The spirit of a city, of a state, of a nation, of the world, all very simple. The world sings if you listen.
The Norse saw there was not one world, but nine. Perhaps corresponding to the chakras of eastern mysticism, and these nine worlds rested on Yggdrasil the world tree not unlike the Jewish tree of life.
Modern physics also have a theory of ten dimensions, but seen from our point of view it might seem like nine. It would be interesting if they come up with the same number in the end. In numerology, there are only nine stages. Anything higher is repetition and anything possessed of the full ten dimensions in physics might seem to us to be an anomaly. Like a wormhole, or black hole, any sort of singularity. Thus starting over again at one. Religion = myth = subjective truth perhaps.
What was the Norse morality or code of conduct like? Their morality was based on personal accountability and family bonds. They didn’t have a set of codes, because they believed in a concept called “weird” which roughly translates to luck or fate. As a matter of fact, the concept of luck came from them and had a meaning separate from fate. Essentially, it all came down to Ragnarok (destruction of the powers). How would the individual influence the ultimate well being of the people. They didn’t see it as something that could be effectively dictated. It was something that had to be seen and could be foreseen. But each persons weird was “predestined” in a way, so you couldn’t tell someone how to behave and have it really work. You could really only deal with the consequences.
Was there a threat imposed, hell or heaven? Not really a threat, more of a consequence. There was a sense of social responsibility, and heroes were said to be well rewarded. The Norse weren’t necessarily bloodthirsty, and there was no virtue in killing for killings sake. They still had a concept for murder, but dying was for the well being of the tribe, even viewing yourself as a sacrifice. There was no involuntary human sacrifice for them, it was all willing.
Death for the well being of the tribe was said to allow you a place in Odin’s Hall of Valhalla, which was paradisiacal. A mundane death did send your soul to hell, and it was from the Norse that we get the word. But hell wasn’t a place of punishment, it was just boring. There was a realm of exile, and it corresponded to the living practice of exile, which for the Norse was really a death sentence. Not only would exile from the tribe end your mortal life given the harsh environment of their lands, but if you suffered exile from the tribe in life, you would not be welcome in the afterlife either. There was a realm in the spirit real called Niflheim, an icy wasteland full of predators and enemies, but just like the realm of the Aesir you could not die there so you would just suffer.
Their motivations for raiding weren’t evil, and fighting wasn’t seen as an act of hate. They killed men in raids and believed that they would be rewarded the same way their own warriors were. To die in combat was a blessing for anyone to their view. “Valhalla or Hell!” was their view, but hell wasn’t a punishment. It was just a dreary existence. Self sufficiency without the fellowship of the tribe, that was hell. Hela, the goddess who ruled it, wasn’t a tormentor. She was just not very exciting. This is why witches were seen to go to hell. They were free agents and no loyalty to tribe necessarily.
You could be influenced by spirits who dwelled in hell or Valhalla, and rebirth could happen at any time and in any way. Either to die and be reborn in Odin’s hall, or to die and be reborn again in midgard. But they didn’t track that over much. As I said earlier, their religion shows heavy indo-European influences and the Aryan people were European originating in the Caucus Mountains and had a doctrine of reincarnation. It was given greater or lesser importance by all the cultures that would eventually rise from them, and of course for political means. Even Judaism has an esoteric doctrine of the transmigration of souls.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.