Omnium Gatherum: February 24, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 24, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • The Hanged God: Óðinn Grímnir by Shani Oates, from Anathema Publishing, due in April

    Oates The Hanged God

    “Studies of the Sagas invariably focus upon the events conveyed in Havamal as either a supernatural occurrence, a construct devoid of historical facts, or, as an historical piece separated from magical elements. Óðinn’s association with the gallows is well attested, equally so, his mastery of the runes. However, so much is taken for granted, and repeated as if written in stone. The Viking World and its peoples and their beliefs have been grossly underestimated and misrepresented. This is partially due to media hype and partially due to lazy scholarship. Largely, it is due to blinkered analysis that fails to apply lateral inclusions. Academia isolates subject matter, dissects it and presents dry reports on its findings. It does not consider context and ignores anomalies.

    For example, it is commonly said that the Sagas offer only the briefest glimpse into their world, and that there are so many (impossible) gaps within them, a composite perspective eludes us. But this is not true. There is a wealth of knowledge and information ‘hidden in plain sight.’ Recognising this takes more than a trained eye, it requires a unique understanding that comes only from living those traditions and customs in a truly holistic way. In this way, insight and experience en-flesh and explain the literature and artefacts available to us.

    One other major problem with mainstream works is a propensity to take everything ‘as read,’ Nothing is questioned or checked for accuracy or authenticity. Far too many mistakes are repeated verbatim. Popular publishing is concerned with glamour and image above content. It appeals to the lowest common denominator. Brief summaries or abbreviated works, simplified for mass consumption severely restrict content to the extent that superficiality is the mainstay, and this decreases exponentially any opportunity for detailed explanations. This facilitates plagiarism. Not only does this perpetuate the circulation of poor or incorrect information, it fails to provide reliable source material that is often crucial to unlocking clues scattered throughout the Sagas.

    Beyond this general overview of the issues of academia and mainstream publishing, there are very specific matters regarding this particular monograph. Etymology is a vital aid to how we process information, not as a cold science of words, but as voices hidden in the text that offer full insight, often revealing an entirely new understanding of intent and purpose.

    There is a real dearth of approachable works that ford the resources and research academia has in plenitude. I feel very strongly therefore, that this work is singularly unique in is approach and its conclusions. It is not an easy read; it is not meant for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. It is not written as an introduction to ‘—‘, nor is it a ‘how to—‘ . There is already a plethora of books in circulation that do this, and they all repeat the same material – only the authors change.

    In contra-distinction to this, my work offers suggestions, insights, revelations, even challenges for those well-versed in these histories and traditions, who are already familiar with the sagas and skaldic traditions, and who like myself, crave works that advance our knowledge of them even further. This work offers them an opportunity to consider a pioneering, extensively researched concept piece that suggests a very credible and plausible explanation of events, not in isolation, but as contextual, linked aspects of one complex story spread across numerous historical works. As a multi-disciplinary approach is provides new ideas that can be discussed and explored by smaller interest groups who are poorly served by modern publishers.

    Importantly, the work is fully referenced with detailed notes for other researchers to follow; each chapter builds cumulative argument, bringing natural conclusion to this involved research. Academic and non-academic terms and phrases are used to promote ease of reading whilst maintaining integrity of form. Appendices are reserved for further consideration that would otherwise labour the text.”

  • Stonehenge: Archaeologists discover long-lost tools used to build ancient monument. Discovery likely to rekindle debate over how builders moved stones 175 miles from Wales to Salisbury Plain” — David Keys, Independent UK

    “The discovery of the stone quarrying tools, which date to the approximate time of the construction of the first stone phase of the monument (c 2900BC), proves beyond reasonable doubt for the first time that Neolithic people quarried the Welsh stones that ended up being used to build the world’s most famous prehistoric temple.

    But why did the builders of Stonehenge want to get their standing stones from 175 miles away when they could have used perfectly good local stones from Salisbury Plain?

    The answer is probably genealogical. Chemical signatures found in the bones of early Stonehenge people suggest many of those individuals were originally from western Britain, not from Salisbury Plain. It is therefore conceivable that the stones of early Stonehenge were brought to Salisbury Plain from the area associated with the builders’ ancestors.”

  • FDA officially warns against buying young blood. There is truly no data that says it’s helpful for humans” — Angela Chen, The Verge; from the Not-With-That-Attitude dept.

    “The US Food and Drug Administration is officially warning consumers that buying young blood infusions to improve their health is not a good idea. It is, in fact, a very bad idea because there is no clinical evidence that the infusions do anything, and the procedure could be dangerous.”

  • Cognitive decline prevented in old mice with a dose of young bone marrow” — Rich Hardy, New Atlas; from the Red-Red-Wine dept.

    “For centuries humans have anecdotally espoused the rejuvenating properties of young blood, however it is only in the past few years that scientists have begun to seriously explore the idea. Although previous experiments have revealed transfusing blood from young mice into older mice does seem to confer cognitive benefits it has never been clear what specifically could be causing these results. A new study has homed in on a potential hypothesis revealing young bone marrow transplants improved memory and learning in old mice.”

  • Tar for Mortar: “The Library of Babel” and the Dream of Totality [also] by Jonathan Basile (creator of, from Punctum Books

    Basile Tar for Mortar

    Tar for Mortar offers an in-depth exploration of one of literature’s greatest tricksters, Jorge Luis Borges. His short story ‘The Library of Babel’ is a signature examplar of this playfulness, though not merely for the inverted world it imagines, where a library thought to contain all possible permutations of all letters and words and books is plumbed by pious librarians looking for divinely pre-fabricated truths. One must grapple as well with the irony of Borges’s narration, which undermines at every turn its narrator’s claims of the library’s universality, including the very possibility of exhausting meaning through combinatory processing.

    Borges directed readers to his non-fiction to discover the true author of the idea of the universal library. But his supposedly historical essays are notoriously riddled with false references and self-contradictions. Whether in truth or in fiction, Borges never reaches a stable conclusion about the atomic premises of the universal library — is it possible to find a character set capable of expressing all possible meaning, or do these letters, like his stories and essays, divide from themselves in a restless incompletion?

    While many readers of Borges see him as presaging our digital technologies, they often give too much credit to our inventions in doing so. Those who elide the necessary incompletion of the Library of Babel compare it to the Internet on the assumption that both are total archives of all possible thought and expression. Though Borges’s imaginings lend themselves to digital creativity ( is certainly evidence of this), they do so by showing the necessary incompleteness of every totalizing project, no matter how technologically refined. Ultimately, Basile nudges readers toward the idea that a fictional/imaginary exposition can hold a certain power over technology.”

  • Tarot Goblinko by Sean Äaberg, from Goblinko; is a Dark Fantasy Medieval Punk Tarot Deck successfully crowdfunded [also], is currently sold out in pre-order on the Goblinko site, but pre-orders appear to still be available over on Backerkit; however, the deck may be on hold indefinitely whilst the artist recovers from a severe cerebellar stroke back in September 2018.

    Äaberg Goblinko Tarot Death

    “My wife Katie Äaberg aligns herself with the universe & draws a card from our Rider-Waite deck & hands it to me. I empty my mind, examine the card & begin to think about what it represents. I consult my extensive occult & art library to see how other people interpret the card giving particular attention to Crowley’s Book of Thoth & Jodorowsky’s the Way of Tarot. I study other tarot decks with the card in mind & note what similarities & differences & stand-out elements there are in varying depictions of the card. Through clouds of various kinds & colors of smoke – I let this sit in my head until it begins to take form. I then discuss the card with Katie & see what she thinks about where I’m headed & from that discussion I create the first pencil sketch on 11”x17” card stock. I show Katie this sketch & we discuss my interpretation of the card & then I make any changes we come up with from this discussion in pencil. I then ink the drawing, first starting with thin black lines, then going in & adding the thick, syrupy blacks which bring the piece together & then going in with stippling & cross-hatching to give the piece contour & texture & it is in this stage that the drawing, having been labored over with tedious but enjoyable inking, comes to life. We then scan the drawing into the computer & color it in photoshop using the blacklight poster & 70s Marvel comics palette I’ve developed over the years.The art is then placed into our Tarot Goblinko card frame, the card is named & it’s ready for the printers!”

    Äaberg Goblinko Tarot The Sun