Valknut

May 07, 2022 5 min read

Everything you must Know About Valknut Symbol - Viking Heritage

The Valknut: an important symbol in Viking history?

The Nordic mythology is very varied in symbols. Indeed, they are very anchored in the Viking civilization. Whether it is the Valknut, the Triskel or the Triquetra, each had a clear and precise meaning.

The Valknut is still one of the most popular symbols that existed in Viking times. Today, it is possible to find it on different jewelry or clothing of Viking origin. At the time of meaning and significance, it was associated with the God Odin. At the time, the latter honored by humans. The symbol of the Valknut, as you must know, had many meanings.

Let's go together to discover this symbol heavy with meaning! You can discover the origin, the history, but also the legends that have been associated with this symbol!

What exactly does the Valknut mean in Norse mythology?

The Valknut comes from old narrois and is composed of varl which means "dead warriors" and knut, which means "knot". It therefore refers to warriors who lost their lives in battle. The Valknut symbol was seen as the "knot of the fallen", and several meanings could arise:

  • Death: indeed, since this symbol is associated with Odin. The latter during the battle of Ragnarök would have had the Valknut on him. This is how it became the symbol of death.
  • Research and discovery are also two meanings that can be attributed to Valknut.
  • The extension of the new world and the new horizon can also be attributed to the Valknut symbol.

Nevertheless, the number three and the number nine are two very present elements in this symbol. And for good reason, these are two numbers that were heavy with meaning at the time. Whether it is the Gods, the Goddesses, the religion or the nine worlds, the Valknut has many meanings in the Nordic mythology

What was the meaning of the number 3 in Norse mythology?

Everything you must Know About Valknut Symbol - Viking Heritage

In Norse mythology, the number three is very symbolic. Here are the different meanings that this number can have:

  • It is present in different symbols that were very popular at the time of the Vikings: the Triquetra which represents the Celtic love knots, the Trinity knot (Triquetra) and the Celtic spiral (Triskel).
  • The Norns: they are the three goddesses of Fate. They can be easily compared to the Dises, who were the Gods in the Nordic mythology. There are three of them: Urd (who represents what happened in the past), Verdani (who represents the present) and Skuld (who represents the future). It is necessary to know that the latter have always lived near the well of Urd which was none other than the well of Destiny. Nevertheless, in spite of these three main Norns, it is necessary to know that others could also exist. They allow to fix the Destiny of a person before they are born.
  • The three worlds and the three roots of life are also a meaning of the number three in Norse mythology. It is important to know that one of the roots led to the kingdom of Asgard, one was more towards Jotunheim and the last root was oriented towards Niflheim. Note also that there were three wells: one under each root of the tree of life.

As you can see, the number three was very present in Norse mythology. This list of meanings is exhaustive. It is possible to find many other interpretations. But the number three, is still very present at that time!

The number 9 also had a meaning

We have talked about the number three and its symbolism in Norse mythology. Nevertheless, you should know that the number nine also has a meaning and not the least. Why do we talk about the number nine, when it is only three intertwined triangles? Simply because if you multiply the number of triangles by 3, it makes a total of nine. And you should know that this is a number that has its place in Norse mythology as well.

Like the number three, the number 9 has different meanings

Everything you must Know About Valknut Symbol - Viking Heritage

  • Midgard : the world of mortals.
  • Asgard: which was the world of the Gods and Goddesses.
  • Vanaheim : it was the world of the Vanes, associated with the cults of fertility, fecundity, wisdom and precognition.
  • Jotunheim: which was none other than the world of the giants.
  • Niflheim : the oldest of the nine kingdoms, entirely made of ice.
  • Muspelheim : which is a world of fire, unlike Niflheim.
  • Alfheim : which is the world of the elves.
  • Svartalfheim : which is the world of the dark elves (svartálfar)
  • Hel : the world of the dead.

This is not the only meaning that can be found in the number nine. Here are some other elements that will certainly pique your curiosity:

  • Nine can be related to the number of nights during which Odin remained suspended on the cosmic tree Yggdrasil. During this period, he had to acquire new knowledge, but also a certain wisdom. It should be known that every ninth night his ring the Draupnir, gave 8 new rings.
  • Nine is also the number of mothers of the God Heimdal, who was the guardian of Bifrost Rainbow Bridge. This bridge was none other than the link between Asgard and Midgard.
  • Nine can also correspond to the nights that the god Frey had to wait to unite with the goddess Gerd, the Mother Earth.
  • The number nine also corresponds to the number of days that Skadi and Njörd spent alternately in Nóatún.
  • There were also nine girls surrounding Menglöd. The latter was the virgin who is compared to the goddess Freyja.
  • The God Thor took nine steps backwards in his final battle with the serpent Jörmungand.
  • Sacrifices and offerings for nine days were also made at the temple in Uppsala, Sweden.

Could there be a link between Hrungnir and the Valknut?

The symbol of Valknut would have a link with the Hrungir. But before anything else, it would be interesting to determine what it is really about.

In Norse mythology, Hrungir was none other than a giant. It is important to know that his name simply meant "the noisy one" or "the big and heavy being". He lived in Jotunheim and was the strongest ice giant that existed in his time.

But what interests us more is his heart. Indeed, according to the legend and the Norse mythology, this last would be in stone. We must also add that the edges of the latter are sharp and that it has three protruding horns. It is a magical symbol that has long been put on some runic stones.

But then, what is the link between the heart of this giant and the Valknut symbol? Quite simply, the fact that the giant's heart would have been in the shape of a triangle.

The Valknut symbol will remain popular throughout the ages. Whether it's in music bands like Linkin Park or represented on many tattoos, this mythical symbol will continue to fascinate all future generations.