Is Viking still a religion?

Answered by Edward Huber

Ásatrú, the ancient religion of the Vikings, is indeed still practiced today in Iceland. While it may not be as widespread as other established religions, it has experienced a revival in recent years, with an increasing number of Icelanders embracing their Viking heritage and reconnecting with their pagan roots.

One of the main reasons for the resurgence of Ásatrú in Iceland is the country’s strong sense of cultural identity and pride in its Viking history. Many Icelanders view Ásatrú as an important part of their national heritage and a way to honor their ancestors. This sentiment has been further fueled by a growing interest in Norse mythology and Viking culture worldwide.

The Ásatrú Association of Iceland, known as Ásatrúarfélagið, is the main organization promoting and representing the practice of Ásatrú in the country. It was founded in 1972 and has since gained a significant following. Today, it boasts several thousand members, making it the largest non-Christian religious organization in Iceland.

The association’s main temple, known as the Hof or the Ásatrú Temple, was completed in 2018 in Reykjavík. This temple serves as a place of worship and community gathering for Ásatrú practitioners. It is a beautifully designed building, inspired by Viking age architecture, and showcases the dedication and commitment of its followers.

Ásatrú ceremonies and rituals are centered around the worship of the Norse gods and goddesses, such as Odin, Thor, Freya, and Loki. These deities are seen as powerful forces of nature and are revered for their wisdom, strength, and connection to the natural world. Ásatrúarfélagið organizes regular blóts (rituals) and other religious events throughout the year, including the celebration of the solstices and equinoxes.

Aside from organized gatherings, many Icelanders practice Ásatrú in their own personal way, incorporating it into their daily lives and rituals. Some may choose to honor the gods through offerings, meditation, or simply by embracing the values and principles associated with Ásatrú, such as respect for nature and the pursuit of wisdom.

It is important to note that Ásatrú is not a homogeneous religion, and there is no single set of beliefs or practices that all Ásatrúar follow. Different individuals and groups may interpret and practice Ásatrú in their own unique way, based on their personal understanding and connection to the ancient Norse traditions.

While Ásatrú may not be as widespread as other religions, it is still very much alive and thriving in Iceland. The revival of this ancient Viking religion is a testament to the enduring cultural heritage and the deep connection that many Icelanders feel towards their ancestors and their pagan roots.