Sunday, January 29, 2017

An Adventure

It has been a long time since I've posted in this blog. In many ways, my SCA muse has been brushed aside. I have been thinking of doing this project for a while and this weekend is where it begins! I felt moved to embark on a special project this weekend at A Market Day Birka. I am modifying and using for reference The Bardic Handbook: The Complete Manual for the Twenty-First Century Bard by Kevan Manwaring, as my central textI will also consult a wide array of other resources it. Manwaring uses the Welsh tradition but encourages people to use their own traditions for the journey. My alternate persona, Yehudite bat Elashava is my channel for this endeavor. I will be keeping a private journal in addition to this blog. 

Thank you for following my journey! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Bardic muse has been quiet as of late. The Northern region of the East Kingdom has many wonderful people but I do miss the Bardic camaraderie of the Northshield. I hope to post more often, even if it just brief mentions here and there.

In December my lord and I attended Festival des Glaces at Baronnie du Havre des Glaces, the group in Quebec. I didn't know anyone apart from Edward and the event was neat because it was bilingual. The King and Queen of the East attended and impressed me with their good will. The magic moment for me happened when a Bard in their train sang in Burgundian and later, when the joie de vivre spilled over into the feast with a cheeky rendition of "Chevalier de la Table Ronde"

Friday, September 14, 2012

Finding Robin Hood

One of my interests in the Bardic arts has been the Robin Hood legends and their evolution. These are some of my favorite sources that I used for a class I taught at the East Kingdom, Shire of Panthervale's Lost Tip Archery Event. There's so much you could talk about with the Robin Hood legends. The history of the time, ballads, dramas, outlaws, the evolving folk hero were some that I considered.

 For my class I focused on the "Real" Robin Hood and some of the possible candidates. 
  • Robyn Hood of Wakefield,  c. 1320
  • Hobbehod  c. 1225
  • Robin of Loxley (Robert Fitz Odo) d. 1129
  • Piers Venables  c.1437
  • Roger Godberd  c. 1267
  • Robin Hood, a legend that grew.
Web sites:
Robin Hood: Welcome to Sherwood/Nottingham

Facts and the Fiction - Legends, Stories, Songs.

Welcome to Nottinghamshire, UK - Home of Robin Hood (Official tourism page of Nottinghamshire).

The Robin Hood Project at the University of Rochester

Robin Hood -- Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood.

Baldwin, David (2010). Robin Hood: The English Outlaw Unmasked.

Holt, J.C.  (1982).  Robin Hood.  

Knight, Stephan.  (1994).  Robin Hood A Complete Study of The English Outlaw

Friday, September 23, 2011

Commedia del Arte Scenario - Wishing Whale Tale

The Jararvellir Fool's Guild's second inception decided we wanted to write our own scenario and lazzi. We went in-depth, choosing names and creating a scenario that could be appreciated by our anachronistic audience. I don't believe it ever got the chance to be performed, but it deserves to be viewed.

ca. 2003 Transcribed from a rediscovered journal.

Scenario conceived by Rascal (Pantalone/Capitano Fracaise), Faris, (Capitano Antonio) Matthew (Dottore D'Amore) Genvieve (Giovanna/Harlequinna) and Moi, Alienor (Columbina/Ursula)

Wishing Whale Tale

Scene I

Dottore needs a servant, he literally runs into Giovanna and ends up hiring her.

A Commission arrives from the Old Capitano Fracaise and Young Capitano Antonio for the Dottore; they each require a special potion.

Scene II

Packing Lazzi Each of the two Capitanos enters at separate times wanting their things packed in their shared trunk, they order Ursula to pack and every time they enter they remove something from their fellow and add what they want.

Capitano Fracaise old artillery tells Ursula, using "misfiring" puns that he needs Ursula to get a special potion from Dottore--he needs to find true love.

Scene III
Shopping LazziGiovanna and Dottore work the audience to find ingredients. Eventually they find they needed special container--a whale shaped bottle- with a previously planted member of the audience.

The Dottore and Giovanna meet up with Ursula and Capitano Fracaise.

Translation Lazzi - Giovanna and Ursula translate for Dottore and the Capitanos--Dottore is from Balogne and the Capitanos are from Verona. The translation is insulting and silly, the servants run away from being slapped once the Capitanos finally figure out they are speaking the same language anyway.

Capitano Antonio decides to "impress" some students. He also wants to be sure that Dottore will NOT tell Capitano Fracaise why he needs help.

The Dottore and Capitanos begin to order ridiculous things for their servants to do. The servants suggest the Capitanos could perhaps get their military physical from Dottore The servants run away to have fun.


Scene IV

Giovanna and Ursula return drunk, dragging along audience members.

The Capitanos and Dottore yell for servants who hide.

Physical Lazzi
The Capitanos physical consist of the Dottore examining them for afar, doing silly things and annoucing they could be pregnant. The Capitanos each get prescriptions for their need, Antonio still won't say what he needs help for.

The leave with the threat of blood letting and run off screaming, followed by Ursula

Giovanna stays to help with the potion lazzi

Potion preparation lazziDottore uses elaborate 'magic' to prepare his potion.

Giovanna is sent finally to give the potions to the Capitanos but she gets them confused because Dottore only had ONE bottle, the whale container. Ursula finds it funny and watches them.

Reaction Lazzi

Capitano Antonio spies Capitano Fracaise drinking "his" potion and attacks, drinks some from the whale jug himself. The two resolve to duel, but each get an uncontrollable hiccups and cannot continue.

Ursula takes away their weapons and offers them toothpicks instead and she fetches the Dottore

Giovanna is instructed to sit on Capitano Antonio to keep him from hiccuping. The Dottore intends to do the same to Capitano Fracaise but Capitano Fracaise says "no".

Giovanna jumps on Capitano Fracaise's back, eventually she ends up with one Capitano in a headlock and another in a foot lock. Ursulagets fed up and finally shouts "The Austrians are coming!" The Capitanos immediately get into attack mode and Giovanna goes flying. The immediate scare cures them of the hiccups.

Ursula reveals that Capitano Antonio now has been giving a potion to make him brave; Capitano Fracaise can find love and since there was just the ONE whale jug and ONE potion they each can get both. The Capitanos exit to search for women and battle. The Dottoreblames Giovanna for the confusion but takes credit for curing the Capitanos of the hiccups.

Ursula watches them all run off, picks up the forgotten whale jug, toasts the audiance, takes a sip, hiccups, giggles and struts off.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Alienor has moved

I have moved from the Barony of Jararvellir (Madison, Wisconsin) to the Shire of Panthervale (Central Vermont) with the arrival of parcels from storage spaces, I have found some of my old SCA works and files. I hope to update with some of them as I am able.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Major Events in Jewish Mysticism

Major Events in Jewish Mysticism
Year in BCE or CE

700 BCE
The Torah rediscovered by Josiah, King of Judah in Solomon's Temple.

6th century BCE- 1 CE
Second Temple period, first mystical beliefs formed under the name "Work of the Chariot" based on Ezekiel's vision of G-d's chariot.

5th Century BCE
Square Script adapted as preferred script for the writing of Torah scrolls.

200 BCE
Mystic scholars live in Qumran, which is now Jordon.

1 CE
Mystic tradition largely focuses on visionary experiences from the Hebrew Bible.

2 CE
Rabbi Akiva and his successor Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai have written treatise.
5th Century CE Rediscovery of Sefer ha Yetzirah, The Book of Creation legend says it was written by Abraham.

6th century CE
Rabbi Akiva's followers continue to study mystic tradition, including the model for the four rabbis who experienced the divine while living

939-1038 CE
Emphasis on out of body experiences according to the school of Hai Gaon. Unlike Akiva they focused on altered mental state.

11th Century
Solomon Ibn Gabirol names the tradition Kabbalah, Bachaya ben Joseph Ibn Pakuda writes The Book of Directions to the Duties of the Heart, believes in then "gates" of seeking G-d.

Spanish Kabbalist Moses de Leon brings the ancient traditions together with the current and creates The Zoharor Book of Splendor

13th century
Abraham Abulafia, a radical Kabbalist opens the practice to include Jewish women and gentiles. Considered precursor to "liberal" Kabbalah

15th-16th century
Kabbalists settle in Sefed, the Holy Land, calling themselves Chevarim (friends) under the leadership of Moses Cordovero

Kabbalah reaches its peak under the leadership of Isaac Luria, called the Ari (Lion). He devised a set of group meditations including instruction for breathing.

I used a variety of resources to put this timeline together. If you are interested, send me a message and I can give you a list of some of the probable ones I used. This was compiled about five years ago

Note: BCE=Before Common Era (scholarly form of BC)
CE=Common Era (scholarly for AD)

The Pheonix in Fading Summer

Somehow, I lost this poem. But I always intended it for the lovely shire of Shire of Rokeclif, Northshield, in La Crosse. Much love to that fair place.

For many long year the Pheonix has grown
And watched o’er the people here
Alas in the fading summer
For then, the Phoenix must die.

He has exploded with wings
And guarded the shire,
Full of love for the people below,
Alas that he must die.

His cries can be heard in the heartbeat of the people,
On the Fierce wings of Roacklif’s song
People he loves, and people he guards
For the will that he holds, but now he builds his pire.

When at last he lays down his head
The summer is at end,
And people gather in the Hall,
He sheds a tear as he vanishes in the ash and fire.

But anon, here he comes
In vibrant light!
Rekindled by the beacons of flame.
And that’s how the Phoenix lives!

A toast to the people of the Phoenix,
For his gift was the Autumn Rose,
For the day that he rose from the ashes—
He cried tears from which spring a rose.

Morley's Barley: It's More than Soup!

Now Is the Month of Maying
Lyrics by Sir Thomas Morley, Published, 1595,

Now is the month of Maying, when merry lads are playing!
Fa la la la la!
Each with his bonny lass, upon the greeny grass
fa la la la la!
The Spring, clad all in gladness, doth laugh at Winter's sadness!
Fa la la la la!
And to the bagpipes’ sound, the nymphs tread out the ground!
Fa la la la la!
Fie! Then why sit we musing, youth’s sweet delight refusing?
Fa la la la la!
Say, dainty nymphs and speak! Shall we play barley break?
Fa la la la la!

A brief study of the quaint phrase in the song Now is the Month of Maying." Say, dainty nymphs and speak! Shall we play barley break?"The song is a light-hearted one about the return of spring. Most of the lyrics are still easily understood today, apart from that last line. Since this issue at hand this month is springtime fun,
I thought to examine "barley break" and discovered it was a game along the same lines as "Red Rover" and amongst children it could be very innocent.  Among adults playing for flirtation however, the connotation is a bit different, akin to "a roll in the hay".

How to play "Barley Break" also called "Last Couple in Hell"¹

You need:
  •     Three male-female pairs
  •     A game field divided in three
There should be one couple standing on the right side of the field, one couple standing on the left side of the field and the remaining couple standing in the middle (Hell)

The Object of the Game:

The middle couple in “Hell” tries to catch the others as they run past so that they have to be in Hell. That couple use their clasped hands to catch the others. If caught,
that couple goes to the middle of the field.

The game was well known enough to be mentioned in The Two Noble Kinsmen by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. In Act Four, Scene 3 the Jailer's Daughter says “Faith, I'll tell you: sometime we go to barley-break, we of the blessed."

According to Gerald Massey, Sonnet 144 is all about this very game, proving its popularity and widespread usage.²

SONNET 144 by William Shakespeare
Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still:
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman colour'd ill.
To win me soon to hell*, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And whether that my angel be turn'd fiend
Suspect I may, but not directly tell;
But being both from me, both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another's hell:
Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

From all that, in can be inferred that "Barley break" can be an innocent children's game or an adult game of flirtation and a metaphor for being captured by love. 


¹  Suzanne Lord  Music from the age of Shakespeare: a cultural history‎ (Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 2003), 156.

² Gerald Massey. The Secret Drama of Shakespeare's Sonnets 1888 Edition..
( (accessed 3/30/2010) 134-137. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Book Curses--and my own!

A few more links I found:

I was trying to work on a poem for "inspiration" but these curses make me laugh. So, inspired by a favorite curse all around--book in the Monastery of San Pedro in Barcelona I wrote my own.

The Original:

For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand & rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, & all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy, & let there be no surcease to his agony till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, & when at last he goeth to his final punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him for ever.

 from a book in the Monastery of San Pedro in Barcelona

I wasn't found of the rhyme from this one but I did like the sentiment.
Whoever steals this Book of Prayer
May he be ripped apart by swine,
His heart be splintered, this I swear,
And his body dragged along the Rhine
(early 16th c)

This is mine--inspired by the Book Curse genre and Dr. Seuss!

Curse from Alienor's Booke of Common Prayer

If thou should steal this book of prayer,
Thou are not welcome anywhere.
Every door shall close to thee,
Wanderer thou are and shall always be.
Neither God's Angels nor Hell below,
Shall take thee, where shall you go?
Stay to the Earth and wander far,
Cursed be, the thief you are.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I have previously written my acrostic in the style of François Villon, in French. First, the actualy French again and then an English translation by request.Translation doesn't keep the acrostic or scheme, just gives the meaning.
Allons-y au départ, c’est l'aventure ou rien
Liaisons d'amour ou amitié main en main.
Ile de France, centre belle
Est-ce que tu es encore fidele ?
Noyant pas dans l’hiver tristesse
Ore de printemps arrive en vitesse
Remplie mon cœur en son jeunesse.


Let us go for the journey, it is adventure or nothing.
Perhaps a love song or just friendship, hand in hand.
Ile de France, center so fair.
Are you still true?
Drown not it the winter for sadness
Now is the time for quick spring gladness
Fills up my heart in her youth.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book curses

Mixing it up a little, I'm going to start including posts about research, including links to interesting finding. This was originally posted on my livejournal blog

I always knew that books were very valuable in period, but the discovery that clerks wrote in "book curses" against anyone who would steal a book amuses me. I glossed over the apparent used of it when I read Chaucer's "House of Fame"

Some examples I loved: 

"Whoever steals this book let him die the death; let be him be frizzled in a pan; may the falling sickness rage within him; may he be broken on the wheel and be hanged"

Placing Middle English in context By Irma Taavitsainen has a chapter where she discuses the use of the genre.

Anathema!: Medieval Scribes and the History of Book Curses‎ by Marc Drogin, apparently also discusses it.

"Whoever Alters This, May God Turn His Face from Him on the Day of Judgment": Curses in
Anglo-Saxon Legal Documents by Brenda Danet and Bryna Bogoch
The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 105, No. 416 (Spring, 1992), pp. 132-165

Author, Scribe, and Curse: the Genre of "Adam Scriveyn" by Glending Olson.
The Chaucer Review v. 42 no. 3 (2008) p. 284-97

"Bibliomania and the Medieval Book Curse" by Sandra Anderson, March 2003
Anderson's works cited--

This site even has awsome graphics someone drew:

And now you can even buy one for your personal library: 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Return of Arthur

Written for the challenge of "Every Ending is a New Beginning"
 "Everyone loves a happy ending, but a happy ending that could be the beginning of another adventure is even better. Present a work that gives a new chapter to a well-known tale or new verses to a beloved song."

I picked a legend that ends with death ('cause dammit A LOT of Medieval/Renaissance stories DO) and decided to do it as Alienor Hathaway, English Lady at the time of Mary who's worried that the natural order of things is a mess with a Queen on the throne. I had to go against Mariessa's feminist views to write it.

The World I live in is in turmoil.

A Queen by divine right can only mean the divine retribution. King Arthur’s gravestone at Glastonbury says “Hic jacet Arthurus, rex quondam, rexque furturs” or ‘Here lies Arthur, king that was, king that shall be.’, Hearing tell of this, King Philip, consort of Her Majesty, Queen Mary, has sworn that he would give up all claims and resign to the rightful King of England, should he return.

Arthur is not dead, but sleeps. The Grail awakens him. Be it from the Wild Hunt or mystic Avalon. God will call forth Arthur should this turmoil continue. For if his people are ever in such dire danger, Arthur is bound as protector to return under the sing of the dragon.

No one knows how he shall come. But in this, my own story, I see his return and with it, the Grail. Military victory, a Britain again made right and God again by our side. When all that is out of order is made in order again and the divine spheres are made right. The suffering give way and the true King shall return.


I decided to challenge myself to writing a form poem since I find it easy to write in free verse. So, I thought I'd practice on the rondeau form to start since that's the style for the challenge at Bardic Madness XX. Couldn't write one in English, but I got one in French. So, that's what I ended up presenting. It did include an English Translation but rhyming/rhythm couldn't be kept for the English.

Écoutez-moi (Listen to Me!)

Écoutez-moi, vous qui est mon témoin
De temps en temps tu es trop loin
Vis a vis mon histoire
Est possible avec tes mémoires?
Mais quand même, tu es bien.

C'est vrai l'amour en son jardin
Qui me dirige sur ce chemin
C'est un commencement de nos espoirs
Écoutez-moi !

Maintenant, main dans la main
Toujours, toujours nos refrains
Est nos gloires
Mes mots en grimoires
Moi qui détesté chérubin!
Écoutez-moi !

Royal Challenge

Returned from Bardic Madness XX with works that were presented. The following is from the Royal Challenge: Wuv, Twoo Wuv…
Quote from the web page:

"As always, wuv is a big part of what bwings us togevver today. King Siegfried and Queen Elizabeth ask for your best songs, poetry, stories, etc. relating to the joy of true love. In return, They will be offering a lovely wooden harp as a prize for Their (or Their designee’s) favorite performance. Extra applause for Princess Bride references or for finding a use for the word “schmoopy”."

A Princess Bride Fan is probably going to recognize that most of these lines were lovingly ripped from the movie and forced into my rhyme.

Death cannot stop true love.
Although it may cause slight delay.
A thousand swords could not sever
The love of someone clever.
Not more noble a cause.
Above a common word and laws.
The link of dead…and not quite.
A man in black, a lady in white.
Behind the masks we wear,
There is true love: it is everywhere.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ophelia's Soliloquy

To live--or die?
Does he love me?
Should I suffer for lost love?
Or rise up against myself?
And end my misery.
To die,
To weep no more.
To end the ache that my heart feels.
I yearn for it.
To die,
To sleep in peace forever.
With my father,
We lays in the dust
For remembrance.
My heart is heavy,
What is to come?
Always fear.
Hamlet, would bear is misfortune,
Forgetting me and going to the unknown.
Why should I bear it?
This wronged lover?
This lady's torment?
The broken spirit?
This lack of justice?
No voice for my pain?
I could end it all.
In a river.

Why do mothers bear it?
To grunt and sweat while giving life?
All the while, facing death?
Yet all dread what is to come.
The unknown beyond that blood and pain of life,
Is what we known not.
Those noble men --
My father, dead.
My true love, mad.
My brother, gone.
Where may I go?
What can I do?
To a nunnery--
Or to a river.
I go.

I don't remember when I wrote this, but I belive it was probably in 2002 when I took a Shakespeare survey course. We read Hamlet and I wanted to give Ophelia words.