“I am a Valkyrie!”
(Lady Macbeth)


Sometime after her precipitous end in a Shakespeare play, Lady Macbeth awoke in a pastoral purgatory. In an infinite sea of daffodils, she sat reclined atop an imposing drift of plaited stones known to lore as the “Sparrow’s Fall.” Alone in contemplative quite, she attended to the music of the wind’s blended voices. But suddenly stirred, perhaps by a sermon pitched in the wind’s oratorio, she hurried from jut to sill with a raven’s grace down the “Fall’s” folded face to its rune-hive below.

And there in the shade of the “Sparrow’s Fall” and its one great tree, Our Lady stood before its hoard of runes determined to read their meanings. And she, confident in these figures’ telling certainties, began her audit. But, the crumpled “Fall’s” rough folds had confused its once creaseless knowledge and wisdom into doubt. Questions challenged her confidence. “How,” she asked, “From this wreckage can I sort out scribble from story or forecast from rule?”

Nevertheless, Our Lady spurred by the spirits that tend to mortal thoughts to ask mortal questions braved to know, “Who am I and how do (or did) I live?” And so, the light that rained through the great tree’s canopy showed with pools of gold which of these torn ciphers might befriend her search. Intuitively, she followed with finger tips the marks within the golden shapes; and through this careful trace the tangled gestures of twists, loops, and lines spawned her memory of shields and byrnies, gifts of treasure, and halls of glory. She felt too the Beasts of Battle -eagle, raven, and wolf- a helmet, a spear, and the thrill of flying. She paused. “If these unruly forms, both familiar and frightening, describe me, then, am I a valkyrie?”

And she heard the winds sing,
Wind we, wind we the web of life and follow Darraatha, our fallen Valkyrie, from her immortal height to her mortal fall.

“Can this be?”

And the wind replied with a chorus of humming voices that offered no answer.

But troubled memory or no, Our Lady’s eyes began to shine because for her the hum of silence signified yet unopened rather than closed off deeds to glory. Goaded on by her obsessive want for self-fulfillment, she willed the riven blocks of runes into luminous lengths of thread. And as she ringed a finger with a loose strand and then threaded with a dagger-like needle loops within loops within loops through the first golden circle she sang,

“Come you spirits that tend to weaving’s genius! Renew me here. Clothe me from crown to toe top in the raiment of unbounded comprehension. Make bright my mind; unfreeze my memory. Open up access and passage to judgment; you Ministers to Bright Valkyrie Might, I will have sense!”

And she wove in this steady pace, un-ruled by impersonal pattern, row after row after row until her labor caught her life up.

And what she caught in the light of her labor’s heat was a moving, radiant being tethered yet to her fingers. And embodied there in the crisscrossed threads spun from the flax of her memory’s scattered runes was her self-story. And each spoke, in an aria like pas de deux, to the other, intertwined, two yet one. Our Lady spoke first.

* “Our hurly-burly’s done…”

“For now…”

*“Our lost life re-won.”

“Time then for Siegfried’s aping, slay the anvil, cut it in two, for we are re-forged.”

*“Siegfried, our bright sister Brynhilda’s fall…”

“Gently now, did we fall or spring for Glamis?”

*“Our Clontarf judgment done, Skuld, Rota, Gunn, Gondul, Eir…”

“And ourselves, Darraatha…”

*“…Flew north and east across the sea to find then follow Scotland’s great Lochs; near the northern Firth, we curved south and closed our flight at a covering place between Culloden and Cawdor on the river Nairn. But, by graceless Orlag’s stumble the safety offered in that secluded place proved counterfeit and favored us instead to the foolery of thoughtless chance.”

“Alas, a mortal’s doom soon followed.”

*“We emerged that day from our swim in the Nairn’s quiet drift certain of the place of our feathered cloaks, our wings. But, the youthful Glamis held them instead. “O blissful me,” he said, “That I am so Lady fortuned in these secret parts. It is May, (I think), and therefore, I may, if I am yet still mayed by Fortune’s happy sequence, bride the six of you in order.”

“We sprung at him! (Bards be damned, we fight!) We fear no colours.”
*“The fury of our attacks cropped his shield and colours and we reclaimed five sound cloaks. But the sixth cloak, which was ours and served by Orlog’s whim as shield to Glamis went useless in this battle as either shield or wings.”

“We fell brided to him.”

*“And into mortality, which has sadly ridden us into remorseful…”

“Idiots! Full of shame and worry. We must rejoin our Valkrie kind and reclaim our sacred stature.”

*“We ever sought in battle’s strife to meet our sisters and did not, and that ‘did not’ did cave our virtue’s might; we have, already it seems, died “downwards brain and eyes now gone.” And will this clouded vision shade us ever so and so shade us ever from our kind?”

“Doubtless, the veil of our mortal vision unbrightens us to them.”

*“Veiled indeed: Come you spirits that see to our bright virtues; heed us now! Clear us of our mortal spot, Unsex us here. Un-scarf our virtue’s sight.”

“Un-scarf our virtue’s sight. But, double, double; the scarf that hides does in its hiding hold the hinge of our doing. For remember our thrill at the news from Glamis that he had met Skuld, Wyrd and Verthandi on the heath? That news so scarfed our almost sight of them with thoughts of recovery that it unscarfed, unhinged, our sanity’s jointing virtues.”

*“Alas, by favor of this insight we see our selves in the features of Macbeth. His wont to mate prophecy’s attracting case with certainty’s ridged rule spawned his snaring phantoms. And, that wont, ever tangled with knotted suspicion, did naturally signify our sisters’ and the awful allure of their visions as monstrosities. His natural yet unnatural wont was the secret worm that blighted his gentle self.”

“And likewise, our failure to meet our sisters rotted our own nobility…”

*“As did the loss of Macbeth’s devotion to us…”

“Fair is foul and foul is fair, that which is in Valkyrie action blessed is in human action banned. Our base human schemes spoiled our special sanctions; and the unyielding toil of our yearning troubles twice blackened our bright Valkyrie might. And villainy befell us.”

*“Abandoned by our waking brightness to our benighted guilt we walked through the crenels of our better selves’ battlements to a rushing wake on the rippled stone below.”

And the winds sang,

Wake we, wake we our fallen Valkyrie from common, senseless death. Shield her; shield her wonder from her reason’s wordy tricks. Shield her till she flies again.

*“We wonder, what strange spell made the “Sparrow’s Fall” our Hel-ride?”

“It is the gears and levers of the answers to such great questions that open access and passage to Hel. Let it be.”

*“Was it by our sister Norn’s or Freya’s care that sent us here? Or perhaps, it was by some Mediterranean interloper’s uninvited grace?”

“We can hear Hel’s gate rising. Strange spells take care of themselves. Let it be.”

*“But if the Sparrow’s Fall and our-selves have sense, then there must be something rather than nothing for that sense to stand on?”

“Nothing grants a Valkryie, fallen or otherwise, her sense. She must indeed fix her sense of self from the air of her life in argument. Be grateful! Let it be.”

*“Spin the substantial threads of sense from the flax of insubstantial air? It must be a miraculous loom, one fit for the Norns that serves to weave the argument of a life out of nothing.”

“It is a wondrous loom. But the Hel-Ride begins when we ‘strange spell’ our self-loomed arguments. Then by custom suspicious, for we have estranged our words from our wills, we sue stubborn silence for the value of our own argument’s sense. Pray; consider this and that custom is upended, that you have labored here to recall the flair of our wakeful care. And on that care’s wondrous and ranging loom we moment by moment weave the airy syllables of our action’s grammar back and forth through the head weighted warp of our action’s need. And that grammar, which mimics a sparrow’s flight through the castle, springs from nothing prior, lives its need, then passes to nothing more. And on this airy loom you wove the brave argument of our life as we wove that of the Clontarf battle. There from the tangled flax of actions rife with the crisscrossing cords of manifold voices we wove our Clontarf ballad. And after the battle was lost and won, we 12 Valkyries, our gruesome loom, and thread vanished. Our purpose done, we divided: six flew north and six flew south. Listen! Do you hear them?”

*“Them? I do not hear them at all, but all that I do hear is thunder. And, how is this possible as the weather here is fixed fair.”

“It is the thunder of wings. Go look.”

And when Our Lady had carefully un-purled from the fine knits of her self-story, the vibrant Darraatha, it folded. Although now bright and Valkyrie fierce, Our Lady nevertheless wistfully set her self-story down on the billowed flax of runes then hurried toward the thunder. And as she started up the face of the “Fall,” she suddenly stopped when started by what she saw. For what she saw in the countless towering clouds of majestic swans was that her rescue loomed. And the music, the deep echoes, the regal pulse of their beating wings rolled in great waves across the sea of daffodils. And the waves that breached on the “Sparrow’s Fall” sprayed Our Lady, Darraatha, with their rebounding power. And out of the rising depths of cumulo-swans, five great swans swooped down and circled the “Fall.” Five swans circled, but six climbed away.