From Iceland — Well, You Asked: A Worthy Sacrifice

Well, You Asked: A Worthy Sacrifice

Published May 10, 2022

Well, You Asked: A Worthy Sacrifice
Alice Poggio
Photo by
Joana Fontinha

You keep asking us for advice, and we’ll keep answering. You can’t stop us. What are you gonna do, start your own magazine?

Can you guarantee that the weather will be good when we’re in Iceland?

Of course, it couldn’t be simpler, here there are plenty of people that could provide you with such a service. The question is: how much does it mean to you? You could have a small ritual, carve some rune sticks and call it a day, and that would probably send more of a “please, could we have nice weather?” sort of whiny message, and the gods will see what they can do. The other option could be to sacrifice your oldest child to Þór, the god of thunder. In that case sunshine will be guaranteed.

Where can I see penguins?

Ya can’t. Not here at least. You probably could have seen a distant relative of theirs in the mid-19th century. The great auk, or Pinguinus impennis, a flightless bird, that bred on rocky ground, and hunted fish. As you may have gathered, killing and sacrificing was all the rage back then, so yes, they’re all dead.

The sailors who discovered the penguins we all know and love today named them so because of their resemblance to the great auk. The auks were initially hunted for their meat, but as their numbers dwindled, their value grew, and soon enough museums and private collectors were willing to pay considerable amounts of money for a specimen. The last couple is said to have been killed in 1844 on Eldey. On the edge of the Reykjanes peninsula, at Valahnúkamöl, you can find a five foot tall sculpture of the great auk as a memorial to the species that was driven to extinction.

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