Dev Block

Posted on Jul 2, 2022

This year, I’m participating in My First Game Jam Summer 2022. However, outside of a few charms I want to reference, no ideas come. That’s why I’ve decided to spend at least some part of my first day of development getting this blog set up.

A Loose Concept

After learning the jam’s theme of “Heal”, I asked around my Heathen community (shout-out Skid and The Longship. There, I was told about the Nine Herbs Charm, one of two surviving mentions of Scandinavian spiritual practice in Old English text. I’ll post the charm below.

The Nine Herbs Charm

Remember, mugwort - what you reveal / what you set to order in solemn pronouncement / Singular you are called, oldest of the herbs / You could avail against three and against thirty / you could avail against poison and against contagion / you could avail against the hated things that fare throughout the land

And you, waybread, mother of herbs / open to the east, mighty within - over the carter’s creaking, over the woman’s reddening / over the bride marrying, over the bulls' snorting / You stood against all things and you dashed against them - as you withstood poison and contagion / and those hateful things that flew throughout the country

The herb is called nettle, it grows upon the stone - standing against poison, crashing against pain / It is called stiff, dashing against poison / avenging cruelty, casting out venom / This is the herb that fought against the worm - this can avail against poison, this can avail against contagion / this can avail against hated things that fare throughout the land /

Now fly, cock’s-spur, the less is more / the more is less, until they both be cures / Remember, kindred - what you reveal / what you finish off at Alorford - so that it never gave up the spirit to disease / after one prepared one of this tribe for his food /

This is the herb that is called the crab apple - which sends the seal across the spine of the sea / an enemy of another poison, its remedy / These nine herbs can avail against nine poisons / The worm comes home creeping, tearing into the man - then Woden took up nine glorious boughs / striking then the serpent - it flew into nine pieces / There the apple and the venom were destroyed / so that it never wished to bring down your house

Thyme and fennel, a mighty powerful pair / the wise Lord shaped these herbs / holy in heaven, he hung up - sent up and sent down into the seven worlds / for the wretched and the blessed, as cure for all /

It stands against pain, dashing against poison / it can avail against three and against thirty / against the fiend’s hand and against destruction / against the bewitchment of wicked creatures.

Now can these nine herbs avail against evil spirits / against nine poisons and against nine diseases / against the scarlet poison, against the stinking poison / against the white poison, against the purple poison / against the yellow poison, against the green poison / against the black poison, against the blue poison / against the brown poison, against the crimson poison / against the snake-blister, against the water-blister / against the thorn-blister, against the thistle-blister / against the ice-blister, against poison-blister -

if any poison come flying from the east / or any should come from the north / or any from the west over the nations of men / Christ stood over the plague of any kind.

I alone know the running water / where the nine serpents occupy nearby - they might spring forth now in all forests with herbs / slipping away to the sea, all the salt water / when I blow this poison away from you.

Mugwort, way-bread, nettle, crab-apple, thyme and fennel, the elder soap-plant. Pound these / herbs into dust, mix with soap and with apple-dirt. Make into a paste with water and ashes, take / fennel and wool into the paste and bathe it with beaten eggs, then make it into a salve, either / before or after. Sing this spell upon all of the herbs - three times before one makes it and also / upon the apples - and sing for the men by mouth and into their ear both and into the wound that / same spell, before one applies that salve.

Beautiful, isn’t it? This poem will serve as the tonal basis for my submission.

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