Saturday, 31 December 2011

Going Underground




In Orkney, the thousand years or so between about 500BCE and about 500CE is known as the Iron Age (in England and Wales, the Iron Age ends in the first century CE when the Romans turn up and spoil things).  The Iron Age was populated by Iron Age peoples ... this politically correct term is used by archaeologists to avoid using names such as “Celts” or “Picts” which are deemed to be unspecific and politically loaded nouns.

These Iron Age peoples of Orkney were probably descended from the previous Bronze Age peoples and the Neolithic peoples before them – archaeologists are increasingly inclined to appreciate the stability and longevity of populations in general.

Please forgive my initial concerns to get my terminology “right” because all I really want to suggest is that it is quite likely, given the material culture (i.e. stuff / things) left behind by these people, that they were Picts – although whether they thought of themselves as such is another question entirely!

Whereas the Neolithic “religion” would appear focused on the sky, and in particular the sun, Iron Age beliefs seem to be concerned more with an underworld.  Indeed, this could be seen as a common theme for Iron Age beliefs in the British Isles: the Gods have gone underground and to commune with them, we need to join them down there.

One of the most intriguing sites in Orkney is Mine Howe (HY 513 059), explored fully in 1999 and excavated extensively, including (or as well as!) being the subject of a Time Team special.  Mine Howe appears in the landscape as a hillock, but it is not a natural feature, on investigation 29 stone steps were revealed which, half-way down, pause at a rock half-landing.  At this half-landing, two long side chambers open out, one above the other, and the stone steps continue down to the main rounded chamber which is just over a metre wide and four metres high.  The roof of this chamber is corbelled and the walls are constructed using dry-stone walling techniques. 


There is a small visitor centre at Mine Howe where, for a modest entrance charge, you can rent a hard hat, read about the excavations to date and enter the mound itself.  Wear very sensible flat shoes with decent grippy soles to visit this site because those mysterious 29 steps are slippery, wet and treacherous ... a little lighting has been put in and a rope hand-rail (unsympathetically in my opinion) but care is still needed.  These additions may have been required to comply with health and safety requirements (not that that usually bothers folk in Orkney), but they do ruin the ambiance a little!  The descent into the dark at Mine Howe is quite disorientating and the bottom chamber really only allows space for a couple of people at once – only two visitors are allowed in at a time so you will get the site to yourself for a while BUT it is worth trying for an off-season or inclement day in the hope that there won’t be a queue of folk behind you hassling you to hurry up!

The acoustics in this site are interesting – try drumming or chanting, male baritones have a particularly evocative effect.  Mine Howe is a place for retreating into the earth and being fully incumbent, but the atmosphere is eerie and otherworldly and this is one site where I definitely feel that I am an intruder.

In many ways, brochs are to Scotland what hillforts are to England and Wales – usually interpreted as defensive structures they were probably more about a display of impregnability and status than of much practical use in warfare.  It is likely that in Iron Age societies secular power was closely associated with religious power (as anthropologists observe for tribal societies in general) and archaeologists are increasingly finding that the function of prehistoric sites cannot be neatly labelled as solely domestic or secular but that there was an overlap of use.  Hillforts, for example, are just as likely to be interpreted these days as ritual centres as defensive ones, and it is possible to make similar deductions about brochs.

One of the best preserved brochs in Orkney is the Broch of Gurness (HY 381 268) in Evie on West Mainland.  This site is in the care of Historic Scotland so there is an admission charge but this is compensated for by the comprehensive interpretation displays.  This coastal site looks out over Eynhallow Sound to the islands of Eynhallow and Rousay, and is just along the shore from the excellent beach at Evie Sounds.


 
Inside the broch there is an underground chamber which is usually interpreted as a well.  It is not possible to go down this chamber but it is just possible to peer down and see enigmatic stone steps leading down into the darkness.  This can be a fairly busy site, so don’t expect to get it to yourself!

Likewise, at the Broch of Midhowe (HY 371 306) on Rousay there is a cellar in the interior of the broch with a well.  This broch is also in the care of Historic Scotland but there is no custodian on site and no entrance charge – even at the height of summer it is possible to have this site to oneself for a considerable amount of time, time enough to connect to the site in solitude.

In my opinion, this building of an underground chamber with stone steps seems an inordinate amount of effort for a well and the chambers themselves are reminiscent of the chambers at Mine Howe – which no one seems to have any problem interpreting as a ritual site.  These wells could indeed be wells, but I doubt that that was all they functioned as.  To access them involves increasingly entering into more private and enclosed space, first through the outer “village”, then into the broch tower, then down into the chambers.  Certainly this could be a veneration of water – akin to well-decorating – but I think it is the descent into the underground which is important.

At The Cairns (ND 456 871) in South Ronaldsay, overlooking the Bay of Windwick, archaeologists are excavating a broch structure at which they have found another underground chamber with an above ground structure.  The architecture, in the form of internal stone partitions, was apparently designed in such a way that anyone accessing the upper building would have been steered to move around it in a sunwise direction, but in an anti-sunwise direction once they climbed down into the underground chamber.  The archaeologists have suggested that a sunwise direction may symbolise life and an anti-sunwise direction may symbolise death or the afterlife.

Other underground chambers from the Iron Age period in Orkney include the earth-houses.  These are usually interpreted as domestic structures and originally they would have been associated with a round-house on the surface from within which it was possible to climb down into a long underground passage leading to a rounded chamber.  Elsewhere in the British Islands, these underground structures are known as souterrains and they are usually interpreted as storage / cellar facilities – it being cool underground – or areas in which to hide at times of danger.

Right in the middle of the industrial estate at Hatston on the outskirts of Kirkwall is Grain earth-house (HY 441 116).  This site is in the care of Historic Scotland and the key is available from the Ortak Showroom nearby but there is only one key and you may find someone already there or have to ask someone who looks like they might be walking back to return the key!

The cover to the entrance is modern and is accessed by a hatchway.  You can also borrow a torch from Ortak but it is best to bring your own torch as this site is dark and a bit of a squeeze to get into – don’t attempt this site it you are claustrophobic and don’t wear anything you wouldn’t want to get muddy or wet.  The steps down into the passageway are also modern but the original access is a vertical “chimney” which can still be seen to the side.  There is a “C” shaped passage to crawl along which is about 6 metres in length.  This leads into a rounded chamber over 3 metres long by about 2 metres wide.  The passage and chamber are constructed with monoliths and orthostats and dry-stone walling – this could be for practical reasons to do with access to available building materials but could also be a monumental reference to Neolithic tombs – note that for the folk who built these earth-houses, the peoples who built the Neolithic tombs were nearly as far back in their past as the earth-house builders are to our past. 

Once in the chamber, turn off the torch light and experience the darkness fully!
  


There is another accessible earth-house at Rennibister (HY 397 125).  This is on private land but is in the care of Historic Scotland and access is allowed at reasonable times.  The same conditions apply as to the site at Grain in terms of safety.

At Rennibister there is an “S” shaped passage to shuffle along which is about three metres in length and which opens into a rounded chamber about three metres long by over two metres wide.  This chamber originally had a corbelled roof – perhaps another architectural reference to the corbelled roofs at Mine Howe and the Neolithic tombs.   There are also recesses and shelves in the walls which are a possible memory of those at Skara Brae and other Neolithic structures.  Sadly, a modern hatchway allows light into this chamber so it is not possible to experience the darkness.  When this earth-house was excavated in the 1920s it was found to contain the skeletons of at least 18 people, of which 12 were children.  This is usually interpreted as a secondary usage of this structure and an atypical usage of earth-houses but, it may not be.

All of these structures have their own atmosphere although they all differ in their accessibility for the spiritual pilgrim.  There are, however, some common characteristics which I have attempted to draw out in my descriptions.  They are all monumental structures, built with skill and care and utilising construction techniques which possibly have symbolic references to ancestral structures of the Neolithic.  Many are commonly interpreted in a functional manner without reference to ritual – except for Mine Howe which seems to evade any functional explanation.  I would argue that these underground chambers all had a ritual function in common because they are constructed too well and in too stylised a manner to be purely practical in function.  The passages of the earth-houses in particular prompt the question of why they weren’t straight – straight would be economically sensible, underground passages are not easy to build – but curved means that light can be excluded, and possibly sound too.  From the central chambers at all these sites, I would suggest, based on my own observation and personal experiences, that these were places where sensory deprivation could take place and where auditory phenomena could be used to induce an altered state of consciousness.  Once in an altered state of consciousness, the Gods in the ground could be communicated with.

For any spiritual pilgrim who can get these sites to themselves, it is possible to achieve such states yourself very easily as these are amazingly trance-inducing places.  For those sites where you have company, or which you cannot access, place their memory in your mind’s eye and travel there astrally latter – you won’t be disappointed.  Promise.


  

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Ode to the Old Cockerel


(This article was originally published in TouchStone, the journal of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, Issue 185, April 2012)


The old cockerel came free of charge with the six young bantam hens we bought for £30.  When I agreed to buy the hens, I was asked:  “I don’t suppose you want a cockerel too – it’s just I’ve got a spare who I don’t want and he’s got too much character to wring his neck – he’s old, but he’s a good cockerel – he’ll look after the hens, stop them from attacking each other, and take them out to the best places to forage every day.”

It seemed like a good idea at the time ... I am always attracted by the word “free” and I was reassured that he was unrelated to the hens who were all sisters.  I’ve since discovered that every keeper of poultry in Orkney has an old bantam, full of character, going spare.  Even farmers have a soft spot, although it may take some digging around to find and will usually be kept well hidden.

When old cockerel turned up he was a bit battered – his feathers had got bent in transit but he soon perked up.  We were worried about him at first as all his hens flew up to roost, whereas old cockerel just flopped on the hay underneath, but once Mark had built him a ladder up to his ladies he was able to join them.  We were told to keep them all in the henny hoosey for the first three days, to make sure they always remembered it as home and knew where to return to.  When we finally opened their door, they wouldn’t come out – admittedly, it was October in Orkney, it was cold, windy and perpetually raining – food and water were inside, they had no reason to come out.

When they did all venture out, finally, I watched them peck excitedly around their pen.  A couple of hours later, at sundown, I noticed that the hens were missing and old cockerel was pecking around by himself.  I assumed that the younger hens had all flown out of the pen, leaving the old boy behind (despite promises that their wings had been clipped).  I went in, looked into the hen house with a torch, only to be met with six pairs of eyes all peering down at me in curiosity and fear.  I tried then to get old cockerel back into the hen house so I could put them all away for the night, but he was having none of it.  As I chased him around and around the pen, I got my first inkling into his canniness – this was a survivor.

The young hens started laying eggs in February and we let them all out to free range over our garden.  Old cockerel did as promised and predicted and looked after them all, taking them around for the best insects and worms.

We knew he was doing what he was mainly kept for because he would periodically pin one of his ladies to the ground and impregnate her with all the amorous finesse of an automatic stapler.  Then one of the hens went missing and a few weeks later waddled out of the rosea bushes with fourteen chicks.  She only lost one, with an amazing thirteen chicks surviving to adulthood – astounding for a little bantam hen who could hardly get all her brood under her at once.  The following month another hen went missing, finally reappearing with another six chicks.

Old cockerel ignored the chicks as they grew, continuing to keep a watch over his ladies.  The chicks grew and fourteen of the nineteen were gradually revealed to be male.  We sold seven, killed and butchered six (for Christmas dinner, since then I have returned to being strictly vegetarian), and we kept one as a “spare” cockerel.

It was obvious that old cockerel experienced some relief at this cull, not having quite so much competition from his male offspring, but young spare cockerel was clearly vying for the job of alpha male.  Young cockerel had a deeper call and would impregnate a hen whenever he got the sneaky chance.  Occasionally, old cockerel would chase young cockerel around the hen house and Mark and I would watch, singing along with the Benny Hill theme tune.

Old cockerel in front with new cockerel behind and some of their ladies in attendance.

We knew they fought, old cockerel soon lost all the feathers around his neck, but old cockerel was still very much king.  At five years old (he was three when we got him) he was old for a bantam but in good health, as were all of them, even though, periodically, their claws would get encrusted in the bantam shit, sawdust and mud they constantly walked around in – although usually a few days of Orkney rain would loosen the problem.

In late July 2011, old cockerel got quite mud encrusted and he started to limp.  We were very busy with weddings and it was a week after he started to limp that we got around to catching him, bathing his foot in water, scratching off the encrusted shit and mud, drying his claw with tissue paper, smearing on Savlon, and then wrapping his toe with a plaster (I couldn’t make this up!).  He whimpered when we caught him but permitted us to do what we needed to do, almost as if he knew we were trying to help – despite the indignity!  Mark has always had a way with animals – they love him, all manner of injured beasties come up to Mark to be touched by his healing hands.  Old cockerel was no different.

Old cockerel went limping off, we thought we’d let him see if he’d survive, after all he was still eating and shagging (when he could catch a hen!) so he clearly still had a life impulse; he hadn’t given up and neither had we.  Mark put ladders into the hen house so he could get in and out more easily, and we made sure there was water and food inside and out as he’d taken to not leaving the hen house but just gazing balefully out.  However, his foot was massively swollen and he must have been in considerable pain.

When we caught young cockerel attacking old cockerel, we penned off a corner of the run, giving old cockerel his own nesting area with fresh hay, own water, grain and some bread.  We hoped that not having to walk through shit and mud would give his claw a chance to heal.

But old cockerel desperately wanted to get out.  His hens flaunted themselves before him; every night for two years he had called his hens to roost, now he was stuck outside.

Whilst washing up and looking out the kitchen window, I noticed he’d tried to fly out of his penned area and had got himself hooked up on the chicken wire whilst trying to escape.  He was hanging from the netting by his injured foot – he must have been in agony – we released him and he limped off to his separate nesting box, defeated.

When I judged all his hens were in – young cockerel was proving rather ineffectual at calling them to roost – I went to shut the run, but old cockerel was missing.  I looked into the hen house and found him.  His hens had all roosted with young cockerel and were up in the rafters, old cockerel wasn’t able to get up with them but he had got out of his pen and he had joined them, he was in one of the nesting areas on the ground but he was with his ladies.  I looked in on him.  “Put put” he said pathetically, “leave me here, please” I translated, and left him alone.

I awoke as usual about 7am (courtesy of cat).  The voices in my head had been telling me to sort out the bantams for about an hour before but I had been ignoring them because I wanted a lie-in.  At 8am I could no longer ignore the voices.

I went out to the pen and for the first time ever all eleven hens and a young bantam cockerel came running to the door of the run.  The young cockerel was rather full of himself, like a cat that’s just caught a mouse.  I looked in.  Something was wrong.  And they all knew it.  There was a real sense of guilt and anticipation in the flock.

Old cockerel was on his back, at the end of the run, covered in blood, totally still, both claws in the air.

Horrified, I called to Mark and he came out to help.  Old cockerel was dead.  Killed by young cockerel who had finally got his revenge and was currently prancing around as the alpha male he now was. 
 
I should have gone in the night before and taken him into his penned off corner.  We should have left the main door of the run open so that he had a chance of escape.  I was disgusted with young cockerel now strutting around, he’d always been sweet, calling for food and coming quite close, but now he was a murderer, performer of patricide, and he had a suspicious brown liquid splattered on his legs.

We gathered old cockerel into a bin bag and moved him into the garage where he couldn’t be pecked anymore and where the crows and ravens wouldn’t gather for him.

The dynamics had changed in the flock, young cockerel was so arrogant but not used to command.  The hens were a bit rebellious; he obviously had further contests to endure before he gained their respect.

In the afternoon, Mark dug a grave and lined it with stone slabs, a cist.  We laid old cockerel in it and placed with him a feather from one of his ladies, a slice of bread for the journey, and some flowers from a wedding as a gift from the land.  A grave to truly confound any future archaeologist!  I asked Mark to take off the plaster from old cockerel’s claw because a hero bantam should not enter the chicken summerlands wearing a plaster.  When Mark took it off, we saw that the swelling had gone down – old cockerel had been healing.  We covered the grave; by the late afternoon, young cockerel was scratching over the disturbed soil for worms.

The king was dead, long live the king.

Spirit is a little golden bantam who does not want to be shut away from his harem.  Defiance is a brave old cockerel who gets out, somehow, and chooses to be with his ladies, even though he is in danger from his younger son.  Pluck is a little old cockerel who does what is needed, what has to be done, even though it is not in his own best interests.

We salute you, old cockerel, you were a good cockerel and we miss you.

Perhaps it is how you would have preferred to have died?  Perhaps you would have preferred to go out fighting rather than fading away in pain and succumbing to an infection?  Perhaps the nursing we did gave you a fighting chance at the end?  Perhaps young cockerel had to kill you in order to have your spirit enter him, so that he could be king cockerel – although he messed up getting your hens in for quite a few nights to follow!

Perhaps.  Perhaps.  Perhaps.  Too many unknowns, and what ifs.

Old cockerel, you had a good long life.  You lived for five years, which is good for a bantam.  For one of those years, you had six hens.  You passed on your DNA and in your last year you shared eleven hens with your son, staying top cockerel until the last week of your life.  You were brave, you put protecting your ladies above your own self-interest.

Did you suffer?  I hope not, but the fact that I found you on your back, with your feet in the air, vulnerable and submissive makes me think you did suffer at the end.  When we examined your body, your head was covered in blood and there was a big hole on the back of your neck that had been pecked out.

I hope it was quick.  I suspect it was not.  But I think you went out like a hero warrior and I salute you, brave old cockerel.  May your spirit walk in peace on our land and protect us.  May your life and your death be a lesson to us.

Monday, 26 December 2011

How I became a muckle black wallowa


(This article was published in SPIN - Scottish Pagan Federation magazine - winter 2011)

My previously mentioned love / hate relationship with Orkney largely derives from an incident that arose when I first moved here just over two years ago, when I failed to gain employment in my area of expertise, despite having received emphatic reassurances that I would.  Since then, I have “only” managed to find work that is administrative in nature and I have at times felt rather under-utilised (in the midst of a recession, I am fully aware that this is an ungrateful attitude on my part!).  It is only very recently that I have realised that the only person still being hurt by my continuing to carry around my frustration, anger, bitterness and resentment at this, is me.

But back when I first moved to Orkney, this loss at no longer being able to describe myself as such-and-such a professional was a tremendous shock (to my ego) and I went into an extended period of bereavement and grief and general ego-stripping that my (!) plans were not happening as I (!) had planned.  I realised fairly quickly that this was one of those quaint spiritual lessons our Gods periodically enjoy bestowing upon us for our own good and growth, and I asked for a bit of guidance as I felt a bit lost on so many levels.  I was, after all, effectively an immigrant, albeit a legal one, a refugee, and I had yet to grow roots which would stabilise me in my new home.  I was disturbed, too, to find that the spirits of the land, which I had found so easy to connect with whilst on holiday here, were now, apparently, ignoring me and I felt truly abandoned on so many levels, entering into a spiritual depression akin to a mystical “dark night of the soul”.

I don’t think I was pleasant company at that time! 

But, in my despair, I returned to what had always comforted me and I started to research the witch tradition in Orkney.  In doing so, I discovered the Spae Wife characters.  Not only did I research but, by the usual synchronicities, the Spae Wives kept cropping up in conversations.

Spae Wives were diviners and dispensers of advice relating to the community's welfare, marriage and childbirth; they also sold wind to sailors and charmed away milk from cows.  In the Tankerness Museum, in Kirkwall, for example, in the Victorian exhibits, there is a little leather pouch, supposedly having once belonged to a Spae Wife, which wouldn’t look out of place in the pocket of a “modern” hedge witch: it contains some folded paper, a couple of thorns, and a pin.  Instant spell kit!


In the 1880s, folklorist Walter Traill Dennison recorded the following ritual by which a Spae Wife obtained their powers:  At full moon, at midnight, go to a beach alone and turn around three times against the sun, then lie down on the sand on the ebb – between the high and low tides – stretch out your arms and legs, place a stone between each limb, plus further stones at your head, chest and heart, so that you are enclosed by seven stones, then say aloud:

“Come tak me noo, an tak me a',
Tak lights an' liver, pluck an' ga,
Tak me, tak me, noo I say,
Fae de how o' da heed, tae da tip o' da tae.
Tak a' dats oot an' in o' me.
Tak hare an hide an a' tae thee.
Tak hert, an harns, flesh, bleud an banes,
Tak a' atween the seeven stanes,
I' de name o' da muckle black Wallowa!”

(Anyone having trouble with the Orcadian dialect?  Just read it aloud, and it makes more sense!)

The would be Spae Wife then lies quietly for a while, opens her eyes, turns onto her left side, and flings the stones one at a time into the sea, sending a curse with each one.  I couldn’t find the words of the curses to be used but apparently they are quite terrifying with overtones of demonic invocations.  One can only use one’s imagination, although some folklorists believe that these are more recent additions designed to purposely set an association with the devil that was never present in the original and underlying ritual.

So, having been so sure that I was “meant” to be in Orkney for a definite reason, and now feeling equally sure that I had deluded myself because all my (!) plans were falling apart, in desperation I turned to a rededication.  Thus, in early September 2009, on the evening of a full moon, at low tide, I set out for the Sands of Evie.

The Sands of Evie are not only the nearest sandy beach to where I live in the parish of Harray (Harray is the only parish in Orkney which does not contain any coastline), they are also another rather lovely and special place in Orkney.  They lie on the north-east coast of West Mainland, facing the island of Rousay, with Eynhallow Sound running between.  The mysterious island of Eynhallow can be seen to the north-west, and just along the coast to the north is the Iron Age Broch of Gurness.


 Rather than midnight, I purposely chose the liminal time of dusk, which I personally find much more conducive to magical Work.  The weather was fine but, being September in Orkney, chilly and windy (it is always windy in Orkney ...).  I wore plain black hooded robes and bare feet, parked the car, and immediately spotted the perfect location: a sand bar, only visible at lowest tide, jutting out into the bay.  Surrounded on three sides by water, joined only to the shore by a thin strip of sand, the sand bar was quite an exciting place to Work – I wondered if I would be finished before I would have to get my feet wet ... just how far would the Gods’ cosmic joke extend?  This added to the atmosphere of tension considerably.

I chose the stones from the beach carefully and lay down on the sand as the ritual instructed, placing the stones as directed.  It was dusk, just before sunset, and there was no-one else around, just me, the noise of the sea, and the plaintive call of gulls.  

In Orkney we don’t tend to have an autumn.  August is summer, September drops straight into winter, especially after the equinox when the nights close in extremely rapidly.  The winds are so strong here that the leaves on the trees don’t get a chance to turn red, but rather as soon as the leaves start to die, they are blown off and away.  So early evening in September, on a beach, in Orkney, in thin cotton robes, it was cold – too cold to hang around, too cold to hesitate about my rededication decision, just get on with it and get back into the warmth.  And besides, I really didn’t want wet feet, or wet anything, and that tide was certainly coming in ...

So I said the words and spend a few anxious and shivering moments awaiting the amazing insight, the flood of spirituality, the appearance of spirits and elementals, and the acknowledgement from the Gods of my new status.  Nothing!  I threw the stones into the sea, not making up curses (although I was tempted), but instead throwing away from myself those aspects of my character that I no longer needed; part of me was to die so that other parts of me could live.

Then I turned to go and realised that I had attracted an audience!  A group of about seven black seals were watching me.  They were very curious because one of them came right into the shallows, only about ten metres from where I stood on the sand bar.

I wondered if they thought I was a Selkie ... about to peel off my black-robed skin and slide back into the waters to play with my seal kin once again.  I watched them watching me for a while until the cold on my bare feet won.  I bowed to each quarter and to the site and its guardian spirits.  I said aloud: “Thank you, Lady, I am Yours”, because it felt right, and then I left, feeling that the audience of seals was very much an endorsement of what I had now become, that they had been sent as  emissaries to acknowledge and welcome me.


And what had I pledged to become?  What is a “wallowa”?  Orkney folklorists suggest that it is a word derived from Völva – a Norse shamanic seeress, a carrier of a magical wand.  In my experience, the Norse Gods are only a recent veneer in Orkney; far darker, primitive, archetypal and ancestral Gods are just about discernable underneath them, and the Spae Wife Works with those older powers.

I certainly didn’t feel different at the time but looking back now to then, and with the wonderful benefit of hindsight, I realise that the past two years have been a period of intense spiritual growth for me, albeit one through which I have at times been dragged kicking and screaming whilst I desperately sought to continue to hold on to my pessimism, cynicism, and pig-headed insistence that my (!) plans were best, resorting to immature sulking at the unfairness of life when I couldn’t get my own way!

And this, for me, is the nature of Pagan initiation – perhaps all initiations? – the ritual is only the original catalyst, the actual initiation comes after and tends to be associated with more general testing times but rooted in “this reality”.  And often it is only in looking back on what we were that we realise how much we have changed, how parts of us have died, how our skins have been shed.

And my love / hate relationship with Orkney?  Well, just perhaps the love comes from Orkney and the hate has come from me, the old me, who tried to force a new life into an old skin and was hurt when it did not fit ... the transition to wallowa, to Völva, is still very much a Work in progress.