Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jan 29, 2008: tips for feeling more mediaeval

To all good gentles gathered here, greetings from Mestra Rafaella,

I too long for the early years of my SCA wherein we didst endeavor to speak forsoothly and bring a certain magickal quality to our gatherings. I know my theatrical approach to our great Society is not everyone's Dream, but it is mine and so I endeavor to coach, cajole, model and-- yea verily-- harangue on occasion to see my Dream come alive in our events. This is why I autocrat, er, event steward,
bwahaahaahaha. :-)

The busy-ness of modern life and the entry of most folks these days into the SCA via electronic media (instead of going to fighter practices and arts events and tournaments in slow and upwardly spirally progression) leaves some without the foundation of courtliness, courtesy, and honor that we earlier coveted. Interkingdom anthropology has a lot to do with how one plays as well. In my original Barony of Calafia (San Diego, CA), we did stay in persona and were generally far more formal more often than I've ever seen in all of AnTir. Prithee, this is neither good nor bad, but the different ways of different lands.

There are many articles on speaking forsoothly available (see here for a collection: but I have found recently that a series of *small* personal challenges to try and do things in a more historical manner has fostered deeper and more meaningful conversations about the ways in which our ancestors lived. I gather that most folks would find their fun improved by "persona development" but again, I can only encourage.

So consider challenging yourself to do a few of these suggestions this tournament season (as you have time, energy, and funds) and find if they do add to your general enjoyment and appreciation of the Dream:

1. Endeavor to omit modern topics from your discussions (as a consulting herald I find this exceedingly difficult at the consult table because so much of the information we convey is now online, but in other areas such as around the lists field, the A&S tent or the potluck line, give it a try).

2. Set a courtly tone by using titles. I know, I know, AnTir is sooooo laid back, so the way I choose to do this is to endeavor to greet those good gentles with whom I interact at events by their titles proper on the first instance of meeting them that day (morning biffie runs excepted). This sets the tone of acknowledging and respecting each person's hard work for their rank and our place in the Great Chain of Being as our ancestors would have done. And then for the rest of the day be as courtly or not as your place and relationships dictate.

3. Give reverance when greeting. Whom have you bowed to or curtsied to today?

4. Try to always wear a headcovering of some sort (veil, coif, hat, etc). Since headgear isn't a standard everyday thing of most folks these days (at least those who don't wear a uniform) this is a good way to step back in time quickly.

5. Try wearing historical shoes (those of us with mobility issues find this one a real challenge. For me, 26 years and counting and I still can't make or buy footgear that satisfies my historical and orthopedic needs, but I'm still researching...)

6. Try historical carrying devices (pouches, scrips, chests carried by poles, etc.) Does your belt pouch match your persona? What container _would_ combatants use to move their armor from tournament to tournament?

7. Try historical underwear (within the confines of cleanliness and decency...)

8. Try historical bedding. My goal this year for tourney season is to make linen pillowcases. I made a period-style quilt back in 2002 and the difference between a blanket and a sleeping bag was amazing for feeling "you are there".

9. Eat historical food. There's lots of us around to help on this one. :-)

10. Eat your food with only a knife and spoon.

To quote author Margaret Frazer, "Why bother? For me, the answer is that to live only inside one’s own particular time and shape of space and thought is to live impaired in sight and understanding. To be able to see with other eyes, to think—even
peripherally or for a bare few moments—in another’s mind, to feel with another set of feelings than our familiar everyday ones, is to grow, to stretch our limits of individuality a little larger, to reach our minds a little farther, to open our perception of our world and selves a little wider."

Surely a little stretching will bring us closer to each of our Dreams.

In Service to the Dream,
Mestra Rafaella d'Allemtejo, OL
Defender of Arts & Sciences to the Shire of Mountain Edge

Suggested reading on persona development:

margaret frazer quote from:


1 comment:

Factorial said...

Heh, I'm totally going commando at an event and blaming it on you.