Viking Funerals.

 

vahalla

This was just quick, but I’m still learning the ins and outs of this new medium.

 

Joining the military, and in particular, the ground forces as one will become as a Marine, you must confront your own mortality. Of course, to ease the thoughts of this, you take it in stride, and mask the fear in a business like demeanor as you complete a will, and nominate your life insurance forms. Once at your regular unit, perhaps after a few drinks, you’ll discuss your own death, mainly in terms of the last page in the book of life, your funeral. I never gave much though to it, citing “I won’t care, I’ll be dead,” as to what rituals one would wish for.

Upon being shown the movie Glory Daze, a scene emerged where one of the characters, who had his grandmother’s coffee mug which he constantly had to remind his college roommates not to touch, as they constantly did in opposition to his wishes, described to them why he didn’t want them to use that mug. After a night of partying, as they gathered outside their house, he described a viking funeral: When a Viking Chief kicked off, they buried him with all his stuff…that way it was always special. This character said this after smashing that mug on the ground, his buddies questioning the radical behavior. After delivering that speech, the group began destroying the rented house they lived in, breaking apart the makeshift bar they had crafted over the years, and ripping down all the artifacts of their time in college, at that place.

I liked this idea, of celebrating the uniqueness of time by preventing those who would follow from dishonoring it through the use of those artifacts. No one could claim to have sailed with that Viking chief, or being with that crew, on that vessel, except those who were there, who shared in the glory, and in the suffering. For the next generation, this imparts a sense of ownership for their own actions. The ship of the previous chief was that of hero, or coward, and either way, they couldn’t impart or distance themselves either way. Their ship, or mug, or a piece of furniture, a pocket knife, a suitcase, whatever thing is theirs to imbue with their own life. What passes down from generation to generation is the character of one’s self to forge their own path in life.

In this context, the How to Train Your Dragon movies were always a favorite of mine. Being a parent, I would likely have never watched them if not for my kids. The world these movies are set in was simply fantastic. Not until the second movie, did I really take hold of them, and base my decision to leave behind a life of jobs I tolerated, to heading down the road to a career I wanted so badly. It was last week when my family company decided to utilize my art skills to gain a business advantage on competing companies. The only thing standing in my way was a single issue… I needed to acquire digital art tools.

I have oil paints, watercolor paints, acrylic paints, charcoal, graphite, acrylic ink, water based ink, high end ink pens, dip pens, all manner of art grade paper, painting canvas, pyrography tools, wood carving tools, the list goes on and on. In the age where one can slip a high powered computer phone in their pocket, I had invested zero in the basic tools of art in the computer age, something I took great pride in. You can sketch or paint up anything on a computer all day long, but all you can do it print that out, or show it on a screen. That I now have a Wacom CintiqHD, I can say that any arrogance I had is quite ill founded. The work I can put in to a digital painting is no less artistically intensive than working on an oil painting.

So, yes, well all like Toothless. Given the movie was targeted at the young, but made watchable for the adults who would be taking the kids, or paying for the teens to see these movies, Toothless is symbolic of many human emotional conditions of youth. The power of his ability to defend himself is reminiscente of wanting to become powerful, much like firing your first gun; the mobility of Toothless harkens to getting your driver’s license, and of course, the pet/friend symbolism many kids can associate with social difficulties and having a companion that is free from judgement…Toothless is simply awesome.

For me, though, the movies, the book, the world Toothless occupies, the people in it, their struggles, this is what had me doing a 180 on my career…doing what I wanted to do from the start, and for this, I decided to quickly digitally paint a scene from the movie I enjoyed.

I have the clip here as well that I listen to while I was painting it, and that I worked from.
As it turns out, in this day and age, it would be quite difficult to have a Viking funeral. There are in fact many laws that prevent pyre’s for this task. Some are for health reasons, others for safety reasons. Honestly, setting a wooden ship on fire, one that is floating on the ocean, this somehow is so hazardous that you’d have to travel to international waters to preform it, and still would likely be looking over your shoulder?

I wanted to go on this what one should do when they are young rant, but it basically sums up to: Youth is truly wasted on the young.

If you want to have an amazing life, surprise everyone, and make that statement untrue for you.

 

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