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Viking Warrior Symbols VideoUnderstanding the Three Most Common Norse Symbols
Read more. By Oluf Olufsen Bagge. At the very top of Yggdrasil, an eagle lived and at the bottom of the tree lived a dragon named Nidhug.
Both hated each other and were bitter enemies. The image of Yggdrasil appears on the famous Överhogdal Tapestry, which dates to the year and depicts the events of Ragnarok , the doom of the Gods and apocalyptic record of the coming comet.
More Ancient Symbols. The symbol has been found on old Norse stone carvings and funerary steles. It's also possible to find a depiction of the Valknut on stone carvings as a funerary motif, where it probably signified the afterlife.
A Valknut is also believed to offer protection against spririts which is the reason why it is often carried as a talisman. A Valknut is made of three parts, and the number three is a very common magic symbol in many cultures.
In this case, the symbolism in Norse mythology showing three multiplied by three might designate the nine worlds, which are united by the Yggdrasil tree.
In modern times Valknut, like Triquetra and Horn Triskelion, is often interpreted as a symbol pointing to heathen convictions.
The Helm of Awe is one of the most powerful protective Viking symbols used not only for the purpose of protection from disease, but even to encourage all people who might suffer from depression or anxiety.
In Norse myths it is said that the Helm of Awe symbol was worn between the eyes to cause fear in your enemies, and to protect against the abuse of power.
Every day, Odin sends them out and they fly across the worlds to seek for important news and events. The Norns were goddesses who ruled the fates of people, determined the destinies and lifespans of individuals.
Norse people believed that everything we do in life affects future events and thus, all timelines, the past, present and future are connected with each other.
The troll cross is an amulet made of a circle of iron crossed at the bottom in a shape of an odal rune. It was worn by Scandinavian people as a protection against trolls and elves.
The symbol consists of three interlocked drinking horns, and is commonly worn or displayed as a sign of commitment to the modern Asatru faith. The horns figure in the mythological stories of Odin and are recalled in traditional Norse toasting rituals.
There are several account of the tale, but typically, Odin uses his wits and magic to procure the brew over three days time; the three horns reflect the three draughts of the magical mead.
Left: Gungnir - Viking symbol; Right: Odin Gungnir was a magical weapon created by the dwarves and given to Odin by Loki.
The Gungnir never missed its mark and like Mjölnir, the hammer of Thor, it always returned to Odin. The symbol was frequently inscribed on seagoing vessels to insure their safe return home.
The device was believed to show the way back home and protect seamen and their ships from storms. The Vegvisir was like a guide helping its bearer to find his way home.
Norse people believed that the Vegvisir had special powers and it was treated like talisman for luck, protection and blessings.
This powerful symbol could help a person to find the right way in storms or bad weather whatever unfamiliar surroundings he or she may encounter. It was an ancient, highly appreciated symbol, which was frequently used to ornament different Vikings jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets and armor.
What is unique about the runic alphabet is the fact that the writing of the runic letter was considered a sacred or what is more, magical process.
Therefore, despite the point, the Scandinavian culture was rich on songs, poetry and different stories — all this was only oral as well as was transmitted to the next generation only in the oral form.
It is not strange why the Vikings considered special symbols to have a powerful meaning and mission. It is a well-known fact that Vikings were brave warriors that spent mostly all their life sailing.
They were well acquainted with different battles. They could live in various weather conditions as well as fight no matter whether it was spring, hot summer or frizzy winter.
The fact was they were dependent on weather conditions. They considered that the hand of fate was governing their lives as well as everything they had to go through.
Therefore, they were searching for something special, something unique that could provide their souls with new strengths and energy to start a new life.
To understand the residual between these two notions, you have to understand their background. A symbol is a visual sign, which could be displayed in various symbols.
Those symbols were not difficult to make. Therefore, everyone could draw them. Valknut, Mjölnir, etc. Motifs were not as formal as Norse symbols, and they could differ depending on the artist who drew them.
In this article, you will familiarize yourself with some of the most famous Viking symbols:. In the previous article, you have already read in the Nose age there were many different runes, and each of them had their special meaning.
Each Norse rune, as well as any letter, denoted particular phonetic sound. The difference was each rune had also special, unique meaning.
It is considered that the oldest futhark appeared between 2 and four century, the period of trade and war between the Mediterranean and Germanic people was taking place.
Viking culture is known to be only in oral form. Therefore many poems and songs were transmitted from generation to the next generation only in the oral form.
For Vikings runes were not just letters; they were potent symbols, bringing deep meaning onto their lives. Runes were written only on stones or wood.
Therefore they had an angular appearance. Runes were used as memorable symbols written on stones dedicated to well-known people. Moreover, runes had also magical meaning and Vikings believed they could bring happiness, joy, wealth, love, power, strength and even death.
They wore them and used to decorate their jewelry rings, protective amulets, necklaces, and even armor.
This was so, as they believed in runes meaning. There were no gods, only the runes that could as they believed change their lives.
The runes were considered the most potent armors able to bring happiness, success, victory or curse into their lives. To make it easier to understand, it is the process of divination.
It is not a secret that during the Viking age rune stones were used as divination tools not to predict the future, but to help people to make life-altering decisions.
They usually come in a set of 24 stones with ancient letters — runes — covered onto them. The process of casting rune sticks involved shedding pieces of wood or bone on the part of the cloth.
Then the experienced practitioner read the message that was reproduced of the runes, their orientation and position to each other. Runes are the letters associated with the well-known Odin who discovered them.
The Elder Futhark gave way to the Younger Futhark that had only 16 rune symbols that reflected the Scandinavia language changes.
Although with the appearance of the Younger Futhark the Elder Futhark was not used, it maintained in use as glyphs but not for an extended period.
The fact we can understand the Elder version even today, it is clear that Vikings could also read both versions.
Nowadays, a lot of beautiful Viking jewelry that relates to runes use the Elder version more frequently as, the younger one, because it represents more letters that are easier to read as well as translate to English.
For Vikings runes were not only symbols. They believed that runes had a mysterious power able to change their life.
Vikings highly respected them. You can find many myths about their power and feats. For example, one of them: one woman was seriously ill. The reason of her illness was the wrong runes hanging above her head.
The runes master was called for help to change the runes meaning and help to improve the situation. In result, he corrected the runes and the woman recovered.
There is another story about the runemaster who protected his horn with special runic symbols. The horn breaks in two when his foe tries to poison him.
The protected runic symbols cut on the horn helped him to save his life. Runic masters could also predict the future with the help of rune stones.
There were a couple of ways to predict the future with runes. The first one was to put the rune stones in the bag, shake them and then throw them on the ground.
Those rune stones that grounded face up were used for castling the future. With the appearance of Christianity in northern Europe, Viking runes did not disappear.
They could be seen side by side with the other Christian symbols on coffins, gravestones, monuments. Even up to 17 century, runes were frequently used.
However in century church decided to ban the runes to eliminate magic, superstition and paganism. These are the two main reasons why Valknut is considered an Odin symbol.
The nine corners of three triangles that form the Valknut symbol also mean nine worlds of Norse mythology and life cycle through pregnancy and motherhood.
What is unique about the Valknut Viking symbol is the fact that it was found on many northern monuments and tombs. The Valknut symbol consists of three triangles that were sometimes depicted in a single line unicursal or Borromean style.
What is special about this unique Viking symbol is that it has nine points because of its three triangles. The number nine was significant during the Viking age.
Because the number nine symbolizes nine words of northern mythology. The symbol of Yggdrasil appears in the mythology of many ancient cultures as a symbol of the connection of all the things in the world.
Nothing can die, and everything is in the constant state of unending and transformation. This symbol is not only one of the most prominent symbols in Norse mythology but also one of the most important symbols of the Norse faith.
It is the main symbol representing the interconnection of all the things in the universe. Yggdrasil symbolizes that life comes from water. Therefore, the symbol Yggdrasil is called the Tree of Life.
What is more critical the Norse mythology considers that the end of the word will be caused by Ragnarok — the battle between gods, where only one man and woman will survive and hide inside the hollow of the tree.
They will leave the tree to provide a new life on the word. Therefore, the Tree of Life is also considered a tree that will protect the entity from Ragnarok.
Because Yggdrasil was the tree, on which Odin hung when he decided to sacrifice himself to himself as a quest for wisdom.
Aegishjalmur is rune stave that is well known to be a Viking symbol of victory and protection. The emblem itself reminds eight branches that look like radiant tridents that are located around a central point of the symbol, the point that should be protected.
Those eight tridents protect that central point. As they considered it was an important symbol protecting them from their enemies, instill fear in them and helping Vikings in battles.
Nowadays, the symbol Aegishjalmur is frequently used in the form of tattoos, that serves for many popes as protection amulets.
Many Vikings had used to paint the Aegishjalmur symbol at their helmets or armor. As they believed, the Aegishjalmur symbol offered necessary protection as well as power during wars.
They also considered that this symbol was a powerful tool to create fear in their enemies. We can find the depiction of the Aegishjalmur symbol in a vast number of Norse writings, including Völsunga sagas and poems by Edda, which tells how Fafnir dragon explains how he can use Aegishjalmur and become invisible:.
What is more, these symbols are often confused. However, Vegvisir or the Viking Compass is another Viking symbol that consists of rune staves. This ancient Viking symbol was one of the essential Vikings assistants.
Because the Vikings believed the Vegvisir, the Viking or the Nordic compass provided necessary assistance as well as guidance to those people who lost their life path.
Although the Vikings did have the instruments that helped them to find the right direction e. Taking into consideration the fact that Vikings used to face with various sea disasters, it is not difficult to understand why Vikings wanted magical help to accompany them and keep their way.
This Vegvisir symbol can be found in the Huld Manuscript. There is no information concerning the age of this symbol. However, Icelandic people are the descendants of Vikings who have spent all their life sailing in the wild oceans.
Nowadays we have a wide range of different modern technologies that can help us to overcome various sea disasters as well as help us not to waste the direction.
Although during the Viking age, there were no technologies able to overcome the dangers, they strongly believed in symbols, and Vegvisir was one of them.
As they thought, it could help them to find their way in life as well as help them during the long voyages. Vikings used this symbol and drew it on the Viking ships before they set sail to be sure they will come back home safe and not injured.
It should also be mentioned that there is not a lot of information concerning the origin of this symbol. Therefore, we cannot say for sure that Vegvisir existed during the Viking age.
This symbol is another Viking symbol that took a prominent part during the Viking era. Every day he was allowed only one sip of the mead.
Therefore, he drank a whole horn each time he was drinking mead, and in three days, he had drunk three horns of the mead of poetry that helped Odin to escape b turning him into an eagle.
However, due to the Norse or Vikings mythology, Mjölnir was not only a weapon but also an important tool used by Thor for a wide range of different purposes.
With the help of Mjölnir, Thor consecrated things and people, and with the help of his hammer, he brought them from the realm of chaos into the sacred realm — cosmos.
As a result, they have designed the powerful, medical and influential hammer — Mjölnir or the Hammer of Thor. It is also believed that Thor used Mjölnir to bless couples during the marriage, providing them with fertility.
It is also considered to be a powerful viking warrior symbol. This symbol meant a lot for Vikings even after their conversion to Christianity — they were wearing not only the symbol of the Cross on their necks but also Mjölnir amulets.
Today it is considered one of the most famous Nordic symbols symbolizing Heathenry or Heathenism — Germanic Neopaganism faith.
The Swastika is one of the Viking symbols that completely lost its true meaning. This symbol as of particular significance for Vikings as well as for Indo-Europeans as they used it for blessing and consecration.
However, Hitler appropriated this Viking symbology, and since that time it is only associated with the Nazi party and Hitler.
The meaning and magical properties of this Viking symbol was different and had the various sense in every myth. However, there was one feature of Svefnthorn in all stores — it was used to put their enemies to sleep.
Huginn and Muninn are the twin ravens of Odin. They served him as his messengers. In some artworks, Huginn and Muninn were displayed sitting right to Odin or even sitting on the shoulders of Odin.
They were his eyes, and he used them to know everything they saw during the flight. Every day they flew around the globe, and when they turned, they were telling Odin what they had seen.
Thanks to their unique abilities given by Odin, Huginn and Muninn could travel all of Midgard the globe in one day, speak and understand the human language.
A lot of Viking kings and earls, including Ragnar Lothbrok, paid particular significance to ravens and used them on their banners. Norse animal symbolism of Huginn and Muninn was of particular importance for Vikings, especially when they set sail to the unknown waters.
They also used to keep ravens in cages and let them fly with regular intervals to find the ground. When they let out the ravens, they were scouting the area around the ship, and if they saw the land, they would fly towards it if no, they would fly back to the boat.
There exists a well-known Viking story that tells how the famous Viking named Floki found Iceland. It is one of the most appreciated and famous Nordic symbols that, as was believed could interconnect past, present and future.
This symbol consisted of nine staves and all the runes, meaning it symbolizes all the possibilities of the past, present and future. Gungnir is the magical spear of Odin.
Its name was given to the magical spear of Odin given by the dwarves who were the most talented blacksmiths in the cosmos. The war between Aesir and Vanir — the most well-known groups of gods, was started with Gungnir that was hurled by Odin over his enemies.
Gurnir never lost its target. It is considered the part of Swedish folklore. If believe Norse mythology, the Troll Cross was a useful amulet to protect trolls evil elves, and dark magic.
When Vikings worn this symbol with themselves, they believed that chances of falling into danger significantly decreased. It is a magical Icelandic symbol of victory and protection.
It is believed to be used by warriors as well as dragons. If you look at its form just without having any knowledge about its symbolism, it will be enough to wake fear and awe.
Its eight arms or rays that are similar to the spiked tridents emit from the center point of this Norse symbol as if protecting and defending this central point from the foe forces that troop round it.
Those arms were constructed from two intersecting runes: Algiz runes and Isa runes. The first one was used a symbol of protection and victory, while the last one was considered a symbol of hardening, that helped to overcome hardening of the soul and mind.
However, Stephen Flowers runologist says that the original meaning of the Helm was not a magical item wearing to provide enormous power.
This Helm of awe was initially been a kind of sphere of magical power to strike fear into the enemy.
It is symbolized by a crosslike configuration, which in its purest form is made up of what appear to be either four younger M-runes or older Z-runes.
These figures can, however, become very complex. It is an ancient Norse symbol that is also known as the Triskelion. There is no exact meaning of this symbol, although it can point on the stealing of the Mead of Poetry by Odin.And, thanks to this, the hammer conquered the hearts of all Vikings, both ordinary people and warriors. Nostalgia 4 Jewellery Store. Vikings were famous Drakensang Gutscheincode their navigation skills. Sheng is all over the world Store. All rights reserved. Which one you liked the most?
Another rare tattoo inspired from Viking culture is the axe tattoo. You can have a sole axe tattoo on your arm or calf. Viking tattoo are mostly inked on legs or thighs because these body parts have more area.
An angry Viking warrior tattoo is hard to find but you can have it for some time It will not look good permanent. Crossbows were also major weapon of Viking warriors and you can have a crossbow tattoo too.
I would not suggest you have a full-size Viking tattoo on the chest but if you opt for one then have it of Viking god or goddess.
Knuckle tattoos are not so common and it is hard to find a Viking knuckle tattoo. Here is a good idea for that. Viking tattoos will look even more majestic with motivational quotes.
Apart from legs, shoulder and upper arm are also popular body part for Viking tattoos. I do not know why this Viking warrior has a third eye on his forehead.
If you know about any story then please share it in a comment. Here is a Viking tattoo on upper arm of this young boy. A warrior is no warrior if he does not have any injury or war mark on his body.
Here is one-eyed Viking warrior tattoo. This Viking warrior has two raven and I would suggest you to use only one raven.
Viking usually does not tie up their hairs but you can have one such Viking tattoo where the hair of the Viking warrior is tied. Here is a super cool Viking warrior with helmet on the shoulder of this boy.
If you want a full sleeve Viking tattoo then you should add other objects from the Viking mythology too to the tattoo. Viking tribal tattoo are not so common because most tattoo artist consider Viking tattoos to be too beautiful than a tribal tattoo.
Apart from raven, lion is another popular animal that you can add to your Viking tattoo. This Viking skull tattoo design would look ever more beautiful with color.
You can add blue color to the eyes. You can add an eagle too to your Viking tattoo. Several people like to have Viking piercings on their body.
Widely associated with Aegishjalmr or sometimes even confused with it on account of the similarity between the two, the Vegvisir is another Viking symbol comprised of rune staves.
The Vegvisir, also known as the Viking compass or the runic compass, was believed to provide guidance for a person who might lose his way.
It would also be drawn on Viking ships before they set sail to ensure they would come back home safely.
That said, there is a confusion about the origin of the symbol and whether or not it is a genuine symbol inherited from the Viking Age since there are very few resources mentioning it.
Note: Odhroerir is the name associated with both the Mead of Poetry and one of the horns that contained it. Allowed only one sip per day, he used a whole horn for each time thus managing to drink all of the Mead of Poetry which helped him escape by turning into an eagle.
Today, apart from identifying oneself as Norse, the Triple Horn of Odin is used as a symbol of wisdom and inspiration, poetic inspiration in particular.
All of these suggestions are at least somewhat related to the symbolism behind the Hammer of Thor.
According to Norse mythology, Mjölnir was not just a weapon but a tool that was used by Thor for many purposes.
Thor consecrated things and people using his hammer and brought them from the realm of chaos into the sacred realm, that is, cosmos.
It was also believed that he used Mjölnir to bless marriages during which he provided the couple with fertility. In the sense that Thor protected people against chaos by consecrating them with Mjölnir and he guarded the cosmos against the giants by crushing them with it, the Hammer of Thor is also considered a symbol of protection.
Another destination was Helgafjell which was a holy mountain where people lived a life similar to the ones they lived on earth.
The third-place a Viking could go when they died was reserved for the warriors. Only the warriors could end up in Valhalla. Valkyries would gather the dead warriors and fly them to Valhalla.
In Valhalla, the warriors would meet the god Odin and feast and revel with him. It was a great honor to end up in Valhalla and slain Viking warriors were held to the highest regard on Earth as well.
The three interlocking triangles represent the three afterworlds and the nine points represent the Nine Worlds which house the different beings from Viking legends.
The Vegvisir, or Viking compass, has eight different arms and was used as a protection spell from getting lost.
It is composed of magical rune staves numbering eight in all. The Galdrabok, a book of spells, mentions the Viking compass as a symbol that was drawn in blood and was a symbol of protection.
Each of the staves of the Viking compass represents a direction. The Viking compass was painted on warriors and ships and worn in amulet form by warriors.
The Vegvisir can be found today on different types of jewelry. Odin had twin ravens named Hugin and Munin. Well before the Vikings, there were depictions of Odin with his ravens on brooches, amulets, and helmets.
If someone saw a raven after making a sacrifice to Odin it meant that their sacrifice was acceptable. Ravens were often seen near battlefields.
They are carrions who feed on the flesh of the dead. Because dead warriors were taken to Valhalla the association between Ravens and Odin was created.
The Helm of Awe is similar in design to the Vegvisir except that all of its staves are alike. It was used by the Vikings as a magical symbol of bravery and protection on the battlefield.
It is considered a magical symbol that can bring about victory for those who wear it. The runes it is constructed of are symbols of victory and ice.
This represents the hardening of the soul for preparation in battle. It is said that the dragon Fafnir wore the Helm of Awe into battle and felt invincible.
The symbol was worn by warriors and was painted on their forehead between their eyebrows like a third eye. It was said to offer physical, spiritual, and mental protection to the warrior who wore it.
It helps a warrior conquer their own fear and then pose a threat to their enemies. Skip to content Symbols and mythology used by the Vikings The Vikings were based in Scandinavia from the 8th to the 11th century.
Berserker Symbol of bloodlust, uncontrollable rage, protection Viking Berserkers were warriors. Berserker Wolves Symbol Symbol of protection, loyalty, destruction, savagery The wolf is both a positive and negative symbol in Viking lore.
Viking Wolves Symbol Fenrir is the son of Loki and a giantess. Viking Ship Symbol of power, determination, skill The Vikings were one of the first Norsemen to travel and conquer parts of Europe.
Viking Ship There were two famous longships in Viking mythology. Valknut Symbol in Jewelry The three interlocking triangles represent the three afterworlds and the nine points represent the Nine Worlds which house the different beings from Viking legends.
Vegvisir Viking compass Symbol of guidance, maintaining course, protection The Vegvisir, or Viking compass, has eight different arms and was used as a protection spell from getting lost.
Vegvisir Viking compass The Viking compass was painted on warriors and ships and worn in amulet form by warriors.
Art by Vanessa Foley Helm of Awe Symbol of power, victory, protection, bravery The Helm of Awe is similar in design to the Vegvisir except that all of its staves are alike.