Meeting Kolga: A Shamanic Vision

Lucia Beach, Maine, July 2005

Iceberg Arch

As I approached Lucia Beach, the rain started up again and the temperature dropped. For all that it was the beginning of July, it was cold enough to be March or October. My fingers were stiff as I drummed and sang the calling song, and when I made my way into the water, it was bone-breakingly cold. The clouds deepened as I slowly dragged myself in, lowering the temperature still further. By the time I was in up to my thighs, I couldn't feel my feet any longer and the skin on my legs was burning. I knew without being told that the sister I was visiting at this moment was the Cold One, the Lady of Ice Water.

Kolga, Duva's twin and her elder sister by a few minutes, indeed the eldest of Ran's daughters, appeared without fanfare a little ways away from me. She was neither as distant as Duva or Hevring nor as close and personal as Blodughadda or Hronn. She was bony and angular, her skin a pale grey-blue and her hair silvery-grey, with the look of frost on both of them. Her face was gaunt, the skin stretched over her bony features, and her eyes were narrowed in speculation. When she spoke, her voice was harsh as a crow's, unlike the others who all seemed to have mellifluous voices. I could see the frost-thurse in her background; those bloodlines had come through the strongest in Kolga.

"You can't come in any further than that?" she asked scornfully. "I thought you had mastered fire."

I was actually running my body-heating abilities on high just to be able to stand there in the frigid water with her, and I told her so. She snorted, unimpressed. "You know what you're here to learn," she stated. It was not a question.

"To cool myself," I said. "To be able to use cold." Heating myself had been a fairly easy trick for me, as I run hot anyway. The opposite, however, eluded me. I was often overheated in the summer, dependent on air conditioning to function. This was a problem.

Kolga looked at me severely, like a student that she could tell immediately was going to be a problem. Her mouth pinched like that of a schoolmarm. She seemed to be utterly motionless up to her hips in the frigid water. "This won't come easy for you," she said.

"All the more reason that I should learn it," I said, my teeth chattering. Her eyes traveled up and down my body, the only thing about her that was moving. Even her mouth hardly moved when she spoke. Kolga is about the sea's relationship to ice, the frozen northern parts, and to its temperature in general. She was silent for a long while as I struggled in the water, and then finally she turned in one graceful movement and I saw the flip of a fishtail for a moment. Then she settled back to her motionless floating position, this time only her head and shoulders showing, and began to speak to me in a cold, deadpan voice.

Kolga's Lesson

Icy fjord

First, cold is about slowness. Don't expect to this to work while you're running around. Stop. Be still. Empty your lungs, all the way down. Push all the warmth out of you. Water can be warm, yes, but it would rather be cold than warm. In fact, most of the water in the Universe is in the form of ice; you know that.

As you sing the chant, focus on your solar plexus. That's your internal thermostat. Find the right note to start on; it will be the note that sends a chill to that point of your body. Sing that note for a while, then start the song on it. You may have to sing it a few times, if it's a really hot day. Feel your solar plexus slowing, feel ice start to form around it. Breathe that cold out to your toes and fingers, but especially your neck and head. Run it up and down your spine, and don't let yourself shiver. Shivering is your body's attempt to warm itself. Make yourself stay still, the stiller the better, until you're cool enough that you can move and not undo it all.

Kolga's Song

Hear a sample

Crystal icebergOooooooh....
As the ice-bulls ride on the cold grey meadow,
As the ice-hills glide on the cold grey plain,
Let the ice-grey maiden wrap me in her mantle
Let her rime-cold fingers stroke my spine.

As the ice-winds whip all the clouds to tatters,
Let her strip the heat from my suffering bones,
Cold as ice yet always moving,
Let the ice-grey maiden turn water to stone.


A CD containing this and other shaman songs is available from Asphodel Press.