Interview: A Shaman Called Connor
Featuring an extraordinary well of information, this interview picks the mind of the artist behind 'A Shaman Called Connor'.
A Shaman Called Connor is a hidden gem. I have been in talks with him since early October when he first started his Instagram page. At the time he was completing his dissertation for his Research Masters. Once he finished his dissertation his page transformed into something extraordinary! (I have included a quick video peak at the bottom of this post if you're curious).
I asked to feature him on Pagan Kids following one of our recent conversations about appropriate Old Norse words, context and meanings. He even translated Pagan Kids into Old Norse and created a Elder Farthuk bind rune for the resource! Translated it says 'Heathen Born'. Check it out:
Below is my interview with A Shaman Called Connor:
Q) To give readers some background, can you tell us a bit about yourself? How you got started, your path and what you do? A) Absolutely. I got started with 'A Shaman Called Connor' Instagram project about a year ago. The intention was to learn about Norse Mythology, the runes and the faith by making content and merchandise.
For me the best way to learn is through practicality, so the best way was to start the Instagram project (originally called Fafnir's Hoard).
I didn't know much at first. I was just really interested in the Viking aesthetic which inspired some of my tattoos. I joined a few Facebook groups and it seemed like a great idea to start researching and teaching people about these topics. From this the project was born.
Q) What is your educational background and experience?
A) I guess what's relevant is my Bachelor's Degree in graphic communication and my Master's Degree in design management. The masters was a heavily research-based degree which has given me the skills to conduct a lot of research which I simplify into easily digestible content on my channels. The background in graphic design helps me to creatively present this research.
I am also a self-taught digital marketeer and graphic designer by trade, which have allowed me to find the right audience to deliver my content and merchandise to.
Q) What is your goal or mission? A) I'm not going to doll this one up. My first and main goal is to create merchandise that is of genuine value to myself and this community and make money from it. I would also like to make money by becoming an influencer for this particular niche.
My other goal is to bring value to the community through my content. Some research I conducted through Google trends shows interest in Norse Paganism and Norse Mythology has been steadily growing over the past five years, and possibly longer. As this community grows I want to teach people about these themes as correctly as I can while also learning more myself.
I also just want to make and share cool designs. I love what I do as a designer, and from a creative viewpoint I love the aesthetic I have created with this project. I want to share that with as many people as possible. Q) What is the importance behind what you do? What is the value we can take from it?
A) I feel like there's a lot of people that get information on Norse Paganism wrong, especially when it comes to the runes. What I offer is good research to give people the correct meaning behind the topics. Now naturally I probably make some mistakes myself, but I would rather have people share something that is backed by research rather than a random image they found on Google. For example, in my Fehu post I try to explain in detail the meaning behind the rune and how it can be used, as opposed to just posting the rune with 'wealth' next to it. I want to do away with the ambiguity and really try and go into detail with my work.
Q) What are some readings you can recommend to those trying to study Norse mythology and runes?
A) The books I have in front of me right now are: 'The Tales of Norse Mythology [Helen Guerber], The Runes [Horik Svensson], The Wanderers Havamal [Jackson Crawford] and The Norse Shaman [Evelyn Rysdyk]. Norse mythology by Neil Gaiman is also fantastic for learning about the stories. He re-tells them in an almost 'bard by the campfire' style. Q) How do you come up with your designs? What is your method? A) I have an absolute mess of a file which I piece things together from. I start by remaking some of the popular symbols (Vegvisir, Helm of Awe, the Runes etc.) in my own design style and go from there. Right now I am working on a Mjolnir piece. I started by taking the outline of Thor's Hammer and added my personal style to it. Bind runes are also a large part of my creations. I really like the process of researching and creating them. A lot of my research is incorporated into the bind runes as part of the design, but mostly I just make a mess and start to piece something together that I think looks pretty cool. Q) Your designs are unique and very impressive. Is it possible to order prints? A) Absolutely. Prints, masks, mugs, t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, tapestries etc. All are available at my online store. It is a little bit of a mess, I have been spending some time to really get the branding down, I hope you like navy blue! The link to my store is: https://www.redbubble.com/people/Fafnirs-Hoard
Q) What's next? What does the future have in store? A) I am still experimenting with content. For now I am figuring out what people like. My future goal is affiliate marketing where people pay me to advertise their products. To do this I need to raise my engagement and follower count quite drastically. That said, I hold my brand with value. I won't take marketing and advertising other people's products lightly. Yes I want to make money but everything needs to fall in line with my brand. I'm happy to write honest reviews, but I'm not going to market products of low quality to my audience. I value my audience above all. At the end of the day they are my bread and butter. If the quality and brand match, I'll be more than happy to make a unique post in my brand style and get paid for it, but I'm not going to ruin my feed with pre-made Instagram panels. Aside from the marketing aspect, the future holds more research, more designs and more merchandise! Honestly I'm just having fun with it. I really love this project and I'm having so much fun with what I'm doing, I just need to work on raising the social media numbers while enjoying it all.
Q) If you could give advice to someone starting out on this path, what would it be?
A) Check out A Shaman Called Connor on Instagram ;) Nah my genuine advice would be to join the Facebook groups, get involved with conversations and ask questions. People are more than happy to teach, answer questions and explain things. Do some research too. The books are a great place to start, but there are also some fantastic websites out there. Valhyr and Norse Mythology for Smart People are two that I used a lot when starting out.
Q) How can people find and support you? A) Right now I have three channels: Instagram, Facebook and my store. The links are:
Sales from my store are great but even clicking the little heart on my artworks helps me get discovered whenever someone searches something related to my niche. As far as the social media side is concerned, follows, comments, likes and shares are all detrimental to my success. I really appreciate the support people have been giving so far. A high engagement rate will allow me to achieve my future marketing goals so I can earn money through this project and put more back into it in terms of time, effort and creativity.
Q) Is there anything else you would like to share? A) I have recently begun offering custom bind rune commissions. This can include first and second names and words. I can also translate words into old Norse before designing them into bind runes by request. These runes start at £2 each or 3 for £5. The bind runes I create are 100% custom to make sure everyone is given a unique design. That said, everyone has my complete blessing to take any work from my pages to use as a tattoo. Just tag me in the post and be sure to send it to me in a message or tag me on the picture!
Thank you for taking the time to get to know the man behind the scenes of 'A Shaman Called Connor'. Make sure you follow Connor online to see first hand just how amazing his resource is.
As always, thank you for reading. If you have any comments, just post them below :) Take care, Jennifer Hartman Pagan Kids pagankids.org