Thor has many fans, but for those who actually believe in him, the first major temple to Norse gods built in 1000 years will soon open up in Iceland.
The circular temple will be dug four metres into the hillside overlooking Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. It aims to serve a growing movement of Norse paganism.
Worshipping the likes of Thor, Odin and Loki gave way to Christianity some 1000 years ago, but the new believers have a champion in Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, high priest of Ásatrúarfélagið.
Data from Statistics Iceland shows that Ásatrúarfélagið’s membership tripled in the country in the past decade to 2400.
Hilmarsson was previously better known as an artist than Ásatrúarfélagið’s chief “goði” (or “gothi”). He’s a pioneer digital composer who’s worked with some of Iceland’s biggest acts, including a movie soundtrack collaboration with Sigur Rós.
Now, he’ll oversee construction starting this month on the country’s first major temple to the Norse gods since Vikings walked the land.
He told Reuters modern followers have a more grounded view of the faith.
“I don’t believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet,” Hilmarsson said.
“We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology.”
And animal sacrifice, or “blót”, is left out of the big events, but the rituals of music, reading, eating and drinking remain.