Of all the things I still long to see on this beautiful planet of ours, the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is at the top of my list. I’m not sure why I am so intent upon seeing this exquisite display of nature’s power and majesty. It may have something to do with my spiritual beliefs. I think of God as pure energy, and perhaps for me the Northern Lights come closest to representing “the face of God.”
I have long been able to see people’s auras – the energy fields that emanate from and surround them. Each person’s energy is a different color or combination of colors, and the colors can change from day to day or even hour to hour. Then, about three years ago I began to see the same kind of colored energy field around all kinds of things, both animate and inanimate. At first the colors were only visible at night, especially at dusk. Then, as I became accustomed to it, I developed the ability to see the energy at all times of day, simply by tuning in to it. Being able to see this energy field has enhanced my belief that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
I feel closest to the Creator, the Source, the One, the Higher Power, the __________ (insert whatever phrase best describes God for you), when I am in touch with this lovely energy. It brings me peace and belief in the connectedness of all things. So perhaps my yearning to see the Northern Lights is a desire to be closer to “All That Is.” And I am apparently not alone in this belief. The Cree Indians refer to this phenomenon as “the dance of the spirits.” In Estonian they are called virmalised, spirit beings of higher realms. Eskimos say that their ancient ancestors can be seen in the rippling movements of the Northern Lights; that the “shadows” within the display are relatives and friends who have gone to the sky and march along or dance to remind the living people of their presence.
The Aurora Borealis most often occurs from September to October and from March to April. Although travel sites often reference Alaska, Finland, Norway, and Iceland as the best places to view the lights, they can also be seen across Canada and in the northern tier of states in the U.S. In fact, on rare occasions when conditions have been just right, they have been seen as far south as North Carolina. Now, why couldn’t I have been lucky enough to see them when I lived in North Carolina? It may have had something to do with the fact that I lived at the beach rather than the mountains.
I tried again during a winter voyage around the northern tip of Norway with Hurtigruten Cruises. On the first day of the cruise an announcement came over the PA system in the middle of the night. The captain informed us that the Aurora Borealis was visible from the stern of the ship. I scrambled to get dressed in multiple layers of clothing and gather my camera gear, but by the time I made it up to the deck the lights had disappeared. They never appeared again during the remainder of the cruise.
By this point, I was discouraged. I accepted that I may never see the Northern Lights. But then I read about an intriguing new way to to view the phenomenon. A number of glass igloos in the far northern Lapland area of Finland offer a unique way to witness the Northern Lights. Guests can lie in their cozy, warm beds at night and watch the lights dance across the sky. They’re not cheap; the igloos range from $350 to $1,400 per night, and they are booked, in some cases, years in advance. So, it may be some time before I check this experience off my travel wish list, but at least I have hope that I may someday see the Aurora Borealis.