I was recently asked this fundamental question about my work by Kezia Hoffman from the Granary Arts Centre.
What motivates you and why do you do what you do?
I am motivated to express the wisdom tradition that lies beneath the rich and fertile mythologies of Northern Europe. These are ancient forgotten worlds that have been neglected far too long. Yet, the stories reveal the root of the current masculine wound and the treatment of women in our society and the root of the extinction and climate crisis. We also hear about the great war that has always been fought between the sky gods and the nature spirits. How do we reconcile the indigenous spirit with the sky gods? The Norse myths are very clear about this: shared ceremony can overcome conflict, especially when grief is present.
I want to revive this tradition from the cold tombs of academia and bring it back to the tongue of the storyteller, where their words are heard again entangled within the strings of the lyre: this was how the knowledge was meant to be transfered. In the tradition we also find highly elaborate and insightful concepts such as the multi-soul idea and how we can learn how to cultivate many different aspects of our fragile human psyche.
It has always perplexed me why our own traditions have been abandoned?
We rather go elsewhere across the world to access another ancestral tradition than to sit and serve an ageing grandparent? I think that is a symptom of a spiritual sickness that many of us carry (that includes myself). These questions are important to me.
Our northern ancestors knew well that we all end up in the “Well of Memory.” We don’t move to the future, we move towards the past. If we have lived well, then the memory of our actions, our songs and grief, can feed the very tree of life (Yggdrasil) that gives continuity to life. When we forget our own traditions, we dry up the well of memory, and the tree suffers. Its mighty roots are watered by our remembrance and the praising of that which has come before us - today the well of memory is in desperate need to be filled.
If my stories and lyre playing can bring just one drop into this well of memory and rouse our imagination to co-create and rediscover an inner wisdom tradition from our own soil then my work has been worthwhile.