Valhalla, the hall of Odin, All-father, with it’s massive golden roofs, a hall for the brave slain warriors whom have been carried there by the warrior “angels ” the Valkyries.
Valhalla was, and is, for many men and women, ultimate destination in the afterlife. Lives are dedicated to the hope of entering Valhalla’s golden gates. Here you fought friend and foe from sunrise to sunset, you became stronger, smarter, and better skilled. After you had been slain, that night you would be resurrected to feast, drink, and whore until Ragnarok!
This glorious fate was for those that Odin himself chose to be slain bravely in battle (Saving of course the half of those slain the Frejya claimed, and on top of that, she got fist pick!) These men are called the Einherjar. These fallen warriors will be Odin's personal army along side the Aesir when they fight the forces of chaos on the field of Vigrid at the time of Ragnarok. That us the purpose of Valhalla. Odin is seeking the best of the best for his army for the end days. To be chosen, and to die in battle, means that Odin himself has taken notice of you, and claimed you as his, to help him fight the chaos, the darkness. It was, and is one of the greatest honors in the Viking Age, and modern heathenry.
The rules on getting into this glorious feasting hall varied depending on the sources. They differed in a few aspects but were all agreed upon the fact that you had to die bravely in battle. During the Viking Age there was no way around this fact. However, in ways that they differ, is that some claim you must be "complete" meaning you are not missing any fingers, toes and the such. And other differences that at the moment I cannot recall. The latter however, seems to be less believable, for it is a much stricter criteria. What are the chances of a great warrior who dies in battle not having something chopped off? Loosing a finger, to me is not the sign of a bad warrior, but an experienced one. Odin's barracks I think would be quite empty, not to mention that fact that Odin himself, is not “complete” and is missing an eye!
Many men and women today still dream of when they die, they shall go into Odin's great hall and feast with him and fight the forces of chaos at his side when the time comes. But if the rules to get in to Valhalla have not changed, or adapted to our modern society in any way; well then there are very limited ways to get in, and very few of us actually will. In today’s world, going strictly by the standards we knew in the Viking Age, really the only way, is to join the military and hope to die while in combat; which still seams a little odd to me. This is a honorable calling of course; (Hail the brave men and women serving in the armed forces wherever you are!) but there must be other ways right? Many people have different ideas, and opinions when it comes to this, so please remember these are my own opinions and can be disputed, but not insulted.
I personally believe, that as humans adapt, and change, socially, so do the Aesir, and The Holy Powers. Personally I would not be surprised if Odin has a laptop! (This is of course just an example, The Gods could have their own “future” tech as another example.) I mean it is weird to think about but why would they not? I am sure they have their own technology that far surpasses our own, but if you are the type of person who believes in the gods as actual "people" and not personifications of nature (both are completely acceptable and there is evidence to back up both claims) then it can be a challenge to think of the gods as anything but their Dark Age representations. The classic image. However, if one does believe the gods are individuals, how over time, would they not evolve, and grow, simply as individuals? Their social order would of course then also be subject to change, new discoveries, wisdom and knowledge would also prompt shifts in the way that the Holy Powers went about their business. Of course they have different things and do things differently but how could they not change at all after all of this time? We even have evidence of these shifts! Historically, and depending on the region, Tyr, was the Lord of the Aesir, and Father of the Gods before Odin, but Odin took his place as time went on. This is why I also think that they requirements of getting into Valhalla are different then they once were. Or at least that they have the potential to be. If the Gods societal structure could change and adapt as ours does, it is logical to assume that Odin in his wisdom, would recognize this fact, and alter the requirements.
Now bare with me, but I think in general, if you live a good, strong, courageous and prosperous life where you stand up for what you think is right, and defend the weak and your loved ones, then I think, if you so wish, you may be allowed into Valhalla. We are not a warrior culture anymore! This is a fact! If Odin wants to get as many soldiers as he can for the great battle at the end of time, he cannot just depend on those who die in battle of the strictest sense. Lets face it, todays conflicts, wars, and strife, as terrible as they can be, come no where to the carnage of wars past, even just 100 years ago! We have records of ten thousand men dying in a single battle! While by today’s standards, such statistics might only exist for the entire war! And percentage wise of the population, comparatively, has shrunk drastically. Odin, I think must have changed who he lets in, or he does not have a very large army. Especially when you consider the opposing side…Hel, Loki, the forces of Chaos and THE DEAD. Not to mention Jotuns, and a host of other beings. Ragnarok is a prophecy, Odin’s death is foreseen, as is the destruction and rebirth of the worlds, but it is not set in stone, Odin wants to change his fate.
Some say, if you die bravely fighting cancer you will allowed entrance to Valhalla. Now, I am not sure if I agree with this. I do not think the cancer has anything to do with it, but it all depends on the person and if they truly show the courage and determination of a true warrior. I do not think Odin wants recent cancer victims in his army, they deserve rest. However, if these individuals lived their life a certain way etc, and died of cancer, then yes I think they would be allowed in.
Then of course there is the idea that when the elderly and sickly die, they enter Hel’s domain. Before we get to how this relates to Valhalla, I would like to say that I do not think Helhiem is a bad place. I actually think it is like the Christian heaven. It is a place of reuniting with your family, of peace and rest, and happiness, a place of contemplation. But it is not a place of punishment, like Hell, that would be Nastrond. So if the elderly and sickly led good, courageous lives why should they not go to Valhalla? In the lore, it says that they would find themselves in Helheim, however what if one was the greatest warrior of all time? Was never slain in battle, are you telling me that Odin would not want him? It is not his fault he was not killed. This leads me to believe that it is how you live your life, more than how you died. The only reason I see for them not is if they do not want to! If they truly have a choice that is.
Now this is getting a little more into the afterlife then I planned so I will end that here. If you want to know more about the afterlife, please refer to this page: http://www.theasatrucommunity.org/#!the-afterlife/c1uva
What happens if you were a soldier, but you were a good one and finally died at old age? You do not get into Valhalla? I think this is just not right! I think it is all on how you live your life and if you show the qualities of a warrior! Not just if the Valkyries chose you to fall in battle. While of course this still happens! So there is my belief on the modern day Valhalla. Of course Odin is still only going to accept those who truly show promise, but if you live a good brave life and have the honorable qualities I think it is very possible if you wish to get into Valhalla! But do not forget, we have many, many possible destinations for the afterlife!
I hope when the time comes the Gods judge you justly and allow you to go where you are needed, wanted and wish to be! Hail!