Iceland to build brand new Norse temple in Reykjavík

It seems that the rites of the old Norse mythology haven’t quite faded away completely in Iceland, where plans for a construction of an Asatru shrine to the Norse gods are just about to become reality as soon as possible.

Although Christianised around a thousand years ago, a sizable minority of the Icelanders who gave up their once polytheistic ways of worshipping gods like Thor or Odin seemed to have changed their minds in the meantime.

Kirkjufell waterfall on Snæfellsnes peninsula, southwestern Iceland. Image source: www.unsplash.com

So it is that in Iceland it will be completely legal in the near future to worship the Norse gods and participate at a Norse ritual at a specific Viking Age-like shrine. A form of Norse paganism known as ‘Asatru’ gained more and more ground in Iceland since the early 2000s, with a current membership of 2,400 believers according to the Icelandic national statistics.

Although 2,400 worshippers wouldn’t be something significant at first glance, it should be mentioned that Iceland’s total population does not surpass 330,000 inhabitants and that the vast majority of the Icelanders reside in Reykjavík, the capital city.

The Norse shrine will have a circular shape and will be located on a hill top in Reykjavík. There will be various ceremonies, rituals, weddings and funerals held at this Viking Age temple, just as these Norse customs unfolded a thousand years ago. Even though the Norse rituals are still celebrated by the Asatru Neo-pagan Icelanders, these ceremonies will leave out animal sacrificing and so, contrary to what people may initially think, there will luckily be no more bloodshed involved.

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