Ásatrú, the old Norse Paganism is the fastest growing and largest non-Christian religion in Iceland

The religious practices and convictions of Icelanders have been undergoing rapid changes in the past years. The most recent data from Registers Iceland shows that Icelanders continue to turn their backs on the National Church of Iceland. At the turn of the century 89% of Icelanders were members of the National Church. This figure has dropped down to 65.6%.

Read more: Icelanders abandon National State Church, as old pagan Ásatrú continues to grow

At the same time the old Nose paganism Ásatrú is doing well. According to the latest figures from Registers Iceland 4,375 people belonged to the two separate pagan congregations, the small Reykjavíkurgoðorð (26 people) and the much larger Ásatrúarfélagið (4,349). Currently 1.2% of the population belongs to the pagan congregations. This makes the old pagan religion of the Vikings not only the fastest growing religion in Iceland, but also the largest non-Christian religion.

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Happily Heathen: The Positives and Negatives of Dedicating to a Deity

As my name implies, I am dedicated to the Vanic Goddess Freya and consider myself Her daughter. My spiritual path has always been guided by a desire for a direct, personal relationship with deity (not unlike that of the Christian or Sufi mystics), so my relationship with Freya is as close as, if not closer than, my relationships with my family members and my partner.

However, my relationship with Her is also closer than my relationship with Her brother Freyr, to whom I’m also dedicated. My relationship with Him is much newer and less intense, and fills a different role in my spiritual life. There are a wide range of levels of devotion and types of devotion among devotional polytheists. (I would argue that this kind of relationship, by default, has to be one of our most idiosyncratic of practices.) Just like relationships between humans, relationships between humans and deities–even devotional or dedicated relationships–can vary greatly. Just as you can be involved in a many different friendships for a variety of reasons, so can people be devoted with the Gods in many different ways. The experiences and opinions I share here are really only reflective of me and my relationship with Freya, who has been my primary Goddess.

When I first started working for her, I was full of zeal and love for Her and I couldn’t really figure out why everyone did not want to honor Her and devote themselves to Her. (Laine deLaney of The Lady’s Quill wrote a lovely description of Her here.) ….

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