Raven left
Middle
Raven right

Through all the years of my research into the Wihtwara, their lives, culture and spirituality, I was not able to see, feel and know the richness of their artistry and technical brilliance through their artefacts. Until now

The Chessell hoard, first discovered in 1867 is one of the largest ever discovered and ranks among those like the Sutton Hoo. Yet all these treasures of the island were spirited away. Excavated by George Alexander Hillier in 1855 and was bought in its entirety by the Rt Hon. Lord Ortho Augustus Fitzgerald

Acquired by the British Museum, our Jutish treasures have wandered around the country and even abroad in museum exhibitions. It has taken 150 years for any islander to see them

Although the exhibition is very small, (still very many artefacts stay boxed up in some dark room in the British Museum) what is on view is stunning

With this personal journey, I wanted to bring our Ancestors alive, so I am including passages from the Wihtwara Trilogy™.

Enjoy

Bletsunga Beorhte

(Bright Blessings)

Banner Exhibition

Museum Buildings

CARISBROOKE CASTLE MUSEUM

square head broach

Square-headed-brooches

Clothes in Anglo-Saxon/ Jutish England were fastened with pins or brooches. These brooches could be highly decorative and include a complex mix of animals and faces that had symbolic meanings.

Gilt bronze square-headed brooch, late 6th century

Two miniature square-headed brooches, 6th century

This is the year when everything changed in and around us all. We will never be the same. Soul breaking incalculable losses of life. Compassion and heroic acts abound all around us. We are waking up to a new life, one bound by simple acts of love. Everyday we are seeing Love in Action and great mourning for those who have passed.

May we all grow in love and compassion.

April 6th 2020

rune wheel

The museum is now closed to the public. The exhibition is also housed on the top floor and is inaccessible to anyone physically challenged.

So, my hope is that this small contribution will be enjoyed by absolutely everyone

I will continue to campaign for a  dedicated purpose-built heritage centre that fulfils the requirements for all our community. And that this centre will at last exhibit the wonders our Wihtwara Ancestors created.

A Pair of Square Headed Brooches


Gold Bird Brooch

 

Gilt silver brooch from Chessell Down

Late 6th century

Animals were an important part of Jutish and Anglo-Saxon religious beliefs. Birds often decorated warrior’s helmets and would also feature  in women’s jewellery. This brooch has a garnet eye and incised plumage. It was most likely from the grave of a child.

 

 Shiny brooch




Excerpt from The Wihtwara™

Chapter 42

Þæt Cynelíc Æwnung: The Royal Marriage

©Copyright 2020

    I smoothed down the layers of gossamer fabric, the weaving women had created for my hand-fasting.  Eileifer had equally beautiful garments sewn for him. The day became a stunning affair, after storm clouds came, and then just as suddenly disappeared. Eileifer said it was Thunor coming to bless us, and I knew, after remaining so close to Wōden, to be completely true.

    I marvelled at their skill, those lovely, quiet, dedicated women, who gave their service to others in the dark weaving lodge. They prayed as they wove the threads into garments and kept alive the Wyrd Rapas for us all. And so, they had done this for me also, for I felt the energy bristling as I moved. They had spun the most delicate hemp thread I had ever seen. These were soaked in urine, vinegar to whiten them and make them more pliable. Added to that were the lemons, they must have coaxed from the Rōmãnisc.  Then, they dipped the threads in a woad bath for various times, creating a waving sea of blue. Weaving it together, they created these small waves after wave.  As I moved, they floated into each other, and came alive. They knew how much I loved the sea, from the first moment of arriving here as a small child, I ran into the rolling waters and stayed there until my skin had wrinkled like Ealdmōdor’s parchment hands.

    Sewn into the cloth, edging the bottom, neck and sleeves were hundreds of tiny garnets and sea pearls radiating outwards and upwards to form a glistening sunset on the sea of gossamer cloth. I had chosen to keep the suevian knot in my hair, tied tight and hanging to my left, which had nearly reached my breasts, how much my hair had grown during my Watching.

    I reached over to grab my waist belt I always carried, with pouch and drycrǽft tools. I suddenly felt a hand grab me gently to pull the belt away. I turned to see Eileifer in full Cyngly robes and the most beautiful royal garments I had never seen. And he completely took my breath away, leaving me staring wordlessly at him. He had grown in stature. There was Wōden’s blood coursing through every vein, and that power manifested the God himself, before my eyes. This was the rightful Cyng of our people. Not the shy deprecating horse-talker whose dimpled smile melted my heart. This was altogether a different man before me.

    “Dagrun,” he whispered, “Please do not wear this belt on this day of all days. It is a mark of your life now past. And it spoils the skill and drycrǽft of all the women’s work.”

    “And you are the most magnificent woman in Wihtland” he added, pulling me close to him, and kissing my hair, my face and neck. I pulled away, laughing, “Hold off now! You will disassemble a whole morning’s work!”

    The women waiting to fuss over me some more, burst into a chorus of giggling, whereupon Eileifer retreated smiling, slowly shaking his head the way he does when bested by a gentler force he cannot compete with.  

Silver and garnet keystone disc brooch from Shorwell, c.550-600

 

This brooch has “keystone” shaped garnets, probably sourced from Asia. Each is backed by a hatched piece of gold foil to make them sparkle. The spaces between the garnets appear to be decorated with the shapes of animals.

 

(IWCMS 2010.T524) 

 

“ This beautiful brooch became magical for me upon that first glimpse, as one of the gold foiled garnets caught the light and shone out so powerfully, I felt a spiritual connection. It became an anchor to the soul, and pulled me back to revisit several times, before Covid 19 put a stop to so much. The artistry is truly exceptional.”

Garnet Flower jule

 

 Disc brooches

Circular brooches like these were popular in Jutish and early Anglo-Saxon England. They could be simply decorated with a geometric pattern or more ornamented with inlaid garnet or glass

 

Matching Disks 


Personal Grooming

 

Personal grooming items like these are found in graves, perhaps symbolising the rebuilding of the body after its burial.

 

Bronze tweezers, 5th-6th century

Bronze cosmetic scoop, 6th century

Bone comb, 5th-6th century

 

(IWCMS: 890.3)

 

Decorative ornaments

Gold and glass cabochon pendant, c, 600 – 700

Gold bracteate (Medal) c. 500-550

Copper-alloy gilt button brooch, c. 450-550

 

IMCS 2014 T586, 2008T127, IWCMS: 138.5.1, 2017T808

Sword Fittings

 

Gold beaded wire strap mount, c 575-625

Silver gilt pyramidal sword strap mount, 600

Gold pyramidal mount from sword belt, 620

 Silver gilt sword ring, 410-600

Gilt sword ring. c 450-650

 

(IWCMS 2005 T116, 2005 T561, 2002 T544, 2013 T388)

Comb Gold Medal Pyramidal

Coin on Ivy 

Silver Sceatta coins

 

By the 7th century, the first Anglo-Saxon/ Jutish coins began to be produced including silver sceattas. These were decorated with a diverse range of designs with over a hundred types catalogued. Design on the coins included human figures, animals, birds, crosses, plants and monsters.

 

 

Late Anglo-Saxon/Jutish coins

 

Coins can reveal the trading and commercial routes of Anglo-Saxon/ Jutish communities. Towards the end of the Anglo-Saxon/Jutish period, the use and circulation of coins became more widespread.

 

Æthelred 11 silver coin minted in Winchester

Æthelred 11 silver coin minted in London

Brooch adapted from a silver Æthelred 11 coin minted in York.

(IWCMS:512.1IWCMS:1456.1)

 

East meets West

THE SILK ROAD

 “The Romans gave us straight roads. It was their consummate skill coupled with obsessive tendencies that opened the Silk Road to the Western world. The trade routes were incredible, both over land and sea. And it was not just exquisite goods and artefacts that found their way to western shores. Eastern culture and more importantly, Eastern religions arrived with the goods.

When I learnt that Byzantine treasures and goods from Antioch had found their way to Wihtland, my excitement grew. The Silk Road had even reached Britannia! It is now accepted that the migration of the Suevii from their homelands in the Cimbric Peninsular to Britannia was much earlier than history has told us and that they were established in Britannia and Wihtland at the time of the Romans.

They would have handled and known the Byzantine treasures. They may have been curious and searched for more, finding the sacred and spiritual meanings of Eastern religions. The ancient wisdom from the Silk Road became accessible.”

 

Excerpt from Berandinzium Villam™

Chapter 36, Mercury’s Raven villam

© All rights reserved

Eyvindr felt free, the libertus had taken full root in his soul. The Telling had gifted him back shards of lost spirit. His actions vindicated, his injury was at last honoured and in some way healed. He knew it would open and bleed again in the future, and he would contain it as best he could. What he did not expect, honestly surprising him, was the difficulty he felt towards pretence. He was a scōp, a storyteller and an actor. Yet now in this present moment, his one task was to live a lie, pretend to be the Roman and surveyor of villams under his scrutiny. He could not care less about the villams, and even less about Mithras and his attainment of initiation that placed him close to the fourth level.

He had lengthy discussions with Dagrun, who was now with her world and her beloved son again. She had attained more knowledge of Eastern religions, the veneration of the planets and of very ancient gods, than any of her Wihtwara relatives. Her deep friendship with Venitouta had gifted her this rare knowledge. Eyvindr always turned to his older sweostor on most things esoteric and now thanks to her, he felt the jarred edges of two ancient spiritual ways were conjunct. He had to feel confident enough to persuade his fellow initiates in the Mithræum of the similarities and not the differences.

 “It is a pure matter of reflection, brōðor,” she had said, smiling and taking hold of his hand, “the Wihtwara have always held a deep and wise understanding of our Earth Mother and all the workings here upon Her. And, her relations with Sunni, Mōnã, Thunōr, Wōden and Yggdrasil and the Nornir. Our eyes seek out the infinitesimal, the Wights and Sprites, for we are bound to Nerthus in this realm. Yet, if we spent more time looking above, we too would get to understand we are reflected in the stars.

“Abrasax holds the 365 realms in his wide vision. And I have been told by Venitouta that we humans hold an abiding relation with this ancient God of Gods, as we have 365 parts to our body. More importantly for you brōðor, Abrasax is aligned with Mithras. The heavens and those stars in the heavens are but a reflection of us in this world as we reflect them. Separation is a human invention against all-natural laws.

“Test that with your Mithraic initiates.”

 

Game Counters 

Ivory counters from Carisbrooke Castle

5th-early 6th century

 

Some Jutish were buried with gaming equipment, indicating what these people may have done for entertainment in their leisure time. These gaming pieces were for a board game like the old English game tafl and reveal the high status of the original owner.

 

(English Heritage, Carisbrooke Castle

88409885 )

 


Skillet

Copper alloy skillet c. 600-800

 

This skillet is one of the most important Jutish/Anglo-Saxon objects ever discovered on the Isle of Wight.

Whilst objects of this type are usually used for cooking, the quality of this piece and the symbolism on the handle suggests it may have been used for spiritual purposes and in ceremony.

There is an incised hole in the centre with concentric rings beautifully engraved on the inside of the bowl.

(WCMS: 2007 OE96)

 

Circle marks

 Excerpt from Berandinzium Villam™

Author’s Note, Pg; 473.

© All Rights Reserved

 

“One day, a piece of archaeological work literally plopped into my inbox. Excavations at Clatterford Villa, Isle of Wight. I owe a debt of gratitude to Malcom Lynne and his team, whose pivotal work at Clatterford exposed and named votive remains and hermetic artefacts definitively showing Eastern religions were indeed practised at the villa and on Wihtland.

“Pines cones are known to be associated with the mystery religions, especially those devoted to the deities of Bacchus and Mithras. The pinecones found at Clatterford villa were used as symbols of immortality. It is known that imported whole pinecones were used as votive offerings in temples. It has been suggested that black shiny materials, such as jet and shale are linked to eastern mystery religions that became popular in the 3rd century A.D.” (Excavations at Clatterford Roman Villa, Isle of Wight, by Malcolm Lynne and the Hampshire Archaeological Group.)

The thirteen-pointed star braecleat, which I have placed at the beginning of each book in this story, is a hermetic artefact of great importance, because it is so ancient and magical. We have been tricked into falsely believing the number thirteen is bad. The Roman Catholic Church has long tendrils, yet thirteen was the number of people in the original Nazarene Last Supper. And thirteen was also the number I have mentioned in the sacred meal celebrated on Mithras’ birthday date of 25th December.

In the occult science of numerology, it is said, “He who under-stands the number 13 will be given power and dominion.” So, in relation to countries and empires, it is no accident that the USA has grabbed the mystic and given this magical number 13 to their flag, with 13 stars, and 13 stripes. On the dollar bill there are 13 steps on the pyramid of the Great Seal. The motto above, Annuit Coeptis has 13 letters. The official birthdate of the United States of America is July the Fourth, containing 13 letters. And so on...

But I believe the significance of this number 13, for our Ancestors was placed heavenwards and astrologically understood. The Romans revered the Sun god, Mithras, or Mithra in his Eastern lineage. The Sun conjoins with the great star of Sirius, whose longitude is 13 degrees Cancer. Sirius is the first-magnitude star that is 40 times brighter than the Sun and is the star that rules all African people. It was venerated in ancient Egypt from time immemorial and was held with great reverence by the ancient Egyptians because it rose heliacally with the Sun at dawn, during the inundation of the life-giving waters to the River Nile.

And even more so, looking to our Pagan roots, we celebrate the solstices and equinoxes governed by the passage of our Moon in 13 weeks x4 which gives us our number of weeks in the year. And lastly, if there were left any doubts to the sacredness of the number 13 in our lives as human beings, the thirteenth letter of the alphabet is M, which finds its roots in the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, “mem”(meaning Mother) and is the ancient Phoenician word for water. The Egyptian word for water is “moo.” M is the most sacred of all the letters, for it symbolizes water, where all life begins.” 

 

… … … … … … … … …

 

“In my opinion, this is no “Skillet”. The concentric rings so precisely incised, and the hole dead-centre offers up intriguing possibilities as to the true use of this beautiful artefact. I will be researching but in the meantime, with respect, I will offer up an “intuitive idea”. Spakōna women used many individual ways of healing. Drýcræft would involve calling in the spirits through sound vocalization and action. It becomes a spiritual ceremony. The power invoked into the healing waters, herbal tinctures accurately measured by those concentric rings and the flow from the small hole, like a sand-timer, would cascade over the injured or as an initiation ceremony, over the initiate. 

The idea that it was a Christian vessel, does not hold water with me. Baptisms, then, involved body immersion.  It was much later that the Baptismal arrived and the sign of the cross on the baby’s forehead came much much later. And may well have been borrowed from the pagan Spakōna.“

Thirteen Pointed Star

The Thirteen-pointed star.

This is missing from the exhibition. It is a sacred votive artefact discovered by Hampshire archaeologist, Malcolm Lynne at Clatterford Villa

The New Gods
Chicken Headed Mosaic

pot_poppy

Small Urn from Carisbrooke Castle

5th century

 

This urn was discovered buried beside three burials at Carisbrooke Castle. Vessels like these were often used to bury cremated remains but this one does not appear to have contained anything. The swastika decoration was often associated with good luck or used as a religious.

 

(English Heritage, Carisbrooke Castle 88409832)

 

Two urns from Bowcombe Down

 

Pottery vessels were made using simple thumb pinching and coil-building methods which had changed little since the Iron age. Vessels could be plain or decorated, depending on their and the status of the owner. Decoration could be applied with incised lines or stamped with geometric patterns.

 

(IWCMS: 1360. 1. IWCMS: 449.19.1)

 

pot in the leaves
Urn in treestump

Glass bead necklass





 
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Beautiful glass jewellery   

Glass Jewellery

 

Women were often buried with domestic objects and tolls, suggesting the importance of their role in the home. To reflect their status in the community, they could also be buried with beautiful and ornate jewellery.

The Anglo-Saxons/Jutes imported from the continent a range of both functional and decorative objects, such as beads and jewellery.

 

Glass beads from Chessell Down, 6th century

Glass armlet from Chessell down, 5th century

Garnet and glass rosette brooch, 6th century

(IWCMS: 138.3)

 

 

 

I was so captivated by the elegance and beauty of these glass jewellery artifacts, I have brought the necklace into a descriptive in the new book being written now, The Wihtwara Dynasty. We join Eyvindr again, as a great - great grandson of Eyvindr Wahl, re-joining his kindred on Wihtland, after many years living in Ytene Weald, ( New Forest). This final book will bring us to  686 AD and the massacre of the Wihtwara.

© 2020 All Rights Reserved - The Wihtwara Trilogy™

 

 

Once on the solid ground of the wharf, Friðusw felt her sea- bound muscles relax, almost rippling with relief. She had not countenanced such a fraught journey with trapped emotions in sway, in all her life. She knew that small sea journey had irrevocably changed everything. Stability she treasured, far too much she admitted silently, was gone. Wyrd and its strange course now ruled her life. She may have lost any hold over her grown sons, but she determined with heightened resolve to guide her daughters to a safe harbour,  in this, their new home.

Sunni had graced the day, being almost mid-day, her height in a cloudless sky reached into many nooks and crannies. With Norðtūn land so built upon, commercially vibrant and housing many more kindred than she ever remembered in the rare times previously visited, Fri0ðswiþ felt momentarily quite exposed. Her spirit knew the countless Hamadryãdes, Wylde Ælfen in Ytene Weald, gracious and otherwise. But these human spirits here, they were overbearing and invasive.

Mud- caked children played tag in the sun, drying their muddy limbs to a soft sheen. Some bore the Suevian knot tied to the side of their heads, and instinctively felt akin to them.  The stretched and dried hog belly served as a kick ball. Young girls clustered in small groups on their knees, playing knuckle bones.

Their mothers and aunts were similarly gathered in small groups, on bales of hay or perched on barrels, exchanging news, or with head bowed over needlecraft. It was market day on Wihtland.

Both Ælfwine and Ælfsw had their eyes out on sticks, veering towards the emporium and trouble.

Dohtors,” Friðusw commanded, “ With me please”, as she made her way towards one group of women. One smiled as she drew hear.

Bletsunga”, Friðuswiþ smiled, “ We are just landed here from Ytene Weald, here to meet Cyng Wihtgils. Have you seen the Cyng?”

The conversation stopped and the sewing suspended in mid-air, “the Cyng”, came the chorused reply.

Nã”, said one woman, “Last we know he was with Cantwara waiting for his beorn to arrive over the Whale Bridge!”

“He rarely graces the lands here”, she added.

Friðuswiþ sighed heavily, “Geðoncian  þú Thank you.. Perhaps you can direct us the women’s cèapian corner?

Three arms shot forward, pointing to the cluster of small hūs at the corner of the walkway to the west.

“you will find all manner of cwèn adornments, the woman with the bright smile offered. “What is your name?” she asked

“Friðuswiþ and these are my dohtors, Ælfwine and Ælfswiþ”.

Wilcume to Wihtland. My name is Hild.”

Friðuswiþ smiled and leant to offer her the Suevi welcome. “Geðoncian þú. I hope we meet again.”

She led the girls away, swerving to avoid clumps of moist, evaporating ox-shit, towards the women’s quarter where shafts of early spring sunlight highlighted the trestle tables with all manner of cloth, skeins of wool. Ælfwine gasped in delight as her eyes captured the glint of coloured glass and enamel adornments.  A necklace of glass beads intricately patterned in colours so sharp, when she held it to the light, it glistened. Friðuswiþ reached inside her tunic for the coin bag strapped to her waist.

“We have nothing to barter”, she said quietly, clinking the coins into Ælfwine’s outstretched hand, “For your handfasting, for whom-so-ever he may be!” The coins had been hastily tempered by Eyvindr on a bronze metal sheet using an old Roman denarii mould. The woman looked down at them sitting in the palm of her hand, and for a few moments Friðuswiþ thought she might throw them back. Then the woman smiled and clutched the coins, nodding appreciatively, “ Gōd, swiðe gōd,  Good, very good!”

Friðuswiþ turned her dohtor around to fix the necklace about her. Ælfwine clutched the necklace and turned to kiss her Mōdor. She noticed the mounting stares of the men sauntering past their little group. The Warinni Wahl women had been granted a double-edged sword in their blood line. A great height coupled with stunning beauty usually awarded them instant respect. But their beauty gave off other signals unconsciously weaving towards lustful men.

“Avert your eyes dohtors, or feel the back of my hand!”, Friduswiþ ordered,” bundling them forward towards the weaving and dying area that was exclusively women only. It was as she looked up, her mouth fell open, halting in her tracks. Both daughters bumped into her as they too looked shocked. Before them, standing one spear-throw away, hands on hips, with his oath-sworn guardians alongside him, grinning almost lewdly, stood the Cyng Wihtgils.

As he strode towards the women, arms swaying in elegant rhythm, he fairly shouted across the short distance.

 “Getenge þín múð mæg, lǽst Ic gehieran mã cwíðan und scriccettan. Close your mouth woman!, lest I hear more wailing and screaming!” On reaching her, Wihtgils clasped her by the shoulders, firmly.

Ælfswiþ burst in, “Mín Cyng, my Mōdor is quiet now. She is herself!”

“HAH! ”Wihtgils threw his tousled head back, roaring with laughter, “ By Freya’s mead cup! You Warinni women are….. Sãwol, giese, Spirited! gōd swiðe gōd!”

Just as they were about to veer off towards some refreshment in the form of large upturned barrels laden with mugs and mead, another third oath-sworn man to the Cyng came pounding towards them shouting, “Þín beorn is feohtean! Your son is fighting. And he is losing!” 

   … … … … … … … … …

 

Glass Armlet



 
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Glass Bulb 
Climb the Sanctuary 
Stonehelm 
I am Twoot 
Rope to Sanctuary 
All Father upside-down 
Rusty Seaxe Blade in the Grass 
Raven on the Armour 
Shield Boss in the Ferns 

I was stunned at the fragility and beauty of the blown glass bowls, after more than twelve hundred years. Just staggering to see these for the first time. I have included them in a very important chapter in the narrative  of the new book. And this incorporates one of our most treasured, yet hitherto unknown “hidden” natural wonder of this sacred Isle.

Woden’s Golden Eye Sanctuary (aka: The Devil’s Chimney)

© 2020 All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Chapter four

Drýcræftig Smiððe ãsmiðian fram mè a gylden gelícnes.

Magically skilled Smithy make of me a golden likeness.

 

 Eyvindr was relieved he had made the decision to split his family on this, the first part of their journey on Wihtland. Friðuswiþ and the girls remained at the Mead hall, much to their delight. The hall attracted a constant flow of visitors from all over the island. Ælfwine and her older sister Ælfsw swanned around with bright smiles and beguiling expressions at most of the young men while Friðuswiþ, losing her sons to the Smiððe could no longer mourn, and became her name Bright Friend.

The morning was crisp, bright with an azure blue sky. As he walked towards the ruins of Berandinzium Villa, flanked by his sons, Eyvindr felt the now accustomed heavy air around him. His Ðriddafæder had come, and no wonder at that he thought. The terrible stories of how Old Eyvindr has survived the cruelty of the Romans had seeped under his skin like tar. Now he felt the real impact of them on himself. The whip lashes and the attacks on his gentle soul. For he knew how sensitive his Ðriddafæder had been.

“We are twin souls are we not Fæder,” he whispered to Old Eyvindr

“Uh what is that Fæder?,” Acca remarked.

Ic geswídian, nothing”, he replied, walking on towards the heavy oak doors that kept the cracked and dirty Corinthian columns from falling over. The portico and colonnade lay in rubble, overgrown and barely visible. Little remained of the limewash walls. But the stairs to the upper level remained and this was to be their quarters until the hūs was built over in the next meadow where the slèan occupied a good space. It was a working smithy, large and so Eyvindr spent little time within the battered walls of the villa. He strode out to inspect the new workplace, knowing he would live there. He needed to leave all the memories dogging him, behind in the terrible edifice of corruption.

Acca and Æsc were unaware of their Fæder’s internal war. They made a fast pace over to the Slèan.

There were two working  foundries’ in fact, occupying the whole area of the meadow beyond the villa and closer to the estuary. Eyvindr screwed his eyes against the strong mid-day sun to see far beyond to Everelant Ealond where the tall trees of a forest strode up the steep incline. There was an industry of Smiððe beyond the water, which lapped lazily on the windless day. It was those trees that fed the hungry Slèans, and he quickly surveyed what materials he had at his disposal.

Set up at the far end of the enclosure were the clay ovens, tall and smouldering, making charcoal. There were a group of thralls who spent their days collecting wood and managing the ovens. Carts laden with wood were making their way, two oxen to each cart. They were larger than anything Eyvindr had seen. The clatter of thrown wood by the thralls echoed as elm and beech logs joined the growing mountain. It was evident that the Wihtwara had continued where the Romans had left off. 

Acca and Æsc stood hands on hips, a broad smile spreading across both their young faces.

“Fæder, we have thralls, servants to do our work!”, Acca enthused nudging his older brōðor, “ Now we can make our seax!”

“Our Cyng certainly has a plan”, Eyvindr murmured, “ he is no Hearth Cyng, that is certain. Peace is not on his mind. He is not Warinni or Anglii. He is Eudose, a Jute”

They walked into the burgeoning heat, a blast of searing hot air fed their lungs, and it was welcome, they were home once again. There were four men tending two forges at either end of the large brick-built hūs. And the array of hammers, metal tongs, chains with weights, all manner of wooden and metal vices were laid out in neat order that left Eyvindr and his sons speechless.

One of the men looked up, “Forstoppian  f íras. Stop men, the Wahls from Ytene Weald have arrived!” Work was suspended with some relief and the shedding of leather gauntlets that led to Suevian  greetings which took some minutes to complete. All in good heart and with relief, Eyvindr knew they had landed well. It transpired that all four men were, like themselves, wholly related to each other and from the Eudose, Wihtgils kindred. And their task, as Eyvindr could plainly see was building an impressive stockpile of seax and sweords. Shields with large bosses were laid out in line also, welded, hammered and decorated.

The trappings of battle were before him, and he shuddered. But his boys were enraptured and could hardly contain their enthusiasm.

 Eyvindr suddenly felt inexplicably bereft, ice shards skittering down his spine. Where in all the years within the beauty of Ytene Weald had the thrill of battle been laid? And he suddenly experienced the desperation of his wíf, there was no concealing it now.

“May we create our sweords, Fæder”, Æsc asked formally, “Finally after all these years. We have practised long enough. It is now our time to walk onto the fields and do what we must!”

Giese”, came the reply, Eyvindr shaking his head looking down to the earth, to Nerthus, for some miracle to prevent this from happening at all, “ But first you must go into prayer, meet with your God, ask Æll Fæder for guidance before I let you even near the smelting ovens!”

And just as he said those words, a dark shadow was caste over them. Standing at the entrance to the slèan, Sunni casting a halo all around him, stood a giant of a man, shaded, his silhouette slowly moved towards Eyvindr who became transfixed, leaden and yet feeling energy pulsating through him as if meeting a god himself. Weyland! he silently shouted to himself. And as the man came forward, Eyvindr was able to discern the ancient quality this man brought with him. He was ageless. Skin lay on him like the thinnest of sheaths. Bones protruded and joints crackled with effort. Yet he was perfectly calm and breathing easily. Clothes seemed an afterthought.

When he spoke, it was deep, guttural, just above a whisper and yet clipped and clear.

“Eyvindrson, leave these whipper snappers to their play, come with me. We have important work to fulfil.” And with that he turned, Eyvindr following like a new apprentice following the old master.

They made their way to the smaller Slèan, situated at the farthest end of the meadow, shaded by trees and encircled with aging box trees, relicts from the Romans, that were  tenaciously refusing to die. Unmistakably, this was the Drýcræft Smiððe. Eyvindr issued a silent prayer to Weyland, to Wōden and anyone else that might be listening. The old man smiled. Chuckling quietly, he took Eyvindr by the arm and said, “ Eyvindrson, you may know what is required from you. Also know you have been chosen by me because you are magically skilled. Humility is good sometimes, but not now, I assure you.”

Within the shadows of the Slèan, laying quiet and idle, as no work was progressing here, stood Hild and as Eyvindr gasped, by her side was the Boy, who managed to stop his heart yet again. The boy moved towards him, his eyes, never wavering from Eyvindr’s own, extended his arm, fingers outstretched, web-like. Eyvindr, thinking he was in Suevian greeting extended his, but the boy ignored him and placed his hand right over Eyvindr’s heart, which was already pounding and racing away.

The life he was in receded completely and he was, yet again,  at a scene of violations and torture for the Wihtwara, his people, descendants on their knees bowed before a gilded cross, incantations made in high screaming voices heard over the screams of the dying. Men Women and children defiled before this damnable cross. Evil men! And amongst them stood a descendant of the Betrayer. And before him stood a Cyng, defiant and proud, battling for the survival of his kindred.

Æðestãn  removed his hand and Eyvindr gasped breath into his lungs, shaken and speechless.

Þes WILLAN gebyrian!” the boy said loudly, “Und þú willan ãsmiðian þæt gylden onlícnes fram úre Æll Fæder weardian hís tèars fram Lufian, Onweald und Hopian ǽfre swã hè willan libban ongean in þes eard.

“This WILL happen! And you will make the golden statue of Wōden hold his tears of Love, Power and Hope forever so he will live again in this land.”

   The look of luminescent power that shone from the boy’s eyes, made Eyvindr certain Wōden was shining though him and his own tears welled up, head bowed it took a few moments to recollect himself.

“Shed not your tears, drýcræft wítega”, Weyland admonished gently, “ Your skill is pure. Do not taint it. This is the work of your entire life, so be it!” He stepped back into the deep shadows of the slèan and was gone.

Hild came forward, holding the smallest glass vial he had ever seen. Inside clinging to the edges and making the smallest puddle at the base , were the tears of the Æll Fæder, himself.

“How?” came his choked reply.

Þæt Halíg Stãn wèpan. Come we will show you,” she said, leading him out into the warm Sunni afternoon, taking him to Wōden’s Golden eye sanctuary, to see for himself. 

       … … … … … … … … … 

And see for himself, he did. The power from the stone face of Wōden extruding from the cliff wall itself again robbed him of air. He was becoming quite accustomed to the sensation and hyperventilated in return. It was needed. Hild took him to a lower level, where the earth- fall was even more fresh and unstable. He looked at the cliff face and saw a golden eye. A young ash tree lay close, its exposed roots clinging desperately to find some purchase on the slippery rock face. Tenaciously it dug in, the nerve endings pulsating with energy as the upended head of the Æll Fæder in the cliff face, gifted Yggdrasil his power, his brain in Nerthus’ crumbling earth. A foothold to the future.

Eyvindr breathed in the heavy, fecund aroma of deep earth. He turned to Hild, “ I will be needing the gifts from Nerthus herself to create a drýcræft gylden onlícnes. Gypsum, where can I find this crystal?”

“Oh, we will go to Wahlpenneclinz,” Hild smiled, “ to your kindred, the Wahl. Protectors of the stone. They know where the island diamond clusters abide. And they know where they may hide too.”

“But are they not at Sudmōr?” Eyvindr queried, frowning at this discovery. He knew nothing of it.

“ Long since past, Eyvindr. Where have you been?” Hild chided him, “ they suffered grievously at the hands of the Romans. Many moons since. At Þrimilce- mōnaþ while all the kindred were in ceremony at the Hãlig Stãn, they came with axes and levers, swearing and desecration of our sacred circle. Our ancestor’s burials, all upended and destroyed. They stole the stone, you see, for their damned villams.

Gewemming mín Ðriddamōdor Dagrun Wahl, womful. Mãndǽd!” An Act of evil,” Eyvindr hissed. “And a desecration before our Æll Fæder.” He sank to his knees, praying and offered the rune stone Tiw, incised in copper bronze, nudging it into a cleft, praying for justice.

“Where are my Ancestor’s bones and her goods?” he turned to Hild.

“She is safe, rescued and held with the Wahlpennes”, Hild touched his shoulder gently, “We must go now before sundown. Easing their way up the knotted rope that had been held by many hands now, Æðestãn received them at the cliff edge, he remained in silence and yet received Eyvindr with a warm hand. In an unspoken acknowledgment, they would be travelling this journey together. 

       … … … … … … … … …  


Golden Eye Sanctuary
Earth Fall 
Sanctuary Path 
Cliff Cleft 
Rock Face with the golden eye 
Collecting Odins Tears 
Old Axe Head on a Log 

King Arwalds Banner 

  AUTHORS NOTE

The Wihtwara trilogy™ charts the lives of an ancient peoples from the 1st century to 686 AD and the relentless march of Christianity over the Pagan world. The deep union, understanding and rituals these ancient peoples held towards our Earth were stamped upon, ridiculed and the peoples violated for their beliefs. It was for the most part an ingenious cover-up. Clever minds assigned and re-invented Christian holy places on pagan sites of worship. Pagan names for these special sites were demonized. An important pagan burial mound on the Isle of Wight was renamed “the devil’s punchbowl”!

One aspect stands out above all others and that is the subjugation of the feminine within this pagan world by Christian missionaries and with it, the subjugation of the Earth. Mother Earth was paramount in the minds and soul of all pagan peoples. For without her acquiescence and that of the gods aligned to the sky and weather, they felt alone. 

Those missionaries sought and succeeded in burying underfoot every link and aspect of feminine worship because the replacement was for the one male god to be honoured and worshiped. I have not found one reference in the book of words they carried of any respect and veneration of the natural world, neither plant nor animal, sacred soil or mystical sky or to the equality afforded to women (it has been either the Madonna or the whore!). In this book of words, Man is above nature.

Yet if we go to the discovered Nag Hammedi gospel, quite another story is written. The synod of Nicaæ, that meeting of high church leaders put paid to so much original belief.

And the Roman Catholic Church was truly born at this time.

In 686 AD the massacre of the Wihtwara, led by a power hungry Cædwalla, and enforced by Bishop Wilfred, wiped off the face of our beautiful island, a beautiful peaceful pagan people.

The vacuum left behind that terrible death haunts us, like the mourning we are experiencing now, it leaves an indelible mark on our souls.

But we are coming back to remembrance. We are honouring the Wihtwara again.

We gather on April 22nd for King Arwald’s day and the Wihtwara are honoured.

And a message from our Ancestors;

 “We only ever truly die, when we are forgotten!”

Lest we forget!

Bletsunga Beorhte

Bright blessings,

Jan Harper Whale (aka, Wahl) 

 

Book 3 Front Cover



BLESSED KING ARWALD
LAST PAGAN KING
OF WIHTLAND
(Isle of Wight)

Tell me, where does Arwald lie?
Is he in the Bloodstone Wood,
Bending bluebells with a sigh,
Buried in blackthorn and monks hood?

In bosky dells and gathered gloom -
A whisper through the silent shade,
Amongst the harts horn for his tomb,
In the oak woods peaceful glade.

Or does he ride to gabrel hounds,
High above the Shalcombe Downs,
On thunderclouds upon the storm,
By power of oak and ash and thorn.

When squirrels shiver in their fur
Comes Arwald to Wihtgarasburgh.

Tell me, where does King Arwald lie,
Was it on the beach of Silver Sand,
Where he swore to fight and die?

Where the wind answers with a sigh
As it blows gently across the land,
Tell me where does King Arwald lie?

When the winds blow and the leaves fly,
His battle-worn sword hard in his hand,
Where he swore to fight and die.

The storm clouds gather and sea gulls cry,
Wheeling, screeching on the strand,

Tell me where does King Arwald lie?

His thunderous footfalls stalk the land,
His allies cheer and his foes will fly,
A lightning flash crashing from his hand.
Where he swore to fight


BY
MARK FRANCIS



Èadig Cyng Arwald
Þæt last hǽðen Cyng
Fram Wihtland


Wísian mè, hwǽr drýhþ Arwald licgan?
Is hè in þæt Blōdstãn Bearu,
Bègendic hǽwebelles wiþ a seofian
Byrged in blæcðorn und cugele?

In bosky dælls und gaderian ðèostre -
Ãn hwisprian þurh þæt swígian beam sceadu
Betwèonum þæt deōrs horn for his beren
In þæt ãc bearus geðwǽre glæd.

Oððe drýhþ hè ridan æt gabrel hunds,
Hèah bufanh þæt Shalcombe dun
On ðunorwolcen uppan þæt styrman
Þurh onweald fram ãc und æsce und ðorn.

Ðã sciurus sprengan in heora furþra
Becuman Arwald æt Wihtgarasburgh.

Wísian mè, hwǽr drýhþ Cyng Arwald licgan?
Wæscan hit on þæt strand fram Seolfor Sond
Hwær hè gesworc æt gefeohtan und ãcwellan?

Wisian þæt blǽst ondwyrdan wiþ a seofian
Ealswã hit blãwan clementer geond þæt eard
Wísian mè, hwǽr drýhþ Cyng Arwald licgan?

Ðã þæt blæsts blãwan und þǽt lafs floge
His beadu weorn sweord, stíð in his folm,
Hwær hè gesworc æt gefeohtan und ãcwellan.

Þæt wederwolcen gaderian und sǽfugol cirm,
Windan giellan on þæt strand,

Wísian mè, hwær drýhþ Cyng Arwald licgan?

His ðunorrãd fōtswæðs stalcung þæt eard,
His gesiþ myrgan und hís feonds willan flèogary,
A lígræsc gebræc fram hís hand.
Hwǽr hè gesworc æt gefeohtan

Translation to Old English
By
Jan Harper Whale


Copyright and credits

Front cover photograph by Mary Dyer

Art, Design and Content by Jan Harper-Whale

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