In this episode, you’ll meet the Norwegian-Italian author and journalist, Kristin Flood. Kristin shares her incredible story of how Dante’s Inferno entered her life and why she was inspired to embark on a long and challenging journey to retell this classic in Norwegian and in rhyme.

A journey through Dante’s Inferno

Many of us have heard of Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet who created The Divine Comedy. However, few are familiar with the plot of this powerful visionary poem. Kristin Flood takes us on a journey through the first part of Dante’s epic work, Dante’s Inferno. She hasn’t simply translated the text; instead, she has reimagined it in her own way, in rhyme, drawing inspiration from the rhythmic storytelling style of the Middle Ages.

The Divine Comedy is known for its intricate allegories and symbolic narratives. Kristin Flood sheds light on the significance of Dante’s descent into the underworld, where he encounters lost souls and explores the darkest aspects of human nature. Does this poem really delve into what happens when we die, suggesting that we might end up in a sort of hell if we don’t “behave properly”? Or is it more a symbol of our inner shadows that we must confront in our lives?

Kristin believes that the poem itself reveals the aspects of ourselves we may not want to acknowledge, much like when a troll crumbles in the light, our shadows need to be acknowledged before they can be released.

About Kristin Flood

Kristin Flood, who grew up in Norway with Italian roots, offers a unique insight into both Norwegian and Italian cultures. She began her career as a journalist for renowned media outlets such as VG, NRK, and Aftenposten before relocating to Italy in the 1990s. Since then, she has worked as an author and journalist for Norwegian media and has previously published several books.

Transcript of the interview

Kristin Flood 0:00

And Dante wants to meet and speak to the souls that he meets because there are 1000s and 1000s and hundreds of 1000s of souls who lives in these circles in this big hole inside the earth. And in the middle of the earth, down at the bottom of the infernal, he finds Lucifer.

Jannecke Øinæs 0:29

Hello Kristen, a warm welcome to the show.

Kristin Flood 0:31

Thank you, Jannecke.

Jannecke Øinæs 0:33

So I'm sitting here in my apartment in Norway, and I've invited you to come up here to my apartment to speak about the infernal of Dante, and you are a best selling author in Norway, you've written many books, I've interviewed you many times in which and before, and now he came out with this book that has changed your life in many ways. And why I thought it was relevant to speak to you about this was because on my channel, I focus on pre birth experiences, near death experiences, and the afterlife, and many other things like, what actually happens after we die. And Dante, he was an Italian writer, lived many hundreds of years ago. And then, and it's quite complex, like the material he has written. And then you dive into this, and you make your own wheat version of it out of a material that is so complex, and I meet you six months ago, and you were like, This is so exciting. And I'm like, nobody, or very few are so enthusiastic about Don't think because they don't even understand it. I don't understand that. So I'm very curious about hearing and learning about today, how Dante can teach us something about maybe the afterlife or our own shadows, and why this is relevant today. So for those who don't know, Dante, who was he?

Kristin Flood 2:12

Well, Dante Alighieri. He was an author, a poet. He was born in 1265, and died in 1321. So actually, in 2021, it was 700 years since he died. And TS Eliot, the great poet says that Dante and Shakespeare divide the world. Between them, there is no third. So goon, which means that Shakespeare and Dante they are considered the two columns of the story of European and Western literature. So Danta he lived in Florence, in that period in the Middle Ages, and he had a fascinating life. I don't want to go into the details now. But he started to write when he was very young, and became part of a movement in Florence, which wrote in the spoken language, in the spoken Italian, and at that time, everything that was printed was only printed in Latin. So he broke through and created something new. And that's why in Italy, they call him the father of Italian language, the father of Italian written language. So and then he wrote different pieces of text, and the most famous is the Divine Comedy, which is a very big and huge poem 5000 verses and this has been living its life through the centuries in our literature, and it's divided in three parts. It's a journey through the landscape of the die of the of death. And it's divided in three parts. The first third is the journey through infantil, which is that one that I have now read Written in in a very simple Norwegian language, and then part two is purgatory. And part three is paradise.

Jannecke Øinæs 5:13

Many of us do not really know the story of Dante, we probably heard the name of the know that is pretty complex and well known, but we actually don't know what it is about, and why it is so well known. And it's a reason for that. And we're also going to speak about how this has really affected you, like, personally, fiscally in your life. But could you take us through the inferno of Dante, what is happening in this book, I understand it, as Dante is actually the writer, but he himself is the main character.

Kristin Flood 5:49

Yes, he's the main character in this journey. And it starts, the start of the poem is very famous, because it tells about him, he's caught in a dark wood, cannot find his way out of this dark forest, he's afraid he's lost, totally lost. This is a symbol of, you know, crisis, difficult periods that everybody has had in life. And where we can feel completely lost, and we don't know what's going to happen, and it's very scary. So he starts in this dark forest. And he tries to find his way out. And in that forest, he meets his teacher who will become his guide, through the different territories. And so, this first territory which is Inferno, is underneath the surface of the earth. So get they go through a little hole, in, in, in, in the stone, you know, in the forest. And then they come underneath and find a hole, enormous territory, a hole, like a hole underneath, which is divided in different sir Nine different circles. And then they walk through these circles one by one. And Dante wants to meet and speak to the souls that he meets on his way, because there are 1000s and 1000s, and hundreds of 1000s of soul souls who lives in these circles, in this big hole, underneath inside the earth, and in the middle of the Earth, down at the bottom of the infernal. He finds Lucifer, Lucifer, the fallen angel, that was kicked out of paradise of heaven. Because he was so arrogant that he wanted to compete with God himself. And he, so he has an angel, like feature, but he is completely black, with black wings on his enormous and he's sitting, representing the darkest part of the human soul, down at the bottom. So Dante's journey is, is, you know, the journey down and to meet Lucifer.

Jannecke Øinæs 8:55

So do I understand correctly that these circles are sort of like this, that they're going down and down, there are different levels, and then they he's journeying through these different levels, so it's actually getting darker and darker? Like the experiences to the souls are getting darker and darker?

Kristin Flood 9:12

Yes, and it's a symbol. This is also a symbol of these tendencies, that the human being have you and me and everyone that can be darker and darker, more and more. Can you say more and more evil? And then you come to the really evil part? You know, at the bottom.

Jannecke Øinæs 9:44

Could you share a little bit about the different levels so what does he meet first, he meets a lot of souls. What happens?

Kristin Flood 9:51

So he's he, before he goes into this little hole in the in the, in the stone and comes underneath the surface of the ground. He meets Virgil not so virgin Virgil is walking together with Dante, inside that little hole. And the first souls that they meet are the lazy ones. Souls that hundreds and 1000s and 1000s of souls running back and forth. beside a river, a river, that is called sticks. That's the name of the river very famous from mythology, where the souls will be transported to the other side of the river to get into the landscape of death. And just along just beside the river, they run up and down. And Virgil, Virgil,

Jannecke Øinæs 11:15

They're sort of the the guardian spirits.

Kristin Flood 11:18

Yes, he's guide down this guide, explains to Danta that, because he says, Who are these running back and forth like this, they seemed completely hysterical. And he says, well, they are the lazy ones, the ones that behaved in a lazy way, when they were on the earth, alive, because everybody he meets on this long journey. They have lived a life on Earth. And now they are all dead. So they that he meets their souls, and they have been lazy. And what is the punishment, or the consequence, because I say that Donta is not really punishing the souls they have. They undergo a kind of consequence of their own behavior. So they were lazy, in the sense that they didn't really participate in life, when they were alive. And here, they are bitten, they run around because they're bitten by big insects that bite them and fly after them continuously. So they have to, you know, relate to this terrible situation, they cannot be lazy. And so there are different symbols here that Virgil explains how you know, the their behavior is connected to the consequence that they live in Inferno?

Jannecke Øinæs 13:17

Do these souls regret? What they did? Are they aware that Oh, no, I was lazy in my life, like, does Dante speak to them and get some contact and understanding of why they did what they did? Or is see just perceiving this, there. So sort of lost forever.

Kristin Flood 13:37

It's very interesting, because they they are not aware at all. About they were not aware at all. Now, they in in this landscape, they, some of them are aware that they did something that was not very wise and intelligent. But their main characteristic of all the souls that are in Inferno is that they don't admit that they were wrong. They, they think, and they are convinced that anyway, they behaved in the right manner. So it's very subtle. So when he speaks, because Danta wants to know, these souls, so he meets many, many, many souls and interviews them and he wants to understand what happened in their life. And they explain him to him. What happened, how they behaved and some of them also really put words to their own behavior. But they don't admit, because they never admitted in life, that they did something that was not good for them and other people.

Jannecke Øinæs 15:23

And deep down. That's where we have souls who committed things that they actually did consciously, and they do not regret it, right?

Kristin Flood 15:35

Yes, the difference between the first circles, and the lowest circles is that the upper circles, they, there are souls that really behaved in a very spontaneous way and did things in their life and made choices in their life that was sort of unconscious, they just slipped into bad behavior. And, and they sort of they didn't know, before it was too late. But they never regretted what they did. And the lower circles there are in the lower circles are souls that knew perfectly well, what they did, and they did it on purpose. So their behavior is completely conscious, I know that I'm doing something that will hurt someone, or myself, but the gain of it is so strong that I'm doing it anyway. So you see, there is a difference. And none of these, neither the souls in the upper level or the lower lever, level, have, you know, asked for mercy or really gone into self conscious reflection, reflection, or, you know, asked for forgiveness. So it's not in their character, to an it was not in their character. And still, it's not in their character, while they are in Inferno to, to say I'm sorry, to ask for forgiveness, or to reflect upon their own behavior. And so it's, it's when done to meet these people, they it's sort of the reader's reflection together with Danta. And, first of all, it's his guide, Virgil, who actually explains what I'm telling you now, you know, gives an explanation about Okay, so this, you hear you meet this, do you want to speak? Well, that one? Yes, he's behaving like this. And there's so Virgil is helping him to understand and do his own reflection. And on a symbolic level, this is done this own reflection, journey. So he meets all the soul. But what I perceive of this big text is that it's a growth for himself. So that these souls mirror different tendencies that he himself as a human being has, okay? When he meets the lazy, for instance, he is reflecting they are reflecting back his own tendency to be lazy, and to not care about this, and this and this and this. So, in a way, it's his own. All the souls mirror back something of himself. And what is interesting is that he's changing behavior while he's walking down, and then up again, Purgatory Mountain, which has another kind of character and content. He is changing. And I think that when you come into this text, you start to start to As this is my experience thoughts that started to change you as a reader.

Jannecke Øinæs 20:06

Yeah, cuz I wanted to. Or to understand this material, I think it's important also to include the other parts, the Purgatory and Paradise. So purgatory, I know you've looked at that a little bit, as well, from dauntless writing, that souls who are regretting, correct, yeah. And in paradise as well, of course, Paradise, we know what paradise is. So would you say that part of it is a metaphor, or sort of an explanation of what might happen to us when we die? Like I'm thinking about Bardo, on the Egyptian understanding of what what happens when we die, that they really prepared for death, they knew they were going to go through stages. Now, I don't really believe in Hell and Purgatory. But I do believe that we can create sort of a hell for ourselves, which is symbolic. But you probably reflected about this. And I think that many, many could have understood it as Oh, that's what happens when we die. What do you think?

Kristin Flood 21:21

Personally, I've written books about, you know, inner development, self development, and what is consciousness and, and all these topics for years. So I, of course, I have these glasses in front of me. So for me personally, it's not a poem about what happens after we die. But I have complete respect for the people who reads this. And for instance, in a Christian context, that can have this kind of understanding of the poem. For me, it's much more interesting to read this in an in a way that I can that where I can relate this to my own life, today, and what it means to be stuck, for instance, in hell, because the souls that are stuck in Hell, they don't, they don't get out because they are so hard headed. And they are stuck with their own, you know, mindset. And they don't, they don't move because they're stuck in there. And they're stuck in their own tendencies in their own behavior, bad behavior, and they don't want to look at themselves. They don't want to challenge themselves. They think they are right, basta. So then you get stuck. And where do you get stuck, you get stuck in a sort of hellish life.

Jannecke Øinæs 22:57

Hell on Earth, yeah.

Kristin Flood 22:59

Hell on Earth, and you complain all the time, but you don't want to change. You continue to complain, and everything is bad, and everything is bad. And you repeat this, and this is, you know, a sign that you are stuck or that you don't want to move further. But to move further, as dantas says, You have to be willing to challenge yourself and look at these tendencies, which are actually our shadows. As Carl Gustav Jung said, we all have shadows, some have more, some have less. And Dante's teaching me that we have to become aware, more aware, and we can actually study them to get free, aware of our shadows, aware of our shadows, to become free from them. Because when light comes in, we know that from the Norwegian fairytales we have the trolls, you know, and the trolls, where do they live? They live inside the mountains in the darkness. But when the trolls get outside in the sunlight, you know, they get destroyed, they melt or crack or they burn or they whatever. It's it's, you know, it's the ending point on the troll. So that means when when you put this tendencies out in the light my tendencies out in the light become conscious of them, they can actually start to melt and that's the process or maturity. So what So what does the teaches me? Specifically, in this part, which is infernal is what are the tendencies that are inside all human beings? Can I get more conscious about these tendencies? Can I look at how I am behaving in a lazy way? Is that good for me? No, it's not. It's not. Virgil, Virgil, his guide says that you Danta, you are given a life by, you know, the divine or whatever you call it, you are given a life, and how you use it is your choice, if you want to use it in a beautiful way, or you want to follow your shadows or your dark sides, that's your choice.

Jannecke Øinæs 26:06

No judgement.

Kristin Flood 26:09

No, in a sense, it's my responsibility. So it comes down to a responsibility, and the consequences of a certain behavior is also a kind of responsibility. You know, so it's, it's not judgment in the classical sense. That's why I think the, all these souls have a kind of punishment, but it's not done to never use this word punishment. He uses a very special word in Italian is called contra pasa, which means a sort of consequence of your own behavior. If I should translate it to my daily life, it would be that if I say yes, to my dark tendencies to my shadows, here in this life, I will have a consequence, it will have a consequence in my life. So, you know, it's, it's, it can be subtle. But what is interesting with this work, is that you can actually use it as a study project, to study yourself to grow. And this was completely unexpected to me, or to you when you read the material. Yeah, completely unexpected.

Jannecke Øinæs 27:53

I just had a thought. Now I, again, I haven't written or read the other parts. So just read a little bit of of your book, which is brilliant, by the way, and it's pretty deep. So I'm reading it carefully and slowly. But it seems like there is a roadmap here to personal development, it seems like it's a long course, and sort of how to meet yourself how to self develop how to grow, because the end is paradise. Right? So it seems like the more we're aware of our shadows, like the first part, we're not aware of our shadows, and then we become more aware, like in Purgatory, and then we come to paradise.

Kristin Flood 28:35

Yes, true. This is how I understand it. But what is fascinating with the work of Dante, is that it can be perceived, received, in many ways, because he never made any comment on this. For 700 years, we have an enormous material in the literature, of comments. So what we have today is his original text, which is actually a story with another story full of symbols, a story full of images, a story that is dramatic, and it's subtle, and it's it has so many levels, and it has many levels of understanding. And in Italy, where they know this very well since you know, since he wrote it, there are groups that can that understand it in an academic way, in a historical way. Then they interpret the historical details. Then there is another group that are that's fascinated by the mythology and the you know, the references to the bye But for instance, there's another group that is, you know, more interested in the esoteric part of it is very deep, esoteric tradition around dantas work, especially in Florence, where he lived. So you can put on different glasses, you know, and look at this text, and something will come back to you. So, that's the magic part of it. I never thought that a piece of classical literature that is normally perceived, as you know, as a piece of classical literature could have this kind of impact.

Jannecke Øinæs 30:50

Yes, that part I found very interesting. I always love transformational stories. And I know there was a time in your life where you had an accident and you hurt your arm. And this Dante book magically sort of appeared in your home, or like it was there, but it was sort of a coincidence that you started reading it, and it actually changed you. So could you share that story?

Kristin Flood 31:20

Yes, I would love to. I am half Italian. So my mother is was Italian. And my gran parents, also were Italians. And but I was brought up in Norway. And I had this terrible ski accident in the Alps in 2011. And I had a surgery, I my arm broke, my shoulder broke, I didn't know that arm was just, you know, all bandaged. And after the surgery and everything, and I had terrible, terrible weeks and months after this accident. And one night, maybe a couple of months after the accidents. I woke up one night with an impulse. And I went out in my living room, picked up a book out of the bookshelf. In the dark, I couldn't see what book it was. And I just went back to bed and put the light on, open the book. And all I saw it was Dantec, allegories, inferno. And this was a book that I hadn't got as a present from my grandfather, Italian grandfather, and it was full of, you know, small drawings and words and notes that he had done. And I thought, What am I going to do now I feel so terrible. And why this book is the most difficult book I have in my bookshelf. And then came another voice, sort of in my head, another thought that said, but maybe you're going to learn about how it is to survive in infernal because you're actually living in a kind of state of fear and panic about your life. And you don't know where it's going to lead.

Jannecke Øinæs 33:40

I must just add that Kristin, you're a famous writer in Norway, and you've written so many books. And of course, when you can't use your arm.

Kristin Flood 33:51

It was my right arm, my writing arm. I'm a freelancer. It was my working tool. Also. That's right. So, so and but then this situation was so curious and bizarre. And I was actually quite, I had a kind of wake awake moment where I thought, Okay, let me just have a look. Is there something for me is done. They're coming, telling me something important in this moment of being crisis. And I knew just a little bit about this poem, but I had tried to read it because my mother was very much fascinated by it. And my grandfather was in but I didn't know anything, really about it. So I started to wanting to understand what was this story about and I started to read, and that the complexity of this very difficult text. The reason of the complexity is that you have to read the footnotes while you read the verses to get a real understanding, and the footnotes are the comments, that writers and commentary, you know, that has been written for centuries, and that explain the details inside each verse. So I started to Kunos with with this very kind of study, approach, student approach, I started to see more of the richness and the details inside this journey. And I was sort of drawn into it slowly, step by step, or saw a little bit more, a little bit more and the images came, I could relate to this, you know, the journey inside inside the earth. And I thought there was something really fascinating about this. So after a while, I think it was maybe three, four months, said this, this is so fascinating, I want to remember, but I cannot write I cannot take notes, because my arm did not function. So I said, Okay, I have to find a way to take notes where it goes really slowly. And I thought maybe I should just play with it. And I was very fascinated by dantas own rhyme. He in His original in Italian, there is rhythm, and rhyme in the language, rhythm and rhymes pulls you in, in a different way than prose. So I was pulled into the story also by the rhythm and the rhyme. So I thought, Okay, I'll just play with it with rhythm and rhyme in Norwegian. And I thought that was a real challenge. But I couldn't tell anyone. So I started to rewrite the story in rhythm and rhyme in Norwegian. And I couldn't stop. So after my shoulder was, you know, recuperated again, and it started working again. And I could write in normal way, I continued to work with this text. And it took me about 10 years to finish a text completely.

Jannecke Øinæs 38:08

Yeah, it's a brilliant amount of work you've done. And tell us a little bit about how it changed you emotionally and physically?

Kristin Flood 38:18

Well, what I detected and noticed was that just a few months after I started, I really psychologically, I started to feel better, I had more access to my vitality, I was not so much closed into fear, and depression. And it was like, some kind of light came into my life hope, and that I could still dive into and be enthusiastic about a project that was only mine, and that I had no plans to publish or anything. It was a kind of project, very secret, intimate project that I had with myself, and where I had, and I understood also that it became almost like a meditation practice or a writing practice, an inner practice, where I was in my chamber daily, or almost every day, for maybe one hour or two. And I had this relationship with Danta in my little secret chamber, and it was very holy. It became a kind of holy secret place for me of intimacy and knowledge and growth. And I just love to be there I changed really changed my my, not only during my, you know, difficult period with my arm, but this quality of being in that sacred place with something that was only mine gave me certain kind of joy and satisfaction and also a feeling of really gratefulness to having been shown the depth and the speed and the richness of this poem.

Jannecke Øinæs 40:51

But did you understand yourself better when reading the poems?

Kristin Flood 40:54

Absolutely. Because every time that I met, and I went with Danta and Virgil, down there, and every time I met one of the characters that he interviewed, I started my own reflection about my own, for instance, greediness when he meets the, in the level of the greedy souls, I started to reflect on greediness where I saw my own greediness in my life, where I could detect greediness around me. And, you know, it's sort of open the different. Yeah, the different sins as we call them in Christian language, the seven sins and shadows in the spiritual language shadows in the spiritual language, which makes it so much more relevant to our own and not so fearful. So we can actually have the courage to look at them, and that there are different levels of greediness, of course. And sometimes they get Yeah, like shadows, they you don't see them because they're in the shadow. They yet invisible.

Jannecke Øinæs 42:23

But do you think that the reason why the light came into your life, you got more hope? Because you were in a panic state? What am I going to do? You know, my knee, my arm? I can't, right? What am I going to live? By doing that when you went through your shadows that the light came in, because you started seeing them, and you started accepting them?

Kristin Flood 42:49

I think it's a process that still goes on, because I started into in 2011. Now we are in 2024. And this whole text is still alive within me. And these characters from Inferno, they come back, sometimes this character, sometimes that character. And now since I published the book, I'm traveling around, I'm giving talks, I'm doing performances with music, I'm doing so many things with this material, so the material is still alive, in me. So it's a constant reminder about why where, where is my path, and watch out so I don't slide into the shadows, the darker parts, and I also see it outside in my in society, how easy it is, to get drawn into these shadows, if we are not aware, and most people are not very much aware of these tendency that we all have. Sometimes we, we, you know, we it's a cultural aspect, sometimes it's a character that is linked to our upbringing to our family. And the whole work of becoming aware of your own behavior is so much linked to your spiritual growth to become free, actually, free from the ego pattern, free from these shadows, so that you can become more authentic and true. And also, let let the best parts of the human being become man First, and that's, you know, the souls that Dante finds in paradise. Those are the souls that had the capacity in life, to manifest the most beautiful parts of the human being, you know, love, friendliness, tolerance, all the most beautiful parts, and we all have them. But there are shadows inside us that we have to work our way through.

Jannecke Øinæs 45:42

And in the book or the poem, the long poem, Dante actually shows a way to do that when he meets these animals like, right at the beginning, could you share a little bit about that?

Kristin Flood 45:55

Yes. The first part of the story of Inferno is very famous, especially in Italy, if you ask someone in the street, can you please, you know, tell me about Dante's Inferno, or Dante's work are the Divine Comedy, everybody will know because they, they got in, in, in their education in school. And so the journey starts in this dark forest. And on the way through this forest, he the after a very short, while he meets these three wild animals. They represent their symbols, that's trying, they are trying to stop him to go forward. And to get out of this darkness. And the first animal is leopard, a cat like a wild animal, full of patches. And that's the first one and he gets really scared because he cannot pass this animal. And then right after a huge lion, comes out of the forest and stands in front of him, and also have threatened him the same way. And he gets so scared, and right after that comes a third wild animal, a wolf. And the lion represents the urge for power. And for arrogance and feeling better, feeling better than other people wanting to, you know, have a power position in, you know, with other people, and the wolf is the symbol of greediness, the greediness that we all have, that is a kind of hunger that never gets relaxed, or satisfied. So these are the symbols for our tendencies. So in a sense, in the first song, or chapter, because there are 34 chapters in Inferno, he calls him songs because there is rhythm and rhyme. He can, sort of, in these first three animals, you find the condensed symbols of many of the other tendencies that you find down in infernal in the meetings were the souls that are down there. And so Virgil, his guide, he explains to Dante that you cannot, you cannot get past these animals, by yourself, this, you, they just have power over you. And you have to learn more about these tendencies to get past them, to get through them to become more mature, so that you can find your way to God to the light to the divine in paradise.

Jannecke Øinæs 49:51

So the wisdom here is that you cannot fight it. You cannot run away from it. You have to learn more about it.

Kristin Flood 49:59

Yeah. You have to learn more about it, you have to relate it to your own life and digest it. You have to see it outside, you have to see it inside. And when you do that you sort of work with it, it becomes conscious. And then you can navigate in your life with this wisdom. And you know, where better, where to step forward, we're not to step forward, because life is about Crossroads all the time, and your choice, and the responsibility you have for each choice you take.

Jannecke Øinæs 50:54

Wow, Dante was a wise man and to ask if it's relevant today, I feel is a stupid question. It feels so relevant and amazing that you have brought this forward and make made it so much accessible, especially for new agents. And hopefully, some of you guys also were inspired to check it out in your language. Is there something you would like to say at the end? Like, what was your biggest insight from this material?

Kristin Flood 51:27

First of all, I want to say something about what you just said, now, because I did this re written, I rewrote the story, as a bridge to the original. Because I really want to underline that the original is daunting. It's long, it's complex. And I would be so happy if this could inspire, you know, a reader to go forward and really go into the original stuff. I'm making a light version, just to inspire you so that you can work with dantas own text or the translation of his own text.

Jannecke Øinæs 52:18

But it's only in Norwegian, right?

Kristin Flood 52:19

This is only Norwegian now. But you can also find it easier. I mean, in English, I know. There has been publications that are easier versions of Danta that you can start with just to have an idea, what is this about? And then take step by step further, and go into his original after that.

Jannecke Øinæs 52:48

So your biggest insight, like one thing from Dante that just that just were awe inspiring?

Kristin Flood 52:59

Ah, the biggest insight, I think, is that this is a text that is just more than a text. I have been curious about this. With texts, since I'm a writer. What does a text do with you? How does text interfere in your own life. And I know that specially sacred texts, like the Bible, or Bhagavad Gita, in India, or certain sacred texts have something more than only the words and the images, and the and the message, they have a quality of something more,

Jannecke Øinæs 53:52

Again, energy or force or.

Kristin Flood 53:56

I don't know, a kind of frequency that is transmitted. And I have become very much aware the last 1015 years that certain texts has a very subtle frequency. So that when I read the text, I also drink something else together with a text. So I think this is my personal impression. But one of the insights for me personally, that was maybe the most surprising was that this text that I thought was an intellectual, academic, historical literary text. For me, it's actually much much more than that. And that I can drink a little bit of it. In my daily practice, So yeah, I really enjoy that kind of nourishment. That's a beautiful thing.

Jannecke Øinæs 55:10

This has been so interesting to learn about the case. And thank you so much for putting it out there for more people to discover. And I have three questions that I ask all my guests. And the first one is what is self love to you?

Kristin Flood 55:27

Self love is really a matter of taking care of me, of my own life, my thoughts, my emotion, and my body, and my intellect. So that I really nourish the different parts of myself. This is self love and self respect, because I was given this life, as Virgil says to Danta, and it's my body is my temple, that's where my soul lives. And my intellect is something that I have worked with, true through my life, I'm invested in it, and my emotions, they give me a dimension that is beautiful in my life, and all of these parts I need to take care of, with love and with respect. So that's my answer to you.

Jannecke Øinæs 56:35

Such a beautiful answer. What is happiness to you?

Kristin Flood 56:42

Happiness is there are different levels of happiness, I think that happiness can be you know, spontaneous, and glimpses and connected to situations and relations and you no specific separate things, then I feel that there is another, I perceive that there is another level of happiness is more like and current that lies underneath the surface, that you can get in touch with, that is not so out. Spoken, it's not so expressive, it's more a happiness, that is a kind of ground that you step on, and that you navigate in. And that's a kind of more a silent kind of happiness. And this kind of happiness, is something that other people will detect without really knowing what it is. And it's somebody, if you meet someone that has this happiness in their background, or in their, you know, ground system, you will get some thing of it because it's contagious. So that's another kind of happiness.

Jannecke Øinæs 58:31

Lovely, and the biggest one of them all, what is the deeper meaning of life, from your perspective?

Kristin Flood 58:41

Meaning is very, very interesting word. And to have a relationship with this word, I think it's a base, or the basis of having good health, in their health. Now they have, you know, I'm, I'm very much fascinated by Viktor Frankl, the Austrian psychologist, Si, Psych doctor. And he wrote a lot about meaning and the matter how important it is to have the sensation of meaning. But I think meaning is more an experience than an intellectual explainable idea, in the sense that we can have these experiences that we just feel that this makes sense to me. It's just you perceive it, you can feel it in your whole system that this makes sense. Yes, it has a meaning it makes sense. Everything's comes together. I have an insight It makes so much sense. This is an experience. It's not an idea. And this is what I believe, is important, because there is a vitality. And there is a sense of being alive. And the sense of really being alive. Now, present in this moment, because we only have this moment. This is the true for me, it's the truest interpretation, maybe or explanation of meaning.

Jannecke Øinæs 1:00:40

I was very nice. I was just thinking about when he said, we only have this moment. And I'm thinking, I'm sharing this moment with you. And we have all our lives behind us, and a life ahead of us. But in this moment, we are the most important for each other, because we're only in this moment together, like this is what existing right now. And that's quite holy,

Kristin Flood 1:01:03

Yes, it is very holy, because we cannot go to the past, now we can go to the images of the past, we cannot go to the future. It's just some images we have in our head. So where can we be, we can just be here, you and me in this moment. It is holy.

Jannecke Øinæs 1:01:25

And I was basically wrapping up this interview. But I just remember you told me about this mystical experience in Norwegian interview many years ago. And you were in a theater and I just would love for you guys to to hear it as well. So would you like to share it?

Kristin Flood 1:01:42

Yes, it's fine. It was before I really started to made it meditate and started my inner journey. And I was invited by a friend of mine, to a theater play in Oslo in the centre of Oslo in sort of avant garde theater is called black box. And I thought also about this name later on. Because when the light switched off, and the seconds before the actors came on stage, a sort of the whole theater opened up into something completely new. And I everything was black, but it was so rich, like black velvet, like a little bit like universe. And inside this black space, I just, I didn't hear. I just perceived everything said inside me that everything happens right now. And I thought it was a very strange thing. And then I sat with this unexplainable kind of insight, I didn't understand it. And then the tip theater play started and it sort of, you know, my mind came into other things. But in the evening, and the day after, I had this experience in my body, and in my mind about about this sentence, everything happens now. So I slowly, slowly, slowly started to unwrap it. And when I started to journey in my inner landscape, slowly step by step, I understood the depth of it. And I saw that it was a kind of truth that just broke through with all its power in that moment.

Jannecke Øinæs 1:04:25

Well, so you know, all our history. Everything that is happening in the past is actually happening right now and the future is happening right now. It's mind blowing, right?

Kristin Flood 1:04:34

It is. It is it's too big for our little mind to understand, but we can touch it. And it makes us alive in a certain way. When we you know, go close to it and open up for it.

Jannecke Øinæs 1:04:53

Yeah, open up for the mysteries. I think that makes life more magical. Thank you so much Kristin for being here today and for again writing this amazing material.

Kristin Flood 1:05:05

Thank you to you Jannecke for inviting me.

Kristin Flood – Official site
Previous interview with Kristin Flood: The Hidden Mystery of Venice


The book Dante’s Inferno by Dante Alighieri
The book Dantes Inferno by Kristin Flood (in Norwegian)
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