Blōdan - 2016
Blōdan is an old Germanic word with simultaneous meanings. At the root, it means blood. And it also means blessing. It is believed the two were intertwined concepts. With Blessing free of the modern connotation of “luck”, and entirely about an exchange between the supplicant and a supernatural power. In most cases, the blood of a valuable animal, offered up in exchange for fortune or power. It is not a casual or sadistic exchange. A pig could feed a village. A cow could produce milk. An offering was usually associated with high holidays, funerals, and feasts. It is synonymous with sacrifice and source of the Norse word Blót. Which was a sacrifice of blood in ritual worship, meant to appeal to an exchange of power with Gods, Goddesses, Nature Spirits and ancestors.
It was often performed by splattering the blood of a sacrifice on a sacred god pole or tree.
A representation of the greatest of sacrificial trees: the Yggdrasil. A place on which Odin hung himself for the knowledge of sacred and magic speech. The form is reduced to rune-like lines: seeding both the medium and psychic imprint of the piece with an inference of mystic language. It was initially created with hand made organic pigments drawn around blotches of blood. The piece was then digitally photographed and further constructed in the digital medium.
Under a clear surface the in focus elements seem to shift, forming a veil that seeks to obscure the abstract geometry of the tree. This represents the need to move through the earthbound through offering and sacrifice, to reach the tree of knowledge.
The Well At The Base Of The Tree
An ambient soundscape completes the environment of The Tree. It represents the Well of Urd. In Norse mythology it is a reservoir at the base of the world tree Yggdrasil. It is considered not only the water of universal life, but also the well of knowledge.
The piece is composed of sounds recorded both at a sacred well deep in the hills of southern Germany and the site of a Germanic Chieftan’s burial mound nearby.
Through out the 240 seconds of ambient, largely non manipulated soundscape appears 9 musical expressions. They are all ancient music instruments including a birch bark Lur, a Lyre, as well as primitive flute. The numerology is resonant of both runes, and the 9 worlds that are connected by the branches of the Yggdrasil.
In accompaniment are several objects. Each one furthers the symbolism of the Well of Urd. A dark cup is often used to symbolically represent this well. It appears depthless and thus is the metaphor for the endless knowledge gained through self sacrifice. Several antler chips lay around the cup. These represent the runes or divinatory bone chips used in northern European tribal cultures. Their state is blank; some have been stained red to indicate empowerment. Others are raw. The unfinished state indicates that they have yet to be unfolded. Their knowledge is not yet discovered.