Viking Symbols

May 25, 2022 8 min read

Viking Symbols

Viking symbols: what do we need to know?

In order to know the present, one must know enough about the past to be able to move forward, as they say. It is in this line of sight that we must stay and inform ourselves about past histories, even if they are not ours. This is a great help for our general culture and is a passion, especially for tourists looking for novelties.

Among the oldest civilizations, the one that has left its mark on the world is by far the Nordic culture and especially its many myths. It has mostly attracted the attention of the public thanks to the symbols of its people, who were called Vikings.

The Viking symbols tell very special stories and have very special meanings. In addition, these symbols bring gods and goddesses to the fore, which makes the search for information very exciting and compelling. So what do you need to know that has to do with Viking symbols?

What is the origin of the Viking symbols?

First of all, we need to know where these symbols really come from in order to be able to trace their history properly. As we like to say, the Vikings were barbarians who pillaged and made bloodshed wherever they went. They were largely interested in conquering new lands and riches aboard their great ships. So they were not afraid of death, but rather welcomed it with open arms.

Their different symbols were for them the heritage of their multiple gods who inhabited the earth many years ago. The symbols go back centuries with their gods as the main investigators, who are only mythological. But for them these gods were an inescapable truth in the name of which they killed and made human sacrifices, to honor them. It is from there that the symbols took shape and exist in different forms, each with its own distinct meaning.

What is the history of the different Viking symbols?

The symbols being multiple, they cannot all trace a common history. Each one appeared differently with a particularity of its own.

Aegishjalmur

Aegishjalmur Symbol | Viking Heritage

One of the most powerful of all is the Aegishjalmur a rather particular name, it is used to symbolize the protection and the victory over the enemies. It reassured the Viking warriors during the great battles and to recognize it, one could notice eight tridents which composed it.

These eight tridents all converge towards the central point, to form a kind of defensive wall against the enemy forces. It was also an association made with the snake and its powers of paralysis, facing its prey. Thanks to this symbol the northern forces felt invulnerable.

Gungnir

 

Gungnir Symbol | Viking Heritage

Come immediately after one of the most sacred symbols that is Gungnir, because of its belonging to the great god Odin. It is said that Gungnir was the magic spear of Odin made by the dwarves. Its power was due to the fact that it was designed by these blacksmiths who draw their skills from the cosmos.

It is also a spear with multiple powers that, once projected, did not stop unless it hit its target precisely. Let us not forget to underline that Gungnir, called the wavering one, was the representation of the supreme power of authority.

Hugin and Munin

Hugin and Munin | Viking Heritage

Still belonging to the god Odin, we have Hugin and Munin, which represent his two majestic ravens. The mythical stories about them tell us that the ravens were for the god a kind of reporter. They came to report faithfully all that they had heard or seen, which was their primary function.

The symbol of these two ravens taught good education, wisdom and intelligence. They are beings with multiple qualities that should not be underestimated.

Mjolnir 

Mjolnir symbol | Viking Heritage

Of the most formidable and powerful weapons that the Nordic mythology has to present, there is the Mjolnir which represents the hammer of the god Thor who is not unknown. Since his character has been imitated several times in movies and animated cult. Thor being the god of thunder and lightning, he needs his powerful hammer to cause these two phenomena of which he is master.

The hammer itself is a weapon of destruction, but was nevertheless used as a symbol of blessing and protection for weddings, births and also funerals. It is a hammer that is very special.

Svefnthorn

The thorn of sleep, also called Svefnthorn, had the ability to make the opponent fall asleep deeply, so that he could not realize anything when he woke up. It is a symbol that is still unknown to this day, but nevertheless its existence appears in two completely different forms.

Swastiska

Swastiska Symbol | Viking Heritage

One of the symbols with a special connection to Thor's hammer and sun wheel was the Swastiska. Indeed, it is a symbol whose existence was ignored for some time because of the appearance of the Nazis. But its representation of holiness, luck, security and also prosperity has completely taken over.

Triple horn of Odin

Triple horn of Odin | Viking Heritage

In the Nordic culture, drinking horns are sacred objects intended for special rituals. It is from there that takes all the meaning of the triple horn of Odin still called the Triskelion golden horn, which is a symbol representing three drinking horns intertwined. The great feature of these horns is that they are quite sacred, because being associated with the god Odin. Through them, wisdom and inspiration take all their meaning.

Troll Cross

Troll Cross Symbol | Viking Heritage

It is said that the Trolls are somewhat supernatural beings because of their deformity. So the symbol of the Troll cross was especially intended for their protection. It diminished the dangers considerably.

Vegvisir

Vegvisir Symbol | Viking Heritage

The Vikings are known for their sense of adventure and discovery through their travels, so it is not surprising that a symbol exists to guide them. It is the Vegvisir which shows the way when one is in a bad situation. In particular during a storm or any other barrier preventing to find its way. It is a kind of compass that helps in all cases, to find his destination while being safe and sound. 

Valknut

Valknut Symbol | Viking Heritage

The Vikings were more than warriors, they were great sculptors who did not hesitate to demonstrate their art. On their graves, especially those of the ships, the symbol Valknut was present. This symbol signified a transition from life to death and vice versa, which is where the meaning of the Nordic beliefs came from. Through this symbol, Odin's power of binding and unbinding took shape.

Wyrd 

Wyrd Symbol | Viking Heritage

For the Nordic people, the knowledge of the past, present and future are intimately linked. It is within this framework that the Wyrd symbol comes to materialize all that, by maintaining in a firm way this belief. We can therefore say that the law of cause and effect is real and that it is not just imaginary.

Yggdrasil

Yggdrasil Symbol | Viking Heritage

The last symbol at the bottom of the list is the Yggdrasil, which is a large tree symbolizing the nine worlds of the cosmos through their union. It has always been said that it is an unusual tree that shelters all kinds of animals. To this tree it has been associated several supernatural beings like the dragon Nidhogg.

A mythical giant dragon that would have the habit of gnawing the roots of the tree with the help of other snakes. Moreover in this tree, we witness a quarrel between Nodhogg and an eagle whose name remains unknown. The two despised each other to such an extent that the squirrel Ratatatosk served as an intermediary, reporting the insults to them.

Which animals were symbols in the Nordic culture?

When the knowledge is a little more advanced, one realizes that the preceding symbols were not the only ones which made the composition of the culture, at the Nordic. Very particular mythical animals have largely marked this culture.

Fenrir Wolf | Viking Heritage

The first of the mythical animals that does not go unnoticed, is the giant wolf Fenrir who was the essence of loyalty, protection and also of a superpowerful strength. For it must be said that his power surpassed that of the gods. Indeed, Fenrir is the son of Loki and his wife Argboda, a special being.

When he was born, the wolf had in him a superhuman strength that was destructive and had to be controlled through a very special chain. His legend made him very famous because it is said that he was the wolf who killed the god Odin.

This was not without punishment, since in his turn the son of the same god took revenge by killing Fenrir. Many warriors wore this wolf as a tattoo, to symbolize their loyalty. It should be noted that the Viking were fervent believers in their gods and did not hesitate to pledge allegiance to their kings and masters.

Gullinbursti

Gullinbursti | Viking Heritage

One of the animal symbols that emphasize spirituality is of course the boar, which was considered a spiritual authority. Freya, the goddess of love, and Frey, the god of fertility, had boars as their spirits. On the one hand, Frey's boar, Gullinborsti, still called golden silk, was superior in speed and skills that developed in the water.

The dwarves of the meantime had made it with the greatest of care. On the other hand, Freya's boar was named Hildisvini, which means battle pig. This boar symbolizes love, happiness, abundance and peace. The Swedes used it as a symbol of supreme royalty, which meant a lot.

Ouroboros

Ouroboros | Viking Heritage

The Nordic mythology, was largely impacted by the snakes. One of the symbols reflecting this is that of the Ouroboros, which meant a continuous return to time. As the symbol can easily reveal, we notice a snake forming a circle that continuously bites its tail without the cycle ending.

Etymologically, it has two main meanings: on the one hand the snake king and on the other hand, of course, the snake that bites its own tail. It is through the Ouroboros that any material, physical or spiritual unit truly comes to life. It is a cycle through which the perpetual rebirth from life to death is incarnated.

What is the history of the Viking runes?

Runes Symbols | Viking Heritage

Runes are Germanic symbols inscribed on all Viking symbols which are very popular. It is a kind of ancient writing that appeared among the northern Germans in the first place. They help in the communication with the gods in a very special way.

Since the gods did not have the possibility to manifest themselves in a physical way to express themselves, it was necessary to know their desire by communicating with them. The runes, still called secret and mystery, were used to solicit the gods and implore their help. Their inscriptions inspired a strong magic, since they were also present on the weapons that it is the axe or the sword of Vikings.

The runes originate from the goddess Freyja. They were like oracles that were used in the augury ceremonies to question this or that God on a subject of great importance. The magic that these runes contained was used to predict the outcome of battles and to keep people safe. Viking families used it as a symbol of protection in any situation.

What is the particularity of the Viking runes whether it is tattoos or on a jewel?

Viking Tattoo Symbol | Viking Heritage

The particularity of their inscription in tattoos or on jewels, lies in the fact that they constitute a spiritual protection. Up to now, runes still have the same mythical force, which is why many professionals flock to this jewelry. The other special feature is that the runes provide concrete answers to past, present and future events by way of prediction.