Bridges Between Worlds: Spirits and Spirit Work in Northern Iceland

ISBN : 9780190625030

Corinne G. Dempsey
256 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2016
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This book explores Icelandic spirit work, known as andleg mal, which features trance and healing practices that span earth and spirit realms, historical eras, and scientific and supernatural worldviews. Based on years of fieldwork conducted in the northern Icelandic town of Akureyri, this book excavates andleg mal's roots in layers of Icelandic history, and examines how the practice mixes modern science with the supernatural and even occasionally crosses the Atlantic Ocean. Weaving personal stories and anecdotes with accessibly written accounts of Icelandic religious and cultural traditions, Corinne Dempsey humanizes spirit practices that are usually demonized or romanticized. While andleg mal may appear remote and exotic, those who practice it are not. Having endured extremely harsh conditions until recent decades, Icelanders today are among the most highly educated people on the planet, well-connected to global technologies and economies. Andleg mal practitioners are no exception, as many of them are members of mainstream society who work day jobs and keep their spirit involvement under wraps. For those who claim the "gift" of openness to the spirit world, andleg mal even offers a means of daily spiritual support, helping to diminish fear and self-doubt and providing benefits to those on both sides of the divide.


Icelandic Language Notes
Keeping Track: A Glossary of Characters.
Introduction: Bridging Worlds with Andleg Mal
Chapter 1: Roots and Layers of Andleg Mal
Chapter 2: Science and Skepticism, Belief and Blasphemy
Chapter 3: Skyggnigafa: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Chapter 4: Trance Work
Chapter 5: Healers and Healing
Chapter 6: Leaps of Geography and Faith
Glossary of Icelandic Terms
Work Cited

About the author: 

Corinne G. Dempsey is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Rose Marie Beston Chair for International Studies at Nazareth College.

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