suckers at twelve o’clock / by aud koch
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Loki and Odin. don’t catch their eyes.
Oh that vibe is dead on.
Aw yeah 15+ hour work day….
The Huldufólk are the ‘hidden people’ in Icelandic folklore. According to these Icelandic folk beliefs, one should never throw stones because of the possibility of hitting the huldufólk. They are also a part of folklore in the Faroe Islands.
The Icelandic Elf School, or Álfaskólinn, is a school in Reykavík that teaches students and visitors alike about the huldufólk, specifically the 13 kinds of elf that exist within Iceland.
Iceland was settled by the Norse in the 9th Century. When Viking settlers came from Scandinavia, they brought with them their Norse language, culture, and religion. Due to Iceland’s location, being isolated at quite a distance from Europe, old Norse religion survived much later in Iceland than elsewhere. Even after Christianisation, the cultural climate in Iceland was such that the old ways were allowed to survive alongside the new religions.
- In Faroese folk tales, Huldufólk are said to be “large in build, their clothes are all grey, and their hair black. Their dwellings are in mounds, and they are also called Elves.”
- They also dislike crosses, churches and electricity.
Many believe that there are in fact two nations living in Iceland – humans, and the hidden people. A phenomenon widely understood by many Icelanders and not often discussed with outsiders, huldufólk are an accepted part of life; as commonplace as birds and trees.
Cautioned with stories as children, they are told not to throw stones so as not to injure one of the hidden people, not to wander too far from human habitations, and that certain rock formations are not by accident, as they make up the houses and cities of the elves, and to respect the landscape around them.
Described as being of human-like appearance, only more beautiful, many Icelanders believe they have in fact been witness to their magic as children, but then told they are imaginary friends by others, they begin to lose the ability to see the huldufólk as they grow older and society and education taints their ability to perceive the supernatural.
"The imaginary elves and hidden people are another fascinating projection of the Icelandic psyche upon nature. These creatures live in the underworld right under the beneath of the ground in rocks and hills. Icelandic folklore contains two accounts of the origin of elves. One claims that they are the unwashed children of Eve that she wanted to hide from God, thus, symbolically representing aspects of the human personality that the self regards as unwanted. As an omniscient God knows everything, however, he decided that whatever humans try to hide from him, he would hide from them. The other account of the origin of elves holds that these creatures were created at the time when God created a woman for the first man, Adam. As the woman turned out to be exceedingly difficult to manage (for both Adam and God), God changed his plan by creating a man for her, equal to her untamable nature, and named him Alfur. She was named Alvör, and all elves and trolls are descended from them. Both stories point towards a male tendency to blame women for their provocation, as well as the repression of unaccepted tendencies. Many things indicate that the hidden people originate in our unconscious: They resemble us in many ways, though they are more spirit-like and invisible, and to see the elves, must to either be given permission by them, or have a special ability. They can have supra-human capacities; and they can be both better and worse than humans. To provoke their anger means trouble but to help them in times of crisis means blessings as a result they are powerful, respected and feared. The hidden people have various human attributes, and even though they live longer than we do, they are born and they die just as we do. They eat and drink, play instruments, have lights in their houses, go fishing, move residences, and keep animals, though they are more productive than those of humans. Traditional belief holds that there are both good elves and bad elves, light elves and dark. Light elves live closer to the gods and are Christians. They worship in churches that can be identified in formation of rocks or in domelike caves. The dark elves live in the ground. The hidden people live not only in hills and stones, but in the ocean and lakes as well, and even in the air. The elves do not live in burnt lava for it is the dwelling of evil spirits and death. It is possible to learn magic (how to influence the unconscious of others with psychological powers) from the hidden people. They can be very seductive, though if you don’t do what they want they turn against you — and if you do accept what they offer (or identify with the psychic contents that they represent) you run the risk of becoming insane."
Icelandic Elves communicate with humans in various ways. They can express dissatisfaction in ways that are non-verbal, but never the less blatantly communicative. For example they may cause rock slides and other natural disasters to let it be known that human activity has angered them. They can also cause illness in humans, failure of crops, and disease in livestock.
When the Elves are pleased, however, they may bless a farmer with an abundant harvest, or grace their region with pleasant weather and smooth sailing seas.
Dreams are another mode of communication for Elf to human contact. One Icelandic builder reported that as he was making plans to have a boulder on his project site moved, the Elven resident who lived inside it came to him in a dream. She asked that he give her family some time to gather their belongings and find temporary lodgings until the boulder was relocated, at which point they could move back in. The builder stalled the relocation of the boulder for a few days, delaying construction. When questioned on this, the builder refused to change his mind. Treating the Elves with respect was only the right thing to do.
I just encountered this clever and amusing image in a French database of medieval manuscripts. It shows three rabbits running in circles - with shared ears. There is nothing much to this drawing from a book-historical point of view, except to say that it has an Escher-feel to it. In fact, I am not even sure what it means to convey. I am simply sharing it here because the ear entanglement is so cleverly done - and the whole scene brought a big smile to my face.
Pic: Arras, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 7 (13th century).
Note: Various followers on Tumblr and Twitter pointed out parallels of these three hares, both in western and eastern art. This Wikepedia offers more information (link provided by this and this follower).
The Triple Hare is literally my favorite mystery motif
These are adorable though