Along my path I have been asked about various things that I do when I fight, when I make my weapons and what prepares me to do what I do. Last night I finished up my new axe and was painfully reminded of why I don’t skip steps.
Years ago at Melee Madness, an awesome SCA event that gets held at the closest thing we have to a castle here in Utah, I was awarded a prize, a beautiful axe, and proclaimed the “Meanest mother” for that event. Not in a Motherly sense…in a bad motherfracker sense just so you know. That axe was awesome but using it in steel practice had cracked the haft that came with it (hard woods don’t last long in this sport) and thus sat on my work table needing to be fixed for several months.
I decided to re-haft it with rattan and put my own energy into it so that I could use it in competitions when I wanted to use a punch shield & single handed weapon instead of my halberd. I also wanted to be sure Hannah had something to fight with at ITOC in a week, so I got to work on Sunday.
Everything went smoothly once I got the old haft out. I shaved down my rattan, formed it to fit the head almost perfectly and then got it all stained. I let it cure in the heat of my garage for a full 24 hours and last night I was ready to put my finishing touches on it, knowing I wanted Hannah to have some time with it to get used to the feel. Only I had to work late. So, once I made it home I got to work.
I had everything I needed, I’d done the rune transcription and all I had to do was put it all together! Easy! Or so I thought. Since Hannah was going to be using this weapon I decided not to follow my regular hafting rituals. Normally I rune my own inscription into my weapons as an extension of me, putting part of my energy into it, as I have taken away some of the earth’s energy that it had.
However, I knew this weapon would be used by others, so I inscribed its name instead, therefore letting it carry its own energy to the user. I usually also add a few droplets of blood to the weapon, its a personal thing for me and something I learned from someone who has much more magic inside them than I ever hope to. But because again, I felt that it might interfere with the energy of another user I decided not to. In that very instant that I made the decision not to, my lovely furchild Heimdall, the BattleCat pushes my leather shears off the table and some how manages to carve a nice gash into the tip of my big toe. Then he jumps down, and promptly lays on it, rolling around in it like a wee devil of a beast. For those of you that know me personally, you know I tend to follow the Norse Gods, and I found it quite fitting that the message I got, was in the form of a cat.
Thus, I did end up adding several drops of blood to the weapon (some not by choice), whether it was a message or not, and decided then and there I would never forego a step in my own ritual again. Feline message received, loud and clear. Raven’s Beak feels great in my hands and I can only hope that the energy that went into it, will flow freely for anyone else that wields it. I will also take care when and if that weapon gets used against me, for a weapon will always transfer energy back into its owner…one way or another lol.
I talk a lot about energy. I truly believe in good and bad energy, and that you can transfer that energy from one thing to another. A tradition I learned many years ago from a man I admire greatly taught me that everything in this world gives something up to become another thing. Camric and his crew that were visiting us from Gleann Ahbann burned their shields at the end of an event, returning the energy to the earth. The shields had protected them and given their energy to the bearer and thus that energy was returned. At my squiring ceremony a year later, Camric, who is also known as Green Shield, sent me part of his ducal shield, that had won him two crown tournaments. It was to be burned so that the energy released would protect me, as it protected him. At the time it was the most touching thing a fighter had ever done for me, and I didn’t want to let it go! But when it came time to put that relic in the fire, along with bits of my fighting history and other relics from fighters I knew and cherished, I knew my first personal ritual had been born.
Now, when I retire a shield or a haft is broken, its burned. When I haft a new weapon, bits of it are saved and I burn them at various points when I want to put a little bit of me into the earth. I took shavings from my halberd to Prague this year and burned them in the campfire at our encampment, to add my own bit of magic in a far away land.
I rune my weapons, I engrave my swords. I carry Valkyrie wings into battle, so that I can pass them on to people who have inspired me. I have small bottles of earth, rocks and other natural tokens from my battlefields because I was given a small container of earth from the first battlefield the United States team ever walked on to…and that meant the world to me, so I have carried on that tradition.
Simple things and simple actions, with sentiment behind them mean a lot to me. The tokens I have received from fighters these past few years aren’t expensive or laden with gold, they simply mean something to the giver and to me. That type of tradition, that type of ritual…that type of energy, is what I feel when I talk about magic. They all invoke a spirit of togetherness, of inspiration and of a moment in time that can never be taken away.
So when I create a weapon, or hand sew a garment, or give away a token, its all an extension of me. There is thought, inspiration and yes, even a little bit of magic in everything I do. Its a part of me, a part of who I am…of who I’ve become, because of all those that came before me, of those that inspired me to do more. Who gave a little bit of their magic to make mine stronger and to help me confront the negative we all inevitably have to face in one form or another.
Put good into the world.
Return positive energy to the Earth when you can.
Live a life worthy of inspiring.
Pass on your own magic.