Nordic Spirit Symposium

Please visit Nordic Spirit Classics Second Friday Series for information on our monthly series.

This page contains information about a past Nordic Spirit Symposium and serves as an example of what you might see at future Symposium.

From Northern Lights and Winter Nights:
A Symposium of Nordic Stories and Culture

January 28 & 29, 2022

With the uncertainty caused by COVID during the planning stages for the February 2021 Nordic Spirit Symposium, a program of Nordic Spirit Classics representing some of the outstanding speakers of the first five years of the series was presented. Archival videos of presentations from symposia on Vikings, Scandinavia During World War II, and Scandinavian Immigrants to America were shown virtually.

The 23rd annual Nordic Spirit symposium will be a virtual program of live presentations from Scandinavia and the United States on diverse topics including the history of trolls; stories of Finnish immigrant women; the Poetic Edda – stories of Norse gods and heroes; control of Norway’s maritime traffic during and before the Viking Age and King Harald Fairhair; and animal allies and enemies of Sámi. The first episode of a troll retrospective will be given ahead of the symposium on January 14, 2022, as part of SACHF’s monthly Second Friday series.


FRIDAY, JAN. 14, 2022 – 7:30 p.m. PT

Trolls: A Retrospective Episode 1
Troll Genesis: From the Hammer to the Cross

Britte Rasmussen Marsh, Writer, Researcher and Educator, Portland, Oregon

In this episode the speaker will take us back in time to the origin of the universe, human, and troll, according to Norse mythology. How did trolls come to populate the forests of Nordic lands? What were the first recorded interactions between trolls and humans? As medieval times graduated into renaissance, how were these encounters interpreted by the folks who lived them?


FRIDAY, JAN. 28, 2022 – 7:30 p.m. PT

Trolls: A Retrospective Episode 2
Lore and Literacy: Transcribing the Trolls

Britte Rasmussen Marsh, Writer, Researcher and Educator,
Portland, Oregon

Trolls are amongst us. They always have been. They are ugly, beautiful, in the woods, in the home – and sometimes – in us. In this episode, we’ll weave through the 16th through 19th century texts of Nordic people in order to discover how our collective reimagining and reinterpreting of “the troll” has preserved its significance across time. Expect debate, drama and determination by the trolls themselves.

SATURDAY, JAN. 29, 2022 – 9:30 a.m. PT

Viking Age Roads to Power: King Harald Fairhair and the
Control of Maritime Traffic in Western Norway

Christopher Fredrik Kvæstad, M.A., Archaeologist, Rogaland
Fylkeskommune, Norway

Håkon Reiersen, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof., Archaeological Museum,
University of Stavanger, Norway

For centuries, trade and traffic that passed through a narrow strait along the southwestern Norway coast, the “North Way,” was controlled by powerful princes and kings. The speakers
will discuss the pre-Viking and Viking era of Avaldsnes and Haraldseid in western Norway, and one particularly powerful king, King Harald Fairhair.

Forming the Poetic Edda: Poems About the Norse Gods and Heroes

Jackson Crawford, Ph.D., Nordic Program, Center of the American West, University of Colorado-Boulder

The Poetic Edda is a compilation of about thirty poems about the Norse gods and heroes, written down in the 1200s in Iceland by an unknown hand. Some may date to the Viking Age two hundred years earlier, preserved in oral transmission in the intervening centuries. This talk will explore not only the most inspiring and exciting poems preserved in the Poetic Edda, but also look at how this compilation came to exist in the first place.

SATURDAY, JAN. 29, 2022 – 1:00 p.m. PT

The Way She Told Her Story: Stories of Finnish Immigrant Women

Diane Jarvi, Storyteller and Performer of World and Folk Music, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Through songs and stories from the voices and experiences of Finnish and Finnish-American women, Diane Jarvi shares their resistance, independence, sorrow, strength and legacy.

Dogs, Wolves, and Bears: Sámi Non-Human Allies and Enemies

Thomas DuBois, Ph.D., Halls-Bascom Professor of Scandinavian Studies and Folklore, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Prof. DuBois’ talk will focus on folklore and understandings of dogs, wolves and bears in Sámi tradition. You’ll learn how to make a bear drunk, what the Sámi promised the dog when he came to work for humans, and what magic wolves work on their human opponents.

This event is partially supported by The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, a California nonprofit corporation with an intent to provide support to nonprofit organizations that benefit Swedish education, culture and arts.

This event is partially supported by the Norway House Foundation, a California nonprofit corporation dedicated to honoring the Norwegian seafarers who risked their lives for the Allied cause in World War II. The Norway House Foundation carries out its mission by promoting, encouraging, and supporting educational, professional and cultural exchange between Norway and Northern California.

The organizers reserve the right to make any changes that may be necessary.