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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.

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 has also long played an important role among people who believe in magic powers, such as Norse Shamans.

As a spiritual compass, this magical device guides your heart and steps to make the right choices in life. If you have lost yourself and your faith, this sacred symbol helps you find confidence again.

Symbol Dictionary - Web Of Wyrd. Justin Pollard - The World of Vikings. There was no separation as there so often is today between faith and reality.

The cosmic forces and fate were active in everything. Thanks to the Marvel movies, nearly everyone now knows about Thor's hammer Mjölnir which was a very popular choice for Vikings to use in their jewelry as represented in this ancient Danish artifact to the right.

The Vikings also had letters known as runes , but writing itself was sacred and even magical. So, while the Norse culture was very rich in poetry, stories, and songs, this was all transmitted orally.

The stories of Odin, Thor, Freya, or the Viking heroes that we have now were all passed on by careful word of mouth until they were finally written down as the sagas by descendants of the Vikings centuries later.

Symbols and motifs visually convey instantly and across language barriers messages that were deeply meaningful to the women and men that held them.

They were intimately acquainted with the dangers of battle. Whether as warriors or as settlers, they lived in the wind, rain, heat, and cold.

They depended on the bounty of the land to feed their children. Through everything, they felt the hand of fate governing all things. Divine symbols on amulets, boundary stones, stitched onto clothing, painted on shields, carved into their longships, or as items around their hearths could offer the Viking that small edge he or she needed to face the uncertainties and dangers of life.

The difference between symbols and motifs is simply a question of formality. A symbol is an established, recognized visual image that is almost always rendered in a specific way.

Because of this, symbols tend to be very simple so that almost anyone can draw them. Things like Mjölnir, the Valknut, or the Helm of Awe are symbols.

Motifs are much less formal and can vary greatly from one artist to another. Because of this flexibility, new interpretations of ancient Viking motifs are still being made today.

Following is a brief introduction to some common Norse symbols and motifs. The list is not all-inclusive, nor is it meant to be exhaustive but rather just a basic starting point.

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Runes denoted phonetic sounds like letters but also had individual meanings like the glyphs of other ancient languages.

Runic alphabets are called futharks. The oldest known futhark arose sometime between the second and fourth century, which is not surprising considering that was the time when war and trade between Germanic and Mediterranean peoples were accelerating.

The Vikings had an oral culture and did not use runes to write just anything. Runes had power. They were seldom if ever penned onto parchment, as the enemies of the Vikings did in France, Ireland, and England; they were carved into wood, stone, metal, or bone hence their angular appearance.

Most of our surviving examples of runes are inscriptions on rune stones commemorating the lives of great rulers. Runes also had expressly magical purposes and were engraved on amulets, talismans, beads, and shields to ensure protection and victory.

Rune casting was another magical use of runes in the Viking Age. The skilled practitioner then deciphers the message rendered, not only of the runes but also their orientation to each other similar to Tarot, in which the same card can have very different meanings depending on context.

Runes are associated with the god Odin, who first discovered them at great pain and effort from the Well of Destiny, at the foot of Ygdrassil.

For the Vikings, this discovery of runes meant that they were not invented tools of humankind but part of the larger, deeper truth. The early runes became known as the Elder Futhark and were used by a wide range of Germanic and Norse tribes.

Just before the Viking Age began, the Elder Futhark began to gradually give way to the more streamlined Younger Futhark.

The Younger Futhark has fewer runes only 16 to reflect changes in the Scandinavian language and dialects at that time. Again, the transition was gradual, and runes from the Elder Futhark that were no longer useful as letters remained in use as glyphs for quite some time.

And just as we can still interpret the Elder version today years later , Vikings skilled in rune lore were most likely capable of reading both.

Most of today's modern Viking jewelry relating to Runes reflects the Elder version as it offers more letters for easier translation to the English language.

The Vikings believed that people who lived ordinary lives went on to a shadowy existence after death, but those who died gloriously in battle lived on in Valhalla.

The Valkyries would carry the souls of these heroes from the battlefield. In Valhalla, they would live the Viking version of the good life: fighting great battles against each other every day but — in their immortal state — spending each night in revelry and feasting.

This paradise comes with a price, though. They will fight this doomed battle against the giants and fearsome creatures of darkness for the sake of our world and the world of the gods.

The Valknut is most commonly believed to be the symbol of these slain warriors. The exact meaning of the three interlocking triangle shapes is unknown.

Clues arise from Celtic and Neolithic art from Northwestern Europe in which interlinking triple shapes are common indicators of magical power and magical essence.

Experts hypothesize that the Valknut may depict the cyclical path between life and death that these warriors experience.

Others believe that the nine points represent the nine worlds of Norse mythology. While the details are lost to time, the Valknut symbol now calls to mind courage, bravery, and destiny throughout this life and the next.

The Helm of Awe is mentioned in several of the Eddic poems as being used by both warriors and even dragons! The symbol itself survives from later Icelandic grimoire books of magic , penned well after the Viking Age but from an unbroken intellectual lineage to sea traveling Vikings of earlier times.

I never faced so many men that I did not feel myself much stronger than they were, and everyone feared me. The eight arms or rays emit from the center point of the symbol.

The arms themselves appear to be constructed from two intersecting runes. These are Algiz runes for victory and protection intersected by Isa runes, which may mean hardening literally, ice.

So, the hidden meaning of this symbol may be the ability to overcome through superior hardening of the mind and soul. Vegvisir Viking Compass.

The Icelandic symbol was a visual spell of protection against getting lost particularly at sea — something that would have been very, very important to the Vikings.

The Vikings may have had directional finding instruments of their own, such as the Uunartoq disc and sunstones; but most of their navigation came down to visual cues the sun, stars, flight patterns of birds, the color of water, etc.

Given the potentially disastrous consequences inherent in such sea voyages, however, it is easy to see why Vikings would want magical help in keeping their way.

The symbol comes down to us from the Icelandic Huld Manuscript another grimoire which was compiled in the s from older manuscripts now lost.

The exact age of the Vegvisir is therefore unknown. Triskele Horns of Odin. The Horns of Odin also referred to as the horn triskelion or the triple-horned triskele is a symbol comprised three interlocking drinking horns.

The exact meaning of the symbol is not known, but it may allude to Odin's stealing of the Mead of Poetry. The symbol has become especially significant in the modern Asatru faith.

The Horns of Odin symbol is also meaningful to other adherents to the Old Ways, or those who strongly identify with the god Odin.

While the shape of this symbol is reminiscent of the Triqueta and other Celtic symbols, it appears on the Larbro stone in Gotland, Sweden which may be as old as the early eighth century.

On this image stone, the Horns of Odin are depicted as the crest on Odin's shield. The Triquetra or the Trinity Knot is comprised one continuous line interweaving around itself, meaning no beginning or end, or eternal spiritual life.

A similar design was found on the Funbo Runestone found in Uppland, Sweden seen to the right. Originally, the Triquetra was associated with the Celtic Mother Goddess and depicted her triune nature the maiden, the mother, and the wise, old woman.

The triple identity was an essential feature in many aspects of druidic belief and practice. Mjölnir me-OL-neer means grinder, crusher, hammer and is also associated with thunder and lightning.

When the Vikings saw lightning, and heard thunder in a howling storm, they knew that Thor had used Mjölnir to send another giant to his doom.

Thor was the son of Odin and Fyorgyn a. He was the god of thunder and the god of war and one of the most popular figures in all of Norse mythology.

Mjölnir is known for its ability to destroy mountains. But it was not just a weapon. Loki made a bet with two dwarves, Brokkr and Sindri or Eitri that they could not make something better than the items created by the Sons of Ivaldi the dwarves who created Odin's spear Gungnir and Freyr's foldable boat skioblaonir.

Then he gave the hammer to Thor, and said that Thor might smite as hard as he desired, whatsoever might be before him, and the hammer would not fail; and if he threw it at anything, it would never miss, and never fly so far as not to return to his hand; and if be desired, he might keep it in his sark, it was so small; but indeed it was a flaw in the hammer that the fore-haft handle was somewhat short.

Thor also used Mjölnir to hallow, or to bless. With Mjölnir, Thor could bring some things such as the goats who drew his chariot back to life. Thor was invoked at weddings, at births, and at special ceremonies for these abilities to bless, make holy, and protect.

Hundreds of Mjölnir amulets have been discovered in Viking graves and other Norse archaeological sites.

Some experts have postulated that these amulets became increasingly popular as Vikings came into contact with Christians, as a way to differentiate themselves as followers of the Old Ways and not the strange faith of their enemies.

This may or may not be true. Certainly, amulets of many kinds have been in use since pre-historic times. Interestingly, Mjölnir amulets were still worn by Norse Christians sometimes in conjunction with a cross after the Old Ways began to fade, so we can see that the symbol still had great meaning even after its relevance to religion had changed.

With its association with Thor, the protector god of war and the of nature's awe, the Mjölnir stands for power, strength, bravery, good luck, and protection from all harm.

It is also an easily-recognizable sign that one holds the Old Ways in respect. Viking Axe The most famous, and perhaps most common, Viking weapon was the axe.

Viking axes ranged in size from hand axes similar to tomahawks to long-hafted battle axes. Unlike the axes usually depicted in fantasy illustrations, Viking axes were single-bitted to make them faster and more maneuverable.

Viking axes were sometimes "bearded," which is to say that the lower portion of the axe head was hook-shaped to facilitate catching and pulling shield rims or limbs.

The axe required far less iron, time, or skill to produce than a sword; and because it was an important tool on farms and homesteads, the Norse would have had them in hand since childhood.

The Viking axe would make the Norsemen famous, and even after the Viking Age waned, the descendants of the Vikings such as the Varangians of Byzantium or the Galloglass of Ireland would be sought after as bodyguards or elite mercenaries specifically for their axe skill.

As a symbol, the axe stands for bravery, strength, and audacity. It is a reminder of heritage and the accomplishments of ancestors who bent the world to their will using only what they had.

It is a symbol of the berserker, and all that entails. It conveys the heart or mind's ability to cut through that which holds one back and to forge boldly ahead.

All nine worlds or nine dimensions are entwined in its branches and its roots. Yggdrasil, therefore, serves as a conduit or pathway between these nine dimensions that the gods might travel.

If this all seems a little difficult to imagine, you are not alone. Remember, myth is a means for people to understand cosmic truth. For our ancestors, myths like these were as close as they could come to science; and even as quantum physics is difficult for many of us to "picture", it is still our way of describing the truth as we have found it to be.

Yggdrasil was a way of thinking about reality and about how different realities could be connected maybe similar in some ways to modern multiverse theory.

As Dan McCoy of Norse-mythology. As a symbol, Yggdrasil represents the cosmos, the relationship between time and destiny, harmony, the cycles of creation, and the essence of nature.

The longship was the soul of the Viking. The word "Viking" does not simply mean any medieval Scandinavian, but rather a man or woman who dared to venture forth into the unknown.

The longship was the means by which that was accomplished. We have eyewitness accounts from centuries before the Vikings that tell us the Norse always were into their ships, but technological advances they made in ship design around the eighth century revolutionized what these ships were able to do.

The Viking ships could row with oars or catch the wind with a broad, square sail. They were flexible and supple in the wild oceans. They were keeled for speed and precision.

Most importantly to Viking mobility and military superiority, they had a very shallow draught. All this meant that Vikings could cross the cold seas from Scandinavia to places that had never heard of them, then use river ways to move deep into these lands all while outpacing any enemies who might come against them.

It took the greatest powers in Europe a long time to even figure out how to address this kind of threat. It was no wonder that the Viking ships were called dragon ships, for it was as if an otherworldly force was unleashed upon the peoples of Europe.

Accounts from the very first recorded Viking raid Lindisfarne even speak of monks seeing visions of dragons in a prophecy of this doom.

There are two ships that stand out in Norse Mythology. Nalgfar is the ship of the goddess, Hel. It is made from the fingernails of the dead.

At Ragnarok it will rise from the depths, and — oared by giants and with Loki at its helm — it will cross the Bifrost bridge to lead the assault on Asgard.

This myth shows how the Vikings viewed ships — a good ship can take you anywhere. The relationship of the Vikings to their ships is even more striking when we realize that - in some ways - these ships were glorified boats, and not what we think of as ships at all.

A Viking was completely exposed to the elements and could reach down and touch the waves. In such a vessel you would feel the waters of the deep slipping by just underneath of your feet as sea spray pelted your face.

The Vikings sailed these vessels all the way to the Mediterranean, to Iceland and Greenland, and even all the way to North America.

This level of commitment, acceptance of risk, rejection of limitations, and consuming hunger to bend the world to one's will is difficult for many of us to accurately imagine.

That is why the dragon ship will always symbolize the Vikings and everything about them. The Vikings believed all things — even the gods themselves — were bound to fate.

The concept was so important that there were six different words for fate in the Old Scandinavian tongues.

Because the outcome was determined, it was not for a man or a woman to try to escape their fate — no matter how grim it might be.

The essential thing was in how one met the trials and tragedies that befell them. In Norse mythology, fate itself is shaped by the Norns.

There they weave together a great tapestry or web, with each thread being a human life. Some sources, including the Volsung saga, say that in addition to the three great Norns who are called Past, Present, and Future there are many lesser Norns of both Aesir and elf kind.

These lesser Norn may act similarly to the idea of the guardian angels of Christianity or the daemon of Greco-Roman mythology. The Web of Wyrd symbol represents the tapestry the Norns weave.

It is uncertain whether this symbol was used during the Viking Age, but it uses imagery the Vikings would instantly understand.

Nine lines intersect to form the symbol. Nine was a magic number to the Norse, and within the pattern of these lines all the runes can be found.

The runes also sprang from the Well of Urd, and carried inherent meaning and power. Thus, when one looks at the nine lines of the Web of Wyrd, one is seeing all the runes at once, and seeing in symbolic form the secrets of life and destiny.

Gungnir is a magic spear, with dark runes inscribed on its point. Gungnir never misses its target. When Odin sacrificed himself to discover the runes and the cosmic secrets they held, he stabbed Gungnir through his chest and hung from the world tree, Yggdrasil for nine days and nights.

As a symbol, Gungnir represents the courage, ecstasy, inspiration, skill, and wisdom of the Allfather, and it can be taken to represent focus, faithfulness, precision, and strength.

Ravens may be the animal most associated with the Vikings. This is because Ravens are the familiars of Odin, the Allfather.

Odin was a god of war, and ravens feasting on the slain were a common sight on the battlefields of the Viking Age. The connection is deeper than that, however.

Ravens are very intelligent birds. You cannot look at the eyes and head movement of a raven and not feel that it is trying to perceive everything about you — even weigh your spirit.

Huginn and Muninn fly throughout the nine worlds, and whatever their far-seeing eyes find they whisper back to Odin. Ravens are also associated with the 9th century Viking hero, Ragnar Lothbrok.

Ragnar claimed descent from Odin through a human consort. This was something that did not sit well with the kings of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden as it implied parity with them , and for that and many other reasons they made war on him.

Various sagas and chronicles tell us Ragnar's success led him to Finland, France, England, and maybe even as far as the Hellespont in Turkey, and wherever he went, he carried the raven banner with him.

His sons Ivar and Ubbe carried the raven banner at the head of the Great Heathen Army that conquered the eastern kingdoms of England in the 9th century.

The banner continued to bring victories until their descendant, Sigurd the Stout, finally died under it at the Irish Battle of Clontarf about years later.

In Norse art, ravens symbolize Odin, insight, wisdom, intellect, bravery, battle glory, and continuity between life and the afterlife. For people today, they also represent the Vikings themselves, and the years of exploits and exploration that these ancestors achieved.

The wolf is a more enigmatic motif, as it can have several meanings. The most famous to the Vikings was Fenrir or Fenris-wolf.

Fenrir is one of the most frightening monsters in Norse mythology. When the gods saw how quickly Fenrir was growing and how ravenous he was, they tried to bind him — but Fenrir broke every chain.

Finally, the dwarves made an unbreakable lashing with which the gods were able to subdue the creature — but only after he had ripped the god Tyr's hand off.

Fenrir is fated to escape someday, at the dawning of Ragnarok, and will devour the sun and moon and even kill Odin in the last days.

Not all the wolves in Norse culture were evil. Odin himself was accompanied by wolves, named Geri and Freki both names meaning, Greedy who accompanied him in battle, hunting, and wandering.

This partnership between god and wolves gave rise to the alliance between humans and dogs. It is not entirely clear whether this was a synonym or a separate class of berserker.

We may never know for certain. The wolf has both positive and negative connotations in Norse culture. The wolf can represent the destructive forces of time and nature, for which even the gods are not a match.

The wolf can also represent the most valued characteristics of bravery, teamwork, and shamanistic power. The unifying characteristic in these two divergent manifestations is savagery and the primal nature.

The wolf can bring out the worst or the best in people. All this he can do at incredible speeds. While the other gods ride chariots, Odin rides Sleipnir into battle.

Sleipnir has a weird family. Some experts hypothesize that Sleipnir's octopedal sliding was inspired by the "tolt" - the fifth gait of Icelandic horses and their Scandinavian ancestors that make them very smooth to ride.

While this may or may not be true, the idea of eight-legged spirit horses is a very, very old one. Sleipnir's image, or rumors of him, appear in shamanistic traditions throughout Korea, Mongolia, Russia, and of course Northwestern Europe.

As in Norse mythology, these eight-legged horses are a means for transporting souls across worlds i. These archeological finds are at least a thousand years older than Viking influence, showing that the roots of this symbol indeed go deep.

Sleipnir symbolizes speed, surety, perception, good luck in travel, eternal life, and transcendence. He combines the attributes of the horse one of the most important and enduring animals to humankind and the spirit.

He is especially meaningful to athletes, equestrians, travelers, those who have lost loved ones, and those yearning for spiritual enlightenment.

The Vikings had lots of stories of dragons and giant serpents and left many depictions of these creatures in their art. The longship — the heart and soul of the Viking — were even called "dragon ships" for their sleek design and carved dragon-headed prows.

These heads sometimes would be removed to announce the Vikings came in peace as not to frighten the spirits of the land, the Icelandic law codes say.

The common images of dragons we have from fantasy movies, with thick bodies and heavy legs come more from medieval heraldry inspired by Welsh Celtic legends.

The earliest Norse dragons were more serpentine, with long coiling bodies. They only sometimes had wings, and only some breathed fire. Some Norse dragons were not just giant monsters - they were cosmic forces unto themselves.

Jörmungandr also called "The Midgard Serpent" or "The World-Coiling Serpent" is so immeasurable that he wraps around the entire world, holding the oceans in.

Jörmungandr is the arch-enemy of Thor, and they are fated to kill each other at Ragnarok. Luckily, not all dragons were as big as the world - but they were big enough.

Heroes like Beowulf met their greatest test against such creatures. Ragnar Lothbrok won his name, his favorite wife Thora , and accelerated his destiny by slaying a giant, venomous serpent.

Dragons are as rich in symbolism as they were said to be rich in treasure. As the true, apex predator, dragons represent both great strength and great danger.

With their association with hordes of gold or as the captors of beautiful women, dragons can represent opportunity through risk. Most of all, dragons embody the destructive phase of the creation-destruction cycle.

This means that they represent chaos and cataclysm, but also change and renewal. There are numerous other animal motifs in Norse art and culture.

Many of these are the fylgja familiars or attendant spirits of different gods. Thor had his goats , and Heimdall had his rams. Freya had a ferocious boar to accompany her in war, named Hildisvini "Battle Swine".

Her brother, Freyr or Frey - the god of sex, male fertility, bounty, wealth, and peace who, along with Freya, aptly lends his name to Friday - had a boar named Gullinborsti "Golden-Bristled" as his fylgia.

Seeing Gullinborsti's symbol or other boar motifs would make a Viking think of peace, happiness, and plenty.

Boars are also significant in Celtic mythology, such as the fertility god Moccus, or the Torc Triatha of the goddess Brigid.

The Vikings believed cats were the spirit animals flygjur or familiars of the Vanir goddess, Freya. Freya was the goddess of love, sex, and romantic desire — but she was not just some northern version of Venus.

Freya was a fearsome goddess of war, as well, and she would ride into battle on her wild boar, Hildisvini "Battle Swine". Like Odin, Freya also selected the bravest of slain warriors for the afterlife of Valhalla.

Freya is said to have taught Odin much of what he knows of the secret arts. She is also a lover of poetry, music, and thoughtfulness. As a Vanir goddess and the sister some say, twin of the god Frey or Freyr , Freya is a goddess of prosperity and riches.

Freya is a fertility goddess. Though she cries her amber tears when she misses her wandering husband, skaldic poetry tells us that she has an unbridled sexuality.

In Norse mythology, Freya is often depicted as the object of desire not only of gods but of giants, elves, and men, too.

When not riding Hildisvini into the thick of battle or using her fabulous falcon-feather cloak to shape shift into a lightning-fast bird of prey, Freya travelled in a chariot drawn by black or gray cats.

Some folklorists see the image of the goddess getting cats to work together and go in the same direction as a metaphor for the power of feminine influence — a reoccurring theme in the Viking sagas.

The cat probably reminded Vikings of Freya because of the common personality traits: cats are independent but affectionate when they want to be; fierce fighters and lethal hunters but lovers of leisure, luxury, and treasures.

This association between the goddess of magic and her cats may be why cats became associated with witches during the later Middle Ages and through our own time.

In Norse art or jewelry, the symbol or motif of the cat is meant to denote the blessing or character of Freya, with all her contradictions and strength: love and desire, abundance and beauty, valor and the afterlife, music and poetry, magic and wisdom..

Bears The bear was one of the most powerful and ferocious animals the Vikings knew. The very sight of a bear in the wild would make the bravest of men back away slowly.

They are massive, fast, and deadly, and their hide and fur resist most weapons. It is easy to see why the Vikings would be fascinated by them and would want to emulate them.

Viking sea kings loved to own bears as pets. Saxo Grammaticus tells us that the great shield maiden, Lagertha, had a pet bear that she turned loose on Ragnar Lothbrok when he first came to court her.

Understandably, this incident got brought up again in their later divorce. The Greenland Vikings specialized in exporting polar bears and polar bear furs to the courts of Medieval Europe.

The Bear was sacred to Odin, and this association inspired the most legendary class of all Vikings: the berserkers. Berserkers were Viking heroes who would fight in a state of ecstatic frenzy.

While the other gods ride chariots, Odin rides Sleipnir into battle. Sleipnir has a weird family. Some experts hypothesize that Sleipnir's octopedal sliding was inspired by the "tolt" - the fifth gait of Icelandic horses and their Scandinavian ancestors that make them very smooth to ride.

While this may or may not be true, the idea of eight-legged spirit horses is a very, very old one. Sleipnir's image, or rumors of him, appear in shamanistic traditions throughout Korea, Mongolia, Russia, and of course Northwestern Europe.

As in Norse mythology, these eight-legged horses are a means for transporting souls across worlds i. These archeological finds are at least a thousand years older than Viking influence, showing that the roots of this symbol indeed go deep.

Sleipnir symbolizes speed, surety, perception, good luck in travel, eternal life, and transcendence. He combines the attributes of the horse one of the most important and enduring animals to humankind and the spirit.

He is especially meaningful to athletes, equestrians, travelers, those who have lost loved ones, and those yearning for spiritual enlightenment.

The Vikings had lots of stories of dragons and giant serpents and left many depictions of these creatures in their art.

The longship — the heart and soul of the Viking — were even called "dragon ships" for their sleek design and carved dragon-headed prows. These heads sometimes would be removed to announce the Vikings came in peace as not to frighten the spirits of the land, the Icelandic law codes say.

The common images of dragons we have from fantasy movies, with thick bodies and heavy legs come more from medieval heraldry inspired by Welsh Celtic legends.

The earliest Norse dragons were more serpentine, with long coiling bodies. They only sometimes had wings, and only some breathed fire.

Some Norse dragons were not just giant monsters - they were cosmic forces unto themselves. Jörmungandr also called "The Midgard Serpent" or "The World-Coiling Serpent" is so immeasurable that he wraps around the entire world, holding the oceans in.

Jörmungandr is the arch-enemy of Thor, and they are fated to kill each other at Ragnarok. Luckily, not all dragons were as big as the world - but they were big enough.

Heroes like Beowulf met their greatest test against such creatures. Ragnar Lothbrok won his name, his favorite wife Thora , and accelerated his destiny by slaying a giant, venomous serpent.

Dragons are as rich in symbolism as they were said to be rich in treasure. As the true, apex predator, dragons represent both great strength and great danger.

With their association with hordes of gold or as the captors of beautiful women, dragons can represent opportunity through risk.

Most of all, dragons embody the destructive phase of the creation-destruction cycle. This means that they represent chaos and cataclysm, but also change and renewal.

There are numerous other animal motifs in Norse art and culture. Many of these are the fylgja familiars or attendant spirits of different gods.

Thor had his goats , and Heimdall had his rams. Freya had a ferocious boar to accompany her in war, named Hildisvini "Battle Swine".

Her brother, Freyr or Frey - the god of sex, male fertility, bounty, wealth, and peace who, along with Freya, aptly lends his name to Friday - had a boar named Gullinborsti "Golden-Bristled" as his fylgia.

Seeing Gullinborsti's symbol or other boar motifs would make a Viking think of peace, happiness, and plenty.

Boars are also significant in Celtic mythology, such as the fertility god Moccus, or the Torc Triatha of the goddess Brigid.

The Vikings believed cats were the spirit animals flygjur or familiars of the Vanir goddess, Freya. Freya was the goddess of love, sex, and romantic desire — but she was not just some northern version of Venus.

Freya was a fearsome goddess of war, as well, and she would ride into battle on her wild boar, Hildisvini "Battle Swine".

Like Odin, Freya also selected the bravest of slain warriors for the afterlife of Valhalla. Freya is said to have taught Odin much of what he knows of the secret arts.

She is also a lover of poetry, music, and thoughtfulness. As a Vanir goddess and the sister some say, twin of the god Frey or Freyr , Freya is a goddess of prosperity and riches.

Freya is a fertility goddess. Though she cries her amber tears when she misses her wandering husband, skaldic poetry tells us that she has an unbridled sexuality.

In Norse mythology, Freya is often depicted as the object of desire not only of gods but of giants, elves, and men, too. When not riding Hildisvini into the thick of battle or using her fabulous falcon-feather cloak to shape shift into a lightning-fast bird of prey, Freya travelled in a chariot drawn by black or gray cats.

Some folklorists see the image of the goddess getting cats to work together and go in the same direction as a metaphor for the power of feminine influence — a reoccurring theme in the Viking sagas.

The cat probably reminded Vikings of Freya because of the common personality traits: cats are independent but affectionate when they want to be; fierce fighters and lethal hunters but lovers of leisure, luxury, and treasures.

This association between the goddess of magic and her cats may be why cats became associated with witches during the later Middle Ages and through our own time.

In Norse art or jewelry, the symbol or motif of the cat is meant to denote the blessing or character of Freya, with all her contradictions and strength: love and desire, abundance and beauty, valor and the afterlife, music and poetry, magic and wisdom..

Bears The bear was one of the most powerful and ferocious animals the Vikings knew. The very sight of a bear in the wild would make the bravest of men back away slowly.

They are massive, fast, and deadly, and their hide and fur resist most weapons. It is easy to see why the Vikings would be fascinated by them and would want to emulate them.

Viking sea kings loved to own bears as pets. Saxo Grammaticus tells us that the great shield maiden, Lagertha, had a pet bear that she turned loose on Ragnar Lothbrok when he first came to court her.

Understandably, this incident got brought up again in their later divorce. The Greenland Vikings specialized in exporting polar bears and polar bear furs to the courts of Medieval Europe.

The Bear was sacred to Odin, and this association inspired the most legendary class of all Vikings: the berserkers. Berserkers were Viking heroes who would fight in a state of ecstatic frenzy.

The word berserker comes from two old Norse words that mean "bear shirt" or "bear skin. The berserker took on the essence and spirit of the great bears of the Scandinavian wilderness.

Or, he wore no armor of any kind and had bare skin the play on words is the same in English and Old Norse. Instead of fighting as a team, as other Vikings would, the berserker would sometimes go in advance of the line.

The method to this madness was two-fold. His valor was meant to both inspire his comrades and to dishearten his foes.

By single-handedly attacking the enemy lines often with sweeping blows of the huge, powerful Dane axe before his forces could make contact, he sought to disrupt the enemy's cohesion and exploit holes in their defenses that his brothers in arms could drive through.

The skalds tell us that berserkers were impervious to iron or fire. Other Animals Sometimes animals were not just the 'familiars' of the gods but were the gods themselves.

Odin's wife Frigg could change into a falcon. Other animals were not the fylgja of the gods, but merely had the gods' favor because of their characteristics and personality in the same way that many of us see ourselves in certain animals.

In addition to familiars, various animal spirits populate Norse mythology, such as the eagle who sits in the boughs of Yggdrasil, or the squirrel that scurries along the trunk of the world tree.

Viking History. Why include Celtic symbols? Symbols and Motifs The difference between symbols and motifs is simply a question of formality.

Return to the menu View our collection of: Triskele Necklaces Triskele Rings Triskele Beard Beads Triquetra Celtic Knot The Triquetra or the Trinity Knot is comprised one continuous line interweaving around itself, meaning no beginning or end, or eternal spiritual life.

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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.

This symbol appears on the Newgrange kerbstones in BC. Horns of Odin plays an important role not only in ancient times but also in the modern Celtic art, as they symbolize three realms of material existence: water, earth, and sky.

Moreover, this symbol signifies the three words: physical, spiritual, and celestial. The other Trinity connections that are associated with this symbol are past-present-future, earth-water-sky, life-death-rebirth, and creation-protection-destruction.

According to the fact that this symbol is associated with the Mead of Poetry, there are a lot of modern accessories with this symbol image, that is specially designed to bring inspiration to everyone who wears them.

The most well known and appreciated Viking weapon was an axe. It was a famous Viking symbol as well as armor symbolizing power, bravery, strength and audacity.

Home Viking Symbols and their Meaning. Brief Overview of Viking Symbols Each symbol had a different meaning.

What is the Difference between Motifs and Symbols? Runes 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.

Rune Masters For Vikings runes were not only symbols. Yggdrasil 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.

Aegishjalmur Aegishjalmur is rune stave that is well known to be a Viking symbol of victory and protection. I bear the Helm of awe between my brows!

The Horn Triskelion This symbol is another Viking symbol that took a prominent part during the Viking era. The Swastika The Swastika is one of the Viking symbols that completely lost its true meaning.

Huginn and Muninn Huginn and Muninn are the twin ravens of Odin. Gungnir Gungnir is the magical spear of Odin. Viking Axe The most well known and appreciated Viking weapon was an axe.

Viking Axe came in different sizes, from the hand axes to the large long-hafted battle-axes. One of the most characteristic features of the Viking Axes is the fact that they were single-bitted — it was specially made to make them faster and more maneuverable to use during battles.

The lower part of the axe head was hook-shaped. The axe di don required as much time, efforts and skills to be produced as a sword required.

This was a handy tool for Vikings. Therefore every one of them had axe since childhood. It was not only a highly useful tool in battles but on farms and homesteads.

Usually, axes were the choice of the poorest man during the Viking Age. Even the lowliest and the poorest farm had to have a wood axe to split and cut the wood.

Longship At the Viking age, the heart of Vikings was Longship. It has a far deeper meaning, for example, a man or a woman who was always ready to deep and face into something unknown.

The longship was the main thing with the help of which they could achieve it. They were very flexible and manoeuvrable even in the storming oceans.

Vikings were brave warriors. They were always ready to cross the places where there they had never been before.

They could cross cold oceans to cross the lands where they had never been before and outpace their enemies who could contradict them.

In Nordic mythology, there existed two main ships. One of them is Nalgfar. In the German-Scandinavian mythology, it was a ship made entirely from the nails of the dead.

It was the ship of the goddess, Hel. It was the ship of Frey. The boat was so large that it could adjust all the Norse gods. The dwarves were so cunning that this enormous in size ship was not only comfortable for all the gods but also foldable and it could fit in a tiny pocket or a small bag.

Vikings were free and fearless people. They did not feel fear of weather conditions or the other obstacles they could face with while crossing the ocean sailing to Iceland, the Mediterranean, or Greenland.

They were happy to touch the waves, accept any risk and sail even to unknown countries. Their responsibility, risk-taking, giving up restrictions and constant desire to subdue the world can only make us inspired and impressed with their bravery, curiosity, fearless and purposefulness.

Gungnir In Norse mythology, Gurnir is a powerful weapon that is associated with Odin. In both visual art and poetry, you can see that these connections are deep, powerful and long-lasting.

They were the cleverest and the most cunning smiths in the cosmos, who had also made many other impressive things, such as golden hair of Sif, Skidbladnir, and more.

Gurnir is not only the symbol that is associated with Odin, but it is also the symbol related to inspiration, war and wisdom.

What is unique about Gurnir? Firstly, when throwing a spear, it always reached the target, and there was no material that could stand against this weapon.

Swears given on the Gurnir became eternal and indestructible. According to Norse mythology, when Odin decided to sacrifice his life to find out the runes as well as the mysterious secrets they covered, he took his Gurnir and stabbed it through his chest.

He had been hanging from the Tree of Life for nine days. As a tradition, Vikings used a spear in combination with hanging for their sacrifices to Odin.

Today, there are many accessories with the Gurnir symbol, symbolizing power, courage, fearlessness, inspiration, wisdom and skill.

Raven Ravens were the symbols, which were the most frequently associated with the Vikings. As was earlier mentioned, Odin, the god of was also the god of ravens flying and feasting of the body of killed.

The fact is ravens are clever birds, and it is difficult not to notice their head movement and black color eyes, looking at you as if they are trying to know all about you.

Every day they flew all over the nine worlds, and when they noticed or heard something unusual, they returned to Odin to tell him.

Ravens were also associated with Ragnar Lothbrok. He was one of the most famous Viking heroes. No matter where his journey lad, he always took raven banner with himself and even his sons were following him they still took with themselves the raven banner which brought a lot of victories at the head of the Great Heathen Army.

His extra legs were coupled with regular legs, which were growing from his shoulders and his haunches. No horse could be compared with Sleipnir.

He was fearless and brave. There were no obstacles to him. What is more, Sleipnic could ferry Odin in and out of Hell the realm of the dead.

In Norse mythology, the horses that had eight legs symbolized means of conveying souls across the nine worlds. Sleipnir has a deep meaning, symbolizing speed, power, strength, perception, eternal life surety, transcendence, and travel.

Today there is a wide assortment of various accessories using the image of the influential and well-known eight-legged horse of Odin — Sleipnir.

The symbol of Sleipnir is of particular importance for athletes, travellers, and those who lost their way in life or those who lost their love.

It is a great symbol, able to bring power and spiritual protection and enlightenment to everyone who needs it.

Dragons This is not a secret that Vikings had a lot of stories about dragons and large, giant serpents. Many of these stories were left on the piece of paper, with the help of which we can analyze their art today.

Sometimes the heads of dragons were removed, symbolizing that Vikings had come in peace. The ancient Norse dragons had long bodies, which look serpentine.

Not all of them had wings or could breathe fire. Some of the dragons were not only powerful monsters, but were also dominant cosmic powers.

It waves around the root of the Tree of Life, desiring to destroy it and dreaming of Ragnarok. The other Norse creature was Midgard Serpent. Its size was so large that it could cover all the world, holding oceans.

Norse mythology does not describe all the dragons immeasurable in size. Not all of them could cover the entire world. A well-known hero Beowulf took its designation to struggle against such creations.

Later on, because of his betrayal and greed he turned into an ugly monster, sleeping on a large heap of gold.

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Skip to content Category: jackpotcity online casino. Categories: jackpotcity online casino. Vikings Symbol. Mehr dazu. Viking symbol for "peace".

Find this Pin and more on Vikings by Janine Timm. Ancient pagan talisman, norse rune symbol. Futhark norse islandic and viking runes set.

Set of hand drawn Norse runes. Business concept dollar Kategorie: Business Concepts. Set of hand drawn lichen glyphs written in stone, ancient magical symbols for divination.

The magic hand draws symbols in the form of written talismans. Symbols themselves were thought to have power. Vikings sailed at the mercy of the mighty seas.

The symbol appear on the 9th-century Snoldelev Stone found in Denmark and seen to the right. Weitere interessante Vikings Symbol.

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Viking Valknut glyph icon. Inhalt dieses Beitrags sind Click bzw. Nach unserem Wissensstand gibt es keine Funde, Beweise dafür, dass dieses Symbol in der Wikingerzeit bekannt war.

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Scandinavian ancient runic alphabet set white color isolated on black background - Vector letter symbols. Verschiedene der hier gezeigten oder beschriebenen Symbole haben wenig, oder nicht direkt mit der Wikingerzeit zu tun, was aber heute oft so gedeutet wird.

Thus, when one looks at the nine lines of the Web of Wyrd, one is seeing all the runes at once, and seeing in symbolic form the secrets of life and destiny. When not riding Hildisvini into the thick of battle or using her § 24 falcon-feather cloak to shape shift into Beste Spielothek in Baulande finden lightning-fast bird of prey, Freya travelled in a chariot drawn by black or gray cats. The fact is ravens are clever birds, and it is difficult not to notice their head movement and black color eyes, looking at you as if they are trying to know all about you. He had been hanging from the Tree of Life for nine days. However, Icelandic people are the descendants of Vikings who have spent all their life sailing Google Konto Konto Aktion Erforderlich the wild oceans. As they thought, it could help them to find their way in life as well as help them during the long voyages. The Vikings had Tipico.Dw oral Spinal Tap Deutsch and did not use runes to write just anything. Thanks to the Marvel movies, nearly everyone now knows about Thor's hammer Mjölnir which was a very popular choice for Paypal E-Mail AdreГџe Г¤ndern to use in their jewelry as represented in this ancient Größtes Samsung Tablet artifact to the right.

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 has also long played an important role among people who believe in magic powers, such as Norse Shamans. As a spiritual compass, this magical device guides your heart and steps to make the right choices in life.

If you have lost yourself and your faith, this sacred symbol helps you find confidence again. Symbol Dictionary - Web Of Wyrd.

Justin Pollard - The World of Vikings. There was no separation as there so often is today between faith and reality.

The cosmic forces and fate were active in everything. Thanks to the Marvel movies, nearly everyone now knows about Thor's hammer Mjölnir which was a very popular choice for Vikings to use in their jewelry as represented in this ancient Danish artifact to the right.

The Vikings also had letters known as runes , but writing itself was sacred and even magical. So, while the Norse culture was very rich in poetry, stories, and songs, this was all transmitted orally.

The stories of Odin, Thor, Freya, or the Viking heroes that we have now were all passed on by careful word of mouth until they were finally written down as the sagas by descendants of the Vikings centuries later.

Symbols and motifs visually convey instantly and across language barriers messages that were deeply meaningful to the women and men that held them.

They were intimately acquainted with the dangers of battle. Whether as warriors or as settlers, they lived in the wind, rain, heat, and cold.

They depended on the bounty of the land to feed their children. Through everything, they felt the hand of fate governing all things.

Divine symbols on amulets, boundary stones, stitched onto clothing, painted on shields, carved into their longships, or as items around their hearths could offer the Viking that small edge he or she needed to face the uncertainties and dangers of life.

The difference between symbols and motifs is simply a question of formality. A symbol is an established, recognized visual image that is almost always rendered in a specific way.

Because of this, symbols tend to be very simple so that almost anyone can draw them. Things like Mjölnir, the Valknut, or the Helm of Awe are symbols.

Motifs are much less formal and can vary greatly from one artist to another. Because of this flexibility, new interpretations of ancient Viking motifs are still being made today.

Following is a brief introduction to some common Norse symbols and motifs. The list is not all-inclusive, nor is it meant to be exhaustive but rather just a basic starting point.

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Runes denoted phonetic sounds like letters but also had individual meanings like the glyphs of other ancient languages.

Runic alphabets are called futharks. The oldest known futhark arose sometime between the second and fourth century, which is not surprising considering that was the time when war and trade between Germanic and Mediterranean peoples were accelerating.

The Vikings had an oral culture and did not use runes to write just anything. Runes had power. They were seldom if ever penned onto parchment, as the enemies of the Vikings did in France, Ireland, and England; they were carved into wood, stone, metal, or bone hence their angular appearance.

Most of our surviving examples of runes are inscriptions on rune stones commemorating the lives of great rulers.

Runes also had expressly magical purposes and were engraved on amulets, talismans, beads, and shields to ensure protection and victory.

Rune casting was another magical use of runes in the Viking Age. The skilled practitioner then deciphers the message rendered, not only of the runes but also their orientation to each other similar to Tarot, in which the same card can have very different meanings depending on context.

Runes are associated with the god Odin, who first discovered them at great pain and effort from the Well of Destiny, at the foot of Ygdrassil.

For the Vikings, this discovery of runes meant that they were not invented tools of humankind but part of the larger, deeper truth. The early runes became known as the Elder Futhark and were used by a wide range of Germanic and Norse tribes.

Just before the Viking Age began, the Elder Futhark began to gradually give way to the more streamlined Younger Futhark.

The Younger Futhark has fewer runes only 16 to reflect changes in the Scandinavian language and dialects at that time.

Again, the transition was gradual, and runes from the Elder Futhark that were no longer useful as letters remained in use as glyphs for quite some time.

And just as we can still interpret the Elder version today years later , Vikings skilled in rune lore were most likely capable of reading both. Most of today's modern Viking jewelry relating to Runes reflects the Elder version as it offers more letters for easier translation to the English language.

The Vikings believed that people who lived ordinary lives went on to a shadowy existence after death, but those who died gloriously in battle lived on in Valhalla.

The Valkyries would carry the souls of these heroes from the battlefield. In Valhalla, they would live the Viking version of the good life: fighting great battles against each other every day but — in their immortal state — spending each night in revelry and feasting.

This paradise comes with a price, though. They will fight this doomed battle against the giants and fearsome creatures of darkness for the sake of our world and the world of the gods.

The Valknut is most commonly believed to be the symbol of these slain warriors. The exact meaning of the three interlocking triangle shapes is unknown.

Clues arise from Celtic and Neolithic art from Northwestern Europe in which interlinking triple shapes are common indicators of magical power and magical essence.

Experts hypothesize that the Valknut may depict the cyclical path between life and death that these warriors experience.

Others believe that the nine points represent the nine worlds of Norse mythology. While the details are lost to time, the Valknut symbol now calls to mind courage, bravery, and destiny throughout this life and the next.

The Helm of Awe is mentioned in several of the Eddic poems as being used by both warriors and even dragons!

The symbol itself survives from later Icelandic grimoire books of magic , penned well after the Viking Age but from an unbroken intellectual lineage to sea traveling Vikings of earlier times.

I never faced so many men that I did not feel myself much stronger than they were, and everyone feared me.

The eight arms or rays emit from the center point of the symbol. The arms themselves appear to be constructed from two intersecting runes.

These are Algiz runes for victory and protection intersected by Isa runes, which may mean hardening literally, ice. So, the hidden meaning of this symbol may be the ability to overcome through superior hardening of the mind and soul.

Vegvisir Viking Compass. The Icelandic symbol was a visual spell of protection against getting lost particularly at sea — something that would have been very, very important to the Vikings.

The Vikings may have had directional finding instruments of their own, such as the Uunartoq disc and sunstones; but most of their navigation came down to visual cues the sun, stars, flight patterns of birds, the color of water, etc.

Given the potentially disastrous consequences inherent in such sea voyages, however, it is easy to see why Vikings would want magical help in keeping their way.

The symbol comes down to us from the Icelandic Huld Manuscript another grimoire which was compiled in the s from older manuscripts now lost.

The exact age of the Vegvisir is therefore unknown. Triskele Horns of Odin. The Horns of Odin also referred to as the horn triskelion or the triple-horned triskele is a symbol comprised three interlocking drinking horns.

The exact meaning of the symbol is not known, but it may allude to Odin's stealing of the Mead of Poetry. The symbol has become especially significant in the modern Asatru faith.

The Horns of Odin symbol is also meaningful to other adherents to the Old Ways, or those who strongly identify with the god Odin.

While the shape of this symbol is reminiscent of the Triqueta and other Celtic symbols, it appears on the Larbro stone in Gotland, Sweden which may be as old as the early eighth century.

On this image stone, the Horns of Odin are depicted as the crest on Odin's shield. The Triquetra or the Trinity Knot is comprised one continuous line interweaving around itself, meaning no beginning or end, or eternal spiritual life.

A similar design was found on the Funbo Runestone found in Uppland, Sweden seen to the right. Originally, the Triquetra was associated with the Celtic Mother Goddess and depicted her triune nature the maiden, the mother, and the wise, old woman.

The triple identity was an essential feature in many aspects of druidic belief and practice. Mjölnir me-OL-neer means grinder, crusher, hammer and is also associated with thunder and lightning.

When the Vikings saw lightning, and heard thunder in a howling storm, they knew that Thor had used Mjölnir to send another giant to his doom.

Thor was the son of Odin and Fyorgyn a. He was the god of thunder and the god of war and one of the most popular figures in all of Norse mythology.

Mjölnir is known for its ability to destroy mountains. But it was not just a weapon. Loki made a bet with two dwarves, Brokkr and Sindri or Eitri that they could not make something better than the items created by the Sons of Ivaldi the dwarves who created Odin's spear Gungnir and Freyr's foldable boat skioblaonir.

Then he gave the hammer to Thor, and said that Thor might smite as hard as he desired, whatsoever might be before him, and the hammer would not fail; and if he threw it at anything, it would never miss, and never fly so far as not to return to his hand; and if be desired, he might keep it in his sark, it was so small; but indeed it was a flaw in the hammer that the fore-haft handle was somewhat short.

Thor also used Mjölnir to hallow, or to bless. With Mjölnir, Thor could bring some things such as the goats who drew his chariot back to life. Thor was invoked at weddings, at births, and at special ceremonies for these abilities to bless, make holy, and protect.

Hundreds of Mjölnir amulets have been discovered in Viking graves and other Norse archaeological sites. Some experts have postulated that these amulets became increasingly popular as Vikings came into contact with Christians, as a way to differentiate themselves as followers of the Old Ways and not the strange faith of their enemies.

This may or may not be true. Certainly, amulets of many kinds have been in use since pre-historic times. Interestingly, Mjölnir amulets were still worn by Norse Christians sometimes in conjunction with a cross after the Old Ways began to fade, so we can see that the symbol still had great meaning even after its relevance to religion had changed.

With its association with Thor, the protector god of war and the of nature's awe, the Mjölnir stands for power, strength, bravery, good luck, and protection from all harm.

It is also an easily-recognizable sign that one holds the Old Ways in respect. Viking Axe The most famous, and perhaps most common, Viking weapon was the axe.

Viking axes ranged in size from hand axes similar to tomahawks to long-hafted battle axes. Unlike the axes usually depicted in fantasy illustrations, Viking axes were single-bitted to make them faster and more maneuverable.

Viking axes were sometimes "bearded," which is to say that the lower portion of the axe head was hook-shaped to facilitate catching and pulling shield rims or limbs.

The axe required far less iron, time, or skill to produce than a sword; and because it was an important tool on farms and homesteads, the Norse would have had them in hand since childhood.

The Viking axe would make the Norsemen famous, and even after the Viking Age waned, the descendants of the Vikings such as the Varangians of Byzantium or the Galloglass of Ireland would be sought after as bodyguards or elite mercenaries specifically for their axe skill.

As a symbol, the axe stands for bravery, strength, and audacity. It is a reminder of heritage and the accomplishments of ancestors who bent the world to their will using only what they had.

It is a symbol of the berserker, and all that entails. It conveys the heart or mind's ability to cut through that which holds one back and to forge boldly ahead.

All nine worlds or nine dimensions are entwined in its branches and its roots. Yggdrasil, therefore, serves as a conduit or pathway between these nine dimensions that the gods might travel.

If this all seems a little difficult to imagine, you are not alone. Remember, myth is a means for people to understand cosmic truth.

For our ancestors, myths like these were as close as they could come to science; and even as quantum physics is difficult for many of us to "picture", it is still our way of describing the truth as we have found it to be.

Yggdrasil was a way of thinking about reality and about how different realities could be connected maybe similar in some ways to modern multiverse theory.

As Dan McCoy of Norse-mythology. As a symbol, Yggdrasil represents the cosmos, the relationship between time and destiny, harmony, the cycles of creation, and the essence of nature.

The longship was the soul of the Viking. The word "Viking" does not simply mean any medieval Scandinavian, but rather a man or woman who dared to venture forth into the unknown.

The longship was the means by which that was accomplished. We have eyewitness accounts from centuries before the Vikings that tell us the Norse always were into their ships, but technological advances they made in ship design around the eighth century revolutionized what these ships were able to do.

The Viking ships could row with oars or catch the wind with a broad, square sail. They were flexible and supple in the wild oceans.

They were keeled for speed and precision. Most importantly to Viking mobility and military superiority, they had a very shallow draught. All this meant that Vikings could cross the cold seas from Scandinavia to places that had never heard of them, then use river ways to move deep into these lands all while outpacing any enemies who might come against them.

It took the greatest powers in Europe a long time to even figure out how to address this kind of threat. It was no wonder that the Viking ships were called dragon ships, for it was as if an otherworldly force was unleashed upon the peoples of Europe.

Accounts from the very first recorded Viking raid Lindisfarne even speak of monks seeing visions of dragons in a prophecy of this doom.

There are two ships that stand out in Norse Mythology. Nalgfar is the ship of the goddess, Hel. It is made from the fingernails of the dead.

At Ragnarok it will rise from the depths, and — oared by giants and with Loki at its helm — it will cross the Bifrost bridge to lead the assault on Asgard.

This myth shows how the Vikings viewed ships — a good ship can take you anywhere. The relationship of the Vikings to their ships is even more striking when we realize that - in some ways - these ships were glorified boats, and not what we think of as ships at all.

A Viking was completely exposed to the elements and could reach down and touch the waves. In such a vessel you would feel the waters of the deep slipping by just underneath of your feet as sea spray pelted your face.

The Vikings sailed these vessels all the way to the Mediterranean, to Iceland and Greenland, and even all the way to North America.

This level of commitment, acceptance of risk, rejection of limitations, and consuming hunger to bend the world to one's will is difficult for many of us to accurately imagine.

That is why the dragon ship will always symbolize the Vikings and everything about them. The Vikings believed all things — even the gods themselves — were bound to fate.

The concept was so important that there were six different words for fate in the Old Scandinavian tongues. Because the outcome was determined, it was not for a man or a woman to try to escape their fate — no matter how grim it might be.

The essential thing was in how one met the trials and tragedies that befell them. In Norse mythology, fate itself is shaped by the Norns. There they weave together a great tapestry or web, with each thread being a human life.

Some sources, including the Volsung saga, say that in addition to the three great Norns who are called Past, Present, and Future there are many lesser Norns of both Aesir and elf kind.

These lesser Norn may act similarly to the idea of the guardian angels of Christianity or the daemon of Greco-Roman mythology. The Web of Wyrd symbol represents the tapestry the Norns weave.

It is uncertain whether this symbol was used during the Viking Age, but it uses imagery the Vikings would instantly understand.

Nine lines intersect to form the symbol. Nine was a magic number to the Norse, and within the pattern of these lines all the runes can be found. The runes also sprang from the Well of Urd, and carried inherent meaning and power.

Thus, when one looks at the nine lines of the Web of Wyrd, one is seeing all the runes at once, and seeing in symbolic form the secrets of life and destiny.

Gungnir is a magic spear, with dark runes inscribed on its point. Gungnir never misses its target. When Odin sacrificed himself to discover the runes and the cosmic secrets they held, he stabbed Gungnir through his chest and hung from the world tree, Yggdrasil for nine days and nights.

As a symbol, Gungnir represents the courage, ecstasy, inspiration, skill, and wisdom of the Allfather, and it can be taken to represent focus, faithfulness, precision, and strength.

Ravens may be the animal most associated with the Vikings. This is because Ravens are the familiars of Odin, the Allfather.

Odin was a god of war, and ravens feasting on the slain were a common sight on the battlefields of the Viking Age.

The connection is deeper than that, however. Ravens are very intelligent birds. You cannot look at the eyes and head movement of a raven and not feel that it is trying to perceive everything about you — even weigh your spirit.

Huginn and Muninn fly throughout the nine worlds, and whatever their far-seeing eyes find they whisper back to Odin. Ravens are also associated with the 9th century Viking hero, Ragnar Lothbrok.

Ragnar claimed descent from Odin through a human consort. This was something that did not sit well with the kings of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden as it implied parity with them , and for that and many other reasons they made war on him.

Various sagas and chronicles tell us Ragnar's success led him to Finland, France, England, and maybe even as far as the Hellespont in Turkey, and wherever he went, he carried the raven banner with him.

His sons Ivar and Ubbe carried the raven banner at the head of the Great Heathen Army that conquered the eastern kingdoms of England in the 9th century.

The banner continued to bring victories until their descendant, Sigurd the Stout, finally died under it at the Irish Battle of Clontarf about years later.

In Norse art, ravens symbolize Odin, insight, wisdom, intellect, bravery, battle glory, and continuity between life and the afterlife.

For people today, they also represent the Vikings themselves, and the years of exploits and exploration that these ancestors achieved.

The wolf is a more enigmatic motif, as it can have several meanings. The most famous to the Vikings was Fenrir or Fenris-wolf.

Fenrir is one of the most frightening monsters in Norse mythology. When the gods saw how quickly Fenrir was growing and how ravenous he was, they tried to bind him — but Fenrir broke every chain.

Finally, the dwarves made an unbreakable lashing with which the gods were able to subdue the creature — but only after he had ripped the god Tyr's hand off.

Fenrir is fated to escape someday, at the dawning of Ragnarok, and will devour the sun and moon and even kill Odin in the last days. Not all the wolves in Norse culture were evil.

Odin himself was accompanied by wolves, named Geri and Freki both names meaning, Greedy who accompanied him in battle, hunting, and wandering.

This partnership between god and wolves gave rise to the alliance between humans and dogs. It is not entirely clear whether this was a synonym or a separate class of berserker.

We may never know for certain. The wolf has both positive and negative connotations in Norse culture.

The wolf can represent the destructive forces of time and nature, for which even the gods are not a match. The wolf can also represent the most valued characteristics of bravery, teamwork, and shamanistic power.

The unifying characteristic in these two divergent manifestations is savagery and the primal nature. The wolf can bring out the worst or the best in people.

All this he can do at incredible speeds. While the other gods ride chariots, Odin rides Sleipnir into battle. Sleipnir has a weird family. Some experts hypothesize that Sleipnir's octopedal sliding was inspired by the "tolt" - the fifth gait of Icelandic horses and their Scandinavian ancestors that make them very smooth to ride.

While this may or may not be true, the idea of eight-legged spirit horses is a very, very old one. Sleipnir's image, or rumors of him, appear in shamanistic traditions throughout Korea, Mongolia, Russia, and of course Northwestern Europe.

As in Norse mythology, these eight-legged horses are a means for transporting souls across worlds i.

These archeological finds are at least a thousand years older than Viking influence, showing that the roots of this symbol indeed go deep. Sleipnir symbolizes speed, surety, perception, good luck in travel, eternal life, and transcendence.

He combines the attributes of the horse one of the most important and enduring animals to humankind and the spirit. He is especially meaningful to athletes, equestrians, travelers, those who have lost loved ones, and those yearning for spiritual enlightenment.

The Vikings had lots of stories of dragons and giant serpents and left many depictions of these creatures in their art. The longship — the heart and soul of the Viking — were even called "dragon ships" for their sleek design and carved dragon-headed prows.

These heads sometimes would be removed to announce the Vikings came in peace as not to frighten the spirits of the land, the Icelandic law codes say.

The common images of dragons we have from fantasy movies, with thick bodies and heavy legs come more from medieval heraldry inspired by Welsh Celtic legends.

The earliest Norse dragons were more serpentine, with long coiling bodies. They only sometimes had wings, and only some breathed fire.

Some Norse dragons were not just giant monsters - they were cosmic forces unto themselves. Jörmungandr also called "The Midgard Serpent" or "The World-Coiling Serpent" is so immeasurable that he wraps around the entire world, holding the oceans in.

Jörmungandr is the arch-enemy of Thor, and they are fated to kill each other at Ragnarok. Luckily, not all dragons were as big as the world - but they were big enough.

Heroes like Beowulf met their greatest test against such creatures. Ragnar Lothbrok won his name, his favorite wife Thora , and accelerated his destiny by slaying a giant, venomous serpent.

Dragons are as rich in symbolism as they were said to be rich in treasure. As the true, apex predator, dragons represent both great strength and great danger.

With their association with hordes of gold or as the captors of beautiful women, dragons can represent opportunity through risk.

Most of all, dragons embody the destructive phase of the creation-destruction cycle. This means that they represent chaos and cataclysm, but also change and renewal.

There are numerous other animal motifs in Norse art and culture. Many of these are the fylgja familiars or attendant spirits of different gods.

Thor had his goats , and Heimdall had his rams. Freya had a ferocious boar to accompany her in war, named Hildisvini "Battle Swine". Her brother, Freyr or Frey - the god of sex, male fertility, bounty, wealth, and peace who, along with Freya, aptly lends his name to Friday - had a boar named Gullinborsti "Golden-Bristled" as his fylgia.

Seeing Gullinborsti's symbol or other boar motifs would make a Viking think of peace, happiness, and plenty. Boars are also significant in Celtic mythology, such as the fertility god Moccus, or the Torc Triatha of the goddess Brigid.

The Vikings believed cats were the spirit animals flygjur or familiars of the Vanir goddess, Freya. Freya was the goddess of love, sex, and romantic desire — but she was not just some northern version of Venus.

Freya was a fearsome goddess of war, as well, and she would ride into battle on her wild boar, Hildisvini "Battle Swine". Like Odin, Freya also selected the bravest of slain warriors for the afterlife of Valhalla.

Freya is said to have taught Odin much of what he knows of the secret arts. She is also a lover of poetry, music, and thoughtfulness.

As a Vanir goddess and the sister some say, twin of the god Frey or Freyr , Freya is a goddess of prosperity and riches. Freya is a fertility goddess.

Though she cries her amber tears when she misses her wandering husband, skaldic poetry tells us that she has an unbridled sexuality. In Norse mythology, Freya is often depicted as the object of desire not only of gods but of giants, elves, and men, too.

When not riding Hildisvini into the thick of battle or using her fabulous falcon-feather cloak to shape shift into a lightning-fast bird of prey, Freya travelled in a chariot drawn by black or gray cats.

Some folklorists see the image of the goddess getting cats to work together and go in the same direction as a metaphor for the power of feminine influence — a reoccurring theme in the Viking sagas.

The cat probably reminded Vikings of Freya because of the common personality traits: cats are independent but affectionate when they want to be; fierce fighters and lethal hunters but lovers of leisure, luxury, and treasures.

This association between the goddess of magic and her cats may be why cats became associated with witches during the later Middle Ages and through our own time.

In Norse art or jewelry, the symbol or motif of the cat is meant to denote the blessing or character of Freya, with all her contradictions and strength: love and desire, abundance and beauty, valor and the afterlife, music and poetry, magic and wisdom..

Bears The bear was one of the most powerful and ferocious animals the Vikings knew. The very sight of a bear in the wild would make the bravest of men back away slowly.

They are massive, fast, and deadly, and their hide and fur resist most weapons. It is easy to see why the Vikings would be fascinated by them and would want to emulate them.

Viking sea kings loved to own bears as pets. Saxo Grammaticus tells us that the great shield maiden, Lagertha, had a pet bear that she turned loose on Ragnar Lothbrok when he first came to court her.

Understandably, this incident got brought up again in their later divorce. The Greenland Vikings specialized in exporting polar bears and polar bear furs to the courts of Medieval Europe.

The Bear was sacred to Odin, and this association inspired the most legendary class of all Vikings: the berserkers.

Berserkers were Viking heroes who would fight in a state of ecstatic frenzy. The word berserker comes from two old Norse words that mean "bear shirt" or "bear skin.

The berserker took on the essence and spirit of the great bears of the Scandinavian wilderness. Or, he wore no armor of any kind and had bare skin the play on words is the same in English and Old Norse.

Instead of fighting as a team, as other Vikings would, the berserker would sometimes go in advance of the line. Ravens may be the animal most associated with the Vikings.

This is because Ravens are the familiars of Odin, the Allfather. Odin was a god of war, and ravens feasting on the slain were a common sight on the battlefields of the Viking Age.

The connection is deeper than that, however. Ravens are very intelligent birds. You cannot look at the eyes and head movement of a raven and not feel that it is trying to perceive everything about you — even weigh your spirit.

Huginn and Muninn fly throughout the nine worlds, and whatever their far-seeing eyes find they whisper back to Odin.

Ravens are also associated with the 9th century Viking hero, Ragnar Lothbrok. Ragnar claimed descent from Odin through a human consort.

This was something that did not sit well with the kings of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden as it implied parity with them , and for that and many other reasons they made war on him.

Various sagas and chronicles tell us Ragnar's success led him to Finland, France, England, and maybe even as far as the Hellespont in Turkey, and wherever he went, he carried the raven banner with him.

His sons Ivar and Ubbe carried the raven banner at the head of the Great Heathen Army that conquered the eastern kingdoms of England in the 9th century.

The banner continued to bring victories until their descendant, Sigurd the Stout, finally died under it at the Irish Battle of Clontarf about years later.

In Norse art, ravens symbolize Odin, insight, wisdom, intellect, bravery, battle glory, and continuity between life and the afterlife.

For people today, they also represent the Vikings themselves, and the years of exploits and exploration that these ancestors achieved. The wolf is a more enigmatic motif, as it can have several meanings.

The most famous to the Vikings was Fenrir or Fenris-wolf. Fenrir is one of the most frightening monsters in Norse mythology. When the gods saw how quickly Fenrir was growing and how ravenous he was, they tried to bind him — but Fenrir broke every chain.

Finally, the dwarves made an unbreakable lashing with which the gods were able to subdue the creature — but only after he had ripped the god Tyr's hand off.

Fenrir is fated to escape someday, at the dawning of Ragnarok, and will devour the sun and moon and even kill Odin in the last days.

Not all the wolves in Norse culture were evil. Odin himself was accompanied by wolves, named Geri and Freki both names meaning, Greedy who accompanied him in battle, hunting, and wandering.

This partnership between god and wolves gave rise to the alliance between humans and dogs. It is not entirely clear whether this was a synonym or a separate class of berserker.

We may never know for certain. The wolf has both positive and negative connotations in Norse culture.

The wolf can represent the destructive forces of time and nature, for which even the gods are not a match. The wolf can also represent the most valued characteristics of bravery, teamwork, and shamanistic power.

The unifying characteristic in these two divergent manifestations is savagery and the primal nature.

The wolf can bring out the worst or the best in people. All this he can do at incredible speeds. While the other gods ride chariots, Odin rides Sleipnir into battle.

Sleipnir has a weird family. Some experts hypothesize that Sleipnir's octopedal sliding was inspired by the "tolt" - the fifth gait of Icelandic horses and their Scandinavian ancestors that make them very smooth to ride.

While this may or may not be true, the idea of eight-legged spirit horses is a very, very old one. Sleipnir's image, or rumors of him, appear in shamanistic traditions throughout Korea, Mongolia, Russia, and of course Northwestern Europe.

As in Norse mythology, these eight-legged horses are a means for transporting souls across worlds i. These archeological finds are at least a thousand years older than Viking influence, showing that the roots of this symbol indeed go deep.

Sleipnir symbolizes speed, surety, perception, good luck in travel, eternal life, and transcendence. He combines the attributes of the horse one of the most important and enduring animals to humankind and the spirit.

He is especially meaningful to athletes, equestrians, travelers, those who have lost loved ones, and those yearning for spiritual enlightenment.

The Vikings had lots of stories of dragons and giant serpents and left many depictions of these creatures in their art. The longship — the heart and soul of the Viking — were even called "dragon ships" for their sleek design and carved dragon-headed prows.

These heads sometimes would be removed to announce the Vikings came in peace as not to frighten the spirits of the land, the Icelandic law codes say.

The common images of dragons we have from fantasy movies, with thick bodies and heavy legs come more from medieval heraldry inspired by Welsh Celtic legends.

The earliest Norse dragons were more serpentine, with long coiling bodies. They only sometimes had wings, and only some breathed fire.

Some Norse dragons were not just giant monsters - they were cosmic forces unto themselves. Jörmungandr also called "The Midgard Serpent" or "The World-Coiling Serpent" is so immeasurable that he wraps around the entire world, holding the oceans in.

Jörmungandr is the arch-enemy of Thor, and they are fated to kill each other at Ragnarok. Luckily, not all dragons were as big as the world - but they were big enough.

Heroes like Beowulf met their greatest test against such creatures. Ragnar Lothbrok won his name, his favorite wife Thora , and accelerated his destiny by slaying a giant, venomous serpent.

Dragons are as rich in symbolism as they were said to be rich in treasure. As the true, apex predator, dragons represent both great strength and great danger.

With their association with hordes of gold or as the captors of beautiful women, dragons can represent opportunity through risk.

Most of all, dragons embody the destructive phase of the creation-destruction cycle. This means that they represent chaos and cataclysm, but also change and renewal.

There are numerous other animal motifs in Norse art and culture. Many of these are the fylgja familiars or attendant spirits of different gods.

Thor had his goats , and Heimdall had his rams. Freya had a ferocious boar to accompany her in war, named Hildisvini "Battle Swine".

Her brother, Freyr or Frey - the god of sex, male fertility, bounty, wealth, and peace who, along with Freya, aptly lends his name to Friday - had a boar named Gullinborsti "Golden-Bristled" as his fylgia.

Seeing Gullinborsti's symbol or other boar motifs would make a Viking think of peace, happiness, and plenty. Boars are also significant in Celtic mythology, such as the fertility god Moccus, or the Torc Triatha of the goddess Brigid.

The Vikings believed cats were the spirit animals flygjur or familiars of the Vanir goddess, Freya. Freya was the goddess of love, sex, and romantic desire — but she was not just some northern version of Venus.

Freya was a fearsome goddess of war, as well, and she would ride into battle on her wild boar, Hildisvini "Battle Swine". Like Odin, Freya also selected the bravest of slain warriors for the afterlife of Valhalla.

Freya is said to have taught Odin much of what he knows of the secret arts. She is also a lover of poetry, music, and thoughtfulness.

As a Vanir goddess and the sister some say, twin of the god Frey or Freyr , Freya is a goddess of prosperity and riches. Freya is a fertility goddess.

Though she cries her amber tears when she misses her wandering husband, skaldic poetry tells us that she has an unbridled sexuality.

In Norse mythology, Freya is often depicted as the object of desire not only of gods but of giants, elves, and men, too. When not riding Hildisvini into the thick of battle or using her fabulous falcon-feather cloak to shape shift into a lightning-fast bird of prey, Freya travelled in a chariot drawn by black or gray cats.

Some folklorists see the image of the goddess getting cats to work together and go in the same direction as a metaphor for the power of feminine influence — a reoccurring theme in the Viking sagas.

The cat probably reminded Vikings of Freya because of the common personality traits: cats are independent but affectionate when they want to be; fierce fighters and lethal hunters but lovers of leisure, luxury, and treasures.

This association between the goddess of magic and her cats may be why cats became associated with witches during the later Middle Ages and through our own time.

In Norse art or jewelry, the symbol or motif of the cat is meant to denote the blessing or character of Freya, with all her contradictions and strength: love and desire, abundance and beauty, valor and the afterlife, music and poetry, magic and wisdom..

Bears The bear was one of the most powerful and ferocious animals the Vikings knew. The very sight of a bear in the wild would make the bravest of men back away slowly.

They are massive, fast, and deadly, and their hide and fur resist most weapons. It is easy to see why the Vikings would be fascinated by them and would want to emulate them.

Viking sea kings loved to own bears as pets. Saxo Grammaticus tells us that the great shield maiden, Lagertha, had a pet bear that she turned loose on Ragnar Lothbrok when he first came to court her.

Understandably, this incident got brought up again in their later divorce. The Greenland Vikings specialized in exporting polar bears and polar bear furs to the courts of Medieval Europe.

The Bear was sacred to Odin, and this association inspired the most legendary class of all Vikings: the berserkers. Berserkers were Viking heroes who would fight in a state of ecstatic frenzy.

The word berserker comes from two old Norse words that mean "bear shirt" or "bear skin. The berserker took on the essence and spirit of the great bears of the Scandinavian wilderness.

Or, he wore no armor of any kind and had bare skin the play on words is the same in English and Old Norse. Instead of fighting as a team, as other Vikings would, the berserker would sometimes go in advance of the line.

The method to this madness was two-fold. His valor was meant to both inspire his comrades and to dishearten his foes.

By single-handedly attacking the enemy lines often with sweeping blows of the huge, powerful Dane axe before his forces could make contact, he sought to disrupt the enemy's cohesion and exploit holes in their defenses that his brothers in arms could drive through.

The skalds tell us that berserkers were impervious to iron or fire. Other Animals Sometimes animals were not just the 'familiars' of the gods but were the gods themselves.

Odin's wife Frigg could change into a falcon. Other animals were not the fylgja of the gods, but merely had the gods' favor because of their characteristics and personality in the same way that many of us see ourselves in certain animals.

In addition to familiars, various animal spirits populate Norse mythology, such as the eagle who sits in the boughs of Yggdrasil, or the squirrel that scurries along the trunk of the world tree.

Viking History. Why include Celtic symbols? Symbols and Motifs The difference between symbols and motifs is simply a question of formality.

Return to the menu View our collection of: Triskele Necklaces Triskele Rings Triskele Beard Beads Triquetra Celtic Knot The Triquetra or the Trinity Knot is comprised one continuous line interweaving around itself, meaning no beginning or end, or eternal spiritual life.

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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.

This symbol appears on the Newgrange kerbstones in BC. Horns of Odin plays an important role not only in ancient times but also in the modern Celtic art, as they symbolize three realms of material existence: water, earth, and sky.

Moreover, this symbol signifies the three words: physical, spiritual, and celestial. The other Trinity connections that are associated with this symbol are past-present-future, earth-water-sky, life-death-rebirth, and creation-protection-destruction.

According to the fact that this symbol is associated with the Mead of Poetry, there are a lot of modern accessories with this symbol image, that is specially designed to bring inspiration to everyone who wears them.

The most well known and appreciated Viking weapon was an axe. It was a famous Viking symbol as well as armor symbolizing power, bravery, strength and audacity.

Home Viking Symbols and their Meaning. Brief Overview of Viking Symbols Each symbol had a different meaning. What is the Difference between Motifs and Symbols?

Runes 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.

Rune Masters For Vikings runes were not only symbols. Yggdrasil 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.

Aegishjalmur Aegishjalmur is rune stave that is well known to be a Viking symbol of victory and protection. I bear the Helm of awe between my brows!

The Horn Triskelion This symbol is another Viking symbol that took a prominent part during the Viking era. The Swastika The Swastika is one of the Viking symbols that completely lost its true meaning.

Huginn and Muninn Huginn and Muninn are the twin ravens of Odin. Gungnir Gungnir is the magical spear of Odin. Viking Axe The most well known and appreciated Viking weapon was an axe.

Viking Axe came in different sizes, from the hand axes to the large long-hafted battle-axes. One of the most characteristic features of the Viking Axes is the fact that they were single-bitted — it was specially made to make them faster and more maneuverable to use during battles.

The lower part of the axe head was hook-shaped. The axe di don required as much time, efforts and skills to be produced as a sword required.

This was a handy tool for Vikings. Therefore every one of them had axe since childhood. It was not only a highly useful tool in battles but on farms and homesteads.

Usually, axes were the choice of the poorest man during the Viking Age. Even the lowliest and the poorest farm had to have a wood axe to split and cut the wood.

Longship At the Viking age, the heart of Vikings was Longship. It has a far deeper meaning, for example, a man or a woman who was always ready to deep and face into something unknown.

The longship was the main thing with the help of which they could achieve it. They were very flexible and manoeuvrable even in the storming oceans.

Vikings were brave warriors. They were always ready to cross the places where there they had never been before. They could cross cold oceans to cross the lands where they had never been before and outpace their enemies who could contradict them.

In Nordic mythology, there existed two main ships. One of them is Nalgfar. In the German-Scandinavian mythology, it was a ship made entirely from the nails of the dead.

It was the ship of the goddess, Hel. It was the ship of Frey. The boat was so large that it could adjust all the Norse gods. The dwarves were so cunning that this enormous in size ship was not only comfortable for all the gods but also foldable and it could fit in a tiny pocket or a small bag.

Vikings were free and fearless people. They did not feel fear of weather conditions or the other obstacles they could face with while crossing the ocean sailing to Iceland, the Mediterranean, or Greenland.

They were happy to touch the waves, accept any risk and sail even to unknown countries. Their responsibility, risk-taking, giving up restrictions and constant desire to subdue the world can only make us inspired and impressed with their bravery, curiosity, fearless and purposefulness.

Gungnir In Norse mythology, Gurnir is a powerful weapon that is associated with Odin. In both visual art and poetry, you can see that these connections are deep, powerful and long-lasting.

They were the cleverest and the most cunning smiths in the cosmos, who had also made many other impressive things, such as golden hair of Sif, Skidbladnir, and more.

Gurnir is not only the symbol that is associated with Odin, but it is also the symbol related to inspiration, war and wisdom.

What is unique about Gurnir? Firstly, when throwing a spear, it always reached the target, and there was no material that could stand against this weapon.

Swears given on the Gurnir became eternal and indestructible. According to Norse mythology, when Odin decided to sacrifice his life to find out the runes as well as the mysterious secrets they covered, he took his Gurnir and stabbed it through his chest.

He had been hanging from the Tree of Life for nine days. As a tradition, Vikings used a spear in combination with hanging for their sacrifices to Odin.

Today, there are many accessories with the Gurnir symbol, symbolizing power, courage, fearlessness, inspiration, wisdom and skill.

Raven Ravens were the symbols, which were the most frequently associated with the Vikings. As was earlier mentioned, Odin, the god of was also the god of ravens flying and feasting of the body of killed.

The fact is ravens are clever birds, and it is difficult not to notice their head movement and black color eyes, looking at you as if they are trying to know all about you.

Every day they flew all over the nine worlds, and when they noticed or heard something unusual, they returned to Odin to tell him. Ravens were also associated with Ragnar Lothbrok.

He was one of the most famous Viking heroes. No matter where his journey lad, he always took raven banner with himself and even his sons were following him they still took with themselves the raven banner which brought a lot of victories at the head of the Great Heathen Army.

His extra legs were coupled with regular legs, which were growing from his shoulders and his haunches. No horse could be compared with Sleipnir.

He was fearless and brave. There were no obstacles to him. What is more, Sleipnic could ferry Odin in and out of Hell the realm of the dead.

In Norse mythology, the horses that had eight legs symbolized means of conveying souls across the nine worlds. Sleipnir has a deep meaning, symbolizing speed, power, strength, perception, eternal life surety, transcendence, and travel.

Today there is a wide assortment of various accessories using the image of the influential and well-known eight-legged horse of Odin — Sleipnir.

The symbol of Sleipnir is of particular importance for athletes, travellers, and those who lost their way in life or those who lost their love.

It is a great symbol, able to bring power and spiritual protection and enlightenment to everyone who needs it. Dragons This is not a secret that Vikings had a lot of stories about dragons and large, giant serpents.

Many of these stories were left on the piece of paper, with the help of which we can analyze their art today. Sometimes the heads of dragons were removed, symbolizing that Vikings had come in peace.

The ancient Norse dragons had long bodies, which look serpentine. Not all of them had wings or could breathe fire. Some of the dragons were not only powerful monsters, but were also dominant cosmic powers.

It waves around the root of the Tree of Life, desiring to destroy it and dreaming of Ragnarok. The other Norse creature was Midgard Serpent.

Its size was so large that it could cover all the world, holding oceans. Norse mythology does not describe all the dragons immeasurable in size.

Not all of them could cover the entire world.

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1 comments

  1. Vigor

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