The white ghosts of my ancestors

This is the way out of here



So yeah. We´re snowed in.

I put the kid to work. His job is to weigh the sledge down




and to shovel snow with his boots “kick it, kick it” I yell as I stand on the back of the sledge and use my right leg to push it forward, his little feet go up and down like engines and when he can´t be bothered anymore he just throws himself forwards, into the softness of the snow and he laughs.





This is how we make a track.
Next week we´ll meet the neighbour at the crossing and we can go vegetables and gasoline shopping.

Lots of forest people snowed in and there they sit, in their little cabins, with their headlamps or candlelights, nobody really cares about it. It´s not like we die. And besides: it comes with the territory.

If we had short wave radios we would use them but we don´t, we have the internet and we coordinate time and place for our meeting on the world wide web of globalisation which really IS awkward given the fact that the world is so small and local.
When you´re snowed in.




In this small and local world I ponder about imprint and time.
The old had a notion of hamingja. Hamingja is kind of like karma, it is a measurement of your luck and happiness. Some of it is given to you upon birth- the rest is your own responsibility. To shape. To control.
The notion of hamingja has to do with destiny.
Destiny in old norse mythology/the worldview of the pre-Christian Scandinavians was not unchangeable or placed in merely in the hands of gods, destiny, to the old, was 1)  kind of like a hand of cards, what you do with it is your own responsibility 2) a real actual “thing” (hamingja) that you leave behind for your kin. If you fuck up it will affect the hamingja of your children. And their children. If you do good you add to the Hamingja of your lineage.

I think about Hamingja because this year represents a lot of turning points in my immediate family.
Tomorrow Silas turns 15. In february I turn 40. In april Sigurd will celebrate his 5th birthday, in may the twins turn 20 and in juli Jeppe turns 40 too. Together we have occupied  120 years in infinite time and space.

I walk in pristine snow as I have done all of my life. No footsteps to follow, no tracks. Snowed in, within myself.





I did a lot of bad deeds. I really did. I have had a hard time forgiving myself for my stupidity but now that I think about it other people fucked up too, it´s not all on me, at least I do take responsibility, regret, sorrow for the things I have done…. as opposed to others and hello, here we go, good day to you strange new pissed off old lady anger!

What I meant to say is: Hamingja.

How have I affected the luck of my immediate kin, what have I given, what have I taken?
I ponder about that. Imprint. Time.

I try to estimate our hamingja but I can´t. Sometimes we´re the lucky ones. Sometimes we´re the sorrowful ones.
I don´t know… but I can´t believe that I have kids (soon) aged 5,15,20.
I can´t believe I really did that.
And I can´t believe they are not here with me. I don´t care what people say there is sorrow and loss connected to the fact that your kids fly off like eagles or ravens or cranes.
I´m here… stuck with the whites ghosts of my ancestors





Whom we dance with





And then we go play at the playground






57 thoughts on “The white ghosts of my ancestors

  1. I love your posts , Andrea . Thank you for connecting me to your forest . Keep on making fresh tracks in the snow , dancing with the ancestors .
    What more can we do ?!
    Sigurd looks a fine boy a fine life .
    Rich blessings x


  2. Sigurd getting so big. Keep thinking of his baby pics. Andrea, practical question, does he get to play with other kids and will he go to school at certain age? Just wondering. . thinking of my kids getting some cabin fever at this time of year. .
    I am not even gonna go into this Hamingja thing. .
    Nice snow. Love it, old lady. I gotta send my package to you so you can get it before the big day. 🙂 So what do you have planned for the big 40? 🙂


    1. We drive him to kindergarten 2 or 3 times a week for a couple of hours. This is the only way he can see other children, we have thought a lot about it and reached the conclusion that he needs to learn about other children too. Solitude has been a big issue regarding the kids out here. Unfortunately home schooling is illegal in Sweden so we had to enroll Silas in school…. the small village school was all right but then last year he had to change to a bigger school in a bigger city (small school only goes to a certain grade level) and that was really horrible for everyone.
      The fact that homeschooling is illegal here is a rather large problem for us and a potential reasson to leave. I´ve had 3 kids go through the schoolsystem already – and that´s one of the things I regret the most.

      I have nothing planned for my 40th birthday. I´m really not sure how to feel about it 🙂


      1. Thanks, Andrea. Yes, illegal homeschooling, not good. That is one issue with Lithuania that is discouraging me to going back. There were some stories of Europeans persecuted by the state for homeschooling seeking asylum in the USA. Maybe you guys have ways around it, like creating your own small school with neighbors, or are the requirements to qualify pretty strict? I see that it was made illegal just in 2010, and only 200 families home school with special permission. However, Norway has legal homeschooling. You guys should just move across the border, or maybe claim residency in Norway.
        And I thought you would do something big for the big 40, like jump out of an airplane, or go skydiving (I know I have some flying plans when my big 40 comes 🙂 ), or go to Vegas like many Americans would do. . 🙂


  3. What is the truth? about the past, about anything?
    Who has the Golden key that unlocks the truths …. we all do
    I for one i refuse to let anybody tell me how i feel, who i am, if i owe anybody anything, cos i dont, i live and learn, thats my only obligation
    “Constant trial and error” … remember, NO room for blame here, we learn, if we shame and blame, we have learned Nothing!

    Let the ansestors melt away with the warmth of the spring, let them loose to find the river, let them flow and finally reach the great loving ocean, where they can feel real love and rise again and join in the new creation. And let not our hearts get so cold again as to freeze up the souls of selves and our kin. Flow is the law of the universe

    Nobody did anything wrong, its nobodys fault …. an error is no mistake, and errors are nobodys business, and so is learning …. we are all nobodys

    Can you in your minds eye see your children smile and be happy?
    I believe you can, is that no the most wounderous thing to see and experience, and feel? Does it really Matter where they are when it happens? Honestly? If you really Feel about it, you are Not far apart at all, they are all right there with you, talk to them …. tell them stuff, ask questions

    Self pity is Not You, some douche ansestor gave it to you
    And the loving person your are, you took it to releave them, to help
    BURN it all UP, it NEEDs to be released back into the great all

    Thruth is the name of the game these days and the rest of eternity
    All else is an illusion and has to Go, its time

    Numbers dont Lie – and all your numbers are Godly
    There are No coincidences, why would there be?


    1. Soren, very nice writing. “Self pity is Not You, some douche ansestor gave it to you” 🙂 love it, my favorite. But so much of it is to produce guilt and self pity and self-doubt. All of the religions, including the so called paganism.
      Also about children, so true. We feel sorry for ourselves – whether they are gone, or someone dies. Andrea, I had to go to work full time while kids stayed home with dad, and for a long time, I just wept in the car every morning, until I finally convinced myself that they will be ok, and when I just gave them my full love on days off, instead of feeling guilty all the time, they were truly better off. . . Andrea, remember how much fun they are having in the world, remember when we were 20! 🙂 But hey, on the flip side, Soren and guys will never understand what mom feels about her kids, no matter what the men say. . . Heck, my 4 yr old just weaned, and I am still sulking over that loss. 🙂

      Talking about burning it up, Andrea, do you do the Carnival in Sweden? The one after Fat Tuesday, like in other parts of Europe? Febr 18th, fine time to burn all that winter crap. I love it, we make the winter witch doll in Lithuania or whatever it is, people dress up in costumes, huge fires burning. Burning all those ancestors up.


      1. Well, I almost died in my 20ies so… 😉
        It´s not self-pity, shame or guilt. It´s not religion telling me to feel bad about myself- it´s a regocnition that what we do on the practical level reflects back on the spiritual level. That´s all.

        Yeah, we call it “Fastelavn”- it´s actually halloween, the emmigrants took it with them to usa. Here they carved out cellery roots or (i don´t know what they´re called in english). It´s funny how most of our celebrations are connected 🙂


      2. Yes, sorry. . . you know I wrote about the 20s and then in the middle of the night it dawned on me that you had twins and were not just partying at a university at 20 like some of us. . . sorry it totally escaped my mind. 😦 Well, anyway, so you can relax now. We all have kids in diapers still, and you are all done working. 🙂


    2. “what we do on the practical level reflects back on the spiritual level.”

      I don’t know…

      What if it’s like … you learn to identify from the practical level while unlearning to identify from the spiritual level…
      the spiritual level remains (just mostly ignored… but sometimes not)
      Then some people reverse course and learn to identify from the spiritual level and unlearn identifying from the practical level…

      I guess it’s true though…

      And you could say, “what we do on the spiritual level reflects back on the practical level”

      I prefer to attempt to live thus – especially in the most “practically trying” times – sickness, pain, relationship problem, financial suffering, etc.

      For “on the spiritual level” – what is changing?


      1. I was thinking same exact thing… but was not sure if Andrea really meant what it sounded she meant. . . So I let that go. But it goes both ways there is no way to separate one from the other. Spiritual level can definitely guide a person through the physical world much more so than vice versa. .. physical is just a reflection of spiritual anyway it is not some set reality. I see totally different thing in those pictures than what you see or someone else sees.. Andrea saw ancestors and I saw Roden’s Thinker sitting there. 🙂 it is all flowing together, like Soren said. Good thing rivers that flow and flow fast rarely freeze.


      2. Maybe we become what we believe we are!
        But what if our believes are all wrong?
        Looking at the World it sure seems that way
        Personally i prefer to believe i am a living “god” 😉
        Still working on all the omni-stuff, havent naild it quite yet, ha ha ha …..
        I mean, come on, we all command 7 billion+ cells every day, that is quite at feat, and we only use ideas

        We are the benevolent dictators of our own Atoms/Adams 😉
        Even when the sun goes down and et becomes Eve-ning
        (Who ever made our language is a real Joker 😉


  4. Somehow I feel like that first picture represents the whole issue. “The Way Out of Here”. The path that leads to… what? It’s uncertain. It’s the dark woods. No one can see what is there.

    As warriors/vikings/whatever we have faith in ourselves to go down that road even if we can’t see what’s ahead. We don’t have much of a choice. I say that because we do have a choice but there are not a lot of options. It’s either to plow ahead into the unknown and arrive at what meets us sooner or simply stay where we are and wait for whatever is coming to come to us. Either choice is valid.

    To relate this to what you’ve written here I say what I given out and what I have let go of in the past – Children, Relationships, Ideas, Dreams – helps me know that I can face whatever future is there. Whatever reveals itself around the corner in the dark trees.

    And then we go an play at the playground. The wolves are not at the door today. There is time.


  5. I know that my mother buggered up our family’s Hamingja big time, but I am moving on, trying not to lay the same fate on my two girls. I’ve done massive work on it in the past twenty years. I see it as a pearl necklace being handed down from generation to generation, some of the pearls are not so perfect as the others, but in that imperfection we know where our true calling upon earth lies.


  6. Bee, regarding homeschooling, it´s a longer story actually, short version: I used to work as a child psychologer in a municipally in Denmark. I know the system from the inside. Regarding homeschooling in Sweden 1) I cannot even phantom the extend to which the state by this law claims ownership over the children. If I sit down and think about I get very, very frustrated so I try not to think about too much. It is dehumanisning, undignified and methods of an evil empire disguised as care for the children, it is disgusting and… well. Must. Stop.
    2) If you want special permit to homeschool you need to claim that you child has some kind of special need. Knowing the system that´s a road I won´t go down. When Silas had problems adjusting to the big school I went and talked with the director who actually threathen with police. Smilingly. But still. My kid was not doing good in school and he took charge over the situation and moved home to his father (because of other circumstances too though) which I am very proud of. I asked the director if I was not qualified to homeschool and she said no, no matter your academic background it´s not possible- unless you´re a teacher, she told me, apparantly teachers are allowed to homeschool.
    Which strikes me as insane.
    We´re not enough people out here in these outskirts to make a little school. And there are very strict regulations about that.


    1. Thank you for this clarification, Andrea. I find that some Americans idealize the European (Scandinavian, to a lesser extent) and they just don’t recognize the costs to some of those things they admire (less freedom, as in homeschooling.) No system is perfect and I most certainly think the Scandinavians I know have a much better understanding of their culture and their daily way of life is admirable compared to many here (friluftsliv, and all that.) Your honesty is appreciated once again.


      1. You really think so?
        I beg to differ. Mind you I will be generalising now. There’s plenty of individuals that are quite different!!
        The average Swede I have come to know over the years is lazy, spoiled rotten, has little feeling of responsibility or care, and/or shows an astonishing level of naivety or conformity towards their own government, officials or anyone of status.. with little or no idea of what is going on around them in the world.
        Mind you, many of the Swedes themselves are perfectly aware that their system, their way of life and many of their ideas have been seriously compromised. Yet they are not capable of speaking up. They have been brought up, bred, to be compliant, keep quiet and be like everybody else.
        It is a devious multi-faced system, hypocritical and misused to subdue and sometimes I really wonder if those at the top are simply shamelessly exploiting the general Swedish way of things or if they themselves are just like the average Swede I described only with power they can not handle.


        1. Thank you, Ron, for this perspective. Sounds a bit like the criticism here in US for generations of welfare recipients. Just reinforces my belief in freedom which certainly is not easy. Though, I think those reading this blog and certainly the person writing it would not claim the easy way of life is the best way (at least, for them.)


    2. Don’t we know it…..

      Yet I do think schooling here is much better (less bad really) than where we come from. There it is even more industrialised and much, much more pressure and work. No pressure and work here at all, actually. Kids are not challenged in anyway, neither to do better in what they are lacking, nor in enhancing that in which they excel.
      So we “school” them during their time at home.


      1. Finland’s schools have been in the news in the USA
        I was in Finland and went to visit school with my high school friend there, and did like it a lot. They were all pretty happy about their schooling. American public schools are beyond pitiful. Private schools. . Yes, there is one in my town I would love my kids to go (middle of the woods, 6 kids per class, lots of arts and science exploration), and it costs $30,000 per year per kid starting at age 5! And believe it or not, there is a long long waiting line and an IQ test to pass to be accepted. That shows you how bad the free public schools are.


    3. Føj. Fy faen, som svenskerene selv siger. Lede ulækre klamme statsmagter. Andrea, du kender ikke tilfældigvis nogle off-grid-folk på New Zealand?


      1. (svarer lige på engelsk) I know about the simplicity collective in Australia – it seems as if the whole simplicity movement seems to have some sort of rootnet there (with ted turner all those)
        Don´t know any bloggers from new zealand though- but I know that the guy that made the lord of the rings movies (can´t remember his name) have an off grid permacultural mansion there! 🙂


  7. Just reread my comment and worried I’d been insulting. Not my intent. To clarify – when I think, “F#$& it, we should just move somewhere else” I need to realize that, in searching out certain characteristics of a place and a people, hopefully you find what you are looking for but you may still encounter problems, just different ones from those you left behind. I’m sure many people who come to the US find the same. There are no promises in this life regardless of where and when you live. TJ said it best above about the choices and options.


  8. No worries. I didn´t know americans idealize the european circumstances, they certainly shouldn´t… austerity is draining everything, slowly, tensions are rising.
    I think the wellfare state as practised in the Scandinavian countries are one of the best ideas of human kind. The underlying premise is that noone is free before everyone free, no one is rich before everyone strive. It is a basic human notion of solidarity and I loved everything about what they tried to do. To educate the population. To make sure everyone was all right- it´s better that way, better for everyone.

    However they severely fucked it up (sorry for the cursing but the time it´s most appropiate) (and by “they” I mean industries and bureacrats and politicians, those in power, the money). I wrote about my heartbreak here.
    I believe in what my forefather tried to do. They tried to create a just system but just as every system it grew into abnormity and became an all eating parasite, too big to fail.


    1. Thanks, Andrea, I remember reading those essays. . So are you saying state was too restrictive in Scandinavia? Too restrictive laws for people but allowing the big money do what they want? Do you picture Switzerland’s local democratic model working better?
      A lot of people I know are taking advantage of scandinavian free stuff, which does not do you guys any good. We had family friends who moved to Denmark – Rudi Dutschke we knew his family, they lived in Denmark for the welfare state. Many of my fellow Lithuanians go to Denmark just so they can get free university education. . .


  9. Thanks, Andrea for your perspective. Noway though is claiming legal homeschooling, just not very socially acceptable maybe. Plus if you child is homeschooled, you would not be able to get into any university in Sweden probably?
    I have a hard time at this point to NOT have the home schooling option. My kids may go to school one day, but I always want to have an option NOT to. . South America is also same way, illegal to homeschool. . Hopefully this right is never lost in the USA. You could still work out the exception if you need to. What are they going to do? Grab you all from the woods and pack you into a jail cell? Take your kids away? We have ways to get around vaccination laws in the USA for kids who are not vaccinated but enroll in school. I hear you on the school control. It is sickening. Do you have any private school options? I absolutely love USA for this reason, many options indeed – even though many options are still not available for majority of people, due to cost, distance, etc. Scandinavian schooling system is always touted as one of the best in the American press, which is probably true in the instructional sense, compared to the USA public schools. But still, the indoctrination is same no matter where you go.

    Most of my unschooling friends are ex-teachers who had had enough with “teaching” and saw the system from inside, and boy they have stories. Eumaeus and his wife were teachers, he could probably tell some stuff, right E?
    I wish you luck. You have couple of years to figure it out for S. Need to change the laws by then. 🙂


  10. Ok, you “Swedes”, Ron and Andrea. You are like me, living in the country and criticizing it. 🙂 – same way I live in the USA as an immigrant and criticize it all the time. 😉
    In Lithuania, we have a saying that is very common, “Happy as a Swede” or “Rich as a Swede”. Not sure if this is universal or just something Lithuanians say. . ?? If someone has a good life, they are described “Happy as a Swede”. Next time I hear that, I will send them to you Ron. 🙂


    1. Mind you I am not criticizing the Swede as a person!
      The individual generally is friendly, helpful yet distant.
      It is the system/society in which they have been brought up, especially the generations from the 60’s onward, if I understood some elderlies right. Exactly the generations where commercialism has taken over… same as in every other “rich” country. An odd coincidence indeed!
      Andrea can compare them to the Danes, I can compare them to the Dutch. It is not criticizing persé, but to me a mere truth without pink glasses or polishing it up. Raw and not pretty. Yet I really do feel I am not being overly harsh here!
      Like I said, there are those who see that things are very wrong and their numbers are growing… fast, but they lack fighting spirit. It has been bred out of them. They have been lulled into a deep sleep. Not having had to fight a major conflict in about 200 years helps keeping them that way. Every aspect of this society is aimed at keeping them docile, obedient. Asking questions is not encouraged, criticizing (which can range anywhere from asking questions, to pointing out problems or suggesting improvements to openly putting it down) is looked upon in an ill way.
      I guess I sound frustrated and bitter and maybe (probably) I am.
      To me it is like finally coming home and discovering someone had a huge party, wrecked the place and really doesn’t give a hoot about cleaning it up….


      1. Ron, I can very much understand what you are saying. I had very similar feeling after immigrating to the USA. You guys set your expectations high, then the disappointment. The moral of the story: don’t set any expectations. .
        And true about people growing up with too rich and secure lives. There is not the same community or soul. Everyone is just happy numb in their little boxes. You can still find real life in some poorest parts of the world, in some war torn parts of the world. Even Lithuania has gone that direction since 1990, everyone individualistic, stamping out money, shut down into their little boxes. My sister lives in Italy, same thing, new generation has their own thing, don’t even have families anymore.
        I think you will appreciate this, it is very much American thing, but fits to Sweden as well, just beautify the boxes a bit 🙂


  11. And where you describe the Swedes, you may as well be describing Americans. Same as far as not speaking up, blindly trusting governments, churches, schools, etc. There is more poverty in America. But I think people have more character here.


  12. (I´m critising GOVERNMENT in both denmark and sweden, just to clarify- but let´s not talk of nations. Human experience is the same no matter where you live and isn´t that weird and strange!? ;-))


    1. And governments suck no matter where you live.. must be the laws of universe: Same good folks everywhere create same rotten governments everywhere.. if we are so good you would think we could create good systems. As the wise man says rulers are reflections of us…


      1. I think that current systems encourage a certain breed to come forward, take over and create governments, while on the other hand seriously hinder those with compassion, peace and love in their hearts and bright ideas The power hungry and the greedy have the exact right characteristics (seek & destroy, divide & conquer, etc.) and contacts to use whatever means necessary to increase their power and possessions.
        I believe the wise man was wrong. The rulers no longer reflect us, but have become a different breed all together, forcing their way upon us.


  13. Wow, thank you all for your comments. I feel I have had quite an education here today. And, I’m glad no one was offended by me commenting on a country/culture not my own (while of Scandinavian descent on one side of family, didn’t grow up there so my experience is limited to one family which is no more representative than any other one family from anywhere.) And, yes, Andrea. You brought up another point I failed to mention and one I feel strongly about. We should be humans first. National pride is fine when it is honest but I think nationality as one’s first identity is full of problems. Peace, all…


  14. Hallo Andrea – Denmark is calling.

    Have you seen the movie – Schooling the World on YouTube?
    If not I will regiment it!!

    It is divided in 7 parts.
    We are brainwashing our children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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