Tag Archives: Beowulf

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Beowulf: England’s Myth

2,164 words

Listen, there’s a poem, it speaks in the voice of England’s past like a flame beyond the language of the living. It’s more than a thousand years old and yet it still speaks to us. It’s called Beowulf.
–Michael Wood, Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester

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Helgi: The Return of the Dead
An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part IX

Ernest Wallcousins, Helgi Returns to Valhalla

5,344 words

Part I here, Part VIII here, Part X here

In our last installment, we explored the career of the legendary Norse hero Helgi. Chapter Nine of the Volsung Saga is devoted to Helgi, and it constitutes a rich and entertaining digression from the main story. At one time, Helgi must have been a very important hero. The anonymous author of the Volsung Saga draws on two poems concerning Helgi compiled in the Poetic Edda: Helgakvitha Hundingsbana I (The First Poem of Helgi, Killer of Hunding; henceforth HH I), and Helgakvitha Hundingsbana II (or HH II). Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part VII

2,900 words

Part I here, Part VIII here

Chapter 8. The Vengeance of the Volsungs, Continued

In the last installment of this series, we learned of the life Sigmund leads in the forest with his son Sinfjotli – the product of Sigmund’s incestuous union with his sister, Signy. Read more …

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High Voltage Heptarchy:
Nobility & Neo-Feudalism in the Troubadour Traditions of British & German Folk Rock

4,307 words

Part, the first — Roots & Rituals

Time will pass away
Time will guard our secret
I’ll return again
To fight another day
I’d have to be a warrior
A slave I couldn’t be
A soldier and a conqueror
Fighting to be free

—Warrior, Wishbone Ash, 1972 Read more …

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John Everett Millais’ Isabella

John Everett Millais, Self-Portrait

John Everett Millais, Self-Portrait

3,789 words

If you think of the Pre-Raphaelites you will probably be put in mind of flame-haired women in medieval dress or perhaps the depiction of a scene from a biblical or mythological story. The aesthetic appeal of such paintings seems to derive from a pre-modernist craving for something formally beautiful in its own right, without any sense of remove or cynicism. And if you consider that the tail end of the Pre-Raphaelite movement preceded the emergence of Dada by only a few years then it really does seem as though the Brotherhood marked a final statement in the history of Western art.  Read more …

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The Presence of the Past:
From Ancestor Worship to Hauntology

William Blake, "Hamlet and his Father's Ghost"

William Blake, “Hamlet and his Father’s Ghost”

5,903 words

We never manage to bury the dead completely. Their words still echo down to us from beyond life’s event horizon in direct contravention of physical law. Our stance towards death is a determining factor in how the dead return to us; in what form and with what significance they haunt the living. Although they are always there, the ways in which they interact with us vary and shift through time. And, at the present time, there is a strange blend of residual religious funerary rites and atheistic materialism. It feels very much as though we go through the motions of dispatching the dead to the next world without believing a word of it. Read more …

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