Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Did you ever awaken from a dream with a particular name or circumstance on your mind? Well, that happened to me this morning. While I am not sure exactly what my dreams were about, I woke up with the name of Wieland on my mind.

Wieland is perhaps better known as Wayland the Smith. No, I am not referring to Waylon Smithers from The Simpsons. The mythological Wieland is hardly a sycophant like the cartoon character!

Badhild in Wieland's Smithy - Source: Wikimedia Commons

Known from Continental German, Scandinavian, and Anglo-Saxon sources, Wieland has come to represent what images come to the minds of many of us when we think of a smith.

In German lore, he is known as the father of the hero Witige in the legends of Dietrich von Bern.

In Norse references, in which he is known as Völundr, he and his two brothers lived with three Valkyries. The Valkyries eventually left the brothers. Other versions contain references to Völundr marrying a swan maiden.

He is known to have made many powerful and magical swords and rings, and he is credited with having made Beowulf's mail shirt.

I have been pondering reasons for which I might have awakened with his name on my mind. I have some inklings. In these lean times, we are seeing large segments of society working to master old, traditional skills.

Just within Distelfink Sippschaft we have several practicing herbalists, two Brauchers, several who are adept at soap-making and candle-making, a few who engage in canning, several who can knit or crochet, and at least two who can spin thread. I am sure I am leaving some of the traditional skills off of this list.

With the passing of one of our kinsmen, who was a smith, in October, we still have two in our fellowship who are skilled at smithing. I am not one of them. Smithing is a skill about which I know completely nothing.

So today I would like to hail Wieland and to hail all the folks who have taken up the old trade and skill of smithing. Hail!

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