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A Blast into the Norwegian Past

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 7:04 am

As you all know I live on the island of Vestvågøy, that sits out in the North Sea. We are a series of islands, with a series of smaller islands all around us. One island I am going to take you to, is on private property. No one is allowed down there unless you live on the islands or are a friend of the family that owns this one island. Holsøya. Thats where we are going. This is a dialect of the Nordland language that has been forgotten for hundreds of years. No one really remembers what the word Hols means now. Øya means island, that much is clear. So maybe by the end of this blog we can figure out what it means.

So lets start our journey into the past, the Norwegian past. Way before the Viking era. Way before the Iron Age era. We are going to the Bronze Age. An age that linked the Stone Age to the Iron Age. We are going back in time over 2,500 years, to a time when mankind was on the brink of becoming the modern people we are today. But its also a time I truly believe when the last of the truly spiritual people existed all over the world. The people who connected with their enviroment. Listened, smelled and tasted the wind and sea. Felt the ground beneath them and appriciated what was there for their taking. And gave back with most exuberant feasts and festivals. Who prayed and talked with nature, and nature talked back. The people who walked with the earth.

So close your eyes for just a second, but not to long or you will miss this time travel trip back to the Norwegian past of the vibrant people of the time.

Here we are, on the sands that link the islands together when the tide is low for the summer months. This is the only time of year when you can go there without the aid of a boat. This is not going to be an easy trip, the terrain is rugged, over grown, and rocks everywhere. Watch your step! If you do step on a rock and it moves under your feet, stop, step back and retrace your steps until you reach solid earth again. You'll see why in a minute. So come on lets go meet these people.

Thats one of our goals ahead.


This is the islands altar. Upon closer inspection you can still see the moss covered steps that leads up to the center. There is 5 steps, that goes in a circle all the around the stone structure. Over the years and centuries it has since collapse, and is believed to hold a very important person underneath its stones.

Again be careful, you never know where you are stepping here, this whole island is one big underground moseleum. Some are very obvious and stand right out, others are moss covered and look like clumps of earth and stone.

Remember ths is not a blog about death, but the life and progression of a culture of people who lead up to the people we are today. Who built the Norwegian people into a strong willed, strong minded, vibrant and full of life people who in their own way still carry on the ways of the past. These people who are buried here are still alive. They still speak to us thru their stone alters, their bronze age technology, the experience that has been handed down since who knows when. They still breath thru all of us, in any culture, as long as we look thru their eyes at the way nature is guarding us. Teaching us to work with her, and remember the ways of the past. To carry on the traditions that are passed down to us, and this makes all them very much alive. There is still one last place I want to show you, that will amaze you at just how advanced these people were. Look here!

This is one of the rock covers that you can actually see into.

See here, an underground burial place. There are over 80 of these on this island. Many are so hiden you walk right over and have no clue. Some you stand on the brink of falling into when you step on the wobbly stones. Others are open like this one.

That is the resting place of a person I think I would of loved to have sat with, and listened, learned and shared a meal with. And in a way I do everyday. Because I will not let the past die, unlearned, unloved and disregarded as just people here and now gone. Nope. They are my teachers, so I can pass down to my children the basics that make mankind so special. Reconnecting to the past. We can all do that. Yesterday here in Norway we did just that, at summer solstice we do it again. At Jule we celebrate again the past. And when we dig our fingers into the earth, and plant that first plant of the season, we have done it again. We have connected to our ancestors of ever nation, no matter what culture, we keep them alive as long as we live, and believe in our own magic, and relive the tales.

They breath.

So have we figured out what Hols means. I'm not sure I have. But if I have to give it a meaning I would say Life. Life full of wonderment on our little magical, robust, fairytale island out in the North Sea.

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Droopy wrote on Sun May 18, 2008 7:21 am:

Some place you've taken us to, Biita. Wow! I can't imagine how those people managed to build such lovely holy places when I consider their every-day struggle for survival. Their spiritual world must have been a very important and integrated part of their lives. I'd have loved to hear one of them explain it all to us.


Joann wrote on Sun May 18, 2008 7:57 am:

Another wonderful post to your blog Biita. You simply have this amazing way of writing and describing things. I got a good chill up my spine reading and looking at the pictures. Absolutely beautiful!


Biita wrote on Sun May 18, 2008 8:44 am:

Thank you all for reading!

Me too Droopy, me too! Pictures are one thing but standing there and looking around is another. When I think behind those walls the people are still there, I thank the Norwegian Gov. for letting be, just be. Plus the farmer just wants it left alone, and preserved.

I've been here a few times, but this was Josh's first time experiencing the island, and he was left speachless. In awe how beautiful yet rugged it all was, and how preserved even with the sea battering the island all yr long.

Chills are good,,lol. Lets you know you still can feel, and recognise the life force that is passed down to all of us.


eileen wrote on Sun May 18, 2008 10:09 am:

My eldest son would be in his element if he visited the island Biita. He is 'into' archeology and would have found everything fascinating. I'm going to let him read your blog and have a look at your photographs. He's off to the Isle of Skye at the end of the month to help excavate a Bronze age settlement there so may want to take copies of your photographs with him to show the rest of the crew if that's OK with you.


Biita wrote on Sun May 18, 2008 10:26 am:

Ohh thats fine with me Eileen,, infact I have a more pics also, if he would like to see them I can give to him,, if he is ever intrested, we know the farmer, so he would have no problem going to the site. Theres also Viking remenents and more bronze age burial sites surrounding it. Well just 2, but there is so much more there. I love archeology myself, but more I love to study the beliefs and writings left behind.


kaseylib wrote on Sun May 18, 2008 12:40 pm:

Thanks once again for the journey, this time into the past. Nothing here in the US is that of the stones in the cemetery where my grandparents are buried dates back to 1842. I love to walk through the cemetary when I'm visiting their graves and read the inscriptions around me. It's important to remember our pasts and appreciate how things came to be the way they are today.


toni wrote on Sun May 18, 2008 1:08 pm:

I love reading your blog entries Biita, everything you write about comes alive in my mind. That is truly a spiritual place.

The feat of getting those stones standing up and that they have withstood the ravages of the weather for centuries is amazing.

When I was in middle school I wanted to be an archeologist. You are right, the beliefs and writings left behind are so interesting. I love history but not the way it is taught in school.

Am I the only who sees a face in that last picture?


Biita wrote on Mon May 19, 2008 7:48 am:

I was wondering if anyone seen that also Toni. I love history, but could never sit still long enough in school for it. Unless i can see and touch it, i wasn't intrested. But let me find anything and i will research the heck out of it now,lol.

America is full of history. Remember the NA have been there for hundreds and hundreds of centuries, but even still all the first peoples to settle there or voyage there is still an intresting time also. Remember the Vikings made the trip long before Columbus and they did roam around that country too.


Sjoerd wrote on Mon May 19, 2008 11:13 am:

Extremely interesting blog entry, Biita. I looked and read with great concentration. I am a buit of a nutter with this sort of stuff. I really like it.

Perhaps "Hols" simply means what it sound like--hole(s).
I say this because one of the names of our country is Holland, which means "hole"land... or a country in a hole. of the Low Countries, as it were. I believe the reason for this is becaue we have built dikes to reclaim land, thus making the reclaimed land with a dike surrounding it seem like it's in a "hole".
Who knows. These sorts of mysteries are fun to spoeculate on.
Thanks once again for a very interesting post.


toni wrote on Mon May 19, 2008 1:18 pm:

Personally I wish they would drop all mention of Columbus from history books and concentrate on studying the early Vikings. He is certainly not the noble explorer the history books make him out to be.

There are many reports of Rune Stones being found in many areas of the US, even one as far south as Oklahoma.


Biita wrote on Mon May 19, 2008 5:21 pm:

I've heard that Toni, about the runes. I remember reading one time, and for the life of me I can't find it again, about one rune in the southwestern states, was written on a natural archway. It was the rune R, or or the travel rune. The thing is it was so far south and west it was unheard of to be in that spot.

As far as Columbus,, i totally agree, he should be wiped out of american history period. He never did any good for the continent and brought nothing but bad to the peoples already there.

Intresting theory Sjoerd, it would make sense, but i asked KB and his uncle, and both said no, but they still don't know what it I love these kinds of mysteries!


tschnath wrote on Tue May 20, 2008 2:17 am:

Thanks for that piece of history Biita. It was very interesting. I'm certainly more interested in history now that I'm older (not old) than I ever was when I was in school. Great pics too!

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