It was in 2010 when the Northern island state of Iceland hit the headlines after the eruption of a volcano that wreaked havoc on European aviation. Along with the awe of the powerful natural incident, it was also the very name of the volcano that fascinated the public: Eyjafjallajökull!
The almost unpronounceable long name of the fuming volcano was a good reminder of what Iceland really is: an amazing place with an amazing language that goes back to Old Norse, the language spoken by Vikings. It is in Older Icelandic that some of the most important Sagas have been written.
Now, Modern Iceland does not preserve only several archaic linguistics elements in its tricky to learn language. It is also in religion and lore that the Old Ways of the Viking forefathers are carried on.
Iceland is officially worshipping the Ancient Norse Gods again!
While the land had been Christianized since 1000 and the Old Gods like Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr were not venerated anymore, the Pagan traditions insisted in Iceland. Yet, it was in 1972 when adherents of the Norse religion established the organization Ásatrúarfélagið, the “Ásatrú Fellowship”. Ásatrú is the Icelandic name referring to Æsir, the principal pantheon of the Norse religion.
It is quite impressive that that number of members of the Icelandic Pagan Organization has been increasing in recent years, reaching currently 4126 active supporters. Although this may seem to be a small number, it comprises the 1.18% of the population of Iceland (around 356.000 people) and it signifies a rapid growth, since the members of the organization were just 570 persons in 2002. Wiccans of the country also participate in the Ásatrú Fellowship.
Now, Pagan Icelanders are striving to obtain their own temple. This will be the first own to be constructed in order to venerate the Norse Gods since Viking age. The temple will also serve for ceremonies such as marriages or funerals.
As reported here, after the completion of the first temple in the capital city of Iceland Reykjavik, more temples may be built across the country.
But what really attracts Icelanders into the old religion? Some say it is the spirit of individualism and personal freedom. Traditional Icelandic such as “courage, truth, honor, fidelity, discipline, hospitality, industriousness, self-reliance, and perseverance” also appeal to the inhabitants of the island.
You can also reach an English-speaking Asatru community on this page.
Along with the good news enjoy the following Pagan Icelandic song. Blessed be!