Whilst researching Norse myths for my ash tree trunk sculpture I came across a poem telling the origin of the wind. It went like this:
Hraesvelg, he is called,
who sits at heaven’s end,
a giant in eagle’s shape.
From his wings,
it is said, the winds
blow over all men
(The Sibyl’s Prophecy. 37)
It immediately appealed to me especially as my Larks series were based on an idea where the birds made the colours of the skies.
On further research I discovered that it is also an Anebeki Native American Indian legend and this was probably the earlier legend. This is it in a condensed form:
One day Gluscabi, out hunting in his canoe became cross at the wind that was blowing his boat to the shore. When he got home he asked his grandmother Woodchuck what made the wind blow and she told him it is his grandfather Wuchowsen, the wind eagle, whom he would find if he walked into the wind. So Gluscabi struggled towards the wind that was blowing stronger than ever before. As he climbed the mountains he eventually found his grandfather, the wind eagle, and he shouted to him “Grandfather, you are doing a fantastic job making the wind blow so strong.” The eagle was so proud that he flapped his wings even harder, so it was hard for Gluscabi to stand on the mountain top. “Like this?” he said. Gluscabi said “yes, but I think you will do better over on that peak over there, I will take you there.” And with that he picked up the eagle and carried him over to a crevice in the rock where he dropped his grandfather and let him get stuck there.
As Gluscabi returned home he was pleased there was no wind, but soon the air became hot, it was hard to breathe and the river began to smell bad. His grandmother asked him what he had done and when Gluscabi told her, she explained to him that the wind is made to keep the air clean and cool and helps to keep life healthy.
So Gluscabi returned to the eagle who was still restrained in the rock crevice, and because he felt ashamed at what he had done, he pretended to be his grandfather’s nephew. He freed his grandfather and set him back on his original mountain peak so he could flap his winds and make the wind again. Gluscabi said “uncle, it is good to have windy days but sometimes it is good to have still days.” The wind eagle agreed and since then we have both windy days and still days.
My first sketch for the wind eagle looked more like a young eagle drying his wings!
I needed to get more energy into the eagle. Imagine the strength he would need to make the wind. So I sketched out many more (most of which are terrible so I can’t share them) eventually I scribbled out this one…
It was better, so I played about with his form and then made a colour cartoon…
The final mosaic …
Come back soon and see the third mosaic for my Voices of the Wind exhibition