Afterlife is not a strange definition to many religious beliefs. The belief in afterlife is believed to empower the followers for there will be another life after death. In the Viking belief, their souls would travel to certain places after their death. That final destination would depend on how they spent their life. Viking Afterlife revolved around three places Valhalla, Folkvangr, and Helheim.
Valhalla: Viking Afterlife All Warriors Desired
If you are a fan of Norse mythology and the Vikings or simply the fan of Norse themed blockbusters, you are likely to hear the word “Valhalla”. Valhalla was the Hall of the Slain up in Asgard. Odin the Viking Supreme God ruled over this Hall.
Because of its close connection with Odin and gods, Valhalla was presumably the place full of glory and light. The roof of Valhalla was full of shining shields and the spears for the rafters. Inside Valhalla were endless feasting tables for the warriors.
The warriors that dwelled in Valhalla were the Einherjar. Their appearance up in Valhalla had specific purpose. When the brave Viking warriors died in their battles, they stood the chance of being selected to the dwell in Valhalla. The Valkyries who were Odin’s female helping spirit would be there and pick those warriors to Valhalla. Up in the Great Hall, they would fight each other during the day and feast during the night. Life up there was what other Vikings envied.
Because of the deeply ingrained belief of afterlife in Valhalla, the Vikings would be always willing to fight until their last breath. Because only the brave warriors who died honorably could earn an entrance to Valhalla.
Folkvangr the Field of Goddess of War
Folkvangr was the Field of Glory. The place was presided over by Freya Goddess of War. However, there was no specific location for Folkvangr.
In fact, Odin and Freya shared half of their warriors. This meant half of them came and dwelled in Valhalla with Odin while others came to Folkvangr with Freya.
The reason why Odin and Freya had warriors for themselves was related to Ragnarok. This was the preparation for Ragnarok the event that Norse gods would fight against the giants. The warriors that dwelled with Odin and Freya would take gods’ side and fight along their gods until they fell.
Helheim the Definition of Grieve
Helheim was the place full of darkness and sorrow in Norse mythology. Hel the daughter of Loki was the Queen of the Helheim land. Since she was a little girl, Gods banished Hel into the land of Helheim. Deep under the Helheim, Hel grew her authority and power and became the Queen of the Death.
According to the myth, anyone whose destination was Helheim had to suffer their. They would no longer feel joy and happiness. Everything in Helheim was dull and dark. Anyone that came to Helheim couldn’t escape their fate, even Baldur Odin’s Son.
In Ragnarok, there was no mention of Hel’s appearance. However, Nidhogg the serpent-like dragon carried the corpses into the battles. The dead took the side of the giant battling against the Gods.
Needless to say, Helheim was the least favorite Viking Afterlife.