Heraldry is as much about the relationships you form as it is the words you cry, or the arms to research. For those who wish to embrace it, the role of the herald allows people political, social and (SCA) professional avenues that are unique within the society. When I first started this blog, I was throwing myself headlong into heraldry. I wasn't just calling lists or sites for a few events here and there in the north, I was putting over 400 miles a month into attending populace meetings and courts so that I could learn court heraldry and connect with other heralds in the baronies.
I don't travel that much any more, a factor of some mundane limitations and nothing to do with the SCA, but the connections I forged in that year and a half have lasted and grown through today.
Today, building on that long history of work and networking, I don't see heraldry as just a string of events, but as a network of goals, tasks and accomplishments. Its not a job, but a professions, and one that is both important and inspirational. That change in philosophy was a lot of why this weekend was so much fun for me. Before, where I would have been fretting over classes long before I gave them, and second-guessing myself long after they were done. Now, I don't think of them as classes, but rather conversations, a chance to talk and share what I have to offer on a given topic. I feel like the attitude shift was very productive for me, a chance to better convey my information, even when under a time crunch.
Towards that end, each class was truly something magical in it's own right. My first class of the day was my basic lecture on list heralding. I had five attendees, as I recall, including none other than Master Alexander Ravenscroft, the man who was instrumental in getting me to come to this past Gulf Wars. But more importantly, two new heralds attended, all interested in learning. It was a good class, with good questions, and good people.
Something to note, it take s certain type of person to herald. not to say that certain people can't do it, I have actually met very few who are incapable of heralding. But in order to herald, there has to be something for you to latch on to, to connect with, to enjoy. If you don't, then it's just 'something you have to do" and you burn out.
I won't say that each of these men definitively had that spark... but all of them had the makings of it in them, that I could see. I look forward to seeing how they do in the future, for in them, I see echoes of myself in many respects.
Later on (after lunch and socializing) I sat down and did a truncated version of my Road heraldry class. Road Heraldry is something of a unique entity in the kingdom, everyone needs people to do it, but there just isn't a lot of stuff out there on it. It is very much a "learn on the job" profession, unlike so much else we do.
Well, this class was an overview of the treatise I wrote on the subject, and while long (and unapologetically so), I can confidently say that most of my class will not make the mistakes I made as a young herald. Not that that precludes them of making a bunch of their own... but hey, I tried.
Joking aside, I consider site heraldry the second most marketable skill in the kingdom, right behind list heraldry, and to see people show interest in it is exciting, because they get to learn some of it in the safe confines of the academic environment before walking out into the elements and trying their hands at it.
On a side note, one attendee of this class and the next was a fellow herald and man who was considered veteran when I first joined the society, His HL Tostig, a site crier, book herald and "Been there/done that" figure within the college. I've known Tostig for a number of years now, and it was good to have him attend. Even thought we disagree in some things, the contrast in perspectives is always good, and always makes me think.
My third class of the day was actually less of a "class" in the formal sense of the word, and much more of a conversation. My Feast heraldry round table was a wonderful little 4 person conversation, with myself, Tostig, and two new members to the SCA, green as saplings, but bubbling with the type of energy and enthusiasm that helps keep the game going.
Academically, the day was marked with handshakes, lessons learned, good conversations, and networking, the hallmarks of the society (In my opinion).
Socially, the event was even more remarkable. To meet old friends, and make new one, the threads of life are woven this way, and I was glad to reconnect with people I had not seen in a great long while.
Coming home from the weekend, unlike the long return from gulf which was an long, tired trek after an epic week, this felt much more like the closing lines in a chapter, a chapter of a story that is still being written.
Honorable Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Mooneschaodwe Minister for Arts and Sciences
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"Long Live the King"