S is for Seiðr

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S is for Seiðr: In the world of Gossamer Steel some of the practices used by the Sámi shaman within The Country are shared with seiðr practitioners.

Seiðr (sometimes anglicized as seidhr, seidh, seidr, seithr or seith) is an Old Norse term for a type of sorcery which was practised in Norse society during the Late Scandinavian Iron Age. Connected with Norse religion, its origins are largely unknown, although accounts of seiðr later made it into sagas and other literary sources, while further evidence has been unearthed by archaeologists. Various scholars have argued that seiðr was shamanic in context, involving visionary journeys by its practitioners. Seiðr practitioners were of both genders, although females are more widely attested, with such sorceresses being variously known as vǫlur, seiðkonur and vísendakona. There were also accounts of male practitioners, known as seiðmenn, but in practising magic they brought a social taboo, known as ergi, on to themselves, and were sometimes persecuted as a result.

In the 20th century, adherents of various modern pagan movements adopted seiðr practices conducted within the cosmology of the Nine Worlds, the Well of the Norns, and Yggdrasil, the World Tree. Others practitioners draw primarily on the powers of earth and nature spirits associated with the land, and replicating rituals among Sámi and Balto-Finns.

"Die Nornen Urd, Werdanda, Skuld, unter der Welteiche Yggdrasil". The Nornic trio of Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld beneath the world tree Yggdrasil.  At the bottom left of the image is the well Urðarbrunnr. ~ Ludwig Burger 1882

“Die Nornen Urd, Werdanda, Skuld, unter der Welteiche Yggdrasil”. The Nornic trio of Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld beneath the world tree Yggdrasil. At the bottom left of the image is the well Urðarbrunnr. ~ Ludwig Burger 1882

Straying beyond the world of Gossamer Steel, S is also for Spiral of Hooves, my first published novel. A murder mystery set against the world of eventing, the novel has been described as “A must read for any equestrian enthusiast or thriller lover alike.”

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök

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The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

N is for Native

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N is for Native: In the world of Gossamer Steel, the Sámi who are native to The Country – formerly the Nordic countries – are instrumental in re-building the post-apocalyptic world, in alliance with the nomads from Eurasia. In the broader sense of native, there are others, including Dravidians in Bhārata (India sub-continent) that are committed to re-building their birth places.

Native or indigenous? In terms of people the words are interchangeable, although with plants and animals some argue that they are subtly different. Of greater concern is the plight of the native or indigenous people in the face of our industrialised world. As Cultural Survival says, “One of the unfortunate things common to almost all Indigenous Peoples is being under assault—culturally, economically, or physically.  In almost every case they suffer all the consequences of extreme marginalization: poverty, lack of government services, shorter lifespans, and poorer health.”

“…Because they look, act, and dress differently from the dominant society, Indigenous Peoples are often discriminated against or seen as less than human…  The world’s languages are disappearing at a rate even faster than that of biological diversity, with more than half of the world’s 7,000 predicted to disappear in the next 90 years… Indigenous lands and environments are under assault on every continent. A recent World Wildlife Fund study named the 200 places on earth that have the highest and most fragile biodiversity, and found that 95 percent of them are on Indigenous territories…”

Naga people of Northeast India ~ by rajkumar1220

Naga people of Northeast India ~ by rajkumar1220

Called Native, Tribal, First, or Indigenous Peoples, they constitute about 5% of the world’s population, yet account for about 15% of the world’s poor. At least 370 million people worldwide are considered to be indigenous. Most of them live in remote areas of the world. Indigenous peoples are divided into at least 5000 peoples ranging from the forest peoples of the Amazon to the tribal peoples of India – such as the Naga (pictured) – and from the Inuit of the Arctic to the Aborigines in Australia. Indigenous peoples do not necessarily claim to be the only people native to their countries, but in many cases indigenous peoples are indeed “aboriginal” or “native” to the lands they live in, being descendants of those peoples that inhabited a territory prior to colonization or formation of the present state.

N is also for the dryad Ngetal, Norwegian commodity trader Niels Gundersson, the serpent Nagas of Hindu & Buddhist religions, and the ‘Wyrm Bait’ protagonist Norman Silver

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave

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The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

H is for Herders

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H is for Herders: In our tour of the world of Gossamer Steel the herders are descended from the nomads of Eurasia and the Sámi, the indigenous people of The Country. They have common roots and to them the land and its spirits are sacred, and they revere the world that has always been called Sapmi.

For centuries herders have practised Nomadic Pastoralism, moving their livestock to fresh pastures on which to graze. The herded livestock include cattle, yaks, sheep, goats, reindeer, horses, donkeys or camels, or a mix of species. Nomadic pastoralism is commonly practised in regions with little arable land, with the herders seeking out the grazing wherever available. Historically this lifestyle has, in some instances, led to warrior-based cultures that have made them fearsome enemies of settled people, notably in the case of the Mongols and Magyars.

Of the estimated 30–40 million nomadic pastoralists worldwide, most are found in central Asia and the Sahel region of West Africa. Other areas include the Arabian Peninsula inhabited by Bedouins, as well as Northeast Africa inhabited by Somalis.

In areas of harsh climate, the nomadic pastoralists have traditional grazing grounds that they move their herds between. These herders, found in Northern Europe and Russia, include the indigenous Sami, Nenets, Tsaatans, and Chukchis. These are the basis for the Herders in Gossamer Steel, with their lifestyles revolving around reindeer herding.

Dhuka herder moving his reindeer ~ Image: Uluc Kecik

Dhuka herder moving his reindeer ~ Image: Uluc Kecik

H is also for HAV – Hybrid Air Vehicles, which are modified airships designed for freight or surveillance. With the rising cost of fuel, HAV are becoming one way forward in aviation, especially when attempting to access remote areas with heavy loads. In the 21st century many of the drawbacks with conventional airships are being resolved, and this is a growth area. In a world without oil, this technology will become crucial to a new world.

In our tour of the world of Gossamer Steel, H is also for antagonist Hubert Green, and for the Hearthalls, centre of learning and of pilgrimage in The Country.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)