The wonder and myths of the Northern Lights

1.12.2016

The Northern lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis or Polar lights is one of the most magical phenomena you can witness in Iceland. The Aurora is the result of solar winds entering the earth's atmosphere causing a collision that lights up the sky. 

However, before science came up with an explanation for the causes of these natural wonders, different cultures had their own unique beliefs about the mysterious lights. 

In China as well as parts of Russia the lights were associated with great fire-breathing dragons. In other parts of Europe, they were seen as omens of war, just weeks before the French revolution broke out dramatic red Northern lights were observed in Scotland and England.

In Norse mythology, the Aurora was believed to be cast by the Valkyries that came to Earth for the souls of men who had died in battle.  Mounted upon their horses, these female spirits galloped across the night sky, their helmets, spears, and armours lighting up the heavens as they provided a safe passage for the fallen to Valhalla. 

(The Ride of the Valkyrs, 1909 by John Charles Dollman ) 

Observing these natural wonders, it's easy to see how they struck ave in people and lit up their imagination as well as the sky. 

Wintertime is the Northern lights season in Iceland and if the conditions are right you may find yourself surrounded by the glowing, colourful shapes.