The Gift

Ensnaring, Of Bitter Aftertaste

“To have received from one, to whom we think ourselves equal, greater benefits than there is hope to Requite, disposeth to counterfeit love; but really secret hatred; and puts a man into the estate of a desperate debtor, than in declining the sight of his creditor, tacitly wishes him there, where he might never see him more. For benefits oblige; and obligation is thraldome; and unrequitable obligation, perpetuall thraldome, which is to one equall, hateful.”

Hobbes, Leviathan


German still retains an older sense of the word gift that was common in much of early medieval Europe, it could be used in two ways to refer to a gift or to poison. The wine fed warrior gifted wine and mead in exchange for his death in battle awakes to it’s bitter aftertaste.


Note On The Barnacle

A moment in the life of the barnacle goose. A wonderful watch.

To connect with or attach.
To press close against something.

I don’t want to intrude on these sources, save that for some boring obscure folklore journal, I would like to note one thing before presenting a few other sources.

I was chatting to someone from the Western Isles a native speaker of Gaelic, I was interested to learn if they noted any differences between limpets and barnacles (both have the same name in Gaelic). On mentioning the word was the same for both species my informant laughed loudly and then she said

‘you know Jeb, I have never thought about the difference before.’ 

Her laughter was infectious.

From Middle English barnakille, from earlier bernake, bernekke, from Old Northern French bernaque (barnacle) (compare French barnache), from Vulgar Latin *bernacca (limpet), from Gaulish (compare Welsh brennig, Irish báirneac), from Proto-Celtic *barinākos, from *barinā (rock, rocky ground) (compare Old Irish barenn (boulder)), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷr̥H- (hill, mountain) + Proto-Celtic *-ākos, from Proto-Indo-European *-kos, *-ḱos; for sense development, compare Ancient Greek λέπας (lépas, rock) which gave λεπάς (lepás, limpet).


Wiki, barnacle, etymology

Beneath the Waves: Of Suns Quenched, Stars Drowned and the Capture of The Moon

Moment’s In History of The Collector and The Collected

Of Small Things

The Sun Drinker

“I cannot positively tell you whether the Clay Goose (barnacle goose) be Suppositious or not tho all the Countrey men afirm it for a trueth I have seen my selfe ane old maste of a ship come in one the shore full of larg(e) holes. As if made by wormes wherinto ther sticks a shell within which ther is a small thing Which resembles a foull in every thing in a warm day the shell oppens and the fowl would seem to strech their wings But many of undoubted honestie assure me they have seen a foule with wings feathers feet and a tail sticking to a tree by the bill but wanted lyfe the shell falls away when they com to perfectione as ane Egg braiks and they stick by the bill till they Get lyfe…….”

Lord Reay Letter to Samuel Pepys 24 October 1699

Byssus On You Tube

Zen and The Art Of Crafting: A Training For Life

As I am simply generalizing vaguely while trying to work out how to slash burn and order too much material I thought it may be a good idea to do a you tube video. Here I can demonstrate my sheer mastery with words and demonstrate through sound and movement my utter expertise and control over the subject. So here goes.

It really captures the spirit of my crafting style as I apply it to a range of subjects, as eagle eyed observers of my photographs may have already noted.

A short video I should really have got round to making but never did.

Glossing A Legal Text (Trinty Of Three Beings)

Bloodlying of The Three Sisters

A Creature of Dispute

I Am the being of reason blue/ grey wolf/ dog

I go a howling and my killing is justified

I am dumb and disgraced by sin (here I am lost but can be found)

Borne On The Backs Of Women

Translation of three names from the Law of Bloodlying an Irish legal medical document of the 6th century. Looks distinctly like a language origin myth, but reason to believe these were also legal practical terms. Some of the themes are more familiar and more normally dealt with in the story of the male wild man. Earliest known European version of this story is British, thought to date from around the same period, it transfers to Ireland at a later date.

In practice it would seem to point to a limitation in women’s ability to maneuver in the public sphere and in cases of dispute. Legal compensation is limited, a standard feature found in Irish, Anglo Saxon, and Scottish legal texts. Places an economic drain on parties involved in violent dispute. Here the move seems to be to move women from this sphere all together, further lowering status and the ability to act effectively in political life of which violence was one means of furthering or holding family status.

Women are moving to occupy a differing role in early Christian Ireland. Out of the public sphere and into the private world of home and hearth. Mother of Christ with her spindle, absorbed in birth pangs or weeping for her lost son rather than a satire spitting participant on the field of dispute.

These changes in status are wrapped within a strong narrative that holds in imagination and is easy to retain. The pain and suffering of animal like status of the past is replaced by the pain and suffering of birth and the death of Christ. A role that women could become absorbed in through performance in song during the repetition and rhythm of their working life, the preparation of food, dying of cloth, washing of the dead.

A move to a more ‘innocent’ identity. This renegotiation of Identity came at a significant cost but it was an attempt to create a more stable society through limiting violence in the community. The reduction in status of a section of the population was a traditional legal move, which while it could be catastrophic leading to the eradication of the identity of targeted groups it was ruthlessly functional.

One significant feature that came with the establishment of the monastic system was the stability it afforded it lay populations associated with these houses of god. The ability of these elite sponsored stores of cultural memory to hold fast within the landscape through the generations is a significant achievement.

The modern urban  settlement pattern of North was formed on the successes and ability of these religious settlements to hold fast in the landscape.

They must be viewed within the context of their time rather than through the eyes of the present. It is impossible to reconstruct a perfect picture of this period but we certainly can attempt to dissolve and understand this past in the present. The hardest part of of many craft’s is learning to let go.

The Bloodlying Of The Howling One


Irish Law of Bloodlying 6th cen.

To Go A Howling

32. There are twelve women in the territory whom the rule of nursing in Irish Law excludes. a woman who turns back the streams of war, a ruler entitled to hostages, one who is abundant in miracles, a woman satirist, a woman wright, a woman recovered by a leech of the territory, a sharp tongued virago, a vagrant woman, a werewolf in wolfs shape, an idiot, a lunatic. It is by a fee to their kin these women are to be compensated: they are not brought away (to be nursed)