The Scandinavian summer is the time of the Viking festivals. During a few, hectic months, Viking reenactors and craftsmen come together at various places to trade, exchange stories and sit around the campfire.
These are the days of the invisible friends. And I’m not talking about supernatural beings here, not at all. Our invisible friends are those we meet through social media. Most of these people we will never meet in person, so they remain «invisible». But that does not mean they are not important.
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.
I always wanted to be a writer. I don’t think I ever doubted or questioned that I would make a living writing books. Looking back, it doesn’t even feel like a choice — it was just the path I knew I had to walk. I was a loner as a child and I started writing my first book at already as a teenager. While other kids were desperate for acceptance and just wanted to be part of a group, I was sitting in my sound-insulated loft, writing. I didn’t even tell anyone what I was doing during the first 6 years of my creative writing career. Needless to say, I didn’t have many friends. In fact, none. And I was quite happy with that.
The Norse civilization was much more spiritual than most seem to think. And while many still see the Norsemen as savage brutes, no longer is there any discussion among historians and archeologists about the fact that they were mindful about their connection to nature and the “spirit world”, which to them was basicly the same thing.
A long time ago, there was no money. There were no kings, no rules and no borders. We lived as hunters and gatherers, and we were free. Yes, at times life was hard. Death could come swiftly. But no matter what kind of misfortune life threw in our faces, we were free. And there were times when we thrived and even had time for art and music.
We are fascinated by the Viking mentality. Their fighting spirit and their tenacity seem to have captivated the attention of an entire generation. And while I believe most people don’t really get who the Vikings were, I also believe that those of us who work with this historical era every day, need to be inclusive and stop judging people for their lack of knowledge. Even archeologists I know hesitate to call themselves experts on this subject. It’s so clouded by centuries of monotheistic dogma that it’s only now that we are really beginning to understand the Viking world.