Tag Archives: East Iceland

What You Need Right Now Might Just Be an Icelandic Rock

After a long time between languages, it’s time to go down to the shore.

 

And pick up magic rocks and hold them in. your hand.

And put them down.

And leave them there to talk to the sun in their nonhuman tongues.

And walk back up through the library of the birch forest.

And the lair of dragons.

Give one last glance to the lake.

And go back to the skáldverk in silence.

And begin again.

The Tangled Relationship of Humans and Ravens

Humans, it is commonly said, live on Earth and ravens in the air. Not so in Iceland. Look below.

Humans: Hjarðaból

See that? The humans have a nice farm with lots of light and air, although they walk about on the land like old rocks. The ravens, though, who fly through the air with the greatest of flashiness, have a home deep in a dark, opened crack of the earth, where they hunker down. See it there? If not, I’ve highlighted it below.

Ravens: Stekkalækur

Humans and ravens: the perfect pair. Just ask Oðin.

 

More Icelandic Fences Gone Rogue!

Just up the valley from Gunnar’s house, on the ancient road to the South, yet another Icelandic fence demonstrates the Icelandic idea that a fence is a kind of net. You cast it when there is something to catch.Sturluflöt, Villingadalur

Otherwise, it’s likely to be tangled up on the deck. Sometimes, I know, it’s hard to remember that the island is not a boat!



The Four-Directional Icelandic Cross

Following the Old Norse prototypes that long ago divided Iceland into the quadrants of a compass (Still used by the Icelandic Government’s tourism promotion board to label the country as West, North, East and, South Iceland [and don’t you dare travel around the country in the other direction; it only works poorly]), the Icelandic Cross is not divided into two axes, the vertical Heaven axis and the horizontal Earth axis, meeting at the heart, or Christ, but into four quadrants, blending the living and the dead with the action of the mind. It’s why Lazarus is so popular as a figure on Icelandic altars (Christ raised him from the dead, maggots and all), and why the Valþfjófstaðurkirkja looks like this, drawing its graveyard deep into thought.

The pre-Christian rowan trees of the graveyard are welcome as well.

Why Do Icelandic Horses Have Long Ears?

Wind! You’d lose the use of one ear most of the time if you didn’t.

A serious issue! Plus, it’s stylish, eh.

If you turn your head, you can hear even better, but you can’t always do that now, can you. You want to, like stand still.

All together now!

There’s no arguing with it. It’s a thing.

~

Skriðuklaustur