We’re glad to have Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen join us as a guest blogger! He is a Norwegian novelist, screenwriter and blogger, as well as a skilled craftsman and wilderness survivalist who builds bridges between the Viking Age and today. Here is his first blog post exclusively written for Grimfrost and there will be more exclusive content to come.
It still feels odd whenever some stranger calls me «brother». It feels strange — but in a good way. I’m getting these emails and messages almost every day now, from people all around the world. Some ask about my novels (will they be translated into this or that language soon), others comment on my blogposts. And many feel, as I do, that we have some sort of kinship — we are brothers and sisters of the Viking spirit. It wasn’t always like this. In fact, only a year ago things were different. My blog got only a few hundred hits each week and not many outside of Norway knew about my novels. Then things started to change. The demand for, and interest in everything Viking suddenly started to grow, and it grew fast. The number of followers in social media grew to more than 11.000 in a few months — a high number for a Norwegian novelist — and my blogposts got hundreds of shares. Suddenly, I was getting a lot more attention from people across the Atlantic than from my fellow Norwegians, and my novels haven’t even been published in English yet.
“Let me tell you, I’ve been waiting for this all my life.”
Obviously, I’m not the only one who is experiencing this. Norse culture and also Asatru is getting a lot of attention these days, and it’s not just a fad. People are finding their roots and they are connecting with nature in a spiritual way. Some stats from The Asatru Community in the USA: Charter members is up about 600%, and that’s just during the last month (August 2016). My friends in Amon Amarth are having great success over in the USA, or all over the world, really. As a Viking reenactor, I’m now seeing crowded Viking markets and fairs and Viking craftsmen who are actually able to make a living from their craft.
And I’m thinking to myself that finally — finally! — it’s happening. Let me tell you, I’ve been waiting for this all my life. I’m 44 years now and I’ve been into the Viking lifestyle for as long as I can remember. I ran around in the woods with my self made juniper bow and arrows when I was a kid. I read the sagas when I was 13. The Norse and Celtic mythology and my ancestors’ way of life has been an influence on my writing for more than 20 years. But it’s been a long and hard journey and I’ve always been walking alone. In school, I had to tolerate my ancestors being portrayed as barbaric rapists who were only «civilized» when they got in contact with Christian and Muslim people. (Nothing could be further from the truth.) In popular culture, Norse mythology was poorly understood and often ridiculed — it stayed that way right up through the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. Can you imagine how great it feels to see our Norse culture finally getting the attention it deserves?
“The Second Viking Age is very real and I believe we have only seen the start.”
I believe we are now seeing the coming of the Second Viking Age. However, unlike the first one, there will be no invasions and the English won’t have to pay off another Norwegian pirate king and his Danish buddy like they did back in 994. The Second Viking Age is a spiritual movement. Yes, I know that sounds a bit New Age-ish. But the Norse movement is a spiritual one. It’s about connecting with nature and understanding the symbolism of Ásatru. It is about rediscovering virtues which the foundations of our ancestors’ society rested upon, of which I would like to mention the ones I feel are most important: Strength to get you through the challenges that life will throw at you no matter who you are, where you live and the time period you happen to be born into. Pride to help you remember who you really are and the great things you are able to achieve. Courage to make you do what is right, even if you’re the only one doing it. And compassion, for a man without compassion is a destructive one. These virtues are no clichés. They are real human traits that I feel have long been neglected, and when I tell people that I try my best to incorporate these in my life to the best of my abilities, I am extremely serious about the matter.
The Second Viking Age is very real and I believe we have only seen the start. It is a reaction against stupid materialism and consumerism and that constant stream of ads that is on your tv, on your cellphone and everywhere that has a wifi connection. It’s about saying NO to the so-called civilized world, turning your back at big assed celebrities and reality shows and being that man or woman you were meant to be. And if you’ve ever wondered what it means to be a Viking, well … You can’t get more Viking than that. So until next time, keep that Viking spirit strong. Our time has just begun.
Bull-Hansen’s Tyr trilogy. Hopes are to have it in English soon.
Be on the lookout for more blog posts by Bjørn Andreas here on Grimfrost. More blog posts can also be found on his website: www.bull-hansen.com