Afterlife in Scandinavian culture

Scandinavian countries

The Scandinavians believed that there were nine worlds in total, one of them (middle Midgard) is our Earth.

The dead are divided into two categories – heroes and everyone else. There are no other principles, no sinners and righteous people. The “others” have only one way: die – get a ticket to hell, Helheim.

Belief in the afterlife was reflected in the real life of the Vikings: before death, they put on their best clothes and took with them all the things that could be useful among the gods and deities.


Himself this is only a part of a larger world, Niflheim, one of the first worlds that gave rise to our Midgard.

Myths state that the Earth was created when the ice world of Niflheim and the fiery world of Muspellheim came together.

It is cold and uncomfortable in Niflheim, eternal ice and fog reign there.

To get to Helheim, you need to cross the ominous river Gyol. Unlike Greece, where you have to pay Charon, here you can simply cross the bridge, which is guarded by the giantess Modgud and the four-eyed dog Garm.

According to the scheme of the Yggdrasil tree, Hel is an other world, characterized as a dark and bleak place.

For the ancient Viking, all other underworlds were preferable to this place.

Helheim is ruled by the giantess Hel, daughter of the god of lies Loki. Those who arrive in Helheim are doomed to a slow, painful disappearance.

They either starve or eat and drink filth, their bodies are tormented by an eagle, a dragon and a wolf.


Valhalla is a palace located in Asgard. Valhalla is something like a heavenly chamber belonging to the supreme god Odin, where, after death, the bravest and most worthy warriors who fell during the battle fall.

After moving to Valhalla, they are called Einherjar. Half of the heroes go to the god Odin, half go to another palace, Folkwang, belonging to the goddess Freya.

However, the existence of both groups of warriors is approximately the same. In the morning they put on armor and fight to the death all day long.

In the evening they come to life and dine on boar meat, washed down with intoxicating honey. And then they are pleasured all night by women.

Staying in Valhalla, as the Scandinavians believed, was temporary. When the day of the last battle of Ragnarok comes, 800 warriors will come out of each gate of Valhalla and face on the side of the gods with the entire host of monsters, as well as the dead from the world of Hel.

In the end, almost everyone will die: people, monsters and gods. Valhalla, like all other afterworlds, will no longer be.

Only a few aces and two people will survive – Liv and Livtrasir, from whom a new human race will come.

Valhalla – a Scandinavian paradise for fallen warriors

Valhalla is a heavenly palace where fearless warriors rest after death. This hall is not simple: its roof is made of gilded huge shields, which are propped up on all sides by giant spears.

Inside there is only one hall: you can get into it through 540 gates. All the inhabitants of Valhalla, getting up at sunrise, put on armor.

A bloody battle begins, which ends only when everyone without a trace is killed. Then the warriors are resurrected: not a trace remains of their mortal wounds.

They sit down together at the table and feast until late in the evening.

In German-Scandinavian mythology, Yggdrasil is often mentioned – the Tree of the World, which grows in the very center of the Universe and connects all worlds.

His crown is the foundation on which Valhalla rests. This is a kind of foundation, on which, in addition to a paradise for the Vikings, there are other halls of the divine city of Asgard.

Among them is the abode of the goddess Freya, who took away some of the fallen warriors – Folkwang.


Also here was the Palace of Bliss which should survive even after the death of the gods.

Rom the very top of the Tree of Peace, honeydew flows down: over its endless stream, bees are circling, collecting nectar.

Falling to the ground, it forms a majestic lake in which snow-white and graceful swans swim.

The Vikings believed that these birds were magical. It was in them that the Valkyries, the main assistants and companions of the supreme god Odin, liked to turn.

On the way to Valhalla, the fallen warriors invariably met virgins reincarnated as feathered creatures: they escorted the heroes straight to the entrance to paradise – the “Gate of the Dead” (Valgrind).

In mythology, the threshold of Valhalla is described as a brilliant grove.

Unusual trees grow in it: their leaves are made of red gold, which reflect the bright rays of the sun.

On the very roof of paradise, made of shields, stands Heidrun – a goat that absorbs ash leaves and gives intoxicating honey.

This drink, flowing from the udder, fills a huge flask, which the feasting warriors empty when drunk.