Friday, October 25, 2013

Whirls and Swirls--Icelandic Lore

Blessi has a Straumfjađrir, I think,
and he loves water crossings
Photo by Carol Townsend

Bjőrnsson and Sveinsson(2006, p. 73)  in The Icelandic Horse, a comprehensive reference book about the breed, present some Icelandic lore about the meaning of whirls.  The Icelandic horse can have various whirls on its body:
  • Flugfjađrir (flying feathers) are whirls in a row along the mane. Three such whirls are believed to indicate a horse with more stamina.
  • Pétursstingir (strings of St. Peter) are whirls along the mane on both sides of the neck.   Some believe that it is “healthy” to touch these fingerprint of St. Peter.
  • Pétursfar (touch of St. Peter) is a whirl under the mane.
  • Straumfjőđur (stream feather) is a whirl on the lower part of the neck.  Folklore says a rider will never drown riding a horse with both a touch of St. Peter and a stream feather on both sides of the neck.
  • Straumfjađrir (stream edges) are whirls on the chest and such horses are regarded as being great water horses.
  • A whirl “at the front of the eyebrow” indicates a very lively horse.

Bjőrnsson, G., & Sveinsson, H.  (2006).  The Icelandic Horse, Edda Publishing, Reykjavik, Iceland.

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