Norse Symbols

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Forums -> Norse Paganism -> Norse Symbols

Norse Symbols
By: Moderator / Novice
Post # 1
the graphics won't display, so use the link to see them.

Yggdrasil - the Ash that holds all of the Nine worlds within it's branches. This image is depicted on the 1066 tapestry, Overhogdel Tapestry, which depicts the events of Ragnarok.

A graphic depiction of the 9 worlds. One of the more accurate ones I have seen.

Horn of Odin - a stylized graphic of three interlocking drinking horns. Worn as a symbol of commitment to Odin and Asatru.

The Valknut - also known as: Hrungnir?s heart, heart of the slain, Heart of Vala, borromean triangles. As the knot of the slain it is found as a funerary motiff. Possibly a symbol of the after life. Attributed to Odin. This symbol can be drawn with one stroke, making it a tailsman for protection against spirits. There are at least five different ways this is shown.

Vegvisir or Runic Compass - it's modern use combines it with aegishjalmer as a symbol of spiritual guidence. It was a Viking rune stave used for navigation. According to historical records it would be carved on ships to ensure a safe journey. Most common depiction of it is from a 17th century Galdrabok.

Helm of Awe - a.k.a. aegishjalmer - earliest mention of this symbol is in the Eddas, though pictorial representations only date to the middle ages. Believed to bring invincibility to the one who wore it between the eyes or to instill fear in one's enemies. Today it is often used as a charm of protection.

Jormundgandr - The great serpent that encircles the world Ash and gnaws at her roots. Son of Loki and the Frost Giantess Angraboda.

Mjolnir - Thor's Hammer. Mjolnir means lightning. Worn as an amulet of protection. The three versions are Dragon?s or Wolf?s Cross, Stylized Mjolnir and basic Mjolnir

Shield Knot - this symbol is used by many cultures and is almost universal as a symbol of protection.
For the Norse it is a representation of the fourfold solar cross. There are many variations to the image.

Troll Knot - a circle of iron crossed at the bottom. Similar in shape to the Othela Rune. Used as a charm to protect against trolls and elves.

Solar Cross (in it's most simplistic form) - represents the solar calendar marked by the solstices. It has many variations including an 8 arm cross, which symbolizes the solstices and equinoxes and the swastika, which is a representation of the solar calendar, before the Nazi's mucked it up.

Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory) - Odin's twin ravens that go out each day to bring back news of the worlds. Image of two ravens.

Gungnir - Spear of Odin. A large x with a diamond shape behind.

Ship of the Slain or Spirit Ship - represents the journey to the afterlife. This symbol dates back to the 5th millennium.

Sleipnir - Odin's eight legged horse. The eight legs symbolize the directions and the horse's ability to travel on land and air. As Sleipnir is able to travel in an instant, he is associated with the sun, giving the belief that the eight legs also symbolize the solar cross. Sleipnir is the son of Loki and Svaldifari.

Irminsul - solar phallic symbol. Possibly used to represent the Great Ash as well.

Web of Wyrd (Skuld's Net) - the matrix of fate as woven by the Nornir. The emblem is nine staves arranged in an angular grid and containing all the shapes of the runes. Represents that all the actions of the past influence the present and the present influences the future.

Ormgudinna (Mistress of Animals) - found on stone carvings of an unknown goddess. Seated in the birthing position and holding two snakes. The triskele above her head most likely symbolizes her as a Creatrix goddess.
The heads of the triskele are of Celtic origin and represent: boar the emblem of earth; snake the emblem of water; and bird the emblem of the sky.

Nidstang - a.k.a. nithing or niding pole - literally means 'curse pole'. The horse head was pointed in the direction you wanted the curse to go and the pole was carved with the desired effect.

Einherjar - Heroic Dead culled by the Valkyries from the field of battle and divided amongst Odin and Freyja. The spirits of these warriors live on in Valhalla and will fight again at Ragnarok.

Julbock - Yule Goat - in early Norse religion Odin was often imaged as riding in a goat drawn cart. After christianity became the norm the Julbock was seen as a trickster, a popular stand in for the devil who accompanied the elf Tomten, and later St. Nick on his gift giving missions. Men of the village would dress up as a goat and play tricks on the unsuspecting.

Trisekele - symbolized the swirling might from the three great levels of being: the Over world, Middle world, and Under world.
This represents the unification of balanced opposites to create directional force attuned to ones will, setting goals into motion, bringing them into being and empowering them in all realms

You can use rune staves to create different symbols for any use. These are called bind runes. The process does require an understanding of the rune and its uses or meanings. Bind runes can last as long as you need them to and are relatively easy to make. Symbolism in the Norse way is not an end to a working, it is a step in a chain of actions. The Gods will hear of your work in an area and assist you as they see fit, only if you continue to work on your progress.
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Re: Norse Symbols
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 2

This is a great compiled list, Nord. I didn't know a few of these.

The valknut has always been an interesting symbol to me. Many people get this one tattooed on them, which I find regrettable. It's suggested that those who dedicated themselves to Odin often wore the Valknut somewhere on them, or otherwise had it on their skin. It's kind of a calling card for warriors who die in Odin's name saying, "Here I am, Odin, take me now!".

I always recommend people be careful before putting these symbols and markings on their body. It is important to know the meaning of the symbol you are getting. Having said that, I've often thought about tattooing a bindrune somewhere on myself and perhaps a few other symbols.

Alas, good post! Thanks for the information.

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Re: Norse Symbols
By: Moderator / Novice
Post # 3
that is a good point and something I came across while researching bind runes. However, I did find a way to do a bind rune that may not be so bad as a tattoo. If you use your initials in runes as the bind rune, it creates a protection for you, which might not be a bad tattoo.
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Re: Norse Symbols
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 4

I've read the link listed and it has a part on Jormungandr that says he is sometimes depicted with three heads. I've personally never seen this, but it's something I'm looking into to see if it's legit.

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Re: Norse Symbols
By: / Novice
Post # 5
This was cool to find...
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