My Other Island Home…

Fårö Seascape

Fårö Seascape

I am back from my month-long stay as an Artistic Fellow at the Ingmar Bergman Estate, on magnificent Fårö (small island on top of the beautiful Baltic island of Gotland). And yes, I admit it was very very hard to leave…

Gotland of course is the setting for both The Hall of Tyr and Tindr. It is a place I love, and a place I know increasingly well. The opportunity to live and work for a full month at the Bergman Estate was simply wonderful. There is no other word for it.

What was I doing? Most importantly, beginning Book Six. And with my trusty film crew shooting footage for what I hope will be three worthwhile short videos about Gotland’s beauty and history, coming soon.

I also had the honour of presenting a talk, “Scandinavian Archetypes in North American Imaginations: From Beowulf to Alicia Vikander” at Ingmar Bergman’s private, 15-seat cinema to my brother and sister artists, and a few select friends. (And 500 sheep outside the door.)

My fellow artists were almost all Swedish, a brilliant and diverse mix of theatre directors, journalists, filmmakers, biographers, and mixed-media artists. Friendships were made. Good work was done. Incredible walks were taken.

Old foundation walls on sea cliff, Fårö

Old foundation walls on sea cliff, Fårö

That’s me reaching up to touch the “nose” of this rauk at Langhammars on the West Coast of Fårö.

That’s me reaching up to touch the “nose” of this rauk at Langhammars on the West Coast of Fårö. It gives an idea of how vast this limestone sea stack is.

The forest and sea landscape of Fårö

The forest and sea landscape of Fårö.

Bergman theater with dear friends

At Bergman’s cinema before my talk, with dear friend Liv Berntsson (aka “Reflector Girl” – the deadliest hand with a photographic reflector ever) and Luella Godman (AirBnB host last year, good friend this year)

The interior of Biografen, Ingmar Bergman's private cinema, before my talk.

The interior of Biografen, Ingmar Bergman’s private cinema, before my talk. Biografen was the place that held the world premier of Bergman’s “Magic Flute”, based on Mozart’s opera.

Gotlands Russ Mare - wild forest ponies of the island.

Gotlands Russ Mare – wild forest ponies of the island. They live in the forests of Lojsta hed, south of the centre of Gotland, and frequent the adjacent Wildlife Sanctuary. We found a group of dams and foals at the edge of the woods in the sanctuary. To keep the herd sustainable, a percentage of the young will be captured and tamed and sold to lucky Gotland children as beloved pets.

Gotlands Russ Foal

Gotlands Russ Foal

Just adorable!

Just adorable!

Curious foal

Curious foal

Two of the many Baltic swans

Two of the many Baltic swans

Swan in night flight

Swan in night flight

Tjelver's Grave – the stone ship setting of Gotland’s first resident, subject of a video we made.

Tjelvar’s Grave – the stone ship setting of Gotland’s first resident, subject of a video we made on Gotland’s creation story, and its geology.

Octavia and Liv at Vitviken, on Gotland’s East Coast, after filming at Tjelver’s Grave.

Octavia and Liv at Vitviken, on Gotland’s East Coast, after filming at Tjelvar’s Grave.

Great costume from the Shakespeare Company at Roma

Finding a great costume to buy from the Shakespeare Company at Roma costume sale. Liv laced me up, and I brought it home.

Digerhuvud, Fårö seascape.

Digerhuvud, Fårö seascape.

Unearthly seascape, Fårö.

Unearthly seascape, Fårö.

Walking on the beach, Fårö.

Walking on the beach, Fårö.

Abundant stone is used in every practical way

The abundant stone is used in every practical way.

Working on Book Six in the garden at Ängen, the house I was fortunate enough to live in.

Working on Book Six in the garden at Ängen, the house I was fortunate enough to live in. The lilacs ringing the garden are heavenly…

How grateful I am to all who made this experience so productive, creative, and magical for me.



{ 29 comments… add one }
  • John Judd January 15, 2019, 1:37 pm

    Once I read the book about Sidroc I was hooked and had to read the rest of the series. I hope another is on the way. I have been watching “Vikings” on TV and enjoy it, but your depiction of the era seems so much better historically.

  • Jocelyn January 9, 2018, 5:16 pm

    Octavia, I too have Scottish/Irish blood. Waiting for results from DNA test. I also have Iberic in me. I can trace my ancestry to the sixteen hundreds, Ireland, two Young’s left because of religious persecution. Can’t dig any further. I love your books, all of them! I’m in love with Sidrok! Somehow, someway, I believe I have Saxon blood. Can’t wait to finish book 5, but dreading book six because when it’s finishex, there will be no more to read.
    Blessings and all good things

  • Cheryl Snider June 12, 2017, 2:57 pm

    I enjoyed reading your presentation. It made me sad to think Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America was downplayed due to the bigotry of Catholics. I was not allowed to date Catholics, so I married one. Ironic! But is it safe to say Lief Erickson discovered North America? I was also fascinated about your climate change comments, and have also read about this Greenland and Vineland climate change in the notes from author Heather Day Gilbert. Lastly, ABBA was just the best….and I enjoyed Momma Mia, as the audience all stood and danced together the last 15 minutes of the performance.

  • Crystal Frantz April 21, 2017, 3:58 pm

    I began reading The Circle of Ceridwen Saga to tide me over until Diana Gabaldon releases book nine in her Outlander series (serious withdrawal 😉
    After reading book one of the Ceridwen series/saga I became hooked! Absolutely! I bought all six … read them on my iPad and phone.. just anywhere and everywhere I had the time. Every night before falling asleep… when I got to the end of book six I thought, “oh no!” What happens next? I’m in love with these characters! Do we have book seven to look forward to? Please say yes.
    Love your writing. Especially like the style.. . To go along with the time/setting.

  • Kathleen Grant April 10, 2017, 2:29 am

    The rauk you are touching looks like an escaped stone from Easter Island. You are reaching up to touch the tip of his nose. During his sea travels, for a little panache, he adopted wearing a Carmen Miranda style turbine with fruit spilling over the top.

  • Marilyn Squires March 10, 2017, 6:45 pm

    Hello Octavia – I started reading your Ceridwen Saga series of books last week and have been unable to stop since I read the first page. I am on book 5, Tyr, which I downloaded in the wee hours of this morning and continued to read until day light. I have them on my Kobo so can easily take them anywhere. My Kobo now stays on my night table every night. You have transported me into a world that I feel I may have once lived. I feel so close to the geography, history and the characters. I am there, every step of the way and see the place Ceridwen goes as her life’s journey progresses. I read until my eyes are watering and still want to continue as I don’t want to leave those places, good or bad. Thank you so very much for all the hours and years you have put into research and the wonderful bounty of books that have come from it. I will read them all and be happier for it. Fond Regards: Marilyn

  • Colleen January 8, 2017, 4:40 am

    I love love your books, they speak to me as I am Irish Scottish , Colleen Doyle!
    I loved the Outlander series and I am hooked on your series!!!!!!

    • Octavia Randolph January 8, 2017, 5:22 pm

      I thank you Colleen! Some of us, like you, have this era in our blood, so to speak…

  • Marty January 2, 2017, 8:26 pm

    I’ve just finished book 5 and am so pleas d your books were recommended to read on a FB post. I’m very impressed with the degree of historical research you have done and the vivid way you portray that history in the stories.

    • Octavia Randolph January 2, 2017, 9:07 pm

      I thank you Marty, and I’m glad we found each other! Book Six, which I began in that lovely enclosed garden will be coming out in just a few weeks…thank you for wanting it.

  • Ali December 13, 2016, 11:15 am

    Have just finished book 5 and the series for the second time and am sooo looking forward to book 6 next year. Am also a fan of Outlander – which is now a TV series. What is the chance of Circle of Ceridwen becoming a TV series also? I think these books are amazing – thank you Octavia.

    • Octavia Randolph December 15, 2016, 4:54 pm

      I’m sure a film or series will happen, Ali – thank you for wanting it! Right now I am so busy with completing Book Six, bringing out Book One as an audiobook on Audible, and so on, that I haven’t had the time to look beyond that. We’ll need to find a production company that shares our values; that is most important. And I’m sure the right one will appear!

      • Cheryl Snider June 12, 2017, 12:48 pm

        Since I adore historical series on TV, recently finishing the White Princes, you have no idea how often I’ve wished for a Ceridwen series! This excites me ….maybe more…than my dearly beloved Outlander. But then you know I consider Ceridwen to be so much more than a fill in for Outlander. Ceridwen stands on its own literary greatness.

  • renee December 11, 2016, 1:56 pm

    you are amazing!!!

    • Octavia Randolph December 11, 2016, 4:10 pm

      What a nice thing to hear, Renee! And I think my great readers are pretty amazing, too.Thank you for being one of them!

  • Elizabeth MacLeod November 7, 2016, 10:57 pm

    Hi Octavia,
    I have just found your books and am yet to read them. I have always been interested in the Viking times as they are my ancestors. My family comes from The Isle of Lewis and Harris in The Outer Hebrides of Scotland. My question is and I am just wondering, not critcising, why you have not included the northern part of Scotland where my family come from and still live . I ask this because it was the Vikings who settled this area and there are some amazing historical events in this part of the world. DNA testing has been done and it is verified that the clan from this part of Scotland are definitely of Viking origin. I am just wondering as you mentioned England and other Viking settlements but not the Outer Hebrides…..

  • LORIE HETTINGER October 25, 2016, 4:17 pm

    Loved all 5 of the Circle of Ceridwen Books. Wold love to read more similar books

  • Isa October 17, 2016, 12:33 am

    I found your books on FB and rather then waiting for a free one I read all 5 of Ceridwen the last few days. Can hardly wait for your next one. I also very much enjoyed all the info and pictures on your Web site which allows for clearer images to the story line. The horses look a lot like my Spanish and Sorraia Mustangs, mountain and weather hardy, sure footed and smooth to ride.
    Love & Light

    • Octavia October 18, 2016, 6:42 am

      Isa, thank you for your nice note! I’m so happy you have discovered the website; you are right, there is much here to help deepen and enrich the reading experience of the Saga. How big are your Spanish Mustangs? My little “Gotlands russ” (Gotland ponies) really are ponies, nimble and sure-footed to be sure, and very hardy. But no adults ride them – well, a small adult could ride the largest of them, I suppose. Most adults drive them. They are smaller than Icelandic horses, but are so well proportioned they look like horses, and not ponies. Happy trails, always.

  • Caprice Whitmire June 29, 2016, 2:27 pm

    What a treat to see these beautiful photos. I’m so happy for you to have the opportunity to live and work on Gotland for a month. I especially enjoyed the photos of the wild ponies, but then I am a horse lover since childhood. They remind me of the ponies on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, which I was able to catch a glimpse of several years ago when my husband and I took a trip there.

    I know with such a beautiful setting to begin work in, Book 6 can’t help but be amazing. Thank you for sharing your trip with those of us who will never have the opportunity to travel to such an exotic location!

    • Octavia June 29, 2016, 3:30 pm

      Oh Caprice, I like your reasoning vis a vis the beautiful environment of Fårö = an excellent Book Six! Thank you for that; it’s practically a benediction. Ardent readers like you keep me going, keep me inspired, keep me honest.

      The Gotland ponies – yes, the way the herd is managed is like “Misty of Chincoteague”, is it not? Keeping it healthy by giving up a few little beauties every year to loving families…Lucky kids!

  • Ronda and Sam Jones June 29, 2016, 1:58 pm

    Dear Octavia,
    We absolutely love your website. We check it on a regular basis, about every month, and always find something new and exciting. We are anxiously awaiting Book Six.
    Ronda and Sam

    • Octavia June 29, 2016, 3:26 pm

      Rhonda and Sam, you hold me to a high standard, one I feel proud to be held to – that of pleasing you. Shortly we will have a couple more interesting new videos from this trip as well posted, and I’ll let you know when they appear. It’s wonderful to hear you appreciate the site; thank you so much!

  • Rhonda Cornum June 29, 2016, 11:52 am

    Absolutely gorgeous- you could not help but be inspired on that trip!

    • Octavia June 29, 2016, 1:28 pm

      Rhonda, I agree. I think it would be impossible for anyone to be unmoved by the beauty — and the strangeness — of it. I feel so at home there…
      Hope you can travel to Gotland and Fårö some day.

  • Suzanne Dixon June 29, 2016, 9:24 am

    Beautiful, just beautiful!!! What a wonderful surprise in my mailbox today! The photos are incredible but your new dress is absolutely gorgeous! Octavia thank you so much for sharing your memories,

    • Octavia June 29, 2016, 11:32 am

      Suzanne, thank you so much. I was fortunate that the actress that beautiful dress was made for shares a dress size with me! The Roma Shakespeare Company is quite interesting. Roma is an ancient settlement, in the very centre of Gotland. It was the home of the “Allthing” – the law-court gathering for the entire island, because of this. It has a magnificent 14th Cisterian church ruin, which had been turned into the base of the modern outdoor theatre where the Shakespeare company presents its plays… a most romantic & dramatic setting. There is also a large (and good) cafe, and several artisans, including a wonderful glass blower, as part of the complex. Well worth a visit when you go to Gotland…

  • Iory allison June 24, 2016, 5:47 pm

    Octavia! You make magic real. I can smell the lilacs and hear the foals winny. Ingmar is smiling down at you from that charming hot air ballon from Magic Flute. Big hugs, Iory

  • Nancy Crehan June 22, 2016, 10:17 am

    Dear Octavia,

    How wonderful it is to peruse your photos and get a glimpse of your journey to the Bergman estate. It was great to hear of your travels in group yesterday. This is such enriching work that you do. I’m very happy for you.

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