Members of Ásatrúarfélagid, a religious association which honors the old Norse gods, celebrated Iceland’s Sovereignty Day on Monday by honoring the country’s protective spirits, the landvaettir as described in Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla.
According to Heimskringla, the landvaettir thwart a sorcerer disguised as a whale from swimming ashore and thus prevent him from spying on the Icelandic people for the Danish king.
During the ceremony, high chieftain of Ásatrúarfélagid Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson said these guardian spirits are still protecting the Icelandic country and nation, Morgunbladid reports.
High chieftain Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson at an earlier ceremony in Thingvellir. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
The pagan association organized landvaettir ceremonies in five places in Iceland, Vopnafjördur in the east, Eyjafjördur in the north, Snaefellsnes in the west and Straumsvík (by Hafnarfjördur) in the south, all places where the sorcerer-whale tried to swim ashore, and in Thingvellir, where Iceland’s Althingi parliament was founded in 930 AD.
During the Straumsvík ceremony, pagan priests of Reykjanes, Haukur Halldórsson, burned a picture of Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde.
The landvaettir—the Giant, the Dragon, the Eagle and the Bull—are depicted in Iceland’s coat of arms and on the Icelandic króna.
Click here to watch a video of a pagan ceremony.