Did the Vikings Believe in Supernatural Beings?
Freyja, Odin, and Thor. These are just some of the names of popular and well-known Norse characters that are popular even up to this day but have you ever wondered if Vikings actually believed in them? If you’d like to know the answer then you’ve come to the right place.
It’s quite disheartening that the people of Scandinavia didn’t write much about their culture and other vital information prior to the arrival of Christian missionaries around A.D. 800. However, despite being written down relatively late in the game (between 12th and 14th century), there were a number of tales, ballads, poems and sagas that were recorded for the world to digest. Combined with archaeological evidence, some researchers in this present century were able to analyze multiple texts from the past that revealed interesting information about pre-Christian Scandinavian beliefs.
Every society is complex to some extent and the degree of whether or not a god or gods helped facilitate changes and developments in a particular society, including the Viking society is intriguing.
According to researchers, the Viking society experienced major changes between around A.D. 750 and A.D. 1050. They started out as small tribes and became a hierarchical society of kingdoms by the end of it. However, findings from researchers suggested that these changes weren’t because of their beliefs in supernatural beings. They also suggested that they did believe that they were being watched by gods, swore oaths to them, wore helmets to represent Odin’s eye and even made sacrifices to prevent dying in awkward ways among others.
Their findings also indicated that these gods and even nondeity supernatural forces like dwarfs, elves, etc. weren’t really necessary for a society to flourish and become more complex. In fact, researchers don’t even think that they viewed gods as having a huge impact and Vikings did not consider them as the most important factor in their success or failures.
All along we thought these supernatural beings were a very important part of their everyday lives but that’s not really the case. They were actually less influential than we perceived them to be. At the end of the day, we don’t need to rely on the intervention of these supernatural beings all the time. It’s okay to believe that they exist just like the Vikings but our world doesn’t have to revolve with them all the time.