The Northern Lights, Reindeer Pee and Synchronicity
The day began at 4:30am, a knock on the door. I had my alarm set to P.M. rather than AM. DOH! It was alright, Corinna was on it and I had the coffee percolator prepared. The Swedish oven-top heated the tiny pot in disturbing speed. I whisked Corinna off to the airport, returned in enough time to almost fall asleep again, then repeated the trip with the rest of the team. We had just completed an Epic workshop in Stockholm, with 500 beautiful people wanting to dive deep into healing trauma. I looked like a stuffed scarecrow walking through the airport with all my travel clothes on to avoid traveling North with checked luggage. A dangling fluff-ball winter hat topping my baseball cap, a bag of almonds, 1 banana and a little sewn Pikachu Doll peeking out of the pocket that I’d decided needed to see the world like Amelie’s traveling gnome.
I was attempting to curb my excitement traveling North to see the lights. I knew they didn’t occur very often and that my search could very well end 15 years from now. The forecast wasn’t looking great either. 100% cloud cover for the next seven days. I figured at the least I would go hike around some beautiful terrain, explore a foreign culture and see what happens. It’s amazing what happens when expectations are low.
As I was boarding the plane I received wide-eyed looks from a petite brown eyed girl getting on behind me. I thought it was because of the Pikachu. Settling into my sacred window seat I was off to Abisko, Sweden. I was flying north from Stockholm to the 68th Parallel. For perspective Stockholm is the same latitude as Anchorage Alaska and we were about to fly 2 hours north of that. The nearest airport to Abisko is a fascinating city called Kiruna. A city of 20,000 people that exists solely because of an Iron Ore Mine. A few years ago after digging 1500 meters below the surface they discovered that the ore vein ran directly underneath the city. The mine is currently funding a billion dollar, 85 year relocation of the entire city of Kiruna so they may continue pulling the equivalent of 1 Empire State building per day’s volume of ore + rock from the ground. A mine that produces some of the highest grade steel on the planet. During my trip, of the 8 people I met in Kiruna, 5 of them were Engineers.
Just before the plane bursted off the runway I received my first notification that there was G2 class Geomagnetic Storm happening in our magnetosphere. I tried not to get my hopes up but I felt my inner child give a little squeal from within me. After the required amount of drool on my shirt to catch up on sleep I awoke to see the landscape transformed to a frosty white expanse dotted with icy lakes resting in a slow sunset that would proceed for the next 4 hours. It was Noon. Upon landing the little wide-eyed woman came up and asked if my name was Blake. It was. As synchronicity would have it she attended the workshop I had just hosted, now 1,300 kilometers behind us. Nivi is a thoughtful and spirited Greenlandic woman from a town called Qeqertarsuaq. I wish you could hear her pronounce it, as Greenlandic originates from the Eskimo language family and coming from her sounded like the name of an Ewok town on Endor. I was really embarrassed that I didn’t even know people lived on Greenland. I blame America. It turned out that her wide-eyes were a sort of perpetual existence, I don’t think I’ve figured out what this means in totality for Nivi, but I think it’s not normal in a good way. She was quite surprised it was me. We were both surprised to find that I was traveling to the town, population 100 that she had spent the most part of the last 2 years. So thinking back on this I suppose the wide eyes could potentially be… not so perpetual.
Anyhoo, we proceeded to discover that we were taking the same bus to Abisko, a one hour drive away from the airport, roughly a 20 hour drive from where we’d first met and staying exactly one house distance away from each other in the tiny town. It’s probably just a coincidence.
Just two other souls rode on the bus. A Spaniard woman name Belen and the 70 year old shaky handed Ändas, who had grown up in the Laplands and was ironically, a very steady driver. Thankfully, considering we were navigating roads sheathed in ice. On the hour long journey Nivi talked about the history of the area and its peoples. The natives that live in the area are called Sami and they date back to 6000 BC. Like other indigenous populations they suffered grievously from historical persecution and cultural genocide. The peaceful Sami were particularly devastated during World War II when they were forced to fight, even against each other. Currently the Sami hold stewardship over all Reindeer in Northern Sweden and many travel with the reindeer in the summer and corral them in the winter. Nivi spoke of a hallucinogen the Sami traditionally use that is collected from the Urine of Reindeer that had consumed fly agaric mushrooms (red toadstools with white spots…. I didn’t know they were real either). The Sami would tell stories of their Reindeer flying through space looking down on the world. Early Christian missionaries brought back these stories, that eventually made it into Christmas folklore. Other stories that came from the north were legends of Kyorak Shamans dressed in red cloaks lined with white fur and black boots that collected toadstools from under sacred evergreen trees. The mushrooms were put into burlap pouches and were given as gifts. This sounds like another story I’ve heard. Santa Claus does exist! And he’s a dealer!
The landscape was so beautiful around us. We were now riding adjacent to a 70 km lake. Snow was lightly embracing the stark tundra and Mountains began hoisting the landscape around us as we neared the more mountainous western border of Sweden. One thing that struck me was the light. I thought I would have a hard time with the near 18 hours of darkness in the far north. But what I hadn’t conceptualized was that with the tilt of the earth, the sun rises at a 133˚and sets at 223˚. Which essentially means that all 6.5 hours of daylight are spent submerging the landscape in an eternal sunset.
Nivi pointed to a cliff in the distance that held another Sami legend that when death was close they had the choice to either make the life eclipsing jump or succumb to the elements.
The time in the bus was both mysterious and slightly awkward. Mysterious as to the foreign landscape and not knowing what experiences lie ahead, and awkward because of where we had just come from. The workshop in Stockholm was wild. After 5 previous trips to Europe we had finally come to Sweden and with 500 people the energy was electric. Many intense sessions happened on stage including a couple who were experiencing 7th dimensional hell during a particularly rough Acid Trip, Alien abduction and fantasies of being murdered due to a past of trauma and abuse. Not exactly a topic you casually mention to a stranger on a bus. So we both carefully navigated a conversation with the 3rd party audience and our experiences of the prior day and internally explored why the universe had placed Nivi and I into this magical synchronicity.
There was a bit of confusion upon our arrival. No-one had actually heard of the Hostel I was supposed to be staying in. After a bit of discussion it turned out the new Hostel was Rogers place. This was confirmed after an email I found welcoming me as his celebrated 1st guest. It turned out that in the basement of some dudes house, down the driveway through the backyard, was a beautiful, sparkling brand new Hostel. Anna Nilsson opened the door and warmly welcomed me. Anna runs roughly the distance of a marathon everyday in the hills of Abisko. The previous weekend she had broken the Woman’s record for a course in Sweden for the Ultra Marathon by 5 hours. It was apparent I was in a town of outdoor enthusiasts. Roger introduced me to the glimmering hostel decorated with enormous pictures of the Auroras. I didn’t realize that most Auroras are green. Brilliant lambent bands of neon green reaching and snaking across the sky. He fumbled through describing the science behind the borealis enough for me to understand that describing exactly what is happening is not easy. But he knew it roughly and what numbers to look for that create the best conditions to see it. I couldn’t believe the synchronicity of my timing and what had to be in alignment for just a chance to view the Northern Lights. You need a combination of high Solar Winds (speed and density), a clear sky, no city lights and even the moon can ruin your chances with how subtle the lights can be.
So 2 days before I arrived giant coronal holes were forming on the Sun sending solar winds in every direction including earth. The density+speed of those winds formulate the Kp index. Anything above a 4 is good. By the time I arrived the Kp index was 7 and had jumped into the classification of G1-G2 class Geomagnetic storm. A solar wind speed above 250 km/s is also good and it was up to 500. The density needed to be around 2 protons/cm³ it was at 5. It also just happened to be a new moon that night. The chances were good, now we just needed to pray for clear skies. Of all of this I wasn’t expecting much because I knew things had to be perfect and the forecast had 100% cloud cover for 7 days straight. But I was in Abisko, Sweden for a very specific purpose. They call Abisko “The Blue Hole” The geography places the town just east of the mountains of Norway and just on the southwestern bank of the 70 kilometer long Torneträsk lake. Causing a microclimate, where clouds could be covering the land in a 360° direction and Abisko would still be exposed to the heavens.
I set down my things in the lonely Hostel, and went out get some food and supplies for the next couple days and waited for dinner with Nivi and her English boyfriend Oliver, who happened to be a professional photographer of the lights. Not long after I returned, a knock came and Roger was there. “What are you doing inside? The sky is green!” I walked outside and sure enough a faint river of green across the sky appeared. I received a text from Nivi “We are going out to photograph the lights, want t o come?
I replied “No, thats ok you guys have a good time…” Then I went back into the Hostel to rest for a while. Fuck No I didn’t do that! I subtly typed YES in caps lock to try and not seem too excited. We hopped in Oliver’s van that he uses for photo tours and took off down the road carefully because road was basically a solid sheet of ICE. Didn’t have to drive too far and soon enough we were tracing the edge of a lake to hopefully get some nice reflections in the images. Nivi and I were still in the awkwardness of how to talk and connect because Oliver really had zero interest in what we experienced at the workshop, at least not while I was there. Wasn’t too hard after a while because he was trucking ahead of us and engrossed in what shots he was setting up.
Fingers of the Borealis stretched across the horizon. At first they appeared to move as clouds do. Gently shifting in the atmosphere, but after watching for just a few moments, ripples start sending down the length of the band. Like taking a rope when you lift and drop it quickly to send a wave down the length. And then more rapid movements would emerge from the green mist. At times they moved as if silent veiled ghosts floating across the room. It was quite overcast as well so we were fighting with our position. Oliver would get a few good shots and the lights would die down or hide behind a bank of clouds. We’d shift our position and head to a different part of the lake. I was asking what Nivi thought of them and she said something really interesting. That she was a little afraid of them, like when she’s walking at night alone with them, that she’s scared they will take her away. And that the Black negative space between the fingers of light also frightened her, the contrast of the darkness. A little later the bathing waves of green were calmer, we were still glued to the sky affixed in wonder. She had told me earlier about an intelligence she felt it had. I was contemplating, this incredible natural phenomena. Both how I’d seen nothing like it but also felt a familiarity. Our brains, or even personalities when we are in a vulnerable place start to find similarities in things around us. I started to look for the similarities within my self, hand how it moved. it almost felt like it moved like emotions or thoughts. It was profound seeing consciousness itself play out in this beautiful dance in the sky. I thought to myself It actually is me then said out loud “It’s Me!!”, Nivi yelped “YES! in confirmation. the Aurora at that point started to flare into a burning phosphorus green filling the entire visual sky. Tendrils began to move even more quickly popping in and out. At this point my mind blew a gasket. The color sprinted into bright pink, purple and white, and snaked right at us like rivulets of a river delta in time lapse. it came towards us so fast, so light and silently, I really could see how she felt like they were coming to take us away. How ancients believed in dragons in the sky and belief in any God that ma have come from the heavens. We were (maybe more so myself) screaming in amazement. Oliver stopped taking shots and took live video.
I had no idea.
I felt I had literally interacted with Source itself, or rather I had interacted with an aspect of myself or seen how the energetic nature of us ebbs and flows, pulses and reacts. t was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It was so amazing that as if in reaction to our thoughts, the lights responded with that display. I don’t know it was probably just a coincidence. But I always hear this inner skeptic refuting beautiful miracles like this. I think it’s the part of that doesn’t want to be ostracized from anyone. And I fear being called crazy or woo-woo by an entire Agnostic/Atheist part of our society whom I also identify with. I have always honored a healthy level of skepticism as I call it, to stay grounded and connected to our wider society. But I also like to explain the idea of openness and keeping the truth that humans don’t know everything. I feel like we actually know very little. so to this possibility that we are all one and energetically connected to each other and everything in Real Time, just because we cannot currently measure it scientifically, why cannot people be open to the possibility of this? In an belief, I believe (haha) that it comes down to what is useful to us, the loved ones in our lives and humanity at large. If this experience of the natural world brings me to feeling a closer connection to the earth and humanity in general what is the harm in this belief. The only other thing I could think of in terms of negative impact, would be living in a fantasy. That existing out of reality could impede self growth. I have found myself comfortably resting in more than one fantasy recently, which definitely has impeded growth. so I suppose thats what I should look our for. Connecting wit natural wonders of the world, feigning closeness to avoid the loneliness within me. Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. I had thought about finishing this written window into my thoughts, with disavowing of current societal norms by saying if you want to find me, I’ll be drinking the Reindeer Piss under the Northern Lights, and as magical as this is and no doubtedly I’ll be there from time to time, I’ve seen how the fantasies have hurt those around me and myself. So I’ll finish with both the Magic that I have spoken w’ the Northern Lights and quite possibly projected a longing for a relationship onto a beautiful natural wonder. So once again i have committed to one stance or another and therefore remain in a safe space of indecision. I’ll probably have to look into that….