Serpents in the Mist (Tíl Valhǫll) is a war song in memory of the Vikings who explored and pillaged in the West, and the Varangians and the Rus’ who met their fate and fortune in the East. Many surely dreamed of a place at Odin’s table in Valhalla, while a few may have longed for peace in Freyja’s Folkvanger.
Once upon a time in Scandinavia, there were Vikings, Varangians, Rus’, and other warring groups. From 789 to 1066, Viking-fleets blasted out of Scandinavia to raid and conquer across western Europe. At first, bold and daring sailors plundered and left, using hit and run tactics. As ships and warfare evolved, Vikings began to settle and rule in places such as Scotland, England, Ireland, and France.
It is likely that the word “Viking” first meant warriors or raiders who came from the western parts of Scandinavia. Swedish professor Fritz Askeberg’s historical research has concluded that the word Viking was rare in the East and around the Baltic Sea in the Viking Age. Askeberg also made a geographical observation: east of the river Elbe, there is no historical mention of Vikings — only of Varangians. In addition, and perhaps anecdotally, a little known runestone has been found in Hablingbo parish on Gotland which reads: “Viðgeir and Halgeir rose this stone after Hailagi, their father. He traveled west with the Vikings.”
Draugablíkk is a musical, cultural, and historical project whose boreo-pagan folk sound blends traditional Scandinavian instruments and arrangements with Eastern influences and ancient throat-singing, in part reflecting the wide world traveled by the Vikings, the Rus’, and the Varangians.
The knowledge of our ancestors is perhaps more relevant today than it was in ancient times. We can all be ferocious bears with a purpose to share that wisdom. We can be ravenous wolves vigorously hunting for it. Bears and wolves then. Relentless and without remorse.
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