Previous estimates, of Iceland’s new main Asatru temple (Called a “hof“.) was estimated to be completed by the summer of 2016. However, now the construction will likely be done in spring 2017. The construction started in March of 2015, right after the last year, where Asatru, as a religion, had finally formally been recognized by Iceland’s lawmakers. The new date is considered a more “realistic” one now, as chieftain Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson of the Ásatrúarfélagið (“Asatru Association”, the organization putting up the temple.) has commented.
The construction is going great on the supernatural level according to Hilmar:
Everything has gone extremely well. The supernatural beings are on our team, as we gave them copious amounts of súrmjólk (sourmilk) and beer. We were sensitive to their needs and they seem to be happy.
The main temple is being built to bring harmony in nature and with the Nordic gods. According to the temple’s designer, Magnus Jensen, it will be based on the golden ratio and sacred geometry. This hof will employ the holy numbers 9 and 432,000, while marking the seasonal path of the sun. (How it looks, aesthetically, is a very important consideration to the overall design.) It will be built next to a hill. The oval shape temple, will even be able to catch rainfall to form pools on the floor. (Prior to the temple’s construction, the last hof was destroyed in Uppsala in Sweden in the year of 1070 with the insurgence of Christianity.)
The new main hof will be open to all people of any race, religion, creed, gender, but will serve primarily the Ásatrúarfélagið religious needs. (Prior to the hof, the Ásatrúarfélagið has only been doing outside ceremonies in summer.) The temple will provide adherents with with access to a variety of community rituals, not just on the solstices and equinoxes. But also blots, or feasts, marriages, coming of age rituals, and name giving ceremonies. Ásatrúarfélagið will even perform same sex marriage ceremonies.
Asatru, sometimes called “Heathenry”, is a contemporary pagan religious movement, or religion, where the adherents seek to resurrect the pre-Christian religion of the Germanic or Nordic people. It is primarily polytheistic, and animist, and focuses on Nordic gods such as Odin, Freya, Thor, and Tyr. The religious movement has it’s origins romantic movements of the 18th and 19th century, which died down in World War II. In the 1970’s, a new Heathen movement sparked up in different places.
Among the new movement was Ásatrúarfélagið, which was founded in 1972. Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson was the first of the leaders, he died in 1993. The high priest in his place, Jörmundur Ingi Hansen, led the association from 1994-2002. Afterwards, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, took his place. During these decades the association has seen considerable growth. Even today, there is an ever increasing amount of people joining the group, as paganism itself grows. Asatru itself, already boasts more than 3000 members in Iceland.
Ásatrúarfélagið does not claim any fixed dogma, no sacred text, or even an official founder. The association is largely decentralized and non-authoritarian. Their primary focus is on Icelandic and Nordic beings and gods, with rituals and lore. It is consider pantheistic, technically. The association, however, accepts all religions, and even has a few Wiccan members because it has no real dogma.
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