On these astonishing photos of the Northern Lights, we can see the Lights taking the shape of a Phoenix (the majestic bird from Ancient Greek folklore). The photograph was taken by photographer Hallgrimur P. Helgason in Kaldarsel, on which the giant wings and bird-like profile were clearly visible and blew the visitors away.
According to Helgason, 64-years-old, he saw the Phoenix shape an hour after he arrived and immediately started taking photos. “It’s really a thrill shooting the aurora, especially when they are so playful like they were that night. I have to admit that I always get an adrenalin kick when the lights burst out like that – that particular shot was the top one of the night.”
He advises other (amateur) photographers to take pictures away from city lights and to not use a flash. To shoot the Lights, he used a camera and tripod himself.
The night the Phoenix made an appearance, he claimed to have mainly seen green and yellow colors as well as some red and blue. This suggests that the aurora borealis was very intense.
In Norse mythology, the Northern Lights have a prominent role. According to one legend, the shields and armor of the Valkyrie reflected and caused the Lights. The Valkyrie were female warriors who chose who would die in battle and who got to fight another day. Norse mythology contained a lot of battle and the aurora borealis was also believed to be “Bifrost Bridge”; a glowing and throbbing arch that led those who had fallen in battle to Valhalla, the warriors final resting place.
Another perspective is that of the Sami indigenous people, who believe that the Lights were their ancestors who were visiting them. However, the Salteaus Indians of eastern Canada and the Kwakiutl and Tlingit of Southeastern Alaska think that the Northern Lights are human spirits dancing. Additionally, Inuits who lived on the lower Yukon River believed that the Lights signified the dance of animal spirits, specifically deer, seals, wolves, salmon and beluga. And in Finland, they thought that a mystical fox created the aurora borealis when its fluffy tail sprayed snow and threw sparks in the sky.