Viking Afterlife

Posted by Ms Elly on

Viking Afterlife

The Vikings were famous for their deeply-rooted belief in Gods and their belief influenced their mindset of many situations in life. Among them was the belief in their afterlife. To the Vikings, when someone passed away, they would live in other worlds where they called the afterlife. 

The Lands of Afterlife

According to the Viking traditions and sayings, there were three main places for the dead to live in: Valhalla, Folkvangr, and Helheim.

Odin would preside over Valhalla

Valhalla was the most famous palace of Odin the Allfather who was the Aesir chief god. It was known as the Hall of the Fallen. The fallen brave human warriors would gain a seat for themselves in Valhalla and would live with Odin there. Valkyries known as the Choosers of the Slain would help Odin choose the fallen warriors that deserved the seat in Valhalla.

Image of Valhalla Viking afterlife

Viking Valhalla

Those warriors were called the Einherjar. Every day, they would fight with each other and when the night fell in, their wounds would heal and they feasted the most lavish meal in Valhalla. Until Ragnarok, they would join their last battle and be foretold to fall with their Master - Odin the Allfather. 

Only the people who died honorably would be admitted to Valhalla. The honorable death of the Vikings was the death in battles or raids. 

If not Valhalla, Folkvangr welcomed the Viking warriors

Folkvangr in Norse mythology was the home of goddess Freya who came from the Vanir god tribe. Freya was the Queen of the Vanir who came to live in Asgard the land of the Aesir god tribe. Freya was the Goddess of war who shared the fallen warriors with Odin. Actually, most of the comers to Valhalla were the leaders. And the normal Viking warriors who died honorably and proudly would come to Folkvangr with Freya goddess. 

Helheim was the land of Hel the Queen

Helheim was the place that mainly associated with the dead in Norse mythology. This place was ruled by Queen Hel who was the daughter of Loki. Hel was banished to this land and she gradually built her own realm, Helheim. Anyone in the Viking age who died because of sloth, sickness, old age, etc. would live their afterlife in Helheim.

Legend had it that Helheim was nothing other than the place of sorrow and darkness. The place was also known as the underworld because it lay under the root of Yggdrasil the Tree of Life. 


The most mysterious death was the Death of Baldur. Even though he was the beloved God who spent his life with fairness and honor, he was sent to Helheim after his murder. The reason for this remains a mystery until now. However, God Baldur survived Ragnarok and came out of Helheim to construct a new world. 

Viking Afterlife and Funerals

The belief in the afterlife, indeed, deeply ingrained in the Viking way of thinking. This way of thinking motivated their actions and habits which day by day built up their traditions of the funeral. The Vikings nearly did anything to help the dead to have a better life in their afterlife. (See Viking Funerals)

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