"I am one of single loneness
Whose ever present knowing
Does not allow mortals to share
If in sharing these mortals vary."
Carolin newly aroused from dormant state knelt on unyielding dendritic stone, her youthful lover, Baldr in gentle spiralling ascent rising up beyond her gaze. His voice a whistling, howl within her mind linking him to her.
She knew around her waist were threads bearing precious runes and round her arms another four with different powers were bound. Four precious runes, four lesser powers; but why?
Now mixed within the chant and howl a resonant calming voice " Look down, look around your waist, the runes are to protect you in your quest." Carolin turned her eyes from crystal sky to the glowing threads around her.
She knew these runes and their meaning without having seemed to learn them. They were part of her, a distant past, a memory learned so long ago that they were deeply buried. Runes that in their total meaning formed a song once used in Pythias for maidens of the Delphic oracle.
|Birth amongst fire protected from harm, healing mind of maiden damaged by man.|
|Hagla!Thaurisaz! Two dual runes offering protection in this effective harmless charm.|
|Hagla! Algiz! Runes of mind uniting to protect the user from thoughts of harm.|
|Pertho meaning birth. Rune of things to come that by being first will end in the form of woman.|
The voice within the howl condensed once more to state, "The lesser powers you do not know but use in artful choice recalling magic arts youve lost."
She could see the runes bound round her arms and knew their name and basic chant but nothing more stirred within her mind.
|Isaz rune of waves and bridge whose role it is to calm the sea.|
|Mannaz makes speech a flame giving man humanity.|
|Sowelo a victory rune returning unharmed weary warriors.|
|Gebo the joy of sexual married act and also generosity.|
Carolin felt the presence of Baldrs howling voice singing in her mind "Now take Isaz as your first. Take the rune of waves and sea. Begin where it must end!"
Isaz glows to guide her course, its strength a beacon showing closeness to her end. Down halls and passage of laden drapes it guides in her selection. Each drape responds to her passing. The threads of history resonate to Isaz bringing into softly glowing patches the tales and legends of the sea. But none is strong. Not yet. For in these drapes are tales of Napoleon and Nelson still far removed from where she knows her destiny is determined.
Back now past Columbus and southern voyagers back to the dominators of the sea. These are the corridors of time held in the depths of each and every mind. Through these corridors going back halls of Nornish drapes holding mans memory, his history. Back to Snorri and his fate upon a storm tossed craft. The glow strengthens to gold as Carolin nears the tapestry, a tapestry of sail-like shape and grey-green textures of the sea.
Carolins threads are also in tune, the nearness causing Isaz to change. Isaz glow becomes a fiery white, throbbing on her arm, while around her waist she feels a matching pulse. Thaurisaz, this rune of protection for the Gods, this rune of magic powers responds. In tune with the howls and with the nearness of the sail the thread glows brilliant yellow. Thaurisaz! The rune whose strength locks out womans magic powers.
The howl within, the streaming wind, these are not abating. Joined now by another howl, a stormy gale; waves crashing down in chilling beat slowing, stopping Carolins approach. She is now within sight of Snorri. He stands there and she can feel his presence becoming physically real.
"The carpets glow brings him to life but why? What am I meant to do?" Desperate questions directed by Carolin to herself and to those within. Not only was Snorri becoming real but the boat and crew were taking form around her, the drape now lying on the deck a glowing, wet, bedraggled sail.
Snorri Sturluson, Lawspeaker, Icelander, violent and unpleasant man, clung in clenched fist anger, waiting for his end. Lawspeaker, once and coming leader of his parliament should not be subject to this. The sea howled in groaning, shrieking tones, the wind crushed him wetly down.
"My dream sensed the Icelander dying but Snorri didnt die at sea." Carolin recalled.
"There is an error in my dream if he didnt die. Am I a real time-traveler in this universal mind or merely a false visionary?
"False visionary is the easy answer to explain the error. And then it doesnt matter if the paradox lies unresolved.
"But if I am a traveler then the dream must be real. Is my purpose here designed to align the dream to reality; to have Snorri snatched from the sea? Am I meant to meddle with Snorris fate, change what happens in the world so it fits my dream?
"But maybe not! Perhaps the purpose is to change the dream. To have my words made into his and change his sense of dying. To use the thread to change my mind so history is unaltered. But changing dreams means it proves that I am a false visionary.
"Can both dream and history hold true? Can I have seen what I saw and history be the same? Is there perhaps a different view that allows for this duality?
The ship of Carolins dream is now confused. It is as though she is there upon Snorris longboat but here within the palace still.
Upon Snorris deck of heaving beams she slips, the streaming brine, a seething, black-grey, menacing brine, hissing through the broken shafts. The soaring wall of chilling sea crashes down upon her fallen form washing her away from dream-seen, briny Snorri. Her hands retain no grip upon the rail, the dripping streaming wind-howled rail that holds her to the ship.
Once more she rises to her feet. His eyes, Snorris eyes, pleading for her saving thread. The twisting sea-wet deck demands a strength her legs do not possess. Leaning hard into the wind, her hair-lashed face wet with sea-filled tears. The timbers crack, debris shatters to the deck offering no assistance. Twisted debris on the deck, tossed by wind and scouring sea.
Two themes Carolin can now discern in amongst discordant howls. Snorris howl and that of Baldr. Snorris words she already knows for she has heard them once before.
"Listed lost, long lists of heroes, Vikings, pagan warriors. Lost in seas alike to this, on nights like this, chantless as this, sundered, rendered as this, this abysmal Norse abyss."
And overwritten words from Baldr.
" Twisted, tossed! Wrong twists upon pagan Viking warriors. In dreams like this, no right to this, this falsely rendered history of his, amiss to come as Norse past bliss turns to abysmal chilled abyss."
And her Baldrs words to her as they parted are entwined amongst the howls.
"Do not remove the threads around your waist and arms for any other man. Hear me, listen for me, listen carefully, for howl I must and you must pick the proper tone."
And added to it new sounds that are truly his.
"Look to see what is true before you cast your thread. Look for meaning and do not flirt with fate."
She had not looked upon the sail, cast crumpled on the deck. But now she does.The sail, the drape, that glowed with strength as though waiting for her thread. A blanket of Icelandic destiny woven by the Norns. The golden strength of Snorris life brought to radiance by Carolins presence. And in almost blinding white the weaving of his tale of passage. And the threads are true as they had always been. There is no space or warp needing a correction. The seas upon this historic weave are calm, the sailing true and straight. The tale within this glowing cloth shows Snorri didnt die at sea.
Carolin confronted the challenge this new evidence placed upon her quest: "Then what is this, this howling rage, these beating winds and chilling seas? What is the death I feel as part of this my Snorri vision? If I am not here to change his fate why am I here at all?"
Snorris howling voice is stronger here as though the dream is not big enough to hold it. The howling voice has no link to history, it comes from the ghostly form hung upon the tree. Snorris form! Snorris ghost! With clenched fists he hung in howling rage locked into spots he sought to change. He hung upon this tree.
"You are not the historic Snorri " Carolin yells back in triumph at Snorri "You are an image of our common minds. You are the image left when Snorri hung upon this tree."
With history confirmed by the woven sail of the Norns, Carolin is freed. Free to see that this Snorris hands are clenching two spots upon the tree. Free to see that they are all fellow travellers in the mind! Time-travellers! Snorri, Carolin and her Baldr! Free to strip the image of ship, crew and sea from the mind-hung Snorri.
And with understanding of place Carolin now sees the meaning of the storm. It is an allegory for Iceland in the fourteenth century.
Snorri hanging by his arms on this windswept tree. Snorri Icelander in howling rage at the fate of his beloved land. Iceland! Greenland! Snorris peoples pleasant lands, new lands formed in long centuries of earthly warmth when nature was benevolent. Greenland destined to die and Iceland to suffer long lasting storms.
The storms are seas and wind crashing down across Icelandic coasts, the breaking ship is the destruction of his ancient culture. His curse directed to new learnt habits of his once pagan people. His anger is in knowing changes underway cannot allow a return to the golden past. Snorris curse is a blaming curse linking cultural change to disasters he foresees.
Snorri, mind-traveler, hung on the tree reading minds of ancient Norse but hanging there he became aware that in a generation the earth would suffer change. Snorris mind hung within that tree, that is the vision of Carolin. Her dream, this dream, relates to Icelands fate rather than the mans.
Carolin knew this interpretation to be true. It was true of Germany and therefore true of Iceland. Twenty years after Snorris death, in 1250 it had begun, a chilling of the earth, storms and ice that swept all of Europe. A chilling that killed the grain and most other crops, starving people used to centuries of constant warmer weather patterns. For a hundred years or more the chilling of the earth persisted. A little Ice Age where winter was more violent and summer less predictable. A century of time when only barley could thrive, leaving hungry people to gnaw the bark of trees.
Snorri, mind-traveler saw into the future and knew his spots in time were wrongly chosen. His howls of rage drawn from a mind tormented by a dreadful future vision. A vision of his countrys demise, rendered by the foreseen storms. Foreseen ice creeping southwards sinking hopes of Icelandic warriors, long list of sailors, lost at sea in times like this where the landscape blends with ice.
And Carolin knows the visions truth, its meaning crystal clear in this, the palace of the mind. Her mind and Snorris linked as he hung or hangs upon this tree. She is not here to save Snorri, his fate is already set and with this fate she need not flirt. She is here to travel minds and Snorris mind is part of that. It is not the sea, the wind, the death, but her act of memory. Snorri is the link; his work a record of the ancient art of poet-aided mnemonics.
Now with this clear within her thoughts she focuses on her task "So where then lies the secret? Who does it serve, this Isaz thread?
"It lies in little errors and their correction, thats what all this suggests. It seems to be calling Go back Carolin, go forward Carolin. Review it in your mind."
In her dream Snorri said:
"I say it twice as mariners star aids do!"
Snorris words spoke of the stars he would encode into his verse. It implied his use of Arabic names to match his Nordic past.
To these words Carolin had recalled an echoing runic code:
But Carolin had heard the rhythmic sound and turned Snorris message into symbolic runes. Runes that in one form of meaning state "Sea calmer, who protects the Gods, use the sound of my words to fulfil this journey". Isaz the sea calmer heard in "I say", Tiwaz the protector of the gods heard in "twice" and Mannaz Raido derived from the remainder.
The answer now lies in Carolins grasp. "This then is the meaning of the thread revealing who it serves.
"It does not serve Snorri. Not him, the poet who defines the older rules using sound so it became a code. A code of oral tradition that helps bring back what must be known; the secrets of the stars, the history of those now gone, the way and time to sow the fields. Not Snorri, whose rules of poetry set out traditional ways of learning, where stressed sounds serve as marks in memory to hold the facts for those who have the mind to see.
"Not Snorri, poet hung upon this crystal tree. But Snorris mind where I can find a secret lost to me. A secret lost but now revealed by linking sounds to runes. This Isaz thread is not to alter fate but to relearn what was once mine, a secret magic of the mind.
"The thread is mine and it is me, Carolin Krug, Isaz is meant to serve. Isaz rune of sea and bridge now enact your weaving art. I place the thread upon the bridge, place it across my nose. I create the bridge by touching one end to my mouth and the other to my ear. Let the threads of history now be properly set."
Now Carolin feels her power increase whilst two threads slowly disappear. Thaurisaz is fading first. Thaurisaz, used by Baldr to protect Carolin, to drive her from a hasty placement. Thaurisaz, used to send crashing waves that pounded Carolin to the ground. Thaurisaz, the rune of magic powers that whilst protecting Gods, locks out the magic art of women. Thaurisaz from around her waist; Thaurisaz is gone. Isaz too. The rune of waves no longer around her arm, fading into nothing and as it fades Carolins mind reawakens.
Carolin is more vulnerable now Thaurisaz protective charm diminished but she now knows her past, remembers arts held in the mind; the magic of the oral word. The young womans destiny is now in tune with her history. The thread and cloth are one. At some point in her physical life, in recalling dreams of Snorri, she is destined to find she knows the meaning of the runes.