First Norse Temple Being Built In Iceland After A Millennium

By R. Siva Kumar - 03 Feb '15 09:56AM
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Of late, Norse followers see pagan stories as "metaphors for life" rather than worship of the gods. Hence, high priest Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson and fellow members of the Asatru Association regularly attend a function at the Pingvellir National Park near Reykjavik, according to theguardian.com.

So it's also time to create the first major temple to the Norse gods, since the Viking age. Icelanders will soon be able to publicly worship at a temple dedicated to Thor, Odin and Frigg even as the temple begins to be put up.

It was one millennium ago that the Norse religion was overtaken by Christianity. Yet currently, it is reviving 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 Orn Hilmarsson, high priest of ásatrúarfélagið, which is a body 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."

Hence, in the last decade, three times more members have joined Asatruarfelagid, totaling 2,400 members last year, out of a total population of 330,000, according to data from Statistics Iceland. The temple will be circular and will go four metres (13ft) down into a hill that overlooks the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, having a dome that filters the sunlight.

"The sun changes with the seasons, so we are in a way having the sun paint the space for us," Hilmarsson said.

You can get married here, or conduct a funeral, if you are Icelandic. Children too can get named here, while teenagers could be initiated, just like other religious communities.

The neo-pagans of Iceland still celebrate the ancient sacrificial ritual of Blot, conducting activities related to music, reading, eating and drinking, although slaughter of animals is not conducted.

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