Written by Dyami Millarson
The Germanic temple, that Adam von Bremen describes, is an ornate structure which features statues of three important Gods, one of whom is Thor, depicted as holding a hammer, and is believed to control the weather. Thor is revered — Adam informs us — as a powerful Deity, with control over rain, wind, and thunder.
Othin, another God contained in the temple, is known for his prowess in battle and is described as a fierce warrior. Othin’s name means “the furious,” and His reputation as a powerful God is well-known. The temple also features a statue of Freyr, a God associated with peace and fertility and depicted with a large phallus, symbolising his role in promoting fertility and good harvest.
Each of these Gods have their own priests, and people make sacrifices to the Gods in times of need. Thor is called upon to help during times of famine and disease, whilst Othin is invoked to gain victory in battles. Freyr is called upon to ensure successful marriages and promote fertility. It is traditional for Germanic peoples to worship groups of Gods together; this may be called the Divine Grouping Principle.
Although the description we have of the temple of Thor, Othin, and Freyr is from a thousand years ago, the soul or essence of the temple is eternal. There is, moreover, the pagan belief that the dead continue their old customs or habits in the afterlife, and thus the pagan Spirits of the Germanic peoples, which roam Mithgarth, continue their worship at the sacred houses, groves, cairns, and other sacred spaces that are central to their religious practice.
For the Germanic dead, these sacred spaces are not just physical locations, but are imbued with sacred significance and represent a connection between the world of dead men and the divine realm. The continuation of worship at these sacred sites even after death — a belief that undoubtedly fits the Germanic worldview — reflects the enduring importance of these spaces in the religious beliefs and practices of the Germanic peoples long after their physical demise, adding thus another aspect to the relationship between men and the Gods.