The Christmas season is about as close as you can get to angel season. Senior rector Øystein Magelssen of Drammen made headlines by deciding to make angels the subject of his Christmas sermon. What made this particularly newsworthy was that the angels he wanted to discuss were the ones favored by Norway’s Princess Märtha Louise.
The Princess, who has dropped the ‘Royal’ from her title as part of her decision to pursue an independent business career rather than crown duties, runs a new age academy where one can learn to communicate with one’s own angels. The princess is also co-authoring a series of books with business partner Elisabeth Samnøy, the first of which is ‘Meet your guardian angel‘.
Magelssen’s sermon took up the difference between the angels in the Christmas gospel, who are … messengers of God, and the new age guardians that the princess can introduce her pupils to, after teaching them (the pupils) the appropriate methods of … self-development.
The Drammen clergyman said that he felt many neo-religious movements put people themselves in focus and made self-confidence and self-respect avenues of hope. “A lot of this is positive but it lacks perspective. Angels aren’t something we can, sort of, produce.”
While the battle of angels got underway, a holiday poll for Aftenposten asked Norwegians if they felt the Princess really should have that title, given her penchant for high profile alternative thinking as a career. But an academy and book devoted to angelic development have not been enough for the public to disown Märtha Louise.
Half of the 1003 questioned said they felt she was still entitled to be a princess, 20 percent thought it was time for her to drop the royal connection, and a whopping 30 percent just couldn’t be bothered to have an opinion.
A ‘News in English’ article about Princess Märtha Louise and her career.
And then, Christmas is also about Santa. I have long been sitting on confidential evidence that Santa is actually based in Norway, but it seems that at least a large segment of the locals have decided that Finland’s increasingly successful village in Rovaniemi has emerged triumphant over the various Nordic assertions to be the true host of the jolly one.
With this mood in mind, Norway made a rather startling claim to ‘own’ the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Per Arne Tuftin of Innovation Norway Tourism summed it up like this: “We have to acknowledge that Finland has taken Santa from us. We aren’t going to fall for that again, so we therefore declare the Northern Lights to be Norwegian!”
Tuftin told Aftenposten that this was part of an information campaign to make it clear to tourists where the light could be seen – and who owned them. Tuftin said there was great international interest in the phenomenon, and it was a major attraction of Arctic tourism. “And now it’s Norwegian.”
(A spectacular sample viewing – it is an attraction.)