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Doomsday by Exileden



Try to imagine desolated, barren landscapes with dramatic, heavy swirly clouds surrounding us. Lifeless, hibernal massive lands, dead marshadows and quagmires… though enlightened with colorful shades like shimmering opallus. On the further distance there are luminous blue icebergs on the horizon.

Thus, these barren lands were filled with so many alive myths, folklores, legends and warriors that battled for that land.
They gave a life into that void universe.
Valhalla.


Iceland.
This is not how I imagined after hearing many stories and seeing hundreds of lush, beautiful photographs and films for years. I’ve ended being in a small, climatic nordic home with a local Icelander on my side, Snorri of Reykjavik. A true nordic spirit. I cooked some food. I always feel nervous when cooking at someone’s house, using different kitchen, to not fuck up with something. After lunch, we packed our gear, equipment, prepared simple snacks, wore survival pants, put army boots and typical icelandic sweaters.  We got prepared for all day exploring through waterfalls and do glacier hiking and all night to stay awake for Northern lights hunting during nasty winds. Winds were quite mean there. Then, we left Reykjavik on a trip….

In midst of godforsaken terrains, I saw a shining, crystallized rainbow bridge statue. It was shattered, like there was broken connection between the earth and the sky. I was looking at it. 

“Buddy, look at that rainbow. Valhöll” - my fellow Icelandic comrade said.
“Valhö… what?” - surprisingly I asked, being not familiar with that sound. I knew it’s old norse, because of accenting.
“Valhalla. For you all, from the world beyond ours, know that is world of the dead ones. Most of people translate it incorrectly and whole civilized media, including videogames has totally mishaped it. Especially Ragnarök is so overused. You say it Valhöll, not Valhalla. For us it is more than just a mere chamber of the dead ones… you see, that bridge is the road to Valhöll.”

“So, it feels like I am already in Valhöll” - I thought for a moment, looking at that shattered rainbow bridge. I asked him: “So, since you said people there believe in norse gods and have symbolic connection with them… what is your favourite god?”

“Odin. And his ravens. He symbolizes a “balance” for me” - said.
“… and then, he gets killed by Fenrir at the end?” - I continued.

He smiled. “Why do you believe in Ragnarök? It’s just negative and one of possible endings. Horrible. And we, all Nordics and Icelanders, don’t wanna it happen.”

Then I’ve learned that for Icelanders, nordic legends have such different and deeper meaning for them than… us, who live outside of it. Nordic mythology has been quite popular inspiration in fantasies, movies and games lately… and we often refer to what we have learned there, than what it really means.


***


Sunset by Exileden


The sun has set. 
The seagulls have found their nests in giant rocky titan. Titan. I stood on the top of that titan and looked around how the rest of massive landscape is turning into blue, falling in quiet slumber.
Enjoying the breath of magical experience of nature. Iceland may not be alive with fauna, trees and animals but I sensed a lot of life in the form of raw ground and Earth element - mountains, rocky formations and glaciers. We are able to see it’s life of Earth Shell that is never seen really, because richness of trees and living creatures has distracted us. 

Titan by Exileden


Finally, it was the time for us to get some sleep outdoors, after tiring day of exploring to regain energy to turn into mysterious hunters. Then at midnight - we go out for Northern Light hunting.

I was shivering. It was quite cold sleep.
Not really pleasant to recover energy to get outside again and chase polar spirits - which in fact, it's many hours commitment. Snorri has explained me that many people never success finding good northern lights and blame for not being lucky, it actually doesn't have to do with luck but a lot of effort and staying awake all night, looking at the sky and analysing. Basically it's a lot of work.

I was moving a lot. My Icelandic sweater isn’t helping me nor the cover. I tried to seek for source of warmth. I’ve learned on expeditions that the best way to stay warm - is another person. It’s the same rule that polar sled dogs are using, they sleep outside, in extreme cases, they cuddle together, even worst enemies, to regain warmth.
I thought to get closer to him, then I stopped. Felt too awkward. I was struggling in my thoughts if I should get physically close to him or not… probably for entire night just to feel warm and comfortable. I can ignore that “moral behaviour aspect” or privacy but wasn’t if it was alright for another person. What if he won’t like it? What if...? We are just comrades… 
…But no! I am too proud, maverick woman! I don’t need any help from a man! Cuddling is clearly a sign of weakness!

My thoughts were swinging forth and back between “hey let’s try and no”. I crawled in blankets deeper. I don’t need anyone’s help.
Dogs are so easy...

Midnight. 

Not fun to get up from blankets after cold sleep. Stretched, pulled out equipment and wore parka. He guided me through absolute darkness, through hills and I saw… flares showing up. Woooah… so those are Northern Lights. Finally seeing them… 

Vanaheim by Exileden


I felt silent emotional turmoil, it was so overwhelming for me to see them dancing, so special that I totally froze and got lost in my mind… and lost my comrade for a moment.

“Arnaq” 


I prayed for her. In Valhalla. 
Felt close to her.

On that day was anniversary of her death. That tragic night, between 14 and 15th April, I knew she is going to cross through Rainbow Bridge at the dawn.


5 am. After hunting, at the dawn:


17973493 10154446117241272 7242766946736252385 O by Exileden


It was my Valhalla experience.
Up there I felt like a different person, traversed to mythical world and came back to living reality. It was a difficult return from the...
More stories will come in my book.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconteradiam:
Teradiam Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for sharing this awesome personal experience with us. I love nordic mythology and I can say nordic legends have a great influence on my art too, It's fascinating, everything is linked or related with nature... what a beautiful folklore! When I readed your journal I realized how much we have to learn about this ancient culture...

I wish I could visit Nordics someday and live an unforgettable experience as you did! :)
Reply
:iconexileden:
Exileden Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2017
Thanks a lot! Being inspired by Nordic legends spoken by local friend, I think I'd like to do deeper research about that mythology and... surely I'll let know you all :)
Funny thing, he didn't know about Skoll and Hati (they're mainly in my mind when i hear about nordic mythology, this is where I begun my interest in that) at all. They aren't mentioned precisely nor which one chases Sun/Moon.
Reply
:iconlilfixit:
lilfixit Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow this is so cool! Thank you so much for sharing!
Reply
:iconeasak:
Easak Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2017   Photographer
Love what you do
Reply
:iconakatsukigirl47:
AKATSUKIGIRL47 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Amazing. Nice photos.
Reply
:iconnowzee:
nowzee Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Those are some really breathtaking shots. Thanks for sharing your story,it's beautiful and inspiring, hopefully someday I can visit places like these too.
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:icongrimae:
Grimae Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017
I love your travels, your work inspires me so much.
Iceland seems so out of the world but still in reach. Gotta finish uni and then society will never see me again - I have landscapes to explore and worlds to see.
Also super excited about that book you mentioned you'd write. Your writing style is very nice to read and I'd love to hear more.
Reply
:iconexileden:
Exileden Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017
Thank you so much, that's very motivating to hear and push myself to get this thing done :aww:

I've left on my first travels as soon as I was out from school. Being away from the others and influences was one of best and refreshing feelings.
Reply
:iconsilvolf:
Silvolf Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow the scenary is amazing! So dramatic. I find that the only way to experience a country is to visit it. As you said, the legends and culture has so much more meaning and different meanings to people who actually live there. Beautiful!
Reply
:iconexileden:
Exileden Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017
Though, you have to get know folklores and legends from locals while visiting that country ;) Thank you!
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:iconsilvolf:
Silvolf Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
I agree and you're welcome :aww:
Reply
:icongreenangel5:
GreenAngel5 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:wow: you captured some amazing photos and I was captivated by your words of that northern cold world. I'm one of the out sides that only hear about or see from photos an video games. I really enjoyed reading your story and thoughts about the journey you took. Thank you for sharing.
Reply
:iconexileden:
Exileden Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017
That's great to hear that! I am glad that little text made you feel that world :) I'd really like to get better at storytelling despite my writting issues (I'm dyslexic with grammar). 
Reply
:iconmadmother88:
MadMother88 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
You describe it beautifully, I'd love to go there and see the sights!
Reply
:iconexileden:
Exileden Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconmadmother88:
MadMother88 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Welcome, it makes me wanna get out there right now
Reply
:iconj-tap:
J-Tap Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
It's so heartwarming to read this about Iceland, something that someone who's foreign to my country wrote after their first (I assume?) visit.
It means a lot that someone like you would get have such a unique experience there and to see and feel the best parts of the landscape, and you describe it so gracefully. :) The photos are stunning as well, made my day seeing this journal. I'm glad you also got a good guide, and I'm sure he wouldn't have minded the pursuit of warmth, we all know how cold it can get.

Thank you for this! :heart:
Reply
:iconexileden:
Exileden Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017
Awww, heartwarming! :aww: So it's nice to hear that my Icelandic journal didn't made you feel cold ;) Surprisingly, there I had much worse cold tolerance than on expedition. Because of damned winds. 
That Icelandic trip was on the outside of tourists way pattern, so it was way more different than what I thought, he has shown me wild places and we wen't on a bit different rules than where turists go. There are far more stories about that trip, such like encounter with Icelandic counter and dangerous hike in glacier, but that rest - I plan to share in a book. :)
You'll not only read "what I have seen in Iceland" and all beauty there, but also inner world - my relation with other people and spiritual changes.
... and inspiration :)

Haha! I already experienced "I mind that when you touch me" with the other guy I was sleeping in a tent during survival training in Norwegian mountains. I was freezing and commander was sleeping just next to me. I asked him to hug, he was surprised, hugged me but in intentions to say "good night" and then clearly gave me polite sign that he doesn't feel comfortable being cuddled. LOL. I am overally physically shy, I respect privacy so much and avoid physical contact - but nature does it's own, then at these cases, I don't mind being hugged and it has nothing to do with sexuality. Even if we "maybe like eachother, ohhh it's tempting yet soo awkward" "or shit, you are perv!"
Since I sit in activities that are dominated by menpower, I find relations in our teamwork (2 persons - woman and a man) is always like walking on a thin ice.
Reply
:iconj-tap:
J-Tap Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
That's so cool that you went a different path than the usual tourists! Very worth it, I'd say, and maybe the cold was worth it too, haha. Winds there are violent indeed.
I'll keep my eye out for that book, it sounds like it'll have some interesting content! :) 

Ahah, I get what you mean with the physical contact thing... There's very often at least some amount of tension when a male and female are together, and that's just how nature made it, hehe. Nothing we can do but bite through the awkwardness! Being shy towards it, though, I guess it differs from each individual. :D 
Reply
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