Art project “Seiðr”
In this project I was involved as a photographer and location scout. It was and still is a wonderful team work with lots of creative people taking part (see below) and – of course – lots of Northern Lights!
The project presents the magical journey to the Arctic Circle where together with Isabella Steinsdotter she performed the ritual inspired by the female Vikings. The photographs and videos were taken in the most stunning secret locations discovered by NorthernShots.
In Old Norse “seiðr” was a type of sorcery practiced in Norse society during the late Scandinavian Iron Age. The practice of seiðr is a form of magic relating to both the telling and shaping of the future. This tradition was actively practiced by Steinsdotter’s Viking ancestors. She was inspired to explore the rituals when she learnt of her lineage to a long dead, infamous Viking warrior witch (whose remains are currently preserved at the British Museum). For Karpowicz, this performance was not only a spiritual experience. It was also a great physical challenge, to overcome her life long struggle with the cold. She has been training for several months to build up her resistance to the most extreme weather conditions. This training of mind proved to her that we can control our bodies beyond our imagination, as long as we are truly connected within ourselves.
This performance of Seidr is an offering to the ancestors, a gift! It is the artists’ way to honour them and their roots, to reconnect with the forces that created us and to combine the truth of our existence with theirs, as we acknowledge that we are their surviving seed of will.
In the tribal societies which practiced Seidr combined with rune craft, the giving of gifts had a special significance lost on us today. The giving of gifts placed a deep responsibility on both the giver and the receiver and was an act heavy with symbolism. The GYFU rune is one of many runes emphasised in the Seidr performance, also known as GIFT. GYFU is a rune of self sacrifice, which teaches the seeker that the spiritual querent always has a price to pay for advancement on the path of self awareness and the occult.
The performance utilised the magic language of the runes to shape the artists’ bodies to receive understanding. To open their hearts as the portal for love, where the polarities of past and future, mental and physical, ice and fire, can be combined in respect and harmony.
As the artists grounded themselves in one of the five main elements: EARTH, humbled by the element of FIRE they wanted the ritual performance for them to be as prepared, intentional, pure and organic as it could be. Challenged and humbled by the Norwegian winter in its freezing glory they set out to send and receive energy through time, reaching out for protection and guidance on the path that lay ahead of us. Through the shape of the EOLH rune (also known as ‘the protection rune’ or the ‘warding-off of negative influences’) they continued their search for a deeper insight.
Director: Aleksandra Karpowicz
Models: @iamsteinsdotter @aleksandra_karpowicz
Photography: NorthernShots Tours, in collaboration with Sebastian Worm at Fotoromia
Video: NorthernShots Tours, in collaboration with Helder Neves
Visual effects: @jamie.reibl
Cold resistant training: @studio_orlat