Category Archives: Enlightenment

The Spirit of Water and Air

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.

It is a day on which the whole Earth is alive. We found that around this mountain at Midsummer.

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!

The view is from the 1100-year old Viking Farm at Saxhóll. A few minutes later, the sky revealed a dragon.

And just after that, many stories all at once, enough to meditate on for a year.

As the sun left and rain fell across it in the West, the energy lingered, not in the sky but in my self that was the sky.

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.

The Secret Origin of Icelandic Horses Revealed at Last

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.

Let me take you behind the curtains of that little deception. It might look easy to be an Icelandic horse…

… but like being an Icelander …

… it can be a little rough. Really tough on the hair, for one.

Not only that, but tense, like.

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…


…just as Icelanders aren’t vikings but the descendants of Norwegian farmers and their Irish slaves, who came here for the good hotdogs.

As for the horses, they live near waterfalls. It’s a thing.

Svodufoss

Note the horses being born above. You can just make them out below, too.

The paddock is nearby, where humans can keep an eye on the miracle.

Hólmskelsárfoss

Miracle? Yes. Here’s a foal just about to be born in the stream coming down from the falls.
Hólmskelsá

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.

Gunnar Gunnarsson and Lichen Poetry: the Price of Literacy

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.

A Trip Through Fairyland

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 life was removed from the Earth

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.

Welcome to the 21st Century, Gunnar

 

Gunnar argued for the independence of Iceland during Germany’s military struggles of the 1940s, on the principle that the land is written in the chain-linked patterns of the Icelandic sagas, with the suggestion that the Icelanders wrote the sagas in response to the chain-link rhymes of the land.

Grundarfjördur

His observation is obvious. Equally obvious is how poor a tool such observations are for deflecting a military conqueror. Less obvious is the point that when you are from the land and have nothing and yet have to do something, you use what you have. Still, the approach has its dangers. It might stress one form of pattern, for instance, but it obscures another. So, let’s look at Gunnar’s saga again. This time, note the story of trolls and ogres written in the rock.

Gunnar was a humanist, a twentieth century man. This tale of ogres and epic battles is one he could have told as well, including how it generates the water of life as cold passes into warmth. That he didn’t is an example of how writers adapt to their audience. It is also an example of how we can re-read them, and free them… and us.

 

Icelandic Football Rules

What do volcanoes dream of? (Let’s face it, they sure do dream.)

Snæfell

Why, heading a football for the national team, of course.

Þingvellir

Sometimes you have to wait for the team to come, though. Sidelined on a bench. That’s the danger of being an ogre. Well, you take it in stride, right?

Dyrhólaey

It’s hard for a land to evolve into human society, but it’s inspiring that it’s giving it a good Icelandic try!