Unique project brings ancient and modern together in Iceland

Um-okkur1__thumbnailA new project underway in Iceland is bringing ancient ritual, modern science, astronomy, folklore and magic together in an unprecedented way.

The small town of Raufarhofn is soon to be home to the Arctic Enclosure, a sort of modern henge which will be a beautiful artwork and a functioning sky clock, where important solar and celestial events (including the summer and winter solstices) will have a unique effect on the site.

The Arctic Enclosure is built on a hill near Raufarhofn, where the landscape allows the sun to hit at any angle, 360 degrees at all times of year. Raufarhofn is in the far north of Iceland, which means the seasonal differences in the sun’s path across the sky are incredibly pronounced.

In the summer, the sky never gets dark and the midnight sun barely dips below the northern horizon; but in the winter the sun rises for only a few hours, meaning anything in the way of the Arctic Enclosure would totally ruin the effect.

The Arctic Enclosure is also a work of art. It has been designed to fit perfectly into its surroundings and for light and shadow to make the visitor’s experience different every day – and that’s not to mention the dwarves.

Icelandic folklore features 62 dwarves whose roles have become something of a mystery – but who are now being resurrected at the Arctic Enclosure.

After placing the dwarfs named “Nordri” (North), “Sudri” (South), “Vestri” (West) and “Austri” (East) in their rightful places on the year’s circle and lined up the other 58 plus 10 in accordance with the seasons, the whole thing comes together in a remarkably logical manner, which suggests that the “Voluspa” folklore is using a calendar and that each “vik” (ancient weeks) of the year took its name from some special dwarf. Diligent mathematicians will see that there are some missing, as 5 times 72 gives 360; but in the old days there were so called “aukadagar” (extra-days), four to five in the summer and one to two in the winter. That way the year was rounded off, until the Romans changed the calendar to the one we know and use today.

More information about the Arctic Enclosure Viking heritage project are available at www.vikingcircle.com