An Icelandic Pilgrimage: Searching for Scandinavian Roots
Pilgrimages have always been an important part of the world tradition. Welcome back to 8metals. Today we will take a ride to Icelandic Pilgrimage and search for the Scandinavian roots. So let’s take this breath taking journey.
History: Iceland is sure to drive you in a playful mood. It’s the legendary country of Vikings which is sure to drive you crazy. The country might threaten you with frozen cold, erupting volcanos and the vain search for elves. However, you are sure to forgive all this and by the time you come back, you might wish that you had a reason to stay longer perhaps a volcanic eruption. The Norwegian people long settled in Iceland and it’s their ancestral home too. Leif Erickson was the first European to visit North America. His statue stands high in downtown Reykjavik. Iceland is a place of just 320,000 people competing above it’s weight class. They have an accurate slogan for tourism calling Iceland a land of fire and ice. It’s a place where they like to multiply their natural disasters by installing glaciers on top of volcanoes. Earthquakes, lava flows, blizzards, ice storms, gale-force winds, even something called a volcano tornado, Iceland has got them all. The country is both gorgeously green and as bleak as Mordor in Lord of the Ring with cold winds that chill you and bubbling geothermal pools that warm you back up again. Iceland is also quirky, which perhaps comes from those long winters.
Spirituality in Iceland: Iceland is a realm of various Cultures and presents a contradictory spirituality. More than half of Icelanders believe in God, but only a small fraction go to church more than once or twice a year. They more specifically believe in the existence of hidden people or elves. The largest non-Christian denomination is Asatru a revival of faith in the Old Norse gods and goddesses. Even in Viking a large wooden vessel was built following the Scandinavian roots which sailed to America in 2000. If anywhere Thor and Odin are still live is surely in Iceland. The stories of Odin and Thor find a significant mention in the poetic Edda and Prose Edda.
Norse revival: The revival of the religion began in 19th century after the romantic movement in Europe. In 1972 the Icelandic government recognized Asatru as an official religion, giving it legal authority to conduct weddings and burials. DNA analysis of people who lived in Iceland at the time of its settlement in the ninth and tenth centuries have revealed that about 70 percent of the women were Celts from the British Isles. Among the four main holidays in Iceland, one honours Thor.
Holy Sites in Iceland: There are many holy sites in Iceland which trace the Scandinavian roots. For example, Thinglivlir is representative of the Icelandic tribes meeting around the year 930. The site also marks it’s geography in the fault line between the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates.
Helga fell: This is a bronze statue of the Norse God Thor which is believed to be a threshold of the afterlife. It stands in the mountain Saga and is an ancient pilgrimage site. It is believed that from here the paradise of warriors can be viewed. Till today people climb the hill to fulfil their three wishes. The Icelanders have long followed Paganism and can be traced back to Scandinavian roots. They are nature worshippers. Perhaps only because of its Scandinavian heritage, Iceland can give you a few exquisite moments of peace while looking at Valhalla.
Hope you had a peaceful reading. Stay tuned for more such jaw dropping articles. We will be back soon. Till then stay safe and healthy.