A religion that speaks to people today

Anna Margrét Björnsson

A historic event will take place next year when the first main hof, or temple, of the Ásatrú religion in a thousand years will be completed. Construction of the temple will begin in March and it will be ready in the late summer of 2016.

The Ásatrú society first applied for a site for the temple in Elliðaárdalur in Reykjavík but former Mayor Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir suggested a site in Öskjuhlíð instead, close to the University community, an idea which according to high chieftain Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson the society found appealing to further protect this national heritage.

The Ásatrú society raised the funds for the temple themselves and the estimated is cost is 130 million Icelandic kronas. The site at Öskjuhlíð was however donated by the City of Reykjavík.

Temple's design based on sacred geometry

The new temple will be situated in the beautiful woodlands near Hangiklettur(Hanging Rock) and Hrafnabjörg (Raven cliffs) and is designed by architect Magnús Jensson. It is built around the path of the sun around the earth‘s mantle and the holy numbers of 9 and 432,000 are used in the design. Interestingly, the latter figure is also a holy one in the Hindu religion, one that is, according to Hilmarsson is closely related to Ásatrú. The Golden ratio and sacred geometry play a part in the temple‘s design, just as they do in many of the worlds religious buildings.

The main part of the temple will be 350 square metres and dome shaped and will fit 25ö people. A fire will burn at one end of the space.  Hilmarsson, who is a well-known Icelandic composer who has collaborated with the likes of Sigur Rós,  is excited at the prospects of concerts in the temple dome which will have excellent acoustics. 

Honesty, tolerance and respect

Blót rituals and religious ceremonies will take place in the building, such as weddings, name giving ceremonies and funerals. The new temple will therefore make a great difference to the activities of the Ásatrú society, previously located in a small venue in Síðumúli, Reykjavík.

Hilmarsson says that the Ásatrú religion speaks just as much to people today as it did one thousand years ago. The values upheld by the religion are the individual‘s responsibility for his own words and actions. Honesty, tolerance, honour and respect  for the earth and nature are also very important values.

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