Pre-Christian Norse Religion Gaining Ground in Iceland - Major Temple to Thor and Odin Under Construction

It is not likely that temples dedicated to the worship of theTuatha de Danaan will soon be a presence on the High Streets of Ireland, but it could be going in that direction in Iceland. Not to the Tuatha de Danaan of course, but to the Norse Gods Odin, Thor and Frigg. According to a recent article in the Guardian (linked below) there is a revival of the pre-Christian faith in Iceland which has reached critical mass, if you will, and now a temple is under construction. It is not hard to draw a parallel with pre-Christian Celtic beliefs. The Tuatha Dé Danaan are pre-Christian gods with supernatural ability and were an important factor in Gaelic people’s pre-Christian religious belief.

The Guardian reports under the headline “Iceland to Build First Temple to Norse Gods Since Vikings Age”, that the Island nation has seen a resurgence in Viking religious beliefs which has witnessed a trebling of membership in the neo-pagan Ásatrúarfélagið in the past decade.  There are now 2,500 members, approaching 1% of the population of  Iceland. They are now building a Temple.

The Norse temple will be a significant addition to the Reykjavík aspect with what may be a dominant presence in the city: “The temple will be circular and will be dug 4 metres (13ft) down into a hill overlooking the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, with a dome on top to let in the sunlight.”  Putting the merits of religious belief aside, it is reasonable to expect the Norse Temple to quickly develop into a major tourist attraction.

In the July 2013 article by Transceltic's Alastair Kneale:  “Celts and Vikings - Scandanavian Influences on the Celtic Countries", (linked below) Kneale cites a little known connection between what was by then Christian Celtic belief and the Norse:  “An interesting additional factor in the story of the Celts and Vikings is that of the Papar. They were early Gaelic monks whose existence is proven by archaeology and also recorded in historical Icelandic sources, the earliest of which is the Íslendingabók (The Book of Icelanders) written between 1122 and 1133. The later Landnámabók (Icelandic book of Settlements) points to how when the Norwegians started settling Iceland in 874 AD they found these monks already there”.

Viking Boathead Carving:

Viking boat head

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