Our neighbour, the troll

Now that I’ve introduces the ghosts in the house next door to the east, I thought I ‘d write about our neighbour to the west, who is a troll. His name is Trond and you can just glimpse him when the fog and the morning sun meet in a certain manner.

The mountain you can see here is called Høgasyn, meaning high view, And the local legends say that a clan of trolls live here, headed by Trond. He is said to be so old that he has seen the forests around here wither away and grow back up seven times.

There is also a local story about how the clan of trolls would came down to one of the farms nearby to celebrate yule. The humanfolk living on the farm would then go away, leaving the house and land to the trolls. This tradition continued for ages, until one year, a visitor from out of town insisted on staying over the holidays. The trolls were so offended by this they refused to come back. There is probably a lot lost in this story, but that’s the gist of it.

So obviously, last yuletide, we cleaned the house, left food and drinks, and went away, leaving the house to whatever trolls might happen by and feel welcome. Our house is much smaller than your typical farmhouse, but I still hope they at least felt the welcome. At least we haven’t had any issues with them.

Trolls, of course, have an undeserved bad reputation, not helped by interned lingo. Very little positive has been said about trolls for the past few centuries, but it wasn’t always like this. When we today think of trolls as basically everything wrong and stupid, this idea of the troll was very likely introduced with industrialism. The modern idea of the troll was largely created around the late 1800s, right at the start of the industrial era. This was when Asbjørnsen&Moe gathered and heavily edited their Norwegian folk tales, Illustrated by Theodor Kittelsen, who also made a number of advertisements for Norsk Hydro, one of the main power and aluminium companies.

Trolls are representatives and protectors of the deepest, strongest parts of nature, the old mountains, the deep forests, the wild rivers and waterfalls. And with industrialism, the protectors of these things became the enemies of humans. In the stories, trolls were presented as keepers of hidden treasures in the mountains, treasures that the human heroes had to extract by any means necessary. Outside the stories, mountains were turned into mines, rivers poisoned and dammed, forests chopped down, all in the name of the good fight of progress. Anyone in the way were portrayed as malignant, dumb, clumsy, set in their ways and remnants of a time gone by, who had to be cleared off to make room for the new and bright and shiny. Large parts of the environmentalist movement still face this kind of criticism by large companies and investors.

The idea of the troll itself likely has roots in the jotner from Norse mythology. These are, in a Christian world view, usually seen as the enemies of gods and humans, and sources of evil. But even looking at the Christian sources from the time of the myths, it wasn’t all that clear cut as we interpret it now. This is a far too large a theme to get into in this post, but as circumstances would have it, we’re actually living in one of the jotuns at the moment. The whole area, Aurdal, is named after Aurvandil, one of the jotuns. And he is very much present. I’ll tell you about him next week.

Strange travels!

Healing with Monsters, new course

Would you like to get better acquainted with Hel, Fenrir, Jormundgand and Loki?

I’m taking a new course. That is, I’m hosting a new course. As I’ve spent the last year or so in closer contact with some old friends and connecting to old land, I’ve decided to put together a comprehensive course for others who might want to discover something new about the world and possibly themselves.

Next full moon, April 27, is the first course start for Healing with monsters, where we will discover some central jotuns from norse mythology via myth, meditations, magic, and medicine. Registration starts now at healingwmonsters@gmail.com

More info:

Name : Healing with monsters

What now?  Monster, from latin monstrum, meaning divine omen.

We’re going to get better aquainted with some central jotuns in norse mythology, namely Fenrir, Hel, Jormundgand and Loki.

The jotun can be seen as representatives of the forces of nature, but for several centuries both they and nature have been interpreted as enemies to humanity, and something to be banished and contained.

We will be rediscovering the sanctity of nature, and these jotuns as representatives of greater cyclic systems of the world and the individual body.  We will be learning myth, meditations, spells and basic self care based on a holistic approach.

Cost: 45 euro

Duration: 30 days. Recommended time spent will vary between 5 min to 30 min a day, with a 10 min average. Links for suggested studies will be provided.

Practicalities: The course material will be posted online. You get a text for each day, and the option of one 30 min or two 15 min. personal online counseling at a chosen time during the course. I will be setting up suggested timeslots via a calendar posted to the group, or it can be sent via email.  

I will be hosting a server on discord for links, group discussion and the included video chat. If you don’t have or don’t wish to set up a discord account, links can be sent via email, and online counseling can be done via zoom or google.

Payment: paypal link: paypal.me/healingwm

Contact: healingwmonsters@gmail.com

A celebration of the darkness on the shortest day

My portrait of Hel, or Hela, the ruler of the underworld in Norse mythology, and a bit more for those of us not constricted to the åsatru versions.

As readers know, I do love Christmas, or Yule as it’s called where I’m from (spelled Jul nowadays).  The food, the candles, the more or less gaudy representations of nisser, the constant sugar-rush and high flying emotions. Love it. 

But none of these things are for me meant to ‘drive away the darkness’ as the popular phrase goes. I carve out a tiny little den, slightly less dark than the enormous darkness of the long night, and curl up and rest. Without darkness, sleep would be made quite difficult. And sleep is the most wonderful thing. Also, quite a lot of animals prefer the darkness for their activities.

Darkness has a really bad reputation in most current cultures. It is still associated with basically all the stuff humans don’t like, a sort of umbrella term for anything unpleasant or unwanted. Even by those who know intellectually that this isn’t true, and that darkness is as necessary for life as light is, the darkness has a tendency to be pushed aside into, well, the dark.

Without darkness, there would be no renewal. It’s not an opposite, but a prerequisite. Without darkness, life would be a single, unending, hectic rush towards a messy end, probably good for capitalist production values, but an absolute horror for anything else. Without darkness, humans forget that they do not own the planet or has any prior claim to it, no right to mess about with its ecosystems in an attempt of adjusting or ‘fixing’ nature. Without darkness, you will never really experience awe for nature.

For those who pay a bit of attention to the current world, it’s not the darkness that poses the biggest threat to a living earth, but the light. Or to be precise, artificial light made by humans to drive away the darkness. Electric lights, along with pesticides and other weapons you use against nature being nature, is a key factor in the ongoing insect apocalypse, the decimation of insects on earth. And without insects, most known life will struggle to exist.

The aggressive attitude towards darkness, wielded mainly by those who count themselves as ‘good’ is a reminder of the ongoing war against nature that humans have believed themselves to be fighting for some time now. Perhaps they should stop and realize that they’re only fighting themselves, and making everything else suffer in the process. A good place to start is to contemplate and celebrate the vast and important, soothing and covering, darkness.

Lighting a candle makes the darkness easier to see, It doesn’t drive it away, but brings it closer to mind.

So light a candle, or a lovely fire, tonight in praise of the darkness, who will let you go to bed early with a book and a mug of mulled wine without feeling the least bit of fomo or guilt.

Sweet dreams.