Traveling Iceland: Viking Spirit: spiritual experiences in Iceland
A book excerpt from the spiritandflesh.com religion and spirituality online library.
As much as I have within me an East Indian yogini, an Irish monk, a Native American scout, a Teutonic barbarian, and a French decadent, so also do I contain a peaceless, wanderlusting Norseman. It cannot be otherwise, for I have been to most of the Viking Countries, including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, and Iceland, and I can see no other reason why I have been drawn or guided to all such places.
Perhaps this accounts for a certain amount of my estrangement to the rest of the world, for I consider the Vikings to have been the original astronauts of the earth- the ones who would launch themselves into the unknown, to the ends of the earth, for no better reason than they could not keep still. In this way did those northern gypsies roam the harsh and unforgiving North Atlantic for more than a millennium, discovering North America no less than five-hundred years before Columbus- that southern European homebody- who, being not quite as nautically skilled as the Norsemen, landed a mere fifteen-thousand kilometers from his intended destination, and then proudly declared that he had reached …India.
The Vikings, however, found what they were looking for- solitude. For the Norseman's soul is the soul of loneliness. Not a loneliness like the Celtic soul, which has been transformed and made beautiful and inviting through its music and poetic melancholy- but the loneliness of the north itself, of the rocks, reefs, icebergs, and seas which the Norse came to inhabit. The Norse soul is the most distant soul within the entire occidental family, though it is a soul which belongs to all of us, for we are all part Viking, barbarian, wanderer, and nomad, cold and peaceless and wild within.
I was sent to Iceland due to a series of four dreams. I did not understand what the first two dreams were trying to convey, but when the third one rolled around, I knew where I was being asked to go, though I knew not why. And so, for the first time in my dream-following life, I was indecisive, for I had never wanted to go to Iceland, and my funds were running short at the time, and perhaps I was not the best of spiritual servants the world has ever known. Finally, however, I recognized what I should have remembered all along- that the spirit knew far more than I knew and I was not to question but only to up and follow. So I accepted my orders, after which soon followed an affirming dream, and then, over the next couple of weeks I was informed, in night visions, of what boots would be best to wear, and what coat to take, and so on, for I had no idea what weather I was going to encounter wherever it was I was supposed to go when I got there.
I must not have been equipped well enough, however, for the morning I was to leave for Iceland I was given an old down-jacket by a chap in the hostel in London in which I was staying, an event which spurred me to suddenly remember another dream which I had somehow forgotten, in which I was with a man driving a large truck- the Greater Vehicle, as the dream symbology runs- who was worried that I would be cold. I expect that the jacket was His way of making sure I would not die shivering.
Anyway, heading out of London to Stansted airport that afternoon, from where I was to fly to Reykjavik, the bus I was on was slowed grievously due to road construction, and many passengers seemed doomed to miss their flights. I was sitting beside a peaceful, grey-haired woman who carried an air of dignity about her, and just after the driver announced the probability of further delays up ahead, I heard the woman quietly declare, "No, all of the workers have gone for tea, and the road will be clear." And I knew she was willing it to be so. A white witch, to be sure.
After we arrived at the airport, without encountering any further delays, and the passengers scampered off the bus gladly knowing they would catch their flights, I turned towards this elderly matron of the subtle arts, and whispered "Do you think any of them imagine that it was you?" to which she responded, "No, there are many unbelievers."
With that meeting as a send off I flew to Iceland and arrived on a mission for which, admittedly, to this day, I do not know specifically why I was sent, although I know that there must have been reasons. For in one of my dreams which spawned the trip, there appeared the message SOS, and soon after arriving in Iceland I was picked up while hitchhiking by a spritely young blond woman, and after getting into her car, taking off, and turning on some tunes, the song playing on her CD was SOS, by Abba, a name which in Aramaic means 'Father'- the one who sent me I don't know why, but He did, to that land which is the last vestige of that great northern race who worshiped Odin- the All Father.
Perhaps I was sent simply to meet this young daffodil in the north land, exchange a few words and connect our spirits through the eyes and that was enough. Which may also be the reason I was picked up hitching in the remote, north-eastern region, by the country's vice-president; an unprecedented event which could only happen to a long-haired, big-bearded, heavily-avoided vagabond on that isolated island of a mere two-hundred and fifty thousand people. And so he and I also exchanged words and connected our spirits through the eyes, and then parted without ever parting again.
Or perhaps I was sent for my own soul's sake- so that I might have a chance to walk upon and view the austere beauty of the Mother in Her unadorned and yet voluptuous state, for that is how one finds Her in Iceland. And it is only there, or lands like it, where fire and ice meet, and treeless, rolling green hills abound relentlessly, and an impermeable layer of cloud prevent Sol from casting His glare upon the land- it is only in places such as this that one must find different eyes to partake of the sublime, surreal, and yet supernatural abundance of the Mother.
In the austere, unforgiving landscape of Iceland, I found that I did not love the earth because of the trees, the birds, the warmth, or fruit, but that I loved the earth for itself. Because to camp in Iceland, in the barren, harsh, and windswept living land, is to find no fecund adornments wrapping the ground in swollen spectacle, but instead to stand or lay upon the bare earth, the unclothed Mother, and to suckle the beauty of Her being in a shivering, disquieting, intimate embrace.
It was in Iceland that I finally overcame my personal need to return again and again to the thriving, sustaining plenitude of the magnificent west coast Canadian wilderness, for I had now lain with the naked Mother in that northern land pregnant with Her supernatural spirit, and there I adored Her.
I say supernatural because Iceland is a vibrant region supporting the mythological world. Here one finds Mt. Hekla, under which it is said exists the theoretical gates of Hell. Here also is Mt. Snaefelsness, which was Jules Verne's inspiration for his story Journey to the Center of the Earth. And here one sees a netherworldly quality in the land, where mountains are not mere rocks but are the castles of elves, and hills are not simply inanimate bulges but are living mounds of the Mother.
Iceland, like Hawaii, is a land only recently tortured by the encroachment of mankind proper, for it did not receive its first humanoids until the tenth century AD, and this fact, more than anything, could explain why the Mother is still billowing with primordial delight there.
It is also a land still holding the spirits of its first inhabitants- the Irish monks, who came seeking even a more remote location than Stelig Michael for their otherworldly piety. And it contains the remnants of the Vikings with their Norse Gods, as well as a plethora of mythical creatures such as gnomes, faeries, elves, hobbits, and trolls, for these earth-spirits still find favor not only in the land but also in the minds of many Icelanders even today, and I can vouch for a strong sense of these nether-realm beings, whose dwellings lurk within the land, just on the other side of our realm, but continuous with it, and involved with it.
And so, perhaps I was sent to that North Atlantic land so as to visit a place which is suspected not only of being another possible location for the original site of Atlantis- the Father's creation- but may have also been a colonization of Lemuria, because of its unity with the Mother. And so Iceland is one of the rare places on earth where the Father and Mother are each a substantial presence.
As stated earlier, He resides in the ancestral Norse spirits who worshiped Odin, the All Father, and in the Christian Monks who worshiped God the Father. And even to this day, the culture is so bound to that patriarchal polarity, that Iceland is the only place on earth, to my knowledge, that has a Phallological Museum- a museum of penises from species all over the world.
And yet the Mother is equally as strong in Iceland, for She resides in the living, gurgling land of fire and ice, and in the Tolkienesque remains of the realm of earth-spirits. And so the Mother and Father aspects of God exist together there, as dramatically as anywhere on earth, and they do so in a subtle harmony which might be capable of occurring only on such a remote island, battered constantly by rain and wind, hidden in perpetual fog, in a northern sea, which is yet a land warmed by the living blood of the volcanic earth, bubbling just inches beneath the surface.
(excerpted from Roots and Wings: adventures of a spirit on earth, by Jack Haas)