From Iceland — Ancient Curse Directed At Controversial New Age Group; Not At Horse Farm

Ancient Curse Directed At Controversial New Age Group; Not At Horse Farm

Published May 2, 2022

Photo by
Art Bicnick

A bizarre story has unfolded in South Iceland over the weekend, involving an ancient medieval curse, a new age community, and a family caught in the middle.

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DV first reported on the matter, saying that a níðstöng had been erected near Skrauthólar in South Iceland, close to the home of Guðni Halldórsson, the director of the Icelandic Equestrian Association. For the unfamiliar, a níðstöng is a pole, usually adorned with the head of a calf or sheep, which is planted in the ground facing in the direction of the person you wish to curse. The níðstöng expresses the desire that the object of the curse is either run off their property or suffers some other grave misfortune, and has even been used against Parliament. The níðstöng in this instance used a horse’s head.

While witchcraft is no longer outlawed in Iceland, setting up a níðstöng is treated seriously by the police, as it can be interpreted as a threat of violence.

Matter reported to police

Guðni and his family were therefore understandably frightened to see this raised near their property. Vísir reported that police were investigating the matter, and Guðni’s wife had opted to leave the property in the interim.

In terms of possible suspects, Guðni said he suspected it came from the residents of Sólsetrið, a new age group located nearby. Guðni and others have openly criticised this group for a number of reasons, including allegedly running a restaurant without a permit, having people living there without permission, and being generally disruptive of other people living in the neighbourhood.

Actually directed at Sólsetrið

Not long thereafter, however, Guðni posted on Facebook that he received an anonymous tip that convinced him that the níðstöng was not directed at him, but rather at Sólsetrið. Guðni expressed no sympathy for Sólsetrið, saying:

“It’s miserable to live in the countryside and have to live with a group of people who have illegal housing in the backyard. They conduct all kinds of business there without any kind of permit, in violation of the law and rules of society, and without the authorities responding despite repeated tips and complaints.”

Controversy around Sólsetrið

The problems many have had with Sólsetrið go beyond simply operating businesses without a permit, however.

DV reported in 2019 that Sólsetrið had been recruiting for volunteers to work on the property through the website Workaway. This site had been a source of controversy in Iceland for years, not least of all for convincing foreigners to do farmwork for free or in exchange for room and board that, by Icelandic law, they are entitled to be paid for. Rudolfin Ukacko, from Slovakia, told DV that he was made to work long hours, doing tasks that were not in the original description, living in unsuitable conditions and receiving far less money than the law entitled him to.

Furthermore, Sólsetrið held a Facebook event on April 23rd wherein participants were encouraged to bring their children. Screenshots taken of the original post showed that their mention of “sacred medicine” being involved was followed by a mushroom emoji, possibly referring to the use of psilocybin. This emoji was subsequently removed in the event’s post. The event itself is described as “a unique event, where parents are able to bring their children along with them, as we will be acting as one commune-ity, sharing in the language of Love in every way possible, not just romantic love.”

The co-host of the event, Teja Doro on Facebook, also penned a now-deleted blog post which can be read via Wayback wherein they write about Michael Jackson and forms of love “deemed ‘acceptable’ by society”. This post includes the following passage:

“When we don’t know what love is, we don’t know what life is. And if we don’t know what life is, how can we say what the right way to live is? How can we claim that one must isolate, or one must love only one person, or one can only love someone of the opposite sex, or someone above the age of 18?

“Michael Jackson had affairs with ten and seven year old boys. We call that outrageous in our society. But is it? If the boys had fun, if they enjoyed themselves, if they were in love with Michael and Michael was in love with them…”

Sólsetrið spokesperson responds

Linda Mjöll Stefánsdóttir, another co-host for the event and the spokesperson for Sólsetrið, has responded to neighbour complaints, saying that they are groundless and based on misunderstandings.

She contends that she and her husband are the only people who actually live on the property, but that the Reykjavík Planning Department gave them full permission to run a camping area on the property. She also denied every allegation levied by Rudolfin, saying that their relationship ended poorly, and that he resorted to making up fabrications about his time there.

While police investigations are still ongoing, they have not indicated what next actions, if any, will be taken regarding Sólsetrið.

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