[ANSTHRLD] A call to all Heralds...

Tim McDaniel tmcd at panix.com
Wed Apr 21 14:50:20 PDT 2004

On Wed, 21 Apr 2004, Etienne de St. Amaranth <star at ansteorra.org> wrote:
> The knowledge you seek is best gained by interacting with the other
> heralds at events, helping them do those things, sitting around
> campfires and exchanging "well at my first court, we processed and
> recessed uphill through two feet of snow" stories, and generally by
> trying to do your job well.

To be serious: yes.  I learned more or less by osmosis, showing up to
commentary help by two different groups, only learning later than I
happened to be associating with every Star Principal Herald from about
1986 thru 1993.

But it's slow and unsystematic, and you're largely at the mercy of the
expertise of your mentors.  (It has had notably bad results in
Trimaris and the SF Bay area for that reason.)  There have been local
herald warranting classes in Ansteorra, but as I recall, that gives
you only the basics of how to fill out forms, how to send them on, how
to report, how to hold a basic court, and such, which gets you moving
but doesn't make you an apprentice (so to speak).

There are heraldic symposia, regional, kingdom, and SCA-wide.  I
recommend them highly, but I find them useful for classes on special
topics and to get schmooze time with various heralds.  (Then again, I
don't notice the intro to heraldry classes any more, so maybe they're
there.)  By "schmooze", I don't mean just sitting around talking about
movies or something (though that's actually useful, just to
socialize), but also to talk about problems, get help, and show that
you exist so they think of you when the Air Force transfers the
regional to Ultima Thule AFB.

> and one chose to absorb so much heraldic knowledge before being on
> the Laurel staff that he is practically radioactive with it.

That would explain the exponential decay of my heraldic knowledge and
the obscure skin diseases, but not the substantial gain in my rest

> A practical item to answer your questions is called the "Book of the
> Herald."  If you can find an old copy, it is a good read.  The
> college has been trying to update [it] since just after the last
> Ansteorran Ice Age

The traditional step-down position of Star Principal Herald is
"working on the Book of the Herald", after which we don't hear much
about them ever again.  I am beginning to think that the Ansteorran
Book of the Herald does exist.  It rests at the feet of a small
statue, between seven and eight inches in height, and of exquisitely
artistic workmanship, representing a monster of vaguely anthropoid
outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face is a mass of
feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and
fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind -- a thing, seeming instinct
with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, of a somewhat bloated
corpulence, squatting evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal
covered with undecipherable characters, belonging to something
horribly remote and distinct from mankind as we know it, something
frightfully suggestive of old and unhallowed cycles of life in which
our world and our conceptions have no part.  Lying open before it is
the Book, its shifting and treacherous runes unreadable save by the
light of candles rendered from the fat of an unbaptised nun.

Those being rare, no wonder it's not been published for a while.

> and I have some hopes that an edition will be complete before I
> leave office as Star

Never till Stars come right again.

Daniel "'That is not dead which can eternal lie, /
And with strange aeons even the Ansteorran Book of the Herald may be
published.' - Da'ud Alhazred, the Mad Arab Herald" de Lincolia
Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com; tmcd at us.ibm.com is my work address

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