April 23, 2006

Gjallarhorn: Sjofn

Spring is here and now! The early morning sun is now lighting up my northern windows, a sure sign that the sun is in the northern hemisphere. We had normal rainfall this season, with unusually heavy April showers. The wild flower show this year should be as breathtaking as it was last year. The Baby Blue Eyes and the tiny pink and white flowers (I have no name for them yet) are aleready carpeting my yard. The Lupines and Poppies should follow soon.

The coming of Spring is heralded across all cultures around the world - Holi in India, Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) in Japan, Novruz in Azerbaijan... And I had the right CD for the occassion - Sjofn by Gjallarhorn. According to the insert, "Sjofn is an ancient Nordic goddess who awakens love and passion between people. She is the guardian of this recording where the lyrics feature meetings between lovers of both a human and spiritual kind."

Suvetar / Goddess of Spring
Suvetar, fine matron
Arise to see the seeds
Raise the matron's corn
So that we may spared pain

Manutar, matron of the Earth
Lift up the shoots from the ground
New shoots from the stumps
So that we may be spared pain

Feed us with honey-hearts
GIve us honey-drink
Delicious honey-grass
On a blossoming knoll

You have shining silver
You have glistening gold
Rise up, O maiden
Black from the soil

Underground crone
Most ancient of Nature's daughters
Make the peat shoot forth
And the ground turn over

Underground crone
Most ancient of Nature's daughters
Lift up a thousand seedlings
To reward my efforts

Music: J. Wilhelms
Text: Traditional

Even though I am an atheist, I don't mind the naturalistic conceptualization of gods and goddesses. They are harmless personifications of the laws of nature. I believe that these laws are absolute and nothing exists that supercedes them. Every being and becoming is an expression of these laws. Our pride and prejudice, joy and despair, love and hate, and emotion and reason are the results of their interplay. If these laws were deified and worshipped, and in the process, give rise to joyous dance, music, and festivities, I welcome that, especially the dance, the music, and the festivities. My only hope is that they don't kill each other over whose Sun is superior!

Sjofn is a fusion of Finnish and Swedish traditional music. I liked best the track Su Ru Ruskadirejring, a delightful ballad about a clandestine rendevouz between a miller's daughter and her suitor. Here are some lyrics I found hilarious:

...
Dear miller, have mercy on me
Grind my sackful and take no fee
Take it into my daughter's house
I cannot mill it by this day's light
But when it was dark all around
The sack began to sway and move
O Father, light a candle
I believe there are thieves in the house
O Father, put the candle out
It was the black cat who spied a mouse
But the old woman lying over the stove
Said: When did you ever hear of a cat wearing boots?
--- Music J.Wilhelms · Text: Traditional
The title track is an invocation to the goddess of spring, Suvetar. It's a "Runo song from Karelia. Invocation to welcome the goddess of spring and the fertility of the earth." What could be more appropriate than this invocation for earth's ~4,550,000,000th birthday!
2 comments :
  1. Even the so-called laws of nature are changeable depending on the environment (early nanoseconds of the universe, center of black holes, etc..) Don't get me started on how much these "laws" have evolved as our information about the universe has increased. At this point, the only certain thing is uncertainty. ;)

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  2. divs,
    Does that negate my belief that "these laws are absolute and nothing exists that supercedes them"?

    ReplyDelete

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