This is one of those Wednesday Weirdness posts that resonates strongly with me. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the Northern Lights. When the movie Frequency debuted, I was in heaven. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It ranks among my favorite movies of all time. Not only is the story utterly amazing and the Northern Lights key, but the ending rocked my world! Added plus: Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid in the lead roles. *happy sigh*
The Northern Lights also feature prominently in The Terror by Dan Simmons, one of my all time favorite books. An amazing storyteller, Mr. Simmons skillfully uses them to evoke mood and setting so rich, I can easily conjure it years after finishing the book.
In case you’re wondering why the aurora borealis is being featured on a Wednesday Weirdness post, it’s because there are plenty of legends and folktales attached to this wondrous spectacle. There is even speculation the prophet Ezekiel was describing them when he referred to “a whirlwind out of the north.”
The Cree called the Aurora “the dance of the spirits” and the Inuits believed the crackling and roaring of the lights resulted from the ghosts of the dead playing football with a walrus skull.
In Norse mythology, the lights are said to be the reflection from the armor of the Valkyries, immortal warrior women who carry fallen warriors to Odin’s hall.
During medieval times the aurora was often seen as a warning of bloodshed brought on by war or plague. The Danes viewed them as reflections caused by light glinting off the wings of swans trapped in the ice on their way north. In almost all legends, the Aurora is seen as either an omen or a gathering of spirits.
Sadly, I’ve never seen the Northern Lights, but it’s a bucket list item. My husband saw the spectacle decades ago while in Maine. Although he found it interesting, he didn’t feel the same “ooh! ahh!” factor that would have definitely flowed over me.
I have a short story tucked away on my computer in which the lights figure prominently in the plot. It might be time to dust that off and polish it up for future publication.
Have you been lucky enough to witness the aurora borealis? Were you familiar with any of the folklore I shared today? I’ve always been attracted to celestial lights, and this one is at the top of my list. What are your thoughts?