Ever run into one of those hyper-masculine LARP types, who make themselves into a cartoon Viking while thinking they’re reconstructing old Norse religion? These Viking wannabes go and on about Odin, Valhall, and their fighting spirit.
One of the ways to spot someone who is still a baby in the faith is that they’ll riff to orgasmic heights about how the Norse refused to a bend a knee to anyone, not even to their gods. That’s the swagger of an adolescent male who’s been reading too much fantasy. This post is for them.
Do your research. Our Norse ancestors had a culture easily recognizable as a relative of other old European cultures. Bowing and prostrating was a thing.
Here’s a link to get you started. You want the list Bowing and Prostrating as Worshiping Practices. It’s toward the bottom. The first item on the list is “Ibn Fadlan paragraph 85 describes the Swedish Rus prostrating before a carved image of a God.“
- Grumpy Lokean Elder, “Heathen Statues and Idols, Worship Building Structures, Kneeling and Prostrating“, Tumblr. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2019.
Don’t know Ibn Fadlan? Think The 13th Warrior. It will be worth your time to read the whole list, and for each item to tack back to the sources so you understand the context.
Then, keep watch as you read. Can you find other instances where Norse men kneel? Here’s one of mine.
As Beowulf lay dying:
“Then, kneeling before the broken king, Wiglaf undid his helmet and took him into his arms saying: ‘Sire, stay with us in your hour of victory!’
“Then Beowulf opened his eyes and said: ‘No my faithful friend Wiglaf, this is your victory. I name you King. The treasure is yours to do as you will with it. Just bring one piece that I may see it and hold it before I die which will be soon, therefore make haste. . . . I go now and I forgive those who ran from me in my hour of need. I thank you good and faithful Wiglaf for standing by me and now sharing my final moments. Carry me to the Whale’s Headland and build me a barrow there. Now I sleep.’“
That is nobility.