Themes in Norse Mythology: Death
What we as the people in the modern time hold dear is not really the system of belief that the Vikings once kept for their society. But one of few things that I find similarity is the belief of death.
People are born, brought up, and die. We all know what happens in our life but have no idea about what will happen after we die. That’s what makes death more mysterious.
In the Viking community, they believe there were more than two afterlives for the deceased, namely Valhalla, Hel, Folkvangr.
The most wanted place to go to after death was Valhalla. Viking saga had it that when a warrior died on the battle, he could come to Valhalla with the Valkyries Odin’s female helping spirits. Life in Valhalla was what they desired the most. Every day they could sit along the gods, feasting and chanting. They raised glasses full of ale and toasting. They would come to big yard and fight one another. Their bodies were hurt because of the blades and the axes. But then everything would be healed within a few seconds. And they would continue to feast and to chant along the great hall.
But Hel, as the name indicates, was never in the Viking favor. It was ruled over by Hel the Queen of the Underworld. This place mythologically had nothing but sorrow. All of the happy memories would be gone once someone set their foot in the land of Hel.
Only those who died a warrior death could come to Valhalla and those who died in bed because of old age and sickness only ended up in Hel. That’s one of the things that made the Vikings invincible in the battlefield.