Check out this new tease in anticipation of the season five premiere of "Vikings." HISTORY’s hit drama series “Vikings” returns on Wednesday, November 29 at 9 PM ET/PT with a two-hour season five premiere. Season five begins with Ivar the Boneless asserting his leadership over the Great Heathen Army, while Lagertha reigns as Queen of Kattegat. Ivar’s murder of his brother Sigurd sets the stage for vicious battles to come as Ragnar’s sons plot their next moves after avenging their father’s death. Bjorn follows his destiny into the Mediterranean Sea and Floki who is suffering from the loss of his wife Helga, takes to the seas submitting himself to the will of the Gods. This season is full of startling alliances and unbelievable betrayals as the Vikings fight to rule the world. #Vikings
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Vikings = Asatru and more
With the popularity of this historically accurate (mostly) program, comes an increased interest in the spiritual traditions--dare I say "religion"--of the Vikings. First, I believe that things should be put in proportion. The Vikings were indeed the last great European power which followed the old ways, their "native beliefs." Asatru, Odinism, Heathenism, or whatever name one wants to call it, was once widespread across at least half of northern Europe and elsewhere. In other words it's not a "Viking religion," or a Scandinavian-only tradition. There was an Asutrar story in Austria, Russia, Spain, etc. Academics sometimes refer to it as "Germanic neopaganism," which is accurate if "Germanic" is used in an international Teutonic context. It probably should be noted that Asatru is not glamorized in this series, despite the newfound fascination with the Vikings and their culture.
'Odin worship of the Lombards and Benevento': Part I
'Odin worship of the Lombards and Benevento': Part II
My hope is that the increased interest in Asatru will also translate to an increased interest in other European spiritual traditions, of which there's quite a few... including multiple for the same nation or region. For example, someone asked me online what the "native belief" of Ireland was. I responded that there was Druidism and Gaelic Polytheism which were both heavily connected to Irish history. Also, there were several forms of ancient witchcraft which existed there deep into the ancient world; as well as the impact of Asatru. That impact wouldn't be just from the Vikings, but from other sources. There were earlier Teutonic movements. Also, there has long been a cultural linkage between Ireland and Iceland. Of course, this is just one of many regional examples.
Think outside the box! Using the above example of multiple regional traditions, or for those who have multiple European heritages, one could decide to describe themselves as "Asatru with Gaelic influences" (or Druidic). I could describe myself as "Stregheria with Asatru influences" (or Etruscan, Gaulish, Roman, Druidic, Cernic, Aradianist, etc.). Everything doesn't absolutely have to be one-thing! Some Freemasons in the UK over the years, have considered themselves something unofficially as "Druidic Freemasons." I also believe that one should really only accept one primary path. Another phrase describing the beliefs of a native-believer is "radical traditionalism."