SIX QUESTIONS XIX
(Unnur Arndísardóttir & Reynir Katrínarson)
Interview conducted via email by Joseph S. Hopkins, November 2018
Although the Germanic record overflows with mentions of female-gendered deities and deity-like figures, most scholars in ancient Germanic studies historically focus on the record’s best attested male figures, primarily Thor or Odin. To date, this development extends to both the arts and popular culture more generally, where, for example, musicians rarely mention goddesses while drawing inspiration from ancient Germanic culture. The first (and to date only) album by Seiðlæti, Icelandic artists Unnur Arndísardóttir and Reynir Katrínarson, makes for a notable departure from this cultural tendency: Þagnarþulur (2017) features 17 songs, each dedicated to a different goddess from the Old Norse corpus.
1. Where did your grow up?
Reynir: We are both from Iceland. I was born in Núpur in Dýrafjörður. I grew up there, and both in Leirársveit in Borgarfjörður and Kerlingafjöll.
Unnur: I was born in Reykjavík and grew up in Mosfellsbær.
2. Can you remember when you first encountered Norse mythology or, more generally, Germanic mythology? And what was the context?
Reynir: I cannot remember when I first discovered Norse Mythology. I feel like it has always been a part of my life in different cooperation and relationships with kids and adults.
Unnur: I got involved in Norse Mythology after meeting Reynir in 2003. I had always been searching for my path, read everything I got a hold of about Goddesses, and mythology around Goddess. It was a big opening in my life when I discovered Goddess in my own roots.
3. How would you describe your religious beliefs (or lack thereof)?
Reynir: My faith is cooperation and respect for different worlds and their beings.
Unnur: I agree. Following Mother Earth’s rhythms and flow, and finding Goddess there, has been my way of communicating with the Great Spirit. Connecting with different dimensions, energies and paths - and finding your own true path is what we both journey through every day.
4. How would you describe your political beliefs (or lack thereof)?
Reynir: The same goes for our religious beliefs as our political views - cooperation and respect for different worlds and their beings.
5. Do you have a formal academic background in Germanic studies? If not, where do you do your research on the topic?
Reynir: We both get our answers and information from spiritual connections and journeys, like shamans do. Also from memories and reading different books on mythology.
Unnur: I find that the search within is important when connecting with Goddess especially, since there is not so much written about Goddess. The path to finding Goddess is the path within.
6. How does Norse mythology and/or general Germanic mythology influence your creative output?
Reynir: My artistic creativity is largely related to my spiritual journeys and the experience and information I get to see there, and go through. Which is again related to collaboration with different energies in different areas of the universe.
Unnur: Our music is really influenced by Norse Mythology - our hope was to give the Nordic Goddess, the Divine Nordic Feminine, a voice again. How would She sing after centuries in silence, was always the question I would ask myself when writing this music. I love the fact that Norse Mythology, and Pagan Mythology for that matter, is rising in the world as we speak. Nordic influence is important in the rising of the feminine, which makes it such an inspiring time to live in.
Joseph S. Hopkins would like to thank Unnur Arndísardóttir and Reynir Katrínarson for their participation.