Enormous increase in Pagan Ásatrú religion in Iceland
Members of the Ásatrú religion in Iceland conducting a ceremony for the spirit guardians of Iceland. mbl.is/Kristinn Ingvarsson
Since 2014 there has been a 50 % increase in registered members of the Ásatrú pagan religious movement in Iceland which worships the ancient Norse gods such as Ódin, Thor and Freyja.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics in Iceland, memebrs were 2.382 in 2014 and now they are 3.583.
Men are a majority of members with 2.369 men in the society and 1.214 women.
High Chieftain of the Icelandic Ásatrú movement, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson. Iceland Monitor/ Kristinn Ingvarsson
Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, High Chieftain and director of the Ásatrú movement believes that the increase in members is due to their ceremonies increasing and becoming more visible in media. "I think more people are seeing what we're doing and they like it. We do not recruit members. We just encourage people to come if they are interested. Our ceremonies are open to everyone."
Construction is well underway for the first main hof , or temple, of the Ásatrú religion in a thousand years. The temple will be ready early next year.
An Ásatrú ceremony celebrating the Winter Solstice at Öskjuhlíð in Reykjavik. Golli / Kjartan Þorbjörnsson