…Always a time traveler!
A few months ago my pal Levi – who, side note, also goes by Photobomb is an awesome photographer and has a website I’ll link to once I can remember the URL – said this quote to me when he found out that I’d become a “scadian” or, in more layman’s terms, a member of the SCA.
Whew that’s a long sentence. Oops.
What is the SCA?
I’m pulling from the official website here but “The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Our “Known World” consists of 20 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which feature tournaments, royal courts, feasts, dancing, various classes & workshops, and more.”
The above paragraph is a little out-of-date (go figure) because they don’t focus solely on Europe anymore. Now-a-days we’re allowed to spice it up and add it other places worldwide as long as we stay behind that pre-1701 goalline.
But what do you do?
This was a question my friend Chuck asked his wife, Samantha, pretty frquently when she took me to my first event. He didn’t want to go. History? That’s for school. And we were adults. And school is gross. Or something.
I was never a big history buff – in fact, I would have had a 4.0 in high school if it weren’t for my C’s in history. Considering my GPA was the only reason I didn’t get in to the United States Air Force Academy, we can assume that had I been as interested in history a decade ago as I am now, I probably wouldn’t be in the SCA as my entire life would have been completely different. There I go with way-too-long sentences again. It’s a problem of mine, but I’m working on it.
Historical Arts and Sciences
Anyways, back to the topic at hand – what do we do? Well for starters there are classes. And no, I don’t mean some Professor Binns wannabe standing in front of you droning on about the importance of France in 1453. I’ve taken classes on how to draw Celtic knotwork, brewing, beginners hand embroidery, how to sew a hood, making soap, basic blacksmithing, weaving on a card loom, making a 20-stranded braid in the Kumihimo style, and so many more. Any art or science that would have been practiced prior to the 17th century has a class at an SCA.
You can’t talk about the SCA and not talk about the fighting. I don’t participate in this one – YET – so I can’t touch a lot on it. I’ll collect some resources from other sites later. In essence, there are people in full armor that fight each other with swords and polearms and what have you. There are people in, well, less armor, that fight with rapier swords. There are people on horses that joust with lances. There are combat archers. It all has a home here in the SCA.
There is also target-archery which I plan on getting into as soon as I pick up a set of wooden arrows. I was on an archery competition team when I lived in Ireland. I’ve owned my own longbow for a few years now, but my carbon-shaft arrows just aren’t SCA-appropriate.
People play games, gamble, sing, dance, and all sorts of fun entertainment too.
Look like you’re new and not sure where to be? Don’t be surprised if someone pulls you into a group dance of some sort…. it’s happened to me multiple times now!
Most of all, the events are for the people you meet and the friendships you create while you’re geeking out together about things like the perfect shade of blue you created from the woad plants you’ve been growing in your window all year. And food. Almost every event I’ve been to has hosted a fantastic feast.
How does one begin?
I have no idea, honestly. Maybe start with the SCA Newcomers Portal? I was dragged in by Samantha when we were looking for an alternate to LARP.
Here you can find a kingdom look-up that allows you to find your local kingdom. Within each kingdom there are smaller groups called baronies. Find a local barony event near you and just show up! Go up to the “Troll” (aka the person taking money for event fees) and tell them you are new; they should be able to point you to someone that can guide you.
I plan on making a few posts about the outfits I am making to wear to events.
In a fortnight I’m attending an event called Pennsic which is a huge national SCA event held in Pennsylvania each year. I’m sure I’ll post about that too!
For now, toodles! Break-time is over and I need to get back to work!
(post image source: a photo taken by me, somewhere in Norway, December 2018)