So, I found this cool infographic online showing some of the places that Vikings travelled, traded and settled. Click through to Science Nordic to use the interactive map and get loads more info! I have had moments where I’ve felt a bit uneasy about following a Norse hearth culture when my immediate ancestry is Irish, and I still have a great deal of love and connection for Ireland and its heritage and folkways. But, what this map suggests is that I may well have Viking ancestry too, from three different sources: the south coast of Ireland, the coast of Spain and central Europe. Yay!
It also turns out that one of the possible meanings/origins of my family’s surname could mean “son of the saffron-haired one” or “son of the Vikings”. So that’s pretty cool!
Now, to be clear, I don’t believe you have to have Viking ancestry to practice Norse Paganism, and I in no way support the “folkish” claims to exclusivity and tribalism, that are often used to support racist ideologies.
If you go back far enough, all humans (and indeed, all species) share a common ancestor, and our own species homo sapiens evolved in Africa, so any concept of cultural “purity” or superiority is obviously unscientific nonsense.
Notwithstanding, it is rather nice to know that I am still connecting with my ancestral heritage on this path, and that I’m not just engaging in a form of cultural appropriation of Norse mythology and religion.