The hammer-wielding Thor has quite a following in our modern-day realms – courtesy of the burgeoning Marvel cinematic universe. However, the bearded god along with his father and ruler of Asgard, Odin, was also much revered around 1,100 years ago in the then-newly settled island of Iceland, along with other Scandinavian areas. But that time around, the reverence was served on a religion basis (as opposed to pop culture), and as such the Icelandic religion pertained to the Viking Age and its paganism. Also known as Ásatrú, this scope of pagan religion will once again get a small boost in the contemporary times, with a 4000-sq ft temple currently under construction along a hillside with commanding views of the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.
The neo pagan endeavor is created under the auspices of Ásatrúarfélagið, an association that promotes and fosters the original pagan beliefs of the island’s inhabitants from the early middle ages. Interestingly enough, the group has eliminated many of the controversial practices like animal sacrifice, to make it more palatable for the modern adherents. Such decisions did have their positive effect on the growth of neo paganism, with Ásatrúarfélagið currently boasting of triple the number of its original members in the last decade. However, the members have decided not to make this project an organized effort for celebrating, but rather envisaged the temple as a simple place for gathering together and worshiping peacefully.
Since we brought up the element of worship, the neo pagan temple with its circular plan and dome (along with modern elements like a south-facing glass wall and a skylight), will be dedicated to three major Norse gods – Thor, Odin and Frigg. They will still be venerated in a symbolic manner, as opposed to their physical manifestations with superhuman capabilities. This mystical scope will be accentuated by the orientation of the religious structure that will account for variant sunlight intensities inside the building during the different seasons of the year. Furthermore, contrary to the layman’s urban legends, there would be no scope for demonic or satanic worship. As Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, high priest of the Asatru religion makes it clear –
There is nothing remotely satanic or demonic in this. This is a very gentle movement on how to be a good friend, good to your family and an honorable person.
Via: Discovery News
Image Credits: REUTERS/Silke Schurack.