Tag Archives: solstice

Winter Solstice on the Buðahraun

When the wind hits 33 metres per second at the Buðahraun, the only shelter is down among the dunes, but even there you have to put your back to it to make an image, as the sand driven into the snow hits you like a blast from a shotgun. It’s better to take that in the back.

So it is on December 21, the shortest day of the year, but far, far from the least powerful. Here (above) it is around noon, looking North. And 6 months earlier, on the longest day, around 10 pm…

That’s Snæfellsjökull, the volcano and glacier that makes all this magic here out in the middle of the Atlantic. That was our year: two trips through these spiritual lavas. I expected the contrast to be between light and darkness, but it wasn’t that. There was no contrast. There was just power, stronger than the seasons.

 

 

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.

Gathering the Living and the Dead

When the winds reach 125 kilometres per hour, I tell ya, the walls of a graveyard are welcome shelter.

The black church at Buðir still has the power to draw people to it, even though its town pretty much vanished long ago.

When you’re out there in the midwinter wind, it’s pretty clear, though, that the church is an expression of Budir, not Budir an expression of the church.

In other words, here under the volcano (cloaked in fog of its own making), in a lava field blown with dunes of stinging orange sand, the broken bits of old scallop shells, in a wind the volcano sends out to sea like a searchlight, there is power and light that exceed our understanding.

It is good to honour them.

It is good to remember that the living have been given their life by the dead. Even our words, even these words, are the work of ancestral voices meeting the world, often in winds so strong you don’t breathe the air, it breathes you. (I am not writing these words. My ancestors are. That kind of experience. To them, I am a mouth — a door.)

Gunnar wrote a book about some of this, called Vikikvaki, a story of the dead coming to life and dancing on New Year’s Eve.

He meant Iceland.

(The wind has passed now in the mid-day solstice light)

The dead meant life. They meant the wind. It is good to enter these forces. It is also vital to have shelter.