Category Archives: Christian Iceland

The Trolls of Baejarhjalli

On the face of the Austurfell just west of the old monastery at Skriðuklaustur, and at the feet of the Ogre’s Staircase, the trolls are thick. And not just trolls. Have a look:

See them? Here are some hints:

Above: A Family of Fish Trolls Looking Much like a Fish Egg With a Skull for an Eye (or the Moon)

Above: Fat-Bellied SeatedTroll, Waving

Above: Musical  Monks

Above: A  Skull  On  A  Post

Above: Lovers Embracing

Below: Troll With Runes and Spilled Treasure. Beware!

Below the Fell, the land runs with blood in the spring.

 

Well, yeah.

Reading Iceland

The technique is exquisite. You let the sun and gravity break off a bit of a glacier, you soak it for a few days in salt water, then cast it up on a beach of black volcanic sand. After a night of the waves splashing sand all over it, it sets in the sun. It’s really fun to chase this art form down,. Here’s a troll with a monk in its belly, holding Christ as a child. And isn’t the Mjalður the Bell Ram off to the left? Why I think it is.

If you haven’t read Gunnar’s Advent, it’s time.

Of course, you could just go right to the source, though.

In Iceland, No Tree is Just a Tree

The altar at Hólar is an example of what a tree can be made into, in a form of technology imported to Iceland.

The rowan tree in the graveyard outside is an example of how pre-Christian symbols can use a tree for the same ends of contemplation and memory. The cross is a third example.

Iceland’s history walks between these poles, but always the green tree is honoured most deeply, and at the least expense. It’s good to have one’s symbols take root and look after themselves, because there’s work to do.

 

Maria of the Elves

Women were put to death for visiting elves here on Viðey in Reykjavik Old Harbour. Now there is a shrine to Maria made out of cut glass in their honour and in honour of birth and motherhood in general.

On the other side of the island is the John Lennon Peace Tower, which beams light up into the winter darkness.

Iceland. Giving Peace and Light a chance since 870.

Plus picnics.