Those are the rules. The application is individual.
Well, Icelanders have been working at this for 1100 years.
It got to them long ago. They’re over it.
Who cares if the forest is only 40 centimetres high.
Nothing beats an Icelandic willow forest for beauty and delight. Oh, the birches and the rowans have their mysteries and dreams, but the willows are just pools of delight making the world a better place. I hope you get to sit down beside one some day and chat!
If you’ve ever heard there are no forests in Iceland…
… then it’s time to go to Ásbyrgi.
Forests literally as far as you can see. Oh happy day!
In 1914, local boy Johannes Kjarval was starving. Ladies in town asked him to paint an altar for the Bakkagerðiskirkja, the Bakkagerthi Church. He’d spent his childhood herding sheep on the mountain and dreaming of elves, so he painted Christ giving the Sermon on the Mount on the Alfaborg, the elf city behind the church, with all the townsfolk listening, elves and humans.
It has yet to be consecrated by any bishop! But if you go to visit it today, you can see his Iceland still. The elves have been replaced by tourists in campers, and the church remains in darkness, as all good Icelandic interiors are, with 1,000 years of turf houses in their memory.
The Icelandic subconscious lives in a darkness warmed by human presence and looks out through small windows into the light, which is the Earth and not the sun. It’s simply the way it is.
The beach at Hellissandur showed her spirit this morning.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of light, or, better, the light goes inward rather than out. So is it with the long, low angles of the sun on Christmas Day. Look at the water erupt from the sand and say its name in this light.
And now, this force is just as strong. What welcome energy!
What life! This time, it’s not just the Earth that is alive. Look at the sun going down over Melariff at 2:30 in the afternoon!
And so we carry ourselves, just as the Earth, the Water and the Sky carry us. It is we who are spirits of Earth, Water and Sky.
Icelandic horses are very beautiful, especially in a winter gale. Icelanders will tell you that their ancestors brought them over from Norway by ship. Sure, guys.
… it can be a little rough. Really tough on the hair, for one.
Makes a horse a little crazed, you might think.
Watch out for your ears.
Yeah, but that is all because horses didn’t come over on boats from Norway and continue on to create America out of a lump of clay…
Note the horses being born above. You can just make them out below, too.
That’s how it works in a magical country. That the resulting horses look like the horses you might meet elsewhere, well…
… that’s part of the magic, too.
Now you know.
In 1907, Gunnar Gunnarsson left this.Under the spell of universal education and the promise made to all country boys that through book literacy they could be a part of the world of power, Gunnar Gunnarsson accepted a scholarship to study at the Askov School in Denmark. It ran a program for colonial boys, as a means of building belief in a unified Scandinavian country, the United States of Scandinavia, so to speak. It seemed a better idea than conquest by the Germans (again) or the violent revolutions of Nationalism that were, even then, sweeping through Europe, and which would bring their tragic consequences in 1914, the year the world ended. All that is repeating itself in the struggles between nationalism, liberalism, immigration and military alliance that is shaking Europe (and the world) right now, so it’s timely to look at what Gunnar left. Especially since the power he sought was denied, because it was always a ruse. What he left, as I said above, is this.
This is lichen, the little lick, the little læk or stream, or as we put it in English today, the little lake where the streams gather (and where we can come to lick. In fact, we are drawn to do so by a shared nature across states of be-ing.) It is a little world, or the big one in miniature.
In Gunnar’s Iceland, the one his education took him from, it was also an art form: a form of poetry.
Intriguingly, it was not written by humans; only found and read by them.
I suspect that the reading was not a matter of words, or at least the kind that appear in books.
It’s been 112 years now. The poetry is still here.
The whole literary discussion, now much out-dated, as to whether poetry is given or created by poets, replaced this art form. The readers of it knew the answer.
It still looks very fine.
Images from Starmyri.
If we can set aside the re-creation of European indigenous life
as fairytale during the romantic period, in which elves and dwarves, trolls, ogres,
witches and other organic understandings of human-Earth relationships took on sentimental human form,
and given to biology,
we should still be able to read the rock as something more than mineral. It is the nature of being indigenous to be of a place.
This does not mean that one inhabits it solely as an isolated biological body,
but that the place and you are also one. One of the consequences is that you will see your mind and body around you and read your thoughts out of the land
By moving across the land, you really move through it, and really are moving through yourself.
You can stop sometimes and have a look at what you, as the Earth, are thinking.
The simplest way is to read the stone, such as the cliffs at Ásbyrgi. It’s easiest if you remember that before a troll was a mythical, romantic being…
… it was a stone, or a person, anchored to a place and defining it. The understanding was that place has power.
And not just as a romantic artform called “nature”.
That is beautiful enough, but it has a lot in common with romanticized, humanized elves and looks, most of the time, like fairyland.
It is, of course, but not literally. What is literal is the rock, and how you can read your thoughts there.
Complex thoughts of many kinds.
Once you have seen through the romantic veil to that, you can relax and read the trees.
Such observations are usually called pre-modern thinking, but it would be both more fair and more generous, more respective of human nature, to call it non-individualized consciousness, or even earth consciousness.
Not a spruce tree and not fairyland. This is your body being conscious. You can learn to speak this.
And we need that.