Postcards From Iceland, #1 – Temporary Street Art

Postcards From Iceland, #1 – Temporary Street Art

Postcards from Iceland is a 52 week project exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik, including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

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Let Me Take You Back …

Do you remember getting postcards when you were a kid? Remember that feeling of wonder? I miss that. Postcards were like little portholes into mysterious foreign lands. Sure, some people still send them out, but it’s not like it used to be. Those were sometimes our only glimpses into those once mysterious places.

If you’ve never received a physical postcard, that’s ok, you can catch up with these modern digital postcards. I hope to evoke the same feelings that I fondly remember.

If you love stunning landscapes, vibrant urban vistas and visceral street art, then this blog will be just your thing! Also find Viking magic kind of sexy? Got you covered there too!

Welcome to Postcards from Iceland!

Modern folk are not easily impressed, and I get that I have to go above and beyond to get your attention, so let me do just that.

This is the first weekly post of a planned 52 week series exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik, including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

With each post I intend to evoke strong emotions:

Wonder: Firstly, each postcard will include the stunning main photo, taken by me personally in Iceland, June, 2017.
(Each picture will is available as FREE hi-rez download (1920x1080) which you can use as a wallpaper on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.)

Hope: Secondly, I’ll include a heartfelt note, written as if I I were speaking to a dear friend. I’ll share my thoughts and feelings as I explored Iceland and was caught up in its splendor.

Joy: Thirdly, I’ll share an intricate Icelandic Magical Stave- you’ve probably seen these drawn as wards in books, or as jewelry or tattoos. I’ll share one of these delightful symbols per week.

Helm of Awe

Helm of Awe

Empowerment: Lastly, I’ll teach you one verse from the Old Icelandic Rune Poem. You may know that Vikings used runes to write. Their system included 16 runic symbols (the Younger Futhork) that had a corresponding phonetic value and some esoteric meaning – many believe magical. Runes were used for writing, but also to cast protective wards, curses, and to craft enchanted items. They were also used for DIVINATION! (fortune telling, essentially.)

There may also occasionally be BONUS material! Stay up to date – subscribe free.

I photographed most of the postcard pictures on my 2017 Summer Solstice trip. My wife and I enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. Of course we experienced the mandatory Golden Circle, as well as the myriad beauties of Reykjavik.

I’ve been blessed to see and do what I’ve done, and I hope this small token from my journeys provides you some joy.

#1 – Temporary Street Art

A temporary mural on plywood construction boards may seem a surprising choice for my first look at Iceland, but it’s a fitting start based on how my preconceived views of Iceland changed after I landed. Sure, there’ll be pictures of glaciers and stunning vistas, but it was the mesmerizing and ubiquitous street art that won me over – even before I even had the chance to be seduced by the land herself – though that would come.

Dear friend, Art is everywhere in Iceland, especially in the capital, Reykjavik. For a country with such bleak weather, the islanders seem to make up for it with their prolific art. The works I loved most were the fleeting street murals – those painted on temporary surfaces like plywood walls at construction sites. Like flower blossoms, these temporary treasures bloom from Reykjavik’s streets … then fade. The magic is in their intensity and fleeting nature.

“Their urban art is like a defiant cry against the short summer. I imagine them declaring, “No! We will not go quietly into that good night!” Instead, they rage against the dying of the light; with little acts of defiance against the concrete jungle, or arctic winter, they nurture the artist’s spark through the long dark nights.” – Hugh B. Long


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.


 

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BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems & Magic

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune

 

Rune Name

Fe

(Fay)

Old Icelandic

Fé er frænda róg
ok flæðar viti
ok grafseiðs gata
aurum fylkir.

English

Wealth = source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.


Icelandic Magical Staves

Symbol

Icelandic name

Ægishjálmur

Manuscript Description

Helm of awe (or helm of terror); to induce fear, protect the warrior, and prevail in battle.


Behind the Scenes

I hope you are enjoying the photo. Many of the photos you’ll see in the coming weeks were shot with a Canon SX540HS but the Temporary Street Art photo was taken with my iPhone 6s Plus then processed through Adobe Lightroom 5. Essentially I desaturated everything in the image except the mural, which I oversaturated. I wanted the image to pop – just like it it did when I saw it on that rainy arctic day.

Original Photo – cropped to 1920x1080

After adjustments in Lightroom 5

Coming in the next 52 weeks:

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Yule Lads?

Yule Lads?

The Icelandic Yule Lads

You can learn all about the Yule Lads on Wikipedia

The Yuletide-lads, Yule Lads, or Yulemen, (Icelandic: jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar) are figures from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic version of Santa Claus. Their number has varied over time, but currently there are considered to be thirteen.[1] They put rewards or punishments into shoes placed by children on window sills during the last thirteen nights before Christmas Eve. Every night, one Yuletide lad visits each child, leaving gifts or rotting potatoes,[2] depending on the child’s behaviour throughout the year.

History and origins

The Yuletide-lads originate from Icelandic folklore.[3] Early on their number and depictions varied greatly depending on location, with each individual Lad ranging from a mere prankster[4] to a homicidal monster who eats children.[5]

In 1932, the poem "Jólasveinarnir" was published as a part of the popular poetry book Jólin Koma ("Christmas Is Coming") by Icelandic poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum. The poem reintroduced Icelandic society to Icelandic Yuletide folklore and established what is now considered the canonical thirteen Yuletide-lads, their personalities and connection to other folkloric characters.[6][clarification needed]

The Yuletide-lads were originally portrayed as being mischievous, or even criminal, pranksters who would steal from, or otherwise harass the population (at the time mostly rural farmers).[7] They all had descriptive names that conveyed their modus operandi.

The Yuletide-lads are traditionally said to be the sons of the mountain-dwelling trolls Grýla and Leppalúði. They would trek from the mountains to scare[8] Icelandic children who misbehaved before Christmas. Additionally, the Yuletide-lads are often depicted with the Yule Cat, a beast that, according to folklore, eats children who do not receive new clothes for Christmas.

Modern depictions

Yule lads lighting a Christmas tree in Akureyri

In modern times the Yuletide-lads have been depicted as taking on a more benevolent role[9] comparable to Santa Claus and other related figures. They are occasionally depicted as wearing late medieval style Icelandic clothing[10] (only in some books and decorations), but are otherwise generally shown wearing the costume traditionally worn by Santa Claus.

List of Yuletide-lads

The Yuletide-lads are said to "come to town" during the last 13 nights before Christmas. Below are the 'official' thirteen Yuletide-lads in the order they arrive (and depart).

Names in English are based on Hallberg Hallmundsson's translation of the poem.[11]

Icelandic Name English translation Description Arrival Departure
Stekkjarstaur Sheep-Cote Clod Harasses sheep, but is impaired by his stiff peg-legs. 12 December 25 December
Giljagaur Gully Gawk Hides in gullies, waiting for an opportunity to sneak into the cowshed and steal milk. 13 December 26 December
Stúfur Stubby Abnormally short. Steals pans to eat the crust left on them. 14 December 27 December
Þvörusleikir Spoon-Licker Steals Þvörur (a type of a wooden spoon with a long handle – I. þvara) to lick. Is extremely thin due to malnutrition. 15 December 28 December
Pottaskefill Pot-Scraper Steals leftovers from pots. 16 December 29 December
Askasleikir Bowl-Licker Hides under beds waiting for someone to put down their "askur" (a type of bowl with a lid used instead of dishes), which he then steals. 17 December 30 December
Hurðaskellir Door-Slammer Likes to slam doors, especially during the night. 18 December 31 December
Skyrgámur Skyr-Gobbler A Yule Lad with an affinity for skyr. 19 December 1 January
Bjúgnakrækir Sausage-Swiper Would hide in the rafters and snatch sausages that were being smoked. 20 December 2 January
Gluggagægir Window-Peeper A snoop who would look through windows in search of things to steal. 21 December 3 January
Gáttaþefur Doorway-Sniffer Has an abnormally large nose and an acute sense of smell which he uses to locate laufabrauð. 22 December 4 January
Ketkrókur Meat-Hook Uses a hook to steal meat. 23 December 5 January
Kertasníkir Candle-Stealer Follows children in order to steal their candles (which in those days were made of tallow and thus edible). 24 December 6 January

See also

References

  1. ^ Celebrating Christmas with 13 trolls Retrieved 1 June 2013
  2. ^ Bad Santas Retrieved 1 June 2013
  3. ^ Eve Online Introduces the “Yule Lads” Retrieved 1 June 2013
  4. ^ The Yule Lads Retrieved 1 June 2013
  5. ^ Forgotten Yule Lads and Lasses Retrieved 1 June 2013
  6. ^ "Best places to spend Christmas". Retrieved 1 June 2013
  7. ^ "The Yule Lads: Friends or Foes?" Retrieved 1 June 2013
  8. ^ "Bogeymen: Five scary visitors in the night". BBC News. Retrieved 1 June 2013
  9. ^ Top 10 places to spend your 2010 Christmas Retrieved 1 June 2013
  10. ^ Yule lads: Peoria woman’s family surprises her with Icelandic folklore Retrieved 1 June 2013
  11. ^ "Hallberg Hallmundson's translation of 'Jólasveinarnir' by Jóhannes úr Kötlum". Jóhannes úr Kötlum, skáld þjóðarinnar. Archived from the original on 22 December 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 

External links

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