Christianity arrived in Scandinavia 1,000 years ago, overtaking Norse mythology. But Iceland is giving old-school believers a chance to worship Norse gods with a planned temple, according to a Reuters report.
Asatruarfelagid, an organization described as an association that promotes the “modern version of Norse paganism,” has had a steadily growing following recently; it's been around since 1972.
What’s interesting about this is that while they promote faith in the Norse gods such as the one-eyed Odin, the hammer-wielding Thor and the destiny-weaving Friggs (Odin’s other wife who is not the mother of Thor), their focus is on the “poetic metaphors” rather than the gods themselves.
“I don’t believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet,” said the Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, the high priest of Asatruarfelagid, referencing Odin who is well-known thanks to Hollywood portrayal of the Norse god in Marvel's Thor .
“We see the stories as a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology,” he explained
The temple will be circular and dug 4 meters into a hill overlooking the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, with a dome on top to let in the sunlight.
It is speculated that the temple will look something like this:
“The sun changes with the seasons so we are in a way having the sun paint the space for us,” Hilmarsson said.
Awe-inspiring Photos: Magnificent ‘Auroras’ Captured From The Space
Christianity never really became something Scandinavians felt so strongly about, reports The Washington Post, despite it being the official state religion in Iceland since the year 1000.
Furthermore, when it comes to Scandinavians, people have often been described to be not very religious.
Perhaps, though, this temple, which will host what can be described as religious rituals in ceremonies such as weddings and funerals, is a symbol of changing times for the region.
We wonder what Loki, the demi-god who has been known to help the gods as well as cause them trouble, would think about this.
Read: Review: 'Thor' Blows Hot And Cold