READING ESL: A new temple for the old Scandinavian god Thor
(The Scandinavian countries are Sweden and Norway. Some people also include Denmark and Iceland)
Cats may not be mentioned anywhere in the Christian Bible, but the Scandinavian goddess known as The Lady had a chariot drawn by cats. Is this the reason why some people in Iceland are becoming more interested in their old religion? Maybe not. Here is a plain English version of an article from the British newspaper, The Guardian. The story is about a new temple being built in Iceland.
There is a link to the original story with a vocabulary list for the less common words used in the original article below.
A modern version of the old pagan religion is becoming more and more popular in Iceland. The modern followers of the old religion see the heroes of the old religious stories as examples to learn from, rather than gods to worship.
In Iceland people will soon be able to publicly worship in a temple to Thor, Odin and Frigg. This new building is the island’s first major temple to the Scandinavian gods since the Viking age. Viking culture spread from northern Europe between the 8th and 11th century AD.
Christianity began to replace Viking religion around a thousand years ago, but in recent times a modern version of northern paganism is becoming more popular in Iceland. Modern followers of the old religion do not believe in a one-eyed man riding through the sky on an eight-legged horse. Modern followers understand the stories of the gods as stories for teaching life lessons, through a poetic form of psychology.
Membership numbers of the association of followers of the old religion has tripled in the last ten years, and there are now 2,400 members out of a total population of 330,000.
The new temple will be circular and the sun will shine in through the roof. The temple will hold ceremonies and celebrations to welcome new babies, marry people and bury the dead in a similar way to other religious institutions. Old ceremonies will continue with music, readin, eating and drinking, but the modern followers will no longer kill animals for sacrifice.
Meanings of the less common words used in the original article.
NORSE (adj) related to the English word ‘north’; any person or thing from the Scandinavian countries
VIKING (n) / (adj) popular name for explorers who travelled by longboat to explore new territories away from their Scandinavian homelands
PAGAN (adj) religion based on nature, usually pre-Christian or pre-Islamic
WORSHIP (v) praising and honouring the gods
SHRINE (n) a special place for worship; usually devoted to one or other particular aspect of the religion
METAPHOR (n) an imaginative way of describing things (E.g. the word ‘dawn’ describes the sun rise at the beginning of the day, but the dawn can also be used as a metaphorical description for any kind of new beginning)
MANIFESTATION (n) a sign that something exists or has happened. The verb form is ‘manifest’, too become embodied in something else E.g. The thoughts and actions of the human experience have come to life through the stories of the old religion
DOME (n) a round or oval shaped roof
CONFER (v) give something (in a public or official sense)
INITIATE (v) to welcome someone as a new member
SACRIFICIAL (adj) something that will be given up in order for something better to happen (the verb and noun form are both ‘sacrifice’)
SLAUGHTER (v) to kill, usually in great numbers.