Esoteric Quest Workshops

Breathing New Life into Old Gods
Christopher McIntosh, D.Phil.

Across numerous countries, from Iceland to Russia and from Norway to Greece, there is renewed interest in the worship of the ancient gods and goddesses and a celebration of the old sacred festivals and traditions of their regions. The vigorous revival of the pre-Christian religion in Iceland since the early 1970s is one example of this remarkable growth of Paganism / Neopaganism. In this vividly illustrated talk, Christopher McIntosh will explore the Pagan revival and its impact on many areas of life, including politics, art, music and literature.

The Saga of Bard, the God of Mount Snaefell:
The All-Mighty Ace of Pagan Iceland
Haraldur Erlendsson, MD

Bard, son of King Dumbar, was born in northern Norway. After a dream foretelling the birth of a new golden king, he decided to move to Iceland. He settled under Mount Snaefell (near the location of our Quest), and legend tells us that he entered the mountain from where he is said to continue to rule. Years later, Bard´s son Gestur undertook a journey from Bordeyri to the North (midsummer sun) to reclaim the kingship of his forefathers. Together we’ll explore the saga’s concern with the creation of a sacred mythological landscape, one which humanity can use to face its inner challenges and be assisted in its spiritual journey.

A Panorama of Norse Mythology
Gabriel Hilmar

This talk will give a foundational understanding of Norse mythology through its pantheon of fascinating and eccentric gods and goddesses. Odin the Allfather united two powerful orders of gods: the Aesir and the Vanir. We will see how this significant event shaped this mythic world, and how nature magic and divine authority converged to form the nine realms of the universe. Through vivid sagas and captivating poetry, the medieval Icelanders captured the ancient wisdom of the cold, dangerous Arctic Circle, interweaving human society with the grand cathedral of nature.

Shamans, Seers and Sorcerers:
The Quest for Hidden Knowledge in Northern Esotericism
Leonard George, Ph.D.

Is the ordinary waking state the pinnacle of clarity for gaining knowledge?  In many societies we find the notion that altered states of consciousness can enhance access to certain kinds of knowledge. The culture of old Scandinavia and Iceland was one of these. The Saami people practiced shamanism, and influenced the Norse – or was it the other way around? According to some scholars, the seers mentioned in the Eddas and Sagas connect to a lineage of sibyls rooted in the Greco-Roman world. And the sorcerous lore of Iceland is clearly tied to a thread of magic extending back through medieval Europe to ancient Egypt.

Hidden Order in the Runes
Halvard Harklau, M.Sc.

Were the runes of medieval Scandinavia strange signs imbued with magical power, or simply a set of phonetic idioms for common writing? Popular opinion today, as well as scholarly opinion in a more romantic era, certainly associates them with mystery and magic. This workshop suggests that the runic forms and their sequence indicate a complex mathematical structure that may throw new light on their origin. Esoteric currents, Eastern or Western, may have conveyed the cosmological system that inspired their creation.

 Rudolf Steiner & the Prophetic Significance of the Norse Gods and Myths
Christopher Bamford

Throughout his life, Rudolf Steiner felt close to Norse mythology and valued it highly. And, as is always the case, he had his own radical, esoteric, and unique understanding of it. Above all, he saw it as having continuing, evolutionary importance. This talk will trace his ideas and seek to place them in a wider context.

Folklore-Related Supernatural Beliefs and Experiences
Erlendur Haraldsson, Ph.D.

Icelandic folklore has been characterized through the centuries by experiences of elves, enchanted spots, ‘followers’ and apparitions of the dead. And the present time? What do modern surveys, conducted in this and the last century reveal? Do we find documented cases? Yes, we do. They will be the topic of this presentation.

The Icelandic Pagan Poetic Tradition
Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson

The pagan poetic tradition survived in Iceland while it was mostly wiped out in the rest of Northern Europe. This workshop takes us on a journey, punctuated by music, strange poetical meters, metaphors, circumlocutions and the fact that the old ethical precepts of the Poetical Edda are just as relevant today as they were over thousand years ago.