Iceland to build first temple to Norse gods since Viking age

As someone whose distant patrilineal ancestors were of Viking origin, I found this story kind of interesting:

Icelanders will soon be able to publicly worship at a shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg with construction starting this month on the island’s first major temple to the Norse gods since the Viking age.

Worship of the gods in Scandinavia gave way to Christianity around 1,000 years ago but a modern version of Norse paganism has been gaining popularity in Iceland.

“I don’t believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet,” said Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, high priest of Ásatrúarfélagið, an association that promotes faith in the Norse gods.

“We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology.”

Membership in Ásatrúarfélagið has tripled in Iceland in the last decade to 2,400 members last year, out of a total population of 330,000, data from Statistics Iceland showed.

The temple will be circular and will be dug 4 metres (13ft) down into a hill overlooking the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, with a dome on top to let in the sunlight.


It’s because of my Scandinavian heritage that I picked the username Thorolfr which is an Old Norse name meaning “Thor’s Wolf” :slight_smile:

This story is kind of odd since scholars don’t really know a lot about Old Norse religion aside from some of its mythology. But most of the rituals of the religion are unknown. Most of what we know comes from Icelandic sagas from the Middle Ages after Scandinavia had already become Christian.

Having read the stories which my ancestors wrote about their gods and the stories which the Greeks wrote about theirs, I find myself thinking that at least some of these modern pagans are creating new religions and stamping old names upon them: their Thor is not the one who was embarrassed by Utgartha-Loki’s cat; their Ares is not the hated villain of Homer.

If it was purely an exercise in historic… neatness… I’d be fine with it (sort of like recreation of Egyptian worship spaces, they’re fascinating).

The fact that some people are actually promoting this worship is… well… frankly I find it kind of depressing.

Do we even know what Norse worship spaces looked like? I didn’t think any had been found intact.

It sounds to me like an Icelandic version of Neo-Druidism.

From Wikipedia -

It’s just one more version of romanticised new-ageism, and will fall over in a heap in any real sort of crisis like white witches, crystals and all the rest.

It is very obvious we are regressing In Europe and something will fill the void the reading I have done most scholars believe there was human sacrifice of willing participants in these Norse temples

The title of the article says Iceland is building it, but in the article itself is looks like a particular group of Asatru are building it. Does anyone know which is the case?

Because it’s quite a different matter that a temple is being built IN Iceland than a temple being built BY Iceland.

I know there are nations which do build or fund churches.

*Edit, I just found another article and the temple is being built by the group itself.

I wonder if US news is treated the same way in other countries “United States is building a synagogue in Oklahoma…details at 11!”

Strange. Is it for worship or for historical reasons?

Are there people who believe in these gods? I’m assuming they will get around the human sacrifice obligation somehow.


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