I recently visited the wonderful Midgard Viking Festival here in Norway. Here’s my video with highlights from my stay:
For a long time now, I have been looking into the Viking psyche, trying to understand what makes a Viking and what makes a Viking so different from modern man, and I think it all comes down to one crucial personal trait.
Imagine being a child in Viking Age Scandinavia. Have you wondered what it would have been like? I often do. In fact, in order to understand a culture and a society, I find that studying those childhood years makes me able to understand the whole culture far better. After all, we all start out as children.
Have you ever asked yourself who you really are? I think you have. We all have, I guess. It’s an existential question that tend to present itself from time to time. And even after having done some serious soul searching, most of us can’t really come up with a good answer. I think I know why. The question in itself is wrong. Rather than asking ourselves who we are, we should ask where we come from. We are the result of our ancestors’ struggles and victories, their marriages and their love affairs. It is their genes we carry in our blood, and when we are born, that is all we are.
Everybody wants to be a Viking these days. But the world around us is still the same and nobody cares if you’d rather go full Norse. Since you can’t time-travel back to the Viking Age, how do you live your Viking life in the year 2016? How do you cope with the demands of modern society, when all you want to do, is to set sail and go exploring the oceans and distant continents? It seems like Viking life has no place in modern society and that your Viking lifestyle must remain something you do in your spare time with like-minded people.
Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be like that.
These days, everybody wants to be a Viking. And while I think it’s great that my ancestors’ culture is becoming increasingly popular, I feel that sometimes people are getting it all wrong. Being a Viking gets mixed up with being a Norseman or -woman. Being a Viking was a lifestyle that some Norsemen and even -women lived, while the Norse were a group of clans who shared the same culture and variants of the same language.