistic form.

https://twitter.com/Sketchbook0918

.

*FreeSpace offers 3 post slots on ArtiPeeps to any creative or group. They can be taken in a cluster or over a period of months for showcasing, projects (encouraged) or self expression. If you’re interested in FreeSpace do get in touch via the reply box on this post or the contact form on the What’s On page. 

.

Advertisements

“Art between HAPPINESS and MEANING” by artist Ann Supan (FreeSpace #2)

23 Apr

CONFUSED

CONFUSED by Ann Supan 

.

“Art between HAPPINESS and MEANING”

” Unhappy men are all alike. Some wound they suffered long ago, some wished denied, some blow to pride, some kindling spark of love put away by scorn – or worse indifference – cleaves to them, or they to it, and so they live each day within a shroud of yesterdays. The happy man does not look back. He doesn’t look ahead. He lives in the present.

But there’s the rub. The present can never deliver one thing: meaning. The ways of happiness and meaning are not the same. To find happiness, a man need only live in the moment; he need only live for the moment. But if he wants meaning – the meaning of his dreams, his secrets, his life – a man must reinhabit his past, however dark, and live for the future however uncertain. Thus nature dangles happiness and meaning before us all, insisting only that we choose between them. ”  (The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld)

I interpret the word “insisting” on above quotation as an implication that even though nature may “insist” for us to choose between HAPPINESS and MEANING, it does not mean that it’s “impossible” for us to have both.

I think that I cannot “always” have both HAPPINESS and MEANING at the same time but as long as I can find MEANING in my life, I know I’ll find HAPPINESS there too “at certain times” no matter how brief or long it lasts.

I know I am happy whenever I make a piece of art simply because I enjoy doing it…but what does that mean? It means…

– not having enough time for other things which may affect my relationship with others because they don’t understand my passion (this includes taking time to make something that is not actually paid for…some people with full time regular paying jobs just don’t understand that).

– giving people more reasons to criticize me.

– putting my ideas at risk because I cannot be an artist by just locking myself in a room drawing all day. Sharing art in the real word is, indeed, “a double edge sword.”

– doubting myself and my artistic abilities because, the truth is, I am not the “best artist” in the world (if there is such a person as “art is subjective”). I am not ashamed to admit that as I know for a fact that there are a lot of great artists out there (living or dead).

– always having the fear of “failing” at what I’ve always thought I am born to do in this world – to be an artist

Despite all this, if I must choose, I’ll choose MEANING as I’m certain that I cannot totally “just” be happy. I believe, just like any other feelings ( e.g. sadness, grief, etc.), HAPPINESS too shall pass…it always does. MEANING, on the other hand, is definite as it gives us purpose…the reason to live “no matter what”. I would rather know that there is a meaning for ALL  the things I’ve been through in life than to be a happy person by ignoring my past that I cannot “just” forget.

However, though I choose MEANING, I don’t live in the present “entirely” for the benefit of my future because for all I know I may die today. I honestly do not desire a longer life. I just want to “live” the life I’m given by learning from my past and doing the best I can with what I have until the day I stop breathing (period).

The SHADOWS series is a collection of portraits intending to show emotions  OTHER than those typical portrayal of  complete happiness and joy as I hope to convey those I believe are “meaningful” part of someone’s life.

As every piece is unique, to read about the description of each piece, kindly click on the corresponding Facebook link below ( “Playing with SHADOWS” album) so as to avoid making this blog any “longer” 😉

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.603474029767510.1073741830.125692274212357&type=3

***The image (CONFUSED) I used on this blog is the 17’th piece of my SHADOWS series ****

.

Ann will be returning for her third FreeSpace on Thursday 21st May. She is one of the artists to be exhibited in our The Nine Realms  combined arts experience this  September in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

 .

Biography

What if?’ will always be the question Ann Supan tends to ask herself every now and then. She is an Engineering graduate who knows she wanted to be an artist since she was 10 years old. She is a Filipina visual artist who loves to draw and likes reading as much as travelling. Her main interest in art is portraiture as it is her ambition to express beauty and emotion on her work. She focuses mainly on likeness as her technique and style is simple. Recently, she has been making ‘dual portrayal’ portraits in order to make her work ‘thought provoking’ as well.

She specializes in traditional drawing in the categories of figure drawing, illustration and shading using graphite and charcoal as her main medium. She also likes to use different mediums as shown on her selective impressionistic pieces.

Through years of practice and experimentations her artworks now revolves around on both realistic and impressionistic form.

https://twitter.com/Sketchbook0918

.

*FreeSpace offers 3 post slots on ArtiPeeps to any creative or group. They can be taken in a cluster or over a period of months for showcasing, projects (encouraged) or self expression. If you’re interested in FreeSpace do get in touch via the reply box on this post or the contact form on the What’s On page. 

.

Please do check out our Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign: 

http://igg.me/at/the9realms

9 Realms Viking Showcase: featuring Cliona Sheehan (artist)

21 Apr

nine realms8

19 Poets, 23 artists, 3 musicians and a Viking boat

.

Featuring

Cliona Sheehan

(Realm artist for Nidavellir alongside photographer Tony Adams)

Question: what piece of your art best represents you at the moment?

.Mask

 Mask

.

 Biography:

IMG_2319

 .

Cliona Sheehan was born in Ireland but lived her formative years in Bermuda. In 1978 she returned to Ireland and moved to Connemara to find the artist within. She now works as a self employed Parenting Skills facilitator and tutor. She is a self taught artist who seeks out art workshops and online collaboration to improve and get inspiration. She also uses art in her facilitation work, when possible. She works in ink, oils and acrylic to reflect what she sees… some realistic… some capture the mood. Often there is a struggle between what exists and what is experienced and she explores this dichotomy.

Contact details: clionasheehan@yahoo.co.uk
http://www.touchtalent.com/artist/17275/cliona-sheehan

 

* Nidavellir is the realm of the dwarves

* You can find more information about The Nine Realms here

.

Please do take a look at our Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign for our Viking Boat.

We have some great Viking Rewards:

http://igg.me/at/the9realms

nine realms8

Realm 7: Muspelheim – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2014-2015

14 Apr

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 23 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat

 a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

Muspelheim

(the realm of fire)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are in the middle of April,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 6th realm Helheim Thursday 16th April. I shall be posting out the remaining Nifelheim poems this week and then Helheim the week after.  This month we are outlining the realm of Muspelheim. The deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Monday 11th May.

These monthly posts will draw from a range of primary and secondary source materials and focus on selected gods, themes and stories that circle around the highlighted realm. They will not attempt to cover everything, and writers can embrace any other stories and characters within their writing which is not covered. Month by month we will be building our own magical, contemporary norse world whilst exploring the themes of POWER, NATURE and RELIGION. The project’s overall intention is to embrace orality, translation, storytelling and rhythm all of which are inspired by the origins of the oral tradition of the Norse Sagas.

I may well put out little mini-posts intermittently focusing on orality and poetic form as necessary.  

What is presented below is designed to inspire, present basic information and offer a starting point for individual creativity within the project inspired by the themes, characters and spirit of the myths and stories.

.

Surtr

 .

.

1. A brief  Overview of Muspelheim

Mentions of Muspelheim and Surt/Surtr are sparing within The Poetic Edda and The Prose Edda, and primarily, it seems, centred around Ragnarök

Muspelheim was to the North of Ginnungagup, the large chasm at the beginning of the world, where Surt/Surtr, ‘the swarthy one’, the fire god, stands guard with a flaming sword. It is where the Gods, as the world was created, scattered sparks across the sky as stars (Allan: 34). Muspelheim is fire; and the land to the North, Niflheim, is ice. The two mixed and created water from the melting ice in Ginnungagap. The sun and the stars originate from Muspelheim. The residents of Muspelheim are known as  the eldjötnar (“Fire Giants“). They are also known  by other names in Eddic poetry, such as the Múspellssynir (or Múspellsmegir — “sons of Muspell”) and the Rjúfendr (from rjúfa — “to break, tear asunder”, Destroyers of Doomsday). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muspelheim

In The Prose Edda, In chapter 4,  the  Gylfaginning, the enthroned figure of Third tells Gangleri (described as King Gylfi in disguise) that the flaming region existed prior to Niflheim, and is impassable to those who are not born to the realm. To protect Muspelheim Surt/Surtr is stationed at its frontier.

.

 2. Surt

220px-Surtur_mit_dem_Flammenschwerte

Surt with flaming sword

 

Surt/Surtr plays a major role in the tra.jectory towards Ragnarök, through his battles against the Æsir,  fighting particularly with  Freyr. The fire that Surt engenders engulfs the Earth in its final moments of existence (before it is reborn).

Norse Academic Simek says that “in Iceland Surtr was obviously thought of as being a mighty giant who ruled the powers of the (volcanic) fire of the Underworld”,

Surt/Surtr is mentioned twice in the The Prose Edda particularly the Völuspá, where a völva (a Seer) states that Surt/Surtr will come from the south with flames, carrying a  bright sword:

 

Sutr ferr sunnan
með sviga lævi:
skinn af sverði
sól valtiva.
 

Surtr moves from the south
with the scathe of branches:
there shines from his sword
the sun of Gods of the Slain. 
Dronke (1997:21).

.

There are few details given about the fight between Surt/Surtr and Freyr in the Völuspá .The poem focuses more on how Odin is to be killed by the wolf Fenrir.  However, it is mentioned that Surtr will go to battle against “Beli’s bane”, a kenning for the god Freyr, who slew the giant Beli.

You can find the whole Völuspá  here

.

3.   Ragnarök  and Surt/Surtr

 .

 

According to the Ragnarök predictions in the Gylfaginning, the sons of Muspell , the fire giants, will break the Bifröst bridge, signalling the end of times:

In the midst of this clash and din the heavens are rent in twain, and the sons of Muspell come riding through the opening. Surtr rides first, and before him and after him flames burning fire. He has a very good sword, which shines brighter than the sun. As they ride over Bifrost it breaks to pieces, as has before been stated. The sons of Muspel direct their course to the plain which is called Vigrid…. The sons of Muspel have there effulgent bands alone by themselves.

You can find the whole of the Gylfaginning here

The story goes that Surt/Surtr  will come via land  and ride over Bifrost, the rainbow bridge, to Asgard. Here the armies of the gods and giants will meet for one last battle. It is where Surt/Surtr remains until the end,  and once Heimdallr and Loki fight ( killing one another), Surt/Surtr flings fire over the world so that both men and gods will perish in an overwhelming sea (Ellis Davison: 38).

The sun becomes dark. Earth sinks in the sea.

The shining stars slip out of the sky.

Vapour and fire rage fiercely together,

till the leaping flame licks heaven itself

(ibid)

.

4. Sinmara

.

Sinmara by Jenny Nystrom

Sinmara by Jenny Nystrom

.

Is a female who is often considered to be a companion of Surt/Surtr. A mention of her can be found in the poem Fjölsvinnsmál (The Sayings of  Fjölsvinnr) where she is said to have a weapon called Lævateinn which is considered a kenning for a sword, ‘damage tree’. Her name, mara, may be linked to”(night-) mare”, and the two figures together can be seen as quite a powerful combination.

Here is a section from Fjölsvinnsmál: 

.

Benjamin Thorpe’s translation:
26. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
whether there be any weapon,
before which Vidofnir may
fall to Hel´s abode?
27. Hævatein the twig is named,
and Lopt plucked it,
down by the gate of Death.
In an iron chest it lies
with Sinmoera,
and is with nine strong locks secured.
Henry Adams Bellows translation:
41. Svipdag spake:
“Now answer me, Fjolsvith, the question I ask,
For now the truth would I know:
What weapon can send Vithofnir to seek
The house of Hel below?”
42. Fjolsvith spake:
“Lævatein is there, that Lopt with runes
Once made by the doors of death;
In Lægjarn’s chest by Sinmora lies it,
And nine locks fasten it firm.”
 

See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinmara

.

Themes, Relevance and Questions:

.

Life,  Death, heat and renewal: 

Interestingly, many connections have been made between Ragnarök and Christian Notions of Judgement Day. Fire and burning have played a large part in many religious ceremonies and rites for 100s of years.  A cycling of conflict, punishment and then renewal. Fire keeps us warm, but equally fire is volatile and chaotic if untamed. Surt/Surtr and Muspelheim could be seen as a symbol for that volatility,  and when they reach Asgard- might meets might!

There is something very intense and dynamic about heat, about flames. There can be warmth and comfort, but if fire gets out of control there can equally be searing, skin burning, pain. Surt/Surtr and fire are what we have at the end of the world just before the new world begins.  The new world begins not with ease, but through a clash of force, devastation and power.

 Exploration Point: Take a look through The Prose and Poetic Eddas and track how fire is used within the stories. Are there any patterns? What symbolism does it have? 

.

Things of Interest:

.

1.  The Road To Asgard: BiFrost:

.

 2.  Three videos about Jesse Byock’s (the translator of the Penguin Classic edition of The Prose Edda) multi-disciplinary research which combines the sagas, history and archaeology

Part 1

Part 2

.

Part 3

.

Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Curtal Sonnet

Established by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and is a ten-and-a-half line form,  a sonnet but three-quarters the size. Hopkins’ poem Pied Beauty is an example.

The rhyming scheme is abcabcdbcdc or abcabcdcbdc.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Tormentors, Unfinished, Moment, Burst, Climb, Universal,  Destiny, Helmet, Hearts

.

To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Muspelheim realm is Monday 11th May 2015.

 .

 Thank you so much for your interest.

.

References

 Allan, T (2010) Vikings, The Battle at the End of Time, London: Watkins Publishing

Crossley-Holland, K (1993) The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings, London, Penguin Books

Dronke, Ursula (Trans.) (1997). The Poetic Edda: Volume II: Mythological Poems. Oxford University Press.

Ellis Davidson, H.R. (1990) Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, Penguin Books

Hollander, L.M. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Austin: University of Texas Press

Larrington, C. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Oxford University Press

Simek, Rudolf (2007) Dictionary of Northern Mythology,Translated by Angela Hall. D.S. Brewer

Sturluson, S. (2005) The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. Jesse L. Byock

Weekend Showcase: Stuart Slater (Artist)

20 Mar

Spotlight

Every Friday, 1 creative, letting their work speak for itself.

 

Stuart Slater

.

Get Carter

Get Carter 

From the RYBG Series

.

Artist’s Statement

Rediscovering Art

Art was always my strongest subject when I was at school. However, after graduating from Aberystwyth University with a degree in Fine Art I sadly lost interest in the subject. All passion for creating art had simply faded.

​In February 2014, some 16 years later, I was persuaded to once again have a go at some simple sketch work. One sketch turned into many and soon the sketches became paintings. I had found my passion once more. Since then I have produced over 70 pieces of work; the most prolific I have ever been.

I have a great love for colour in art and I am currently based Solihull. I produce abstracts and portraiture.

 

stuartslaterart.co.uk

https://twitter.com/Stuart_Slater

.

 .
If you would like a Weekend Showcase please do get in touch via the contact form on the What’s On Page , or via the comment box.
>>>>>>>
 

 

>>>>

 

>>>>

‘Self Portrait between Reputation and Character’ by artist Ann Supan (FreeSpace #1)

19 Mar

SURRENDER HD

 I SURRENDER by Ann Supan 

.

Self Portrait between Reputation and Character

.

It has always been my ambition to become a portrait artist. However, as a self taught artist and someone who prefers to be alone, I still find it so hard to make a self portrait.

“You cannot lay bare your private soul and look at it. You are too much ashamed of yourself. It is too disgusting. For that reason I confine myself to drawing portraits of others.” – Mark Twain

To make a portrait of someone else, in my opinion, is easier because you are making it with the knowledge of capturing how someone looks like and feel at that moment alone. Where in people, on such cases, “choose to” put on a face they think is the one they would like to show the world.

Of course, I could also choose to do this but I find it so difficult to pretend and draw at the same time especially if my intention is to make my own portrait as real as possible. No one knows best the real me besides myself. Knowing this, it hinders my intention to capture “all of me”, if that is even possible, in just one piece of art. I have to find another way.

I then realized that though a “face” can be deceiving…”hands” cannot.

In fact, our hands can tell a lot about ourselves. From our palm lines to the size and shape of our hands, each part holds a special meaning that is specific only to us and our personality. A form of art known as Palmistry is actually the art of telling the future through the study of the palm and it can also teach us a lot about our CHARACTER.

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of these people.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

You see –
– Faces shows “what we choose to look like” to control of what others thinks of us – our REPUTATION
– Hands shows “who we are” – our CHARACTER

Bear in mind that Reputation and Character are two very different things. REPUTATION is that which people are believed to be; CHARACTER is that which people are!

Like Thomas Paine said –
“Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”

The Vanity project shows and/or includes my hand/s in each piece as my own rendition of a self portrait because I choose to show who I really am through every lines of my hands.

I honestly think that this project does not end here as I love drawing hands – I will be creating more as I go along with my life.

As every piece is unique, to read about the description of each piece, kindly click on the Fine Art America’s “The Vanity Project Gallery” link below so as to avoid making this blog any longer 😉

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/ann-supan.html?tab=artworkgalleries&artworkgalleryid=474860

.

Ann will be returning for her second FreeSpace on Thursday 23rd April. She is one of the artists to be exhibited in our The Nine Realms  combined arts experience this  September in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

.

Biography

What if?’ will always be the question Ann Supan tends to ask herself every now and then. She is an Engineering graduate who knows she wanted to be an artist since she was 10 years old. She is a Filipina visual artist who loves to draw and likes reading as much as traveling. Her main interest in art is portraiture as it is her ambition to express beauty and emotion on her work. She focuses mainly on likeness as her technique and style is simple. Recently, she has been making ‘dual portrayal’ portraits in order to make her work ‘thought provoking’ as well.

She specializes in traditional drawing in the categories of figure drawing, illustration and shading using graphite and charcoal as her main medium. She also likes to use different mediums as shown on her selective impressionistic pieces.

Through years of practice and experimentations her artworks now revolves around on both realistic and impressionistic form.

https://twitter.com/Sketchbook0918

.

*FreeSpace offers 3 post slots on ArtiPeeps to any creative or group. They can be taken in a cluster or over a period of months for showcasing, projects (encouraged) or self expression. If you’re interested in FreeSpace do get in touch via the reply box on this post or the contact form on the What’s On page. 

Realm 6: Helheim – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2014-2015

12 Mar

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat= a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

Helheim

(the realm through which  men pass in order to die in Nifelheim)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are in the middle of March,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 6th realm Nifelheim today! I shall be posting out more Nidavellir poems this week and next week, and then we’ll be onto the Nifelheim poems. This month we are outlining the realm of Helheim. The deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Thursday 16th April 2015.

These monthly posts will draw from a range of primary and secondary source materials and focus on selected gods, themes and stories that circle around the highlighted realm. They will not attempt to cover everything, and writers can embrace any other stories and characters within their writing which is not covered. Month by month we will be building our own magical, contemporary norse world whilst exploring the themes of POWER, NATURE and RELIGION. The project’s overall intention is to embrace orality, translation, storytelling and rhythm all of which are inspired by the origins of the oral tradition of the Norse Sagas.

I may well put out little mini-posts intermittently focusing on orality and poetic form as necessary.  

What is presented below is designed to inspire, present basic information and offer a starting point for individual creativity within the project inspired by the themes, characters and spirit of the myths and stories.

Helheim

 .

1. A brief  Overview of Helheim

 

Helheim is the lowest realm of all ruled by Hel (see Nifelheim overview). In Grímnismál stanza 31, Hel is listed as existing beneath one of three roots of the world tree Yggdrasil. One of the other two roots leads to the frost jötnar and the third to Mankind. In the poem Völuspá in The Poetic Edda a völva (sybil)  states that Hel will play an important role in Ragnarök. As mentioned in the Nifelheim overview there is some greyness in terms of differentiation between Nifelheim and Helheim, but in the Vafþrúðnismál (the third poem in The Poetic Edda)  states that it is the place that evil men pass through to die again in Nifelheim.

It is also  the place where all men, who were not warriors and did not end up in Valhalla (the feasting hall of the dead), were decreed to go and condemned to a grim death by Hel. The myths connected to Hel and Helheim spread into cultural traditions, and loved people were buried near to their homes to keep a connection, and those who were cruel were buried far away. Their families fearing they might become the walking dead. In relation to the life/death dynamic there is even some evidence that some thinkers believed there was no life after death. In the Hávamál, for instance it states:

Wealth dies, kinsmen die, a man must like-wise die: but fame never dies, for him who achieves it well (Allan: 135)

You can find the full Hávamál text here

.

.

.

1. Odin’s Consultation with the Völva

Baldr’s draumar  is another Eddic poem from within The Poetic Edda which tells the story of Odin’s ride to Hel investigating Baldr’s nightmares. (Baldr is the son of Odin and Frigg and is married to Nanna with a  child Forseti.  Baldr is responsible for the construction of the most wonderful ship known to man called the Hringhorni.   You can find out more about Baldr in the Nidavellir overview. )

The story goes that Odin, travels to Hel to find the grave of a Völva (sybil) so that he can resurrect her and questions her about Baldr’s future. She reveals Baldr’s fate: that Höðr (his brother) will kill him, but Vali  (one of his other brothers) will avenge him.

Apart from this description Baldr is known primarily for the story of his death. His death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarök. Baldr will be reborn in the new world, according to Völuspá.

In Gylfaginning, Baldur is described as follows:

Annar sonur Óðins er Baldur, og er frá honum gott að segja. Hann er svá fagr álitum ok bjartr svá at lýsir af honum, ok eitt gras er svá hvítt at jafnat er til Baldrs brár. Þat er allra grasa hvítast, ok þar eptir máttu marka fegrð hans bæði á hár og á líki. Hann er vitrastr ása ok fegrst talaðr ok líknsamastr. En sú náttúra fylgir honum at engi má haldask dómr hans. Hann býr þar sem heita Breiðablik, þat er á himni. Í þeim stað má ekki vera óhreint
The second son of Odin is Baldur, and good things are to be said of him. He is best, and all praise him; he is so fair of feature, and so bright, that light shines from him. A certain herb is so white that it is likened to Baldr’s brow; of all grasses it is whitest, and by it thou mayest judge his fairness, both in hair and in body. He is the wisest of the Æsir, and the fairest-spoken and most gracious; and that quality attends him, that none may gainsay his judgments. He dwells in the place called Breidablik, which is in heaven; in that place may nothing unclean be
 Brodeur’s translation

In Baldrs Draumar, the sybil replies:

Here stands brewed the mead for Balder,

shining cups with shields for cover,

but the Sons of the Gods must suffer anguish….

(Ellis Davison: 185)

.

You can find the whole of the Gylfaginning here

.

Odin's Last words to Baldr

Odin’s Last words to Baldr

 

2. Odin’s Ride to Ransom Baldr

Baldr dies (see Nidavellir overview. )  and Frigg once again asks Odin to go to Helheim and entreat Hel to let him come back. He travels through ice and wind, crossing  the Gjoll torrent (which separates the living from the dead) via a golden- roofed bridge. Hel agrees that Baldr can come back only if everyone and everything agrees to weep for him. All things do weep for him: trees, stones, animals all except Thokk/ Þökk (who is thought to be Loki in disguise) ensuring that Baldr cannot return. In so doing Baldr has to remain in Hel; not to be released until after Ragnarök. Baldr and Höðr would then be reconciled and rule the new earth together with Thor’s sons.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.

4. Ragnarök and Helheim

As Ragnarök unfolds an axe age, a sword age, a wind age and a wolf age reek havoc over the world.  Midgard is ridden with wars for three winters and fathers kill sons. A most ferocious  winter (Fimbulvetr)  covers Midgard. Three winters in succession will manifest with no summers in between.  The children of the giantess in the Iron Wood declaim themselves and the wolf Sköll  swallows the sun whole in his jaws, splattering Asgard with blood. His brother Hati  mangles the moon within his mouth, and the stars disappear.

The earth begins to shudder, mountains shake, and rocks roll, and Fenrir runs free.  Eggther, the watchman of the giants,  strums his harp. A red cock called Fjalar crows waking the warriors in Vallhala every day. A golden-combed cock crows to the gods, and a  red rust cock raises the dead in  Hel. The Midgard serpent writhes in anger, and high seas come in. Loki, free from his fetters sails the high seas towards Vigrid from the North with a deathly crew from Hel. The world is in uproar, and the Yggdrasil Tree trembles , and the gods take arms within Valhalla and March toward Vigrid/Vígríðr, (a large field which hosted a battle between the gods and the forces of Surt).

Odin rides upfront, and in the end Fenrir  swallows Odin and he dies.  Vidar/Víðarr (Odin’s son) kills Fenrir in return. Surt lets flames fly and Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim and Nifelheim become furnaces burning to ashes. The nine realms burn and the gods die, men and women die, and elves and dwarves, monsters and animals die. The earth sinks into the sea.

BUT out of the dying earth a new one is born out of  ‘water, fair and green’.  (Crossley-Holland: 173-175).

.

Themes, Relevance and Questions:

.

Life,  Death and Transition: It could be said that Nifelheim and Helheim in combination represent a very powerful symbol of transition (from life to death and vice versa). Viewed in conjunction with Ragnarök, this makes for a very strong articulation of the force of life and rebirth.   Where through a conflict and a realignment of moralities life comes forth again ‘fair and green’, with dark forces in hand once again.

Through the creation of the figure of Hel we can see a centre and symbol of moral judgement has been created:  one that allows us to question what is right or wrong, and who is condemned and who is not ( exactly as Hel does). The sifting through that Hel undertakes as men pass through Nifelheim  (judging their morality and position in life) could be seen as a parallel to the sorts of judgements  many people and leaders and figures in power make today. To look at the role of transition and rebirth within the realms of Helheim and Nifelheim , I think can well serve anybody wishing to understand the nature of moral judgement and freedom.

 Exploration Point: What transitions of power can you see in play within these realms and their stories, and how could they be used to reflect upon modern contemporary life? 

 

Things of Interest:

.

1.  The Relevance of Norse Myths in the School Curriculum:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10622293/Get-your-fill-of-Norse-myths-before-Hel-freezes-over.html

.

 2.  Filmpoem: Sonatorrek (Loss of Sons)

.

.

A filmpoem by Alastair Cook of John Glenday’s ‘The Lost Boy’, a poem after Egill Skallagrímsson’s Sonatorrek *.

http://www.asnc.cam.ac.uk/resources/mpvp/?author=2

.

* Egill Skallagrímsson/ Egil Skallagrimsson(c. 904 – c. 995) was a Viking-Age poet, warrior and farmer.

.

Egil Skallagrimsson

Egil Skallagrimsson

.

3. ‘In Old Norse mythology, poetry is a slippery substance….’ 

http://www.asnc.cam.ac.uk/resources/mpvp/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/An-Anthology-of-Responses-to-Skaldic-Poetry.pdf

.

4. Sculptor:  Asmunder Sveinsson

.

.

Who was born in 1893, and drew inspiration from The Prose Edda for some of his work.

See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81smundur_Sveinsson

Reykjavik Art Museum, of which one part is dedicated to Sveinsson

.

 Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

.

Rubai

The rubai (plural rubaiyat) is a Persian verse form. Each rubai stanza is a quatrain, in which lines 1, 2 and 4 all rhyme.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Light, Thousand, Knowledge, Capital, Fingers, Stars, Deep, Hate, Forest, Broken

.

To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Helheim realm is Thursday 16th April 2015.

 .

 Thank you so much for your interest.

.

References

 Allan, T (2010) Vikings, The Battle at the End of Time, London: Watkins Publishing

Crossley-Holland, K (1993) The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings, London, Penguin Books

Ellis Davidson, H.R. (1990) Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, Penguin Books

Hollander, L.M. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Austin: University of Texas Press

Larrington, C. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Oxford University Press

Sturluson, S. (2005) The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. Jesse L. Byock

%d bloggers like this: