We have a special treat from you, a sneak peek from our spring Tolkien issue that we’re feverishly working on now and will dazzle you with (we hope) in March!
SEEKING ELVES IN ICELAND
Elfschool, an Elf Whisperer, an Elf Park and a mayor called Lord of the Rings
If you’re looking for elves, Iceland might be the place for you. Fifty-four percent of Icelanders believe in elves and other nature spirits, according to Professor Magnús H. Skarphéđinsson. Faerie Magazine Editors-at-Large Laren Stover (@faerie_style) and Paul Himmelein spent an afternoon with Magnús, headmaster of the famous “Elfschool” in Reykjavík, last November along with visiting other locations for a story on elf culture in Iceland for our spring 2018 issue. Here’s a teaser from Laren and Paul with a few (mostly) iphone photos!
Magnús told us that Icelanders have had a long friendship with elves and Huldufólk also known as the hidden people, tall elegant humanlike elves that live in another dimension but sometimes can be seen by humans and vice versa. Many Icelanders have seen and talked with elves and hidden people and sometimes been invited into their homes and even eaten food there. Elves don’t drink coffee but Huldufólk do… “Sometimes they had a cup of coffee with jam-filled pancakes,” Magnús told us. Magnús served us the same while he regaled us with true tales of human and elfin contact that he collected while scouring the Nordic island country like a lone Grimm’s brother.
Here he is, being professorial:
Knowing that most Icelanders believe in elves, we took our own unofficial poll. Other than a table of rugged Viking types guzzling Viking beverages and kaffi in a kaffi shop (we suspect if we cornered them individually, they would have fessed up and at the very least shared an elf story that their grandmother told them), everyone else we spoke with believed that elves existed. Everyone at Gló, the vegan restaurant, believed in them as did our car rental shuttle driver, Olle. Here are a few video clips to prove it.
Other elf research included driving out to meet Ragnhildur “Ragga” Jónsdóttir affectionately known as the elf whisperer at her Álfagarđur or Elf Garden; she can see and communicate with elves and hidden people. She negotiates with elves and civic engineers on building and road projects determining if the elves will permit the intended construction or demand a relocation of the elves’ dwelling. Several elves live on her property including Pulta, an elf lady/medicine woman she’s known since she was two and who gave her a healing tea recipe (Laren reveals in the spring issue), and Fróði, who wrote a book (What Does It Take to See an Elf?) through Ragga while Ragga was dreaming during a nap one afternoon. We saw a drawing of Fróði, who looks a lot like a hobbit, fuzzy feet and all. Ragga explained that Tolkien was influenced by Icelandic sagas. (More about that in the spring issue!)
Later we met Sibba Karls in Hafnarfjörđur who took us on a personal tour of the Elf Park. Hafnarfjörđur has one of the richest elf and spirit populations of all the towns in Iceland. The lava fields are especially alive with them. According to the Hidden World Map created by the late elf seer Eria Stefánsdóttir, there are more than 20 types of dwarfs, four types of gnomes, and all manner of elven beings here. We encountered a troll and a dwarf’s home among other magical places and learned four meditations you can do there to put you in touch with nature spirits.
On the tour Sibba told us the mayor of Hafnarfjörđur is teasingly called Lord of the Rings because the town has so many roundabouts.
Speaking of lava fields, we drove out to Buđir on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to see the aurora borealis.
When we came in to our hotel to warm up with a pot of tea after seeing the northern lights and being buffeted by the strongest winds we’ve ever experienced, we became enchanted by a wall of mystical paintings by elf seer/witch Sigriđur Gisla. (She has seen elves trooping over the lava fields.)
Near the famous early 18th century black church behind our hotel, there is a cozy little “witch shop” where you can buy cards by the artist, as well as Icelandic moss, herbs, handmade things like handmade soaps, magical charms, crocheted masks, and tiny brooms to whisk away bad spirits.
Here is Laren (right) valiantly attempting to not buy everything in the store:
We could have spent a good hour there but with less than six hours of daylight, and lava fields to explore, it was time to go….
We leave you with this shot of our graduating Elfschool class:
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