Mythology of Sir Hapless, the Knight
When I was writing our various Passion Plays and Mumming scripts, and drawing these spirit beings and archetypes into our mythology and sacred street theatre, I was determined to honor the oldest and most original version of the Battle between the Dragon and the Knight.
In earliest myths and cosmologies, the Dragon is all that is pure, neutral, chthonic, undomesticated, original, uncivilized – the most organic symbol of untamed, or First Nature. The Old-Timers from various European cultures often saw the Butte as a sleeping dragon or griffin which might be awakened when injustice invades the valley.
S/he/they is the fierce Guard and Protector of the natural world, rising up to wreak vengeance on humanity as it misuses, abuses and plunders the Earth. S/he takes on all patriarchal and greedy, death-dealing characters, acting as champion for, not only the survival, but the thrival of Earth.
In much later times the appropriation and demonization of this ancient myth created a character called St. George, “a holy knight,” who stalks, enslaves and vanquishes the savage, base, evil, uncontrolled Nature, the great undomesticated danger and all her creatures. In this mythology the dragon must be tortured, punished and brought to heel. She must be used for man’s sole purposes and benefit.
St. George is most often pictured in iconography as having his foot on the neck of the Dragon, sword plunging into her back.
I created Sir Hapless, the foolish, ignorant and wrong-minded Knight as the original perpetrator, and lackey of heedless technocracy – progress at any cost. A frightening fool and narcissistic fop of technological society. This has, in our Passion Play – the Trial of the Grump, continued to be a picture of the blind and headlong results of unsustainable practices and technologies. Interestingly this archetype was a prediction of, and now a version of someone currently very familiar, and those who blindly follow him/them in our contemporary political climate.
However, the archetype in our Passion Play and Trial has the ability to change, and even to humbly kneel and become Lord High Protector. He is confronted by the Harvest Mother, Nature herself, and experiences a transformation as the Harvest Mother stops this age-old battle between technocracy and the ancient untamed Earth, demanding a balance of progress and preservation, commerce and careful stewardship – at least for the coming year.
Knight Activity: RuneQuest
The Runes are an ancient Germanic and Norse alphabet believed to have been in use in Northern Europe for 2,000 years. In Viking times, the Runes were carved into bone, small rounds of wood or stones. The Old Norse meaning of the word “rune” is “to whisper the mysteries.” There are 24 symbols in the Elder Futhark, or Anglo-Saxon, “Viking” rune alphabet. Each symbol relates to an ancient saga or poem from the Eddas, an 8th Century collection of Norsemen’s and women’s travels to Iceland, Greenland and North America. These stories include the interaction of the Norse gods and goddesses with humans, and are filled with powerful forces, courage and mystery.
Each of the 24 rune symbols has many meanings and identifies specific actions, energies and guidance for those who enter into the Rune Quest. Each rune also has symbolic color/s which represent it in ritual adornment and the creation of Cairns or Ancestor altars set in nature. By “casting” (throwing) or drawing a small runestone from a bag, or tray the questioner may ask for directions or information on the next best step in his or her life.
How to go on your own RuneQuest
In this version of the process, look at the following rune images and choose one without first reading its description.
1. When you choose your rune, before reading further, see what the image symbolizes for you.
2. Then, read the description below. These descriptions assist the questioner in interpreting the specific meaning of this rune, relating it to their personal life and intentions for the future.
3. Ask a friend or partner to look at the rune with you and share their interpretation for and with you.
4. Take a blank wooden Rune Disc home, and carve, burn or paint your Equinox Rune on it.
The RuneQuest is meant to be an interesting and evocative experience and is drawn from the Old World indigenous cultures of many of our ancestors. As an ecopsychology and dedicated intentional undertaking, the RuneQuest may help us to reclaim and enliven original Earth honoring practices and traditions brought by our ancestors to North America. We are re-creating these powerful ancient healing and intention-focusing traditions as we bring forward perennial guidance to serve and heal contemporary needs. In the ancient wisdom practices of Northern Europe, it is believed that, through the RuneQuest we may also direct right action and commitment to the Earth, our community environment and life purpose for the coming year. You may choose to dedicate the next year to honoring the special rune which chooses YOU!
The RuneQuest is here. The Transformations of Autumn Equinox are nigh!
Blessings from Godmother Marcie Telander
Poem to Sir Hapless
Chainmail champion why is your blade drawn in progress’s name?
Civilization need not depend on making nature tame.
Stop this destruction, you don’t want wild gone!
Sir, have you no shame?
Warrior, your service in all its glory should protect the weak.
Honor your purpose, rewrite your story in this holy week.
Sir try in earnest to calm your fury at her mountain peak.
Nobel lad, my heart is not in your cause.
Exploitation of Earth tears her apart.
Scar mountains with cars, call improvement love, just playing your part.
Listen to what was become like the dove.
Choose peace in times of uncertainty.
Be a defender to forgive your crimes of man’s tyranny
strive to be better. Partake in the wines, to now embody
Sir Lord Protector
By Anna Claire, Vinotok Wordsmythe