Lessons from the Vikings

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I have recently begun to voraciously visually consume the series Vikings. The intro theme song is one of the best out of any series I have ever watched and the characters, culture and story line have rapidly crept into my life over the past few days. Yes it’s just a series, no I am not naive. There are lessons to learn from all things, even fiction. Here are some key takeaways I have gleamed thus far.

– “Do not fear death. If it comes, embrace it as if you are lying down next to a beautiful woman”

– It is worth fighting for certain things, like your family, your land, your people. But not all things are worth fighting for.

– I like to see peoples’ eyes flash with what is inside them, but these days it is not common for people to let us see into them. There is too much hiding

– Women can be strong in different ways. There is strength in physical prowess but also in silence, in gentleness. The strength of woman is as magical and transformational as it is sexy

– When things go well, celebrate and feast together!

– Earning respect can sometimes protect one’s life more than wealth, name, physical strength and status

– Sometimes it is better to form an alliance than to go to war

– Hardship can make one bitter, or a better fighter. Sometimes it can make us both, but then the battle rages on inside even when there is peace in the external world. We get to choose

– Sex and desire is to be passionate and not to be hidden nor ashamed of

– Children should be told stories of cultural, mythological, physical and all other aspects of life from a very young age and be integrated into the community fold. They need to be known, so that when they lose their way or forget who they are, there are those who can remind them

– Women can be warriors

– Woman are different, not worse, warriors than men. This is worth a separate point

– Regardless of what feminism says, there is nothing like the pride of a man who provides for and protects his family, nor like the pride of a woman who gives birth to a new life

– The phases of life, even death, are to be respected and acknowledged rather than hidden, even celebrated

– We all live and we will all die

– There is nothing in the world that can compare to knowing who you are and to having kin

– There is a great art to knowing when to fight and when to surrender. There is great honour in doing either if at the correct time

– The spiritual world, stories and rituals are to be respected, upheld and passed on to younger generations

– Grudges may happen in the short term, but if held in the long term they will be exposed as a vulnerability by one’s enemies. Thus, it is best not to hold grudges and to let life even out the kings and kinks

– Dirt is as much a part of life as cleanliness

– Blood is thicker than water. Family to be upheld, always. No matter what the feud internally, it is better to be at logger heads with your family than to be without them

– Man will always look to some higher being to assist with reason and justification for any act, whether committed by or to them. Some have one God, some have many gods, even a belief in no god makes a kind of a god of the belief itself. Humans will always seek reason and justification in the face of things we do not understand. This makes faith a magical paradox – it is extraordinary, but it also makes complete sense

– We all come from someone, and from somewhere

I feel a deep sense of connection with many aspects of the Viking way as portrayed in this show and at moments I feel that if I could pick a second time period in which to experience life and death, that it would be in the time of the Vikings. I like the rawness, the passionate pursuit, the ambition, the simplicity of life, the community aspects, the depth of mythology and cultural cohesion.

While my heritage does not lie in Scandanavian lands, and the last Vikings died so very long ago, their spirit lives on. Yes they were rough dirty war-mongering killers and raiders, but they were also just men and women living their lives simply on pure instinct and passion. In each life, there is something to dismiss and something to respect. Watching this show, I feel fuelled and driven, I feel passionate and hungry, I feel ambitious and strong, I feel my senses peaked and my body hums, my priorities flash into light and I feel the magic simplicity of being alive.

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