Poem: L’Imprévisibilité ~ Zinaida Hippius (Gippius)

April 11, 2019 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

You can read about her life on the Russiapedia site.


Adventures at the Danish National Museum, Copenhagen

April 10, 2019 | Filed Under History | No Comments

My recent business trip took me to Copenhagen (I know, my job is so rough!), where I was able to visit the Danish National Museum. As you might imagine, it’s rich with Viking history, part of the comprehensive overview of 14,000 years of history covered by the exhibits. It’s big. Really big. I spent an entire Saturday there, and did not see everything. (Which means, of course, I need to go back to Copenhagen!)

The museum has several grave finds, and busts of people re-created from various grave sites. This one has the best jewelry:

Danish National Museum - Bust with beaded necklace

Now *that* is a necklace!

The museum also has some amazing artifacts. The Gundestrup Cauldron, for example:

Gundestrup Cauldron

Gundestrup Cauldron

And the Trundholm Sun Chariot! I have been waiting *years* to see it in person!

Trundholm Sun Chariot

Trundholm Sun Chariot

The room it’s in also has a video exhibit about the myth of the sun, which is interesting—except that the room lights dim for the video every two minutes, so it’s hard to get a good look at the chariot.

The museum shop sells full-size replicas of the Chariot, but they were not quite in my price range. Sigh.

And, of course, helmets. These date from 1000 BCE – 700 BCE.

Someone at Marvel must have seen this one.

There are rooms and rooms full of artifacts of daily life—clothes, dishes, tools, and so forth. And then—the Aurochs from Vig, which is 6 feet/2 meters at the shoulder:

Aurochs from Vig

Aurochs from Vig

Our forebears must have been very brave (and very hungry) to hunt this huge beast using only bows and arrows!

Then, you turn a corner, and —runestones!

There’s no railing, so you can get as close as you wish. It’s difficult to describe how massive they are—not just tall (I’m 5’3’/160 cm, everyone and everything is taller than me), but the sheer density of them is incredible. It’s staggering to think about someone having the skill, patience, and time to create these intricate carvings.

The one disappointing thing was the museum food. In need of a rest for our feet and food for our stomachs, we tried to have lunch at the restaurant. We waited at the “please wait to be seated” sign, and were ignored for rather a while. One of the servers finally gave up when we didn’t go away, and informed us that it was impossible for us to eat there, as it was far too busy, even if we were wiling to wait, there would never be a table. We were directed to the downstairs cafe, which has limited (and unappealing) options—a few pastries, some sandwiches that none of us felt brave enough to try, and an assortment of beverages. We caffeinated, and resumed our adventures, but the museum could do much better about fortifying visitors for long days of viewing exhibits.

However, the museum gift shop made up for it! (Note: the shop does sell its goods on the web, and they ship worldwide, in case you can’t get to Copenhagen just now.) I picked up various treasures to bestow upon friends, as well as a few things for myself.

I am quite pleased with this carved horn needle, a replica from the Oseberg Ship:

Oseberg Ship Needle

Oseberg Ship Needle

And this carved horn spoon and bowl for altar use:

Horn Bowl and Spoon

Horn Bowl and Spoon

As well as this adorable plushie raven! (Pictured here with two friends, destined for my friend Karen.) How could you resist that face?

Three Plushie Ravens

Three Plushie Ravens

I certainly couldn’t!

The museum has a dual-language website (Danish and English), with photos and information about many of the items in its collection, as well as the special exhibits. If you don’t have a trip to Copenhagen planned, I recommend checking out the museum’s website—it’s not quite like being there, but it’s a good resource to peruse until you get to Copehnagen to see it in person!


Update April 11, 2019: Someone contacted me, asking that I not promote the museum due to its treatment of staff (laying off a large number of them) and concerns about its current director. I think it’s important to support the institution, and address the issues around the people who run it. I am leaving the post up, because I want people to know about the museum, and I am also encouraging people to do their own research about Rane Willerslev, the director. If people feel that Willerslev is not a suitable director for the museum, they can contact the museum to state their opposition to his employment at the museum. I have my opinion and have expressed it to the museum, but my view on the situation may not match the opinion of everyone who reads this post.


Poem: Lettering ~ Paige Foster

April 5, 2019 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

~ Paige Foster

Perhaps it is a sort of nostalgia,
this wistful feeling
that blossoms like wet ink on the page
every time I come across your handwriting
in an old book.

(I’ve been thinking about David Palladini most of the week, and this perfect poem came up last night.)


Poem: Evening Ebb ~ Robinson Jeffers

April 4, 2019 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a poem! While it might not be every day, I will be posting poems again as part of my devotions to Hela.


Evening Ebb
~ Robinson Jeffers

The ocean has not been so quiet for a long while; five nightherons
Fly shorelong voiceless in the hush of the air
Over the calm of an ebb that almost mirrors their wings.
The sun has gone down, and the water has gone down
From the weed-clad rock, but the distant cloud-wall rises. The
ebb whispers.
Great cloud-shadows float in the opal water.
Through rifts in the screen of the world pale gold gleams, and the
Star suddenly glides like a flying torch.
As if we had not been meant to see her; rehearsing behind
The screen of the world for another audience.


David Palladini: An Appreciation

April 1, 2019 | Filed Under History, Things I Think About | No Comments

Dear David,

Today would have been your 73rd birthday. You left this world, and the people who love you, just a few weeks ago, but it feels like an eternity.

I had hoped to have one more visit with you, one more chance to hold your hand and see you smile, while I tell you again how much I love you, for yourself, for the beauty you brought into this world, and for the dramatic effect your work has had on my life.

I remember that day, so long ago, me as a young girl, being allowed into the store I was not legally old enough to be in, so that I could choose a Tarot deck. I remember first seeing the box for The Aquarian Tarot, its glossy black surface a dramatic contrast to the face of the box. As an Aquarius, I was delighted to find something named Aquarian, and felt that the deck had been created just for me. None of the other decks were of the slightest interest; the Aquarian had captured my attention.

As I became familiar with the deck, your art captured my imagination, and my heart. The deck was my only deck for years and years; despite being given other decks as presents, I never bonded with any of them the way I instantly connected to the Aquarian.

Fast forward to 2010, and my receiving an email from Michael Orlando Yaccarino, asking if I would be interested in speaking with you, which was beyond any possibility I had ever imagined. I cannot adequately describe the combination of nervousness and excitement as I waited for the phone to ring with your call. You were every bit as charming as I expected, and even more delightful than I had hoped.

Then you kindly graced us with more of your time to record a podcast with me and RoseRed in May of 2010, and then—wonder of wonders!—we were able to meet in person that summer. A lovely lunch with you and RoseRed at the Sherman Library and Gardens, made all the more wonderful by basking in your presence for hours, with no interruptions or outside concerns. You spoke to us further about the book you’d read an excerpt from on the podcast, and I was thrilled when you agreed that Tarot Media Company could publish The Journal of an Artist.

Then, in 2012, I received a call from Stuart Kaplan, congratulating me on the publication of The Journal of an Artist, and suggesting that we do a book on your Tarot art. I was speechless with delight at the prospect of writing a book with you on this deck that was such a part of my life. Letters and phone calls, and meetings at the lovely Sherman Library and Gardens to work on the manuscript, were highlights of my year as we worked together. And thus, Painting the Soul: The Tarot Art of David Palladini came into the world in 2014.

Never did that young girl in 1972 imagine that she would ever meet the amazing artist and incredible man whose work spoke to her, even as young as she was. Never did she imagine that her love of art and affinity for Tarot would take her all over the world, meeting wonderful people and having incredible adventures. Never did she imagine that she would share time, bread, and wine, with the artist and man who seemed to know her so well, even before they ever met, and who gave her the heartfelt gift of his art.

David, you were a gift to this world, and through the gift of your art, made a place for yourself in the world, and in the hearts of all who view your art, and whose souls are enlightened, comforted, and guided by the wisdom you instilled into your work.

Know that you are loved by many, and find comfort in the knowledge that your work has made boundless, positive differences to the lives of countless people, through its beauty, honesty, and depth.

I offer you my infinite gratitude, my deep appreciation, and my unending love for you.

You truly painted the soul, my dear David, and I thank you, from the bottom of my soul, for all that you have given to the world, and to me.

Anastasia Haysler and David Palladini, Sherman Gardens, Corona del Mar, CA July 19, 2010

There will be a private service for the family; no other memorial is planned. If you would like to do something to honor David’s life and work, make art and support artists by buying their work and sharing it widely.

You can also donate to the Pratt Institute (his alma mater), and designate the funds for an art student scholarship, and make the contribution in David’s memory.


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