At the navel of Copenhagen, set aside the canals that divide up the city like agua roads, is a small hippie commune, or at least it used to be simply this. In ’71 when the peace and love generation was growing it’s hair longer, a small group of anarchist type free loving naturalists started to squat this little place amidst the urban jungle. Christiania turned from an army base to a rather organized commune, and the folks imagination started to show in the land. Creative buildings were going up, people were holding events, saunas, and love ins, and generally sending forth new shoots from the planted seeds of a real collective. This Christiania incarnate today
I was fortunate enough to find out about, from actually knowing nothing about it days prior to entering Denmark. It was by word of mouth from some anarchist squaters at the old Copenhagen harbor that spoke the words of this magical place, it’s rather intriguing history and it’s current life pulse.
I found myself living with these anarchist hippie types, and sleeping on one of their floats, a completely recycled boat made from tin, pallets, plastic, metal drums and others objects found in the trainyard or liberated from the dumpster and welded together. Actually these were quite sophisticated and could keep 8-10 people, depending how cozy you wanted it, and served as a floating meeting place for gatherings. The Floating City, or Flydende By in the swallowed Danish accent entered my consciousness just before leaving Norway, and I decided to join their fleet. Although there was no building underway, instead we were demolishing a brick wall, piece by piece, as part of an angreement with the boss. In the old warehouse we ate like kings, dumpster dived our food from local bins, and brought back thousands of kroners worth of decent food. Stragglers came from abroad, England, Wales, Germany, Bolivia, and together we had something that resembled a fleet of dreadlocked, muscled, free spirited guys and girls to get a lot of things acomplished. Taking hammers and chisels, bringing down large pieces of wall, then spliting up the mortar from the bricks and cleaning them off so they can be used again, the ritual continued for a slotted few hours a day, which usually preluded a picnic somewhere around Copenhagen, while some of the women cooked impeccable spicy food with the limited ingredients we could salvage. Even on a diet of what was coming from the dumpsters, we managed to store over a hundred loaves of bread, several pounds of cheese, milk, tea, milk chocolate, produce, fruits of which some were foraged from the nearby forests, flour, fish and meat, nothing was lacking.
A brother from Holland made his way over from Amsterdam, and we started to reflect ideas off each other. Before long, I had set up for two stick and poke tattoos on the boat, runes and wiccan symbols appropriately. Said Dutch friend occupied with me a ramble in Christiania on a particular slow afternoon. We hefted a bottle of Viking mead, and carolled Pusher St. for fine hashish, unfortunately the strains sought out of Afghan charas were non-existent and we settled for Moroccan. Other days spent in Christiania were during the 44th anniversary of it’s creation, where Flydende By had given some talks about the project, and other Danish/Scandinavian and global communes presented their spiel about their own cultural free spaces. On the last night, a sacred ritual was performed at the canal of Christiania, led by an Ecuadorian artist, wherein almost fifty people made talismans to offer to the fire, and were led in procession to a planting space. Then purveying the soils and waters of their own native country to the hole, an apple tree planted thereon, packed into the earth Pacha Mama with the vibrations of the drum. After dusk, the Christiania bathhouse held a special sauna ceremony, of which I partook in three rounds of the unisex sweat lodge. During the third round, a towel infused with lemongrass oils was wafted and the steam intensified. This raw, and humble experience of meeting other souls in their own skins was truly authentic, and memorable for me. A particular Swedish girl aroused some interesting convsersation as we stood in the neutral room eating sweet fruits between sessions. There was no timidity about this ritual, and in fact felt more real than what was going on outside the bathhouse. Perhaps I am only feral and primal, but I would do it again anyday.
Back at the Floating City, we had crumbled down and cleaned over one thousand bricks in one day, and held a gathering of almost 50 people inside the ruins of the industrial scrape. Two vaagbonds who called themselves Pilgrim, played a gig on the boat and a few were also line dancing. A certain goddess came into my awareness the night following who had traveled from the Redwood Coasts of California, bringing her matronly wisdom and young spirit to this project.
Our collaborations grew for there, and it was before long I had her learning tribal poke tattoos while we moongazed at the waning blood moon. Many an interesting persona was introduced to me in this commune, and my honor is given to Ask, the one who spawned the imagination for such a thing to manifest, Lily from Germany, & Victor from Spain in their affection, medicine, and company. My train of belonging had set a track in Copenhagen, Christiania, and the Floating City, and my eager mind intrigues into the future of this ever evolving panorama.