Category Archives: Huldúfolk

Viking Hydro Power Station

In the 9th century, long, long before Nicola Tesla, the vikings of Iceland changed the course of the Öxá, to create a waterfall in þingvellir. The sagas tell that it was named after a troll that used to chop up early parliamentarians with an axe — surely a witty reference to early spiritual struggles in Iceland, which was grounded simultaneously by at least three spiritual traditions: Norse, Irish and Christian. Wikipedia tells how the waterfall was used to provision campers with water.I will merely point out a couple things. First, the Icelandic killing fields were in this river, either by the drowning of witches, ie reunion with the troll, or by beheading on a rock in the water, ie the cancellation of Christian belonging, as a form of organic justice. This was hydro power before the industrial age. We now call it “nature” and “beauty.” Those are only industrial terms. Beware.

The Grass Suns of Iceland

These solar systems are navigated by star sheep and humans brave enough to risk turning an ankle. The suns themselves are self-woven by grass, maintaining heat by spherical, or hemi-spherical shape. Sub-arctic climates don’t exist at the level of the grass. Just in the vast interstellar distance between clumps. But that’s what star sheep are for.

Secret, Spiritual Iceland

Presumably, the boundary in the image below meant something once. I’m no expert, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears to be a turf wall, laboriously cut and stacked, replaced by a wire fence, and replaced by nothing at all except memories of where a boundary once was.
And again:

This is not likely a sign of increasing wealth. Nor is this near-obsolete set of boundaries at Kirkjubærjarklaustur. There’s a stone wall, and a row of birches, for the graveyard, and then a mysterious fence, with one electrified strand, even, serving no purpose now except to mark a boundary for a summer student with a weed whacker.

Fortunately, some boundaries are still full of power. Here’s the sky above the Hvitserkur ogre.

Still, these other boundaries speak of something profoundly Icelandic. Here’s the churchyard again, with its wall…

… and without (by leaning over it.)

Trees and stone: that’s two walls, one for those looking out and one for those looking in. The turf wall is no human barrier…

… and neither is the churchyard:

But it matters a lot whether you are looking in to life, from grass to stone to trees to grass, or looking out from grass to trees to stone to grass. Isn’t all of this the behaviour of people who have spent a long, long time with sheep?

And with the gentle ways of herding them?

This is old, old technology, that only works with respect that goes out at the same time it comes in.

And understands life as a series of seasons.  This is not the modern world, yet it is still alive, and you can enter it in Iceland, and then, well, and then you’ve walked through the gate.

Make no mistake. The image of Reykjavik above and the one of Smyrlabjörg below are the same.No one will tell you why. If you have to ask, you haven’t walked through the air to the air.