October 3, 2017 at 7:45 am #18778
A gathering of sacred names
Tysnes is an island municipality in the county of Hordaland in Norway. The name Tysnes most likely means Tyr’s headland. Tyr was the Norse god of war and is associated with law, justice and heroic glory in Norse mythology. A much older name for the island though is Njardarlog, which most likely means Njord’s place of law or judgment. Njord was the Norse god of the sea. But the name could also come from the earth goddess Njardar, also called Nerthus.
Some believe that once only holy people lived on Tysnes.
Tysnes has a concentration of places with sacred names, and experts think the reason might have to do with the sun. It was recently discovered that a cairn on the island is aligned to sunsets of the Solstices and Equinoxes.
On the Tysnes there’s a place called Todneset, which is a headland poking out into the ocean. On it lies a cairn which is now completely covered in grass. On the Winter Solstice, the sun disappears behind a mountain, only to reappear through a crevice and shine onto the cairn for about 7-8 minutes. While everything else lies in shadow. The same happens on the Summer Solstice and the two Equinoxes. The sun goes behind a mountain, only to return later to shine onto the cairn for a few minutes, before setting completely.
Todneset was the original Tysnes (Tyr’s headland) but its name was changed later on. Now the whole municipality is called Tysnes.
The cairn was excavated in 1915. Inside they found the ruins of a small building of rock and dirt, with a large rock in the middle which they think was once an altar. There was also a stone cist without a lid.
A standing rock was later put on top of the cairn. It was said that the rock once stood in the middle of a large stone circle. In the area around the cairn, you can still see a few large stones showing through the grass, that could have been part of that circle.
Helgasteinen – The Holy Rock
In the ocean, close to Todneset is a large, steep and white rock called Helgasteinen (The holy rock). Because of its location and color, it will sometimes be lit up by the sun while the village is covered with clouds. The village faces the fjord, kind of like a large amphitheater, which makes the rock quite eye-catching when the sun hits it.
Vevatnet – The Holy Lake
Vevatnet is another one of those places with a sacred name in Tysnes. They say there used to be rituals there to honor the earth goddess Nerthus. People today are still doing goddess ceremonies there.
Drumming at Vevatnet
Singing at Vevatnet
There is also another area on Tysnes with many standing rocks, and where there has been found a stone with ancient rune carvings. All of this makes me feel that there was once a lot going on there, on the island of Tysnes.
I came across this place quite by accident, by mistyping the name of another sacred spot in google. I was surprised because I didn’t think there were any places in Norway with known sun alignments. My husband and I decided to go there and got a bit confused trying to find it. It’s not marked very well, and the cairn is on private land, so we asked someone living there if we could explore, and walk across their field. The place was beautiful, with a lovely view of the fjord, but it wasn’t easy to spot where the cairn was at all. There was just that standing stone marking it. You could see a few rocks here and there poking out of the grass, that might once have been a stone circle. It felt like whispers about something old and forgotten, something very sacred that we don’t quite understand and that is mostly abandoned now.
It makes me wonder how many other places could be aligned to the sun, without anyone knowing.
October 4, 2017 at 8:14 am #18846
It looks like a beautiful place Anne Linn. Interesting how the names of the old Norse gods are still so entwined with the area.October 4, 2017 at 11:50 am #18851
Thanks for sharing Anne Linn! Its great you managed to find (maybe accidentally and maybe not?) this special and not very well known place. Looks like it may have been a dwelling a religious community in the past that practiced a sun-related spirituality. It is also amazing that you got to visit it and feel the energies of it first-hand – it is always nice to read about personal impressions people have from visiting these places.October 5, 2017 at 5:06 am #18866
@ella there’s a lot of names in Norway that relate to the Norse religion. While living in Norway my husband and I sometimes drove past Valhal (Valhalla) :p But there are also names that are so old and strange that I wouldn’t know what they meant unless I googled it. Maybe it’s the same in Wales? I like that the names usually stay, even if we forget why that place was called that in the first place.
@lucia Yes, I was so excited when I found this place. I had searched in the past in google for places with sun alignments in Norway without finding anything. But I hadn’t been using the right words, – like sun worship.
It’s a bit disappointing that the cairn is on private land. Wish you could just go there freely. The place feels a bit abandoned. I don’t think the experts have decided what to make of it. Would be lovely to go back in time…to see ancient places as they once were 🙂
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