Tag Archives: Ásbyrgi

The Secret Runes of the North

The old Norse runes are well known.

 

They were repeated many times and developed shared symbolic meaning, aside from their use as an alphabet suitable for carving in stone.

Nonetheless, there are other runes. At Ásbyrgi, for example, long strings of runes, alphabets essentially, written in a bodily script, are written in long lines across the faces of the cliffs.

The more you stare at them, the more they make sense, although each is written one time only, in constant modifications of basic patterns, no two the same.

The pleasure gained from spending a day reading them is no different from that in a gallery on the European continent, in the face of Rembrandt, Vermeer or Van Dyk, or in a vault in Mainz with Gutenberg’s Bible, or in front of Shakespeare’s First Folio in the British Library.

These are masterworks never repeated, but no less masterworks, and no less languages and texts, for being so.

You can’t read them in the pubs of Reykjavik. You are going to have to go north, so far off of Highway 1 that when you learn to read these runes you won’t tell anyone what they say.

How Much Do Icelanders Love the Land They Live From?

The cliff at Ásbyrgi, in the far northeast, is full of ravens, trolls and elves. They’ve been camping out there (if you have eyes to see them) from the beginning of the world. If you don’t have such eyes, they are lovely lava flows cut by a paraglacial flood, with a birch, willow and rowan forest worth a trip across Iceland or around the world.

Or, you can just go to Reykjavik.

Now, that’s love for the land! Well done!

The Place to Go in Iceland, If You Dare

You can be of two minds, at once. They are not in conflict. A forest full of quick life to take you there, through the web of your thoughts?

Or a forest of slow, enduring life, the cliff of ghosts that awaits and towers above you, your body given face as memory?

At Botnstjörn, the windless pond sheltered by birches  deep in Ásbyrgi, you can be both at once. They are not in conflict.

Surrender, and feel yourself lose all weight.

Cute Troll in Ásbyrgi

Sticking out its tongue and everything.

A troll is what your mind looks like at root level. You can walk through it and tell stories. If you look closely, there are dozens of trolls here, not just the one at the centre left, with two eyes and the broad, down-turned mouth. Look at the white, ghost-image of one at centre right. The stories are consciousness; you are more than that.