Alma is an Icelander with an inherited ability to negotiate with elves and talk and interact with elementals, trolls, and other invisible beings from Scandinavian folklore.
I’m sure you’ve noticed we talk a lot about ghosts on this show. But that’s not to say we’re not fascinated by tales of other types of creatures, such as elves, and trolls, and fairies.
Today, we speak with Alma, a resident of Iceland who regularly works with the energy of the land and with the entities mentioned above. And, she says you, too, can reach out to these creatures if you are willing to open your mind and your senses.
Let’s talk to an expert in Icelandic folklore and energy, on the H Files, today, on Homespun Haints.
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Episode Show Notes
About the Guest, Alma Hrönn Hrannardóttir
Why does Iceland need 13 Santa Clauses?
When you grow up with as pervasive a cultural icon as Santa Claus, it’s easy to forget that Santa is hella different in different cultures. Alma broke our brains when she explained that Iceland has 13 Santa Clauses who stop by the house around the winter solstice.
Unlike Santa in the US, these dudes aren’t so generous. In fact, they’re more likely to steal stuff from your house than they are to leave something behind. But none of this is surprising, considering their role models growing up. Specifically, their mother, Gryla. Gryla was a troll. She also purportedly ATE CHILDREN. It’s no shock that Icelandic kids hope that elves visit instead of the Santas.
However, Alma insists that stories about trolls eating people were confabulated to keep the naughty kids in-line. She has actually personally seen trolls. In her experience, trolls are quite kind…although their 3-meter height and exclusively nocturnal activity might explain the discomfort they invoke in us puny humans.
What other types of non-human people inhabit Iceland?
Elves in Iceland
Elves inhabit the human-less pastures in central Iceland. They gather at elf churches, which occupy the same space as large rocks with holes in them. Looking at an elf church, you might think that the elves are tiny, and squeeze into the holes in the rock. But actually, the elves really do occupy the same space as the rock does in our dimension. Elves exist mainly as energy in our dimension.
The elves are so close in appearance and size to humans, that sometimes you have to look for tiny odd characteristics (pointy ears, or a single nostril rather than two) to tell that they aren’t human. If you can even see elves at all.
Where do elves live?
All Scandinavian regions have old stories that talk of elves. Iceland’s relative isolation keeps those stories in the forefront, rather than lessened by the influence of other cultures. While Alma is in the minority of Icelandic adults who can interact and talk with elves, the majority of Icelanders are ok with the idea of elves influencing modern life. When a road or development is in the planning stages, developers take special care to avoid disturbing elf habitats. Disrupting or disrespecting the elves and their environments can lead to very dire consequences. This is especially true for superfluous development, but building something necessary might be forgivable. In fact, negotiating with elves is part of Alma’s family legacy, which she describes in this episode.
What powers do elves have?
Elves can cause major mystical misfortune for those who piss them off. Conversely, the elves can bestow amazing good fortune upon people who have proven themselves worthy. Alma shares an Icelandic folktale about how elves rewarded a virtuous maid, but then immediately saw through her mistress’ selfish attempts to gain the same reward. The maid received a gift of fine clothes. The mistress died a miserable death. It would seem there’s no gray area when interacting with elves, and it’s sometimes nearly impossible to tell whether you’re interacting with an elf or a human. The moral is simply to be an altruistic, kind, and humble person all the time, just in case.
What are The Hidden People?
Hidden People are not elves and never were, but they may share a dimension with elves. The Hidden Folk were actually once human. At some point, they either decided or were forced to pass through a portal to another dimension, where humans cannot see them…usually. According to Iceland Travel, “If you sit at a crossroads on Midsummer’s Night the Hidden People will approach you and offer you gold and jewels. If you resist the temptation to accept, your wishes will come true, however if you don’t you will be driven mad.”
What are Elementals?
An elemental is a supernatural being who represents or has a strong affinity to a particular element. These can relate to the classical Western elements of earth, air, fire, and water. They can also relate to other more specific definitions of elements, like lightning or trees. Alma says elementals are everywhere. We would guess that they’d generally take the forms of elements that are prevalent in the lands they inhabit.
Are elementals human?
If you think about it, humans are kind of the opposite of elementals. We contain all the elements. Almost all traditional healing methods relate the various aspects of the human body (or human nature) to various natural elements. For example, Western medicine was partly founded on humoral theory. This early and now denigrated theory posited that every human is made up of 4 humors. “Humors” is a nice way to say “disturbing liquids that tend to seep out if you poke a hole in someone.” One of the reasons why the fictional Dr. Frankenstein’s work went so terribly awry (apart from him just being a dick) was because his early access to medical texts was about 300 years out of date, and he took these antiquated teachings of Paracelsus and Hippocrates to heart.
Early Western medicine’s humors are just one example of the elements within humans. Ayurvedic medicine from India defines 3 “doshas” which are each defined by a different combination of the elements. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine have the main goal of diagnosing and balancing various elements within, affecting the whole person. There are seemingly infinite diets, meditations, exercises, supplements, and interventions humans have practiced throughout time with the goal of bringing the elements within us into balance. Many are still in practice today, or are seeing a revival.
What do humors have to do with elementals?
A human’s dominant humor is supposed to define their personality type and physical predilections. Yet phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, and melancholic people still have plenty of the other humors in them. A major goal of early Western health practices was to attempt to balance the 4 humors through various methods.
Despite each of us having a dominant humor, we contain all humoral elements. A human is the opposite of an elemental in that the theoretical perfect person would contain a perfectly equal balance of all the elements, whereas the theoretically perfect elemental would contain only one pure element. It’s challenging to exist in a stable physical form without a combination of multiple elements, so elementals tend to be ephemeral and limited in their habitat.
How to talk with elves, interact with trolls, and see the Hidden Folk
Alma advises that we all have the ability to sense the energy of these beings. We can all learn to trust our senses to the point where we can confidently witness them. If you want to learn how to talk with or sense multi-dimensional beings such as elves, check out Alma’s program at Starcodes Academy. Most importantly, always approach these beings with respect and good intentions.
Icelandic Ghost Stories
As Becky says: dark, cold, long winter nights lend themselves to the telling of ghost stories. And the winter nights in Iceland are especially dark and long. The sunlight on some winter days only lasts about 4 hours before night returns.
The most well-known Icelandic ghost story is about the deacon of Myrká. This famous ghost attempted to drag his girlfriend to the grave with him on Christmas Eve, but was thwarted by a wardrobe malfunction.
The H Files are back!
Hope you’re enjoying The H Files: a limited-run miniseries where we delve into fascinating folklore and paranormal mysteries. This series began April 11, 2022, and will run every other Monday through June. If you would like to talk about anything you hear on the episode, or if you’ve had an experience with the elves, please reach out to us in our Facebook Group or through Instagram. And, as always, if you have something you’d like to contribute to the show, submit your story to be the next guest on Homespun Haints!
Until next time, have a spooky day!