Contemplating Medieval Lent, 2015

Last year, the husband and I attempted to do an experiment around Medieval Lent.  It was a last minute decision (not the week before, but close), and we had a lot of exceptions (new world foods were fine, if we were otherwise keeping to the no meat/eggs/dairy strictures; allowing a cheat trade for our one non-lenten feast day a week, etc).  We had a lot of life hit around the mid-point and the whole thing kind of crashed.

Coming in to this year, I have a little more time to think about it.  Alarich is willing to try again if I want to, and I have over a month of planning/prep time.  If we do it again (and I am not 100% sure that we will), I think our guidelines will be as follows:

1) Sticking to old world foods and period recipes as much as possible.  I am already looking through my cook books and compiling a list of possible recipes.

2) Keep the Sunday as feast day idea.  We aren’t 100% sure they did this in Medieval Lent, but we were both a lot happier having one feast day a week where we could have what we wanted.  It usually became our “Let’s have date night” night.  It also makes the calendar count for Lent work (Lent starts on the 18th of February and Runs through, according to the count down, Thursday the 2nd, which gives us 44 days instead of 40).

3) We will eat a normal number of meals.  In period, they would have likely done one meal, and possibly a collation (or, for laborers, a breakfast).  However, Alarich has modern health issues that require regular meals.  And my employees shouldn’t have to deal with me when I am Hangry.

4) The Feast of the Annunciation will be a Feast Day (it’s Alarich’s birthday, and it will be celebrated).

So, like I said, we are thinking about it.  I think we will probably make the call closer to Carnivale whether we will actually do it or not.  It will likely depend on what things look like as I work through the prep process.

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My Vigil and Elevation, in 1500 words or less.

So, at Kris Kinder in the Kingdom of Calontir, I sat vigil during the day in preparation for evening court and my elevation to the Order of the Laurel.  In true me fashion, I was working on some stuff until late Friday evening, but I had gotten everything done in time to be abed before Midnight.

My parents made the trip up to see the event, which was neat.  It was my father’s first event and my mother’s third-ish (she had previously been to a local revel of the Barony in the city they live in when I was younger, and to an event where I did feast, where she worked in the kitchen all day).  They had a really good time, and did some Christmas shopping while they were at it.

My vigil began around 9:45.  The room decorations where handled by my Laurel, Baroness Fionnuala, with help from friends.  Food was coordinated by HE Katrei.  Calontir does a very formal putting on vigil ceremony for all candidates for the peerage.  This really is a lovely tradition, because it promotes a sense unity among the three peerages.  I can’t reveal the details, but it was a very moving experience.

The vigil itself was interesting.  I was warned that I might receive weird advice or be told odd things, but that didn’t really happen.  I had a lot of conversations that made me think, and more that made me laugh and smile.  I had the chance to discuss what it means to take associates, to swear fealty or not, balancing the expectations of peerage with the fun of the SCA, avoiding burn out, and so much more.  It was also deeply touching to see how many people came specifically to see me (I am looking at my friends from Ansteorra and Gleann Abhann- thank you for making the trip).  I also received a number of really beautiful gifts, which can be seen here.

My vigil ended around 4 and I had some time to freshen up.  I chose to wear my elevation dress all day, so we straightened that up, and I touched up my hair and make up (my mother, who was a hairdresser in her younger days, helped me get an awesome corona braid hair style for the day).

Then we snuck back into the back of court.  Kris Kinder always has a LOT of business, and this year was no exception. Their Majesties did about an hour of business, concluding with now Sir Cai Dubghlas’s knighting, and then called a brief intermission.  They resumed, and I got to see some really awesome things happen, including a Queen’s Endorsement of Distinction for Chivalry to a very worthy archer, and three Calontir Lilies awarded to wonderfully worthy artisans (The Lily is the Calontir GOA in the field of Arts- in this case, costuming, dance, and costuming).  Congratulations Helena, Wulfram, and Tamar!

And then, my Laurel was called into court.  Nerves hit me for the first time, and the mantra in my head as I prepared to go forward was “Don’t trip, don’t pass out, don’t throw up on the Crown.”  I was proceeded into court by Lady Sibilla Swaine and Lord Osgar of Grimfells, my apprentice siblings, bearing a banner made by Sibilla. My husband HL Alarich escorted me to the stage without incident, and I managed to make it to the kneeler pillows without faux pas. One of the beauties of this site is that it has really great accoustics, so I could hear all my speakers really well.  HE Elianor de Morland spoke for the Order of the Laurel, Halvgrimr Riddari spoke for the Order of Chivalry, and HE Katrei Grunenberg spoke for the Order of the Pelican.  My member of the populace was Hl Konstantia Kaloethina.  My Laurel was then call upon to release me from her service, which she did, taking back the belt she apprenticed me with and joking how in every swan’s life, it’s time to kick the cygnet out of the next (her heraldic charge is a black swan).

I was then invested with my insginia of the order.  HE Beorhtlic Folcwinesone of Ansteorra, who is my husband’s laurel, spoke on the medallion, which was made by my husband with a silver chain made by my apprentice brother Osgar.  Then HE Catalina de Arazuri presented the cloak, made by HE Elianor, and talking about the reminders of the weight of peerage.  Next, HE Mirabel Wynne presented the wreath, which was made by my Laurel, HE Fionnuala.  At that point, it was time to take my oath.  With the help of HE Andixos Seljukroctonis, I tweaked the traditional laurel’s oath, and then Drx translated it into Latin.  I had intended to memorize it (and still need to), but luckily Master Rhodri, who is the Crown Herald, was able to prompt me.

The text, in Latin and English:

Nunc Coronae et Regno Calontiris homagium do et fidem obligo. Ius solemne ita ut effigies, leges et mores nostrae Societatis sustineam, fideliter Coronam et Regnum defendam et extollam, iustitiam tuear et scientiam colam, aliquibus qui petant, artem et disciplinam impertiam, et semper perpetuo dignam sertae Laureae esse do.  Verbo et facto iuro, Aline Swynbroke, Domina Laureae.

(Here do I give homage and swear fealty to the Crown and Kingdom of Calontir. I herewith give my solemn oath to support the ideals, laws, and customs of our Society, to Loyally defend and uphold the Crown and Kingdom, to champion justice and foster knowledge, to share my art and knowledge with any who seek it, and to ever and always strive to be worthy of the Laurel Wreath. By word and deed, thus swear I, Aline Swynbroke.)

Finally, my charter of award was presented.  HE Mirabel created it, and while she is an amazing scribe and illuminator, she also like’s to push herself, and push the definition of “scrolls”.  What I received was a beautiful apothecary’s chest that she had found and painted for me, with the text of the charter, by HRM Gwen, on top, and gorgeous painted details all around it.  Inside, it was loaded with little spices and jars of spices from HRM Gwen.  I was awe struck.  At that point, the order was encourage to escort me out of the presence as the newest Mistress of the Laurel, as they had some final business.

The charter text says: “On the 13th day of December in the reign of King Agamemnon I and Queen Gwen there came into their court a petition from the good men and women of the Worshipful Order of the Laurel, and they presented to the Crown one Aline Sywnbroke, craftswoman, elected by them to be a Mistress of her art, due to her excellence in cooking, research, and various diverse arts, &c.  On which day the same Aline was sworn into this Worshipful Order of the Laurel to the good and faithful control of her said arts by sparing no one through love or oppressing no one through hate, and by presenting shortcomings and victories which they found in the said arts to the crown and laureate, &c.

By our hand and seal this 13th day of December, AS 49.

Agamemnon, Rex   Gwen, Regina”.

I got a number of whilwind hugs, and then got to see HE Avraham receive an incredibly well deserved augmentation of arms for his many, many good works, the most recent of which was building and giving away 30 wood chairs to people who would promise to banish bag chairs from their SCA experience, in order to help people up their game.  Augmentations are very rare in Calontir, and it is considered a great honor to receive one.

After that court ended, and there was more hugging, and people coming to inspect my charter and insignia.  We then ran back to the rental and got food for Mom (she was wiped out tired) before Dad, Alarich, and I headed to the small pot luck shindig hosted by Katrei and TK for the out of town Ansteorrans (they have both traveled much in that Kingdom and knew most of that party).  After spending a few hours there, Alarich and I dropped my father back at the rental and headed to the official party post revel at Rhodri’s for a couple hours.  We finally made it home around 2.

It was an absolutely amazing day, and the hard work of countless people made it magical for me.  I have tried to name as many people as I could, but I know I am missing many of them.  Suffice to say, I deeply appreciate everyone who helped make it so very special for me.

Sincerely, in Service,

Magistra Aline Swynbroke