Jórmajin (pronounced “Yor-mah-yin” with a rolling “r”) is the very first official Vannoken holiday. It’s not tied or particular to any religion; it is simply a cultural celebration of imagination.

Imagination for simply what it is.

When one observes the claim “celebration of imagination,” you can think of it as a kind of Vannoken Halloween; though, the narrative of the holiday is completely detached from the concept of ghosts, witches, monsters, demons, and the living dead. It has nothing to do with the spirit world and scaring people, or anything even remotely close to those concepts.

A core aspect of the traditional Vannoken narrative is about self-discovery, self-actualization, and the optimization of one’s innate, blood-based gifts and abilities, which vary for everyone.

Along with this, most people in the world have an ideal vision of themselves. The fantasy version of themselves that they’d like to be, their depiction of their perfect selves. We call this the residual self-image.

So, during this day, we wear costumes that aren’t supposed to resemble anything evil or ghostly.

The traditional Vannoken mask is called a Váruðekon (pronounced “Vah-ru-thay-kon” with a rolling r). They are always custom made to the wearer. The reason why is because everyone’s respective residual self-image is individualistic. Therein, a Vannoken can’t expect to buy their mask at the local Walmart unless their residual self-image is a commercialized rendition of Frankenstein’s monster or something.

At which point, if one’s residual self-image is that? …We’d have to sit them down and talk about perhaps getting them professional help. 😉

Why? Because it would heavily imply certain negative things about their psychology if they envision their best, fantasy selves as a demon, something dead, or undead. In that respect, you can see the stark difference between Jórmajin and Halloween.

The mask/costume is encouraged to be poetic and metaphorical in nature. This means that in the custom design of any given mask, you can hybridize poetic references to historical figures (either real or fictional) that inspire you. References to mythical creatures (like dragons) are fine, so long as the Vannoken remembers that you’re not trying to scare people.

If you view yourself in metaphor as a kind of dragon or unicorn, that’s fine; it makes for great conversation pertaining to why that would be in getting to deeply know a person.

Though, it should always be remembered that the goal of the váruðekon is not to scare people; it’s to poetically express one’s inner self for how one figuratively and imaginatively sees themselves in their dreams…and nothing more.

Metaphors make the language of dreams, which is the point to the mask during an annual holiday declared for celebrating imagination. Meanwhile, the act of wearing a mask was chosen for what psychologists have come to call the “Batman Effect.”

There have been studies conducted seeing how work performance increases when fusing work with imaginative play. Children scored higher on tests, for example, when they were told and permitted to imaginatively envision themselves as Einstein.

So, because self-actualization and optimized human performance are valued in Vannoken culture, we interweaved the concept of the Batman Effect into the fabric of our culture itself, to encourage continual imaginative cultural innovation for optimized cultural fitness.

Because traditional váruðekoni (adding “i” at the end of the word makes it plural; though, this does not apply to every noun in Vanno) are designed custom, makers are tracked down on websites like Etsy and given a description of what the Vannoken wants as a mask. The metaphor is described to the artist, and the artist crafts the mask to the Vannoken’s satisfaction. This usually takes time and continual communication throughout the process of weeks or even months to yield a good final product, meaning that the mask’s construction usually begins long before the actual holiday comes around. And it’s usually very expensive in the perspective of the average American.

The OMI Logo, a 2D half-rendition of my váruðekon.

For instance, it took my wife only about a month to find the right artist for her váruðekon; yet, it took me six years to find the right artist for mine (after several artists tried and failed).

I finally found my artist in Croatia, and even then it took months to complete my mask with different prototypes utilizing different spray painting styles and resin.

We turned the 2D version of my váruðekoni into the logo for my marketing strategy firm, which doubles as our tribal holding company.

It’s good to note that the process of developing the mask is also a kind of self-discovery exercise, because in order to get the finished final product, you have to articulate the metaphor well enough to the artist. Else, your mask will never be correct/on point.

The process of articulating in explicit detail why this or that pertaining to the mask simultaneously helps the Vannoken develop self-knowledge and understanding. To build your mask, you have to start the journey of knowing yourself.

And they say that knowing thyself holds the keys to the universe; thus, the process of creating the mask of your residual self-image simultaneously gets the Vannoken that much closer to making their dream self a reality, because through developing self-knowledge, they develop some of the power they need to make it reality.

An Example Váruðekon

My váruðekon is a modified replica of King Baldwin IV’s depiction in the movie The Kingdom of Heaven (particularly the Director’s Cut).

I chose this mask because it’s the icon of an extraordinary historical individual who was both very scarred and hurt; yet, extremely capable, a visionary genius who held multiple cultures in relative peace under the kingdom of heaven. He suffered greatly; yet, he led a wonderful and lasting example.

That’s the kind of man I strive to be. I don’t literally see myself as Sir Ridley Scott’s rendition of King Baldwin IV; it’s simply the archetypal highest good that I strive for as I self-actualize.

Some of our váruðekoni: two of mine; one of my wife’s

Because I come from relatively tragic origins leaving lasting mental scarring, I also thought to choose King Baldwin IV because he was a leper, which is why he wore his mask in the movie. Many historians doubt that the real Baldwin wore a leper’s mask, but the literality of the history is not what’s so important in the art of self-expression.

It is the fact that King Baldwin accomplished all that he did for Jerusalem, despite being so inhibited by leprosy, that I found him to be such a personal inspiration. I’d say most of my inhibition is post-traumatic in nature; though, I mean to match the imagery of the scarring with the power of metaphor.

A cutscene of Kingdom of Heaven, featuring King Baldwin IV, as played by Edward Norton.

What Is Required For A Proper Jórmajin Costume

Nothing more is required for the traditional costume but the mask. The wearer can wear all the additional garbs they want with their mask, but the minimum and standard is simply the mask.

This means that they can wear the mask in their day-to-day street clothes for the holiday; that’s fine.

When is Jórmajin celebrated?

Jórmajin is celebrated on October 30th, rather than Halloween’s October 31st. This day was chosen because if we want to walk outside with our masks for the day, the general public won’t think it weird. Yet, we didn’t choose Halloween itself, because that has controversial religious origins that don’t represent our culture.

The goal of our developing fledgling culture is not to be an eyesore nor is it to disrupt the way other people live their lives. The goal is simply to be our best, individual selves while properly integrating with the rest of western civilization without losing what makes us unique in the process and giving back to western civilization from that uniqueness that we keep.