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A meditation on the wisdom of the ancient Norse text, "The Havamal," through over 40 ink drawings that reflect its poetry.
A meditation on the wisdom of the ancient Norse text, "The Havamal," through over 40 ink drawings that reflect its poetry.
A meditation on the wisdom of the ancient Norse text, "The Havamal," through over 40 ink drawings that reflect its poetry.
472 backers pledged $35,108 to help bring this project to life.

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Fateful Signs: The Illustrated Havamal

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Fateful Signs is what Odin saw as he hung from the World Tree. They are the legends of the Gods and Ancestors carried down through our deeds. They can be sought with runes, carved and made red.

Fateful Signs presents "The Illustrated Hávamál," a collection of art by Sam Flegal. This 104-page book explores the meaning behind the ancient collection of Norse wisdom through a series of meditative ink drawings.

With your support, I will be able to create a truly beautiful art book that honors both the original text, translated by Henry Adams Bellows in 1936, and the time and energy I've placed in interpreting the verses through illustration.

You can follow me and my Fateful Signs project on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, my Blog, or www.fatefulsigns.com

Tell me more about The Hávamál

"The Hávamál" is a collection of ancient Norse wisdom, thought to have been written down in about 1270 CE. The title, Hávamál, translates as “Sayings of Har.” Har is the High One, another name for Odin, hence the ancient text means “Sayings of the High One.” These sayings are a collection of poetry, offering insights and wisdom to help one lead an honorable life.

One theory about "The Hávamál" is that before it was written down, it represented a way to pass knowledge from one generation to the next. These wise sayings were done in verse in order to work as a mnemonic devise. As a youth transitioned to adulthood, part of his rite of passage would be to memorize the lore of his people. The same way that songs and rhymes make things easier to remember today, much of the lore and wisdom of the tribe was passed down in verse.

With the Christianization of the North, scholars took it upon themselves to preserve their ancient culture by writing down these verses. The greatest collection of preserved poetry is "The Poetic Edda," one section of which is "The Hávamál."

How did this project start?

Starting in December 2015, I dedicated a month to illustrate "The Hávamál." Each day I did a different ink drawing based on a verse from the ancient Norse text. In order to harness inspiration, I started with random ink blobs, and then meditated on the text. Once things felt right, I approached the ink blobs, and with the text in mind began to find shapes and forms within the randomness. Each drawing was made using brush and ink. Even though it took me a little longer than a month, I managed to complete 31 ink drawings. In preparation for this book, I'm doing 12 more ink drawings!

The Book

The Illustrated Hávamál will be a cloth-bound hardback book, measuring 9"x12", with a gold foil embossed cover. It will have 104 pages with over 40 illustrations and the complete text from "The Hávamál" as translated by Henry Adams Bellows, including his notes. In addition it will include a deluxe bookmark ribbon attached to the book to aid in finding where you left off, or saving your favorite passage.

Why the Bellows Translation?

The astute scholar of ancient Norse wisdom will note that there are many different translations of "The Hávamál." This is not surprising, as a text this important draws many a scholarly pursuit. I chose the Bellows translation for two reasons. Firstly, the text is in the public domain. Many of the more modern and arguably more accurate translations are the creative property of their translators. Secondly, because Bellows translated with a mind towards poetry and rhythm of verse. After all, this is a collection of Old Norse poetry—the English language version should sound like poetry to give the reader the full experience of the text.

This is an art book, so I wanted the text to have an artistic poetic quality that some of the more academic translations lack.

Now Including Original Old Norse Text

The most requested addition for the book was for us to add the original language version of "The Hávamál" to "The Illustrated Hávamál." We listened! The book will now include the original Old Norse text. Here is a sample page:

Add-on pricing includes shipping.

• T-Shirt: Odin on a Windy Tree - $25

• T-Shirt: Runes Shalt You Find - $25

• Limited Edition 18" x 24" Silk Screen Print - $60

• Fateful Signs: Drawings - Volume 2, The Hávamál Process - $20

• Drinking Horn with Hand-Carved Logo - $200

• Additional Book - Unsigned - $40

• Additional Book - Signed with print "Dead Man's Deeds" - $50

T-Shirts

Each shirt will be silk screened on high quality Ringspun Cotton Tees.

Limited Edition Silk Screen Print

This Limited Edition Silk Screen print will measure 18"x24" and will be printed on 100# Kraft Tone Paper from French Paper. The Limited Edition run will be based off of the number sold in this Kickstarter. Each print will be signed and numbered by artist Sam Flegal.

The Hávamál Process - Sketch Book

The sequel to last year's Fateful Signs: Drawings Volume 1, I present you with Fateful Signs: Drawings, The Hávamál Process, Volume 2! This 5.5"x8.5" book will contain an estimated 56 pages filled with both the initial "ink blobs" and the final ink drawings for many of the illustrations created for The Illustrated Hávamál. It will also include a detailed description of my process for meditation and creation of The Hávamál ink drawings.

Hand-Carved Drinking Horn

Each Drinking Horn will be hand carved by Brian Marshall of Where The Gods Live and will be made from a hand picked bull's horn, sanitized and sealed with beeswax, as is traditional. Since each horn is unique, the size and coloring will vary, but will range from 16 to 19 inches in length and hold around 10 to 20 ounces worth of liquid.

Risks and challenges

With the help of the Kickstarter community I have created 5 successful Kickstarter Campaigns. To date I have delivered all the rewards to the satisfaction of my backers.

This book is the biggest project I have ever attempted. I'm working with On the Mark printing to create a truly special project. I've done smaller book projects in the past, but never anything of this quality and scope.

With the help of my wife, who is a graphic designer for a very successful ad agency in Nashville, TN, I am confident that I can overcome any challenges presented by this project. The art is finished and the book layout is coming along and looks amazing, but the main hurdle is generating the funds to print such a high quality book.

International Shipping is a challenge. I have researched the rates, and due to the recent price increase, I must charge a premium to ship outside the USA.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    "Hail to the giver! A guest has come;
    Where shall the stranger sit?"
    (Verse 2)

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    Shirt - Odin
    One Ringspun Cotton Tee of "Odin on a Windy Tree." You pick from 6 colors!

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    Shirt - Fateful Signs
    One Ringspun Cotton Tee of "Fateful Signs." You pick from 6 colors!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    "I saw and was silent, I saw and thought,
    And heard the speech of Hor."
    (Verse 111)

    BASIC BOOK - Unsigned copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál."

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    "Hail to the speaker, and to him who learns!"
    (Verse 138)

    SCHOLAR - Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," and an 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds."

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    "Heroes they seemed, when clothes they had,
    But the naked man is nought."
    (Verse 49)

    DELUXE: SHIRT - Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds," Sketchbook, and 1 T-Shirt of your choice (you pick design, color, and size!)

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    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    "I ween that I hung, on the windy tree,
    Hung there for nights full nine;"
    (Verse 139)

    DELUXE: SILK SCREEN - Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds," Sketchbook, and 18'X24" Limited Edition Silk Screen print of "Odin on a Windy Tree."

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    Pledge $145 or more About $145

    "Gift-givers' friendships, are longest found,
    If fair their fates may be."
    (Verse 41)

    COLLECTOR'S EDITION - Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," with a Limited Edition Clamshell Case, Custom Bookplate - signed and numbered with an Original Ink Drawing, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds," Sketchbook, an 18'X24" Limited Edition Silk Screen print of "Odin on a Windy Tree,"and a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Sacrifice."

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    Pledge $325 or more About $325

    "Cattle die, and kinsmen die,
    And so one dies one's self;
    One thing now, that never dies,
    The fame of a dead man's deeds."
    (Verse 78)

    ORIGINAL: DEAD MAN'S DEEDS - Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," with a Limited Edition Clamshell Case, Custom Bookplate - signed and numbered with an Original Ink Drawing, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds," Sketchbook, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Sacrifice," and the original 11"x14" ink drawing of "Dead Man's Deeds."

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    "Better no prayer, than too big an offering,
    By thy getting measure thy gift;
    Better is none, than too big a sacrifice."
    (Verse 146)

    ORIGINAL: SACRIFICE - Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," with a Limited Edition Clamshell Case, Custom Bookplate - signed and numbered with an Original Ink Drawing, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds," Sketchbook, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Sacrifice," and the original 11"x14" ink drawing of "Sacrifice."

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    Pledge $375 or more About $375

    "Bravely and gladly, a man shall go,
    Till the day of his death is come."
    (Verse 15)

    CONQUEROR'S HORDE- Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," with a Limited Edition Clamshell Case, Custom Bookplate - signed and numbered with an Original Ink Drawing, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds," Sketchbook, an 18'X24" Limited Edition Silk Screen print of "Odin on a Windy Tree,"a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Sacrifice," 2 T-Shirts (you pick the color, and size!), and a hand-carved Drinking Horn!

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    Pledge $575 or more About $575

    "To Othin, myself to myself,
    On the tree that none, may ever know
    What root beneath it runs."
    (Verse 139)

    ORIGINAL: ODIN'S TREE - Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," with a Limited Edition Clamshell Case, Custom Bookplate - signed and numbered with an Original Ink Drawing, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds," Sketchbook, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Sacrifice," and the original 16"x20" ink drawing of "Odin on a Windy Tree."

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    "Runes shalt thou find, and fateful signs,
    That the king of singers colored,
    And the mighty gods have made;"
    (Verse 143)

    ORIGINAL: FATEFUL SIGNS - Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," with a Limited Edition Clamshell Case, Custom Bookplate - signed and numbered with an Original Ink Drawing, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds," Sketchbook, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Sacrifice," and the original 16"x20" ink drawing of "Fateful Signs."

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    "It is time to chant | from the chanter's stool;
    By the wells of Urth I was,
    I saw and was silent, | I saw and thought,
    And heard the speech of Hor."
    (Verse 111)

    ORIGINAL: CHANTER - Signed copy of "The Illustrated Hávamál," with a Limited Edition Clamshell Case, Custom Bookplate - signed and numbered with an Original Ink Drawing, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Dead Man's Deeds," Sketchbook, a 7.75"x11.75" print of "Sacrifice," and the original 16"x20" ink drawing of "Chanter."

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Funding period

- (29 days)