Jeffrey Brian Flood
Thursday is Thor's Day
The modern way we imagine Thor is one of the reasons why it’s hard to take the Vikings’ Gods seriously. For many the first image to come to mind is a cartoony figure with a horned helmet, someone out of Marvel comics.
And for this reason us moderns have trouble imagining Thor as anything but that – comic. But the Norsemen took him seriously. Taking into account that the Vikings took something seriously, and we would not laugh at a, perhaps that little fact merits a questioning of our modern prejudices.
Thor represented the forces of nature that tend to awe us with their power, that scare us, and that remind us that part of our existence depends on the capriciousness of chance. Sure, there’s a one in a million chance you’ll be struck by lightning, but that probability is the same for all those people who escape storms unscathed, and for that one person who is hit.
In these times when we’re concerned about global warming, it’s tempting, when we see images of flooding, icecaps melting, and tsunamis killing thousands of people, we’re sometimes tempted to think “mother nature is angry” – which is to say, “She’s showing us our place.”
In a similar vein, when a Norseman was at sea, perhaps on his way to Britannia, and was caught in a storm, and suddenly found himself face to face with death, he would say, “Thor is angry.”