Nautarsíðit Tradition / Ritual in Samthô | World Anvil
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General introduction

The Skaura Orohlen of northern Erana practise a strict segregation of the sexes. Children stay with their mothers til the age of six or seven, then, if they are girls, they stay with the women. Boys are given to the men. The boys then spend their time learning their role in society, a craft and fighting. This time is called 'Oiskenríð'. It ends when the boy has reached 'Erosksenlið' - the 'moment of maturity'. There is no fixed time for that time. It may occur some time between their 17th and 22nd year. The Nautarsíðit is then held to assign each man a comrade in arms, a so called 'Sambandsbróðir'. From then on the individual is considered a full-grown adult and a full member of the society. The event is held, where the river Aelfir turns north. This is supposedly, where the Skaura Orohlen, then led by the Striðkunnandé Skirrgerr and Fjölpúg, decided to settle down and make the northern forests their homeland after their ardous migration from the east.


Process of the event

All eligible adolescents of the male groups of Skaura Orohlen gather at the bend of the river Aelfir two days before the first - or second, if the full moon was less than a (ten days) week after the equinox - full moon after the spring equinox. The Striðkunnandé - that are the religio-military leaders of the entire people of the Skaura Orohlen - then come to that place, too. It is a large clearing close to the river, that gets cleaned up and prepared by the group under the Striðkunnandé's supervision. They meanwhile examine all the adolescents during a spiritual ambulation that make them come into harmony with the place and let them perceive all the individuals energies. Next a series of competitions is held, in which the young Orohlen display their strength individually, by javelin-throwing and running. Then they fight with each other in grappling matches under the supervision of the Striðkunnandé. This concludes the first day. In the evening a feast is held, where they all share the food they brought. This is the first communal meal as before they had to eat alone. Again the Striðkunnandé walk around and closely examine the participants.

On the second day is a day of rest. It is spent with the recitations of the ancestors deeds and accomplishments, gathering of firewood and communal fishing for the second communal meal that evening. Later that night bonfires are lit which were set up in a special pattern across the clearing. The adolescents sit together and chant a hymn in honour of Arvadrak, the 'first born fighter' and believed first of all Orohlen. During this chant they all wear a self-made cast-iron amulett, they already prepared at home. The Striðkunnandé join the chant, while walking through the area. They collect the amulets from every one of them in a bag called 'Roekapungr' - literally the 'bag of the threads of fate'.

The Striðkunnandé have now seen every aspect of their being, their individual strengths and weaknesses, them being alone, them being in groups; they have seen every energy they bear in themselves and how they relate to the elements around them: the fire in their strivings and how they relate to the bonfires around them, the shimmer in their chants and breath and how they made their amulets, the soil-boundness in themselves in how they cleared the place and how they slept on the floor, the growth in their very shape and movements, the water they shed when they fought and sweated and how they fared fishing in the river.

The third and last day marks the time, when the Striðkunnandé put them to the test. The amulets collected in the Roekapungr are now sprinkled with water from the Aelfir, ashes from the bonfires, soil from the clearing, herbs from the riverbank and fanned with the air around. In the center of the clearing the bundle is bound and the Striðkunnandé whisper a spell on it. Then they face east and smash it on the ground. The young Orohlen stand around them, chanting the first stanza of the song called 'Arvadraks Soemdin', that is 'Arvadraks Honorary Gift'. Then the Striðkunnandé picks it up, whispering another spell onto it. They turn west, smash it on the ground again and the young Orohlen turn west and chant the second stanza. This is repeated once more facing north and lastly facing south. The bundle is then opend up again. The Striðkunnandé have now completely entered a stage of trance. They will pick out shards of broken amulets and point at their owners with closed eyes murmuring incomprehensibly. Those whose amulets were broken during the process are still considered immature and have to come back later. This is determined not by the stability of the amulet but solely by divine decision. When the immature have left, the Striðkunnandés continue. They now pick up the amulets which are sticking together in pairs. They point out those who owned the amulets and assign them a place together. This goes on until every pair has been identified and placed together.

After that the Striðkunnandé awake from their trance and go from pair to pair. They all get blessed and swear an oath to be bound to each other til death parts them. In the evening these pairs of sambandsbroeðrés boil water in pots over a communal fire. The Striðkunnandé give them all a small shard made from their merged amulets. The young Orohlen cut their right thumb with it and drip a drop of blood into their individual pot. The Striðkunnandé adds some Telva to the water that is prepared especially for this ritual. The pairs then share their Telva and their blood and thus complete the bond. The last step is the 'doem', where the Striðkunnandé decide which partner's group the pairs shall join.

Cultural significance

The Nautarsíðit - and its counterpart for the women, the 'Tiltroeðit' - is probably the most important ritual in the life of a Skaura Orohlen. It is a special form of rite of passage only practised by this ethnicity of Orohlen. The bond formed is for more than just a ritualistic bond. The two men bound together actually form a symbiotic relationship with each other and live together. They must never parts ways as without the other an individuals health will slowly fail and they will eventually die. The same is for the most part true if one of the two dies. But sometimes these so-called 'ekkjarmann' survives even without his Sambandsbróðir. Even though not shunned or discriminated, they often leave their people and wander off alone and explore the land.
The Nautarsíðit is also compulsory for all male Skaura Orohlen, making them - in a special way and only for the men - a strictly pair-bonding ethnicity. The Nautarsíðit also serves as a means to keep the group fit, as only the weakest are not able to form a bond and thus never become a full member of society and also may never reproduce. These individuals may stay with the group they belong to and are task with menial jobs or may leave the Skaura Orohlen. They are called 'seinr'. The ritual-concluding 'doem' ensures that the individual groups are effectively stengthened and close relatives get more separated as to prevent inbreeding.


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