This piece of article is a basic guide to those who want to get a very brief yet precise overview of Norse mythology. In this blog post, we attempt to answer “What is Norse mythology?”.
Before the Norse or the Vikings converted (or were made to convert) themselves into Christian, they strictly practiced their Norse pagan belief. And this pagan belief stemmed from the Norse mythology as we call it today. Their religion back then was as beautiful as the Scandinavian landscape. The stories from Norse mythology did explain the way of Viking thinking and the values that they held dear.
The mythological stories revolved around Norse Pantheon. For example, Odin the Allfather, Thor God of Thunder, Loki the Trickster, or Freyr God of Summer and Fertility.
Those who practiced Norse religion didn’t have a name at this time. Even the Vikings back then didn’t call themselves Vikings. And after the Christianization, those who still committed to Norse religion were “Heathen” originally meaning “who lived on heaths”.
The goal of many religion is to seek salvation and freedom from the world full of sorrow and brief. This is merely a part of Norse religion. The major goal of Norse religion is to empower the followers. Then they feel the presence of Gods nearby to overcome life challenges.
Indeed, they also sought for salvation and that’s why there was a Valhalla Hall of Fallen Warriors in Asgard.
Some of us might feel what the Vikings used to hold dear was abnormal. Or it went completely against the concept of civilisation. However, the point is that we are yet to open our mind to accept the Norse religion as the way it deserves. First, we temporarily forget our concept of civilisation. Then we learn that Norse mythology. Norse religion was just human quest to live life along with transcendent majesty and sacred joy.
For the Vikings, the world they were living in was masterpiece created by their gods and their gods were present with them. That’s why salvation was just a small aspect in Norse religion. Cool thing is that Norse gods were not perfect or idolized and they somewhat resembled the humanity. Norse religion didn’t sugarcoat the negative facets of life. Instead, it acknowledged and praised the attempt to live with accomplishment of great actions for the sake of oneself and one’s clan.
Overall, Norse mythology is not just the story of gods and goddesses from the beginning of the cosmos to their demise. Norse mythology is also the root of Norse religion which used to be a compass for the Vikings and now the Heathens in modern times.