Sunday, April 21, 2013

'Vikings' series on History Channel portrays an Odinic culture: Part 3

This evenings episode eight--entitled 'Sacrifice'--portrayed Odinic spirituality in a big way. As members of the clan were making their way through a wooded mountain range, and having finally made it to the top of a peak, a fabulous and mysterious looking building could be seen on top of a peak in the distance. I may be mistaken, but I believe that these buildings are called "hofs." I know that there are hofs dedicated and named after gods, goddesses, ancestors, or important individuals. For example, "Freya's hof" would be called "Freyashof." In any case, this marvelous Norse construction was the chief center of Odinic spirituality. Various other clan groups traveled there for the occasion as well, including the king of the nation. Presumably, it was a marked or annual time for this gathering.

The inside of this building was dark even in the day, and illuminated with torches. The surrounding forest contributed to the darkness, and some parts seemed to have been open, allowing an air flow. The ceilings were high. There seemed to have been permanent "skalds"--with shaved heads, painted faces, and white robes--occupying it. Various elements and rites of fellowship with the gods and goddesses were portrayed; and, of course, it ended in human sacrifices to the gods. A common theme in most ancient religious rites, including early Christianity. The important point driven home was that the individual actually wished to be sacrificed, and it was considered an honor. It reminded me of the movie 'The Last Samurai," where men fearlessly allowed themselves to be slain.

'Vikings' has been renewed for a second season. It's pretty clear that it has been a big hit, averaging five million viewers per episode; including a fairly even age distribution. As I understand it, an average of three million viewers for a cable-satellite television network program is considered doing quite well. The season finale will be broadcast next Sunday.


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