The Vikings were people who lived in northern Europe from around the 8th century to the 11th century. They are best known for their exploration and colonization of new lands, as well as their fierce fighting spirit. They were also very religious, and many Viking symbols have spiritual meanings.
When most people think of Vikings, they imagine horned helmets and savage warriors. But the Vikings were a more complex people than that. Their culture was rich with symbolism, which appeared in many different forms.
No one can deny the intrigue and mystique surrounding Vikings and their symbols. What do they all mean, and why were they so important to the Viking people? In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common Viking symbols and their meanings. Keep reading to learn about these fascinating pieces of history!
Are all of the Norse Mythology Symbols “Original”?
Viking and Norse symbols play a significant role in modern society, but how many of them are indeed “original”? While some of the most famous Viking and Norse symbols have been around for centuries, others are relatively new and have only gained popularity in recent years. So, which symbols can be considered truly “original” Norse mythology symbols?
The truth is, it’s hard to say. Many of the most famous Viking and Norse symbols have been used by other cultures throughout history, so it’s impossible to know where they originated. However, there are a few key characteristics that make Viking and Norse symbols unique.
For one, many Viking and Norse symbols are associated with specific gods or goddesses. This is particularly true of the runes, often used as a form of divination. Each rune had a particular meaning and was associated with a god or goddess.
Additionally, Viking and Norse symbols often had multiple layers of meaning. For example, the Valknut symbolized both death and rebirth, and the Yggdrasil was a symbol of the cosmos. This type of symbolism is relatively rare in other cultures, making Viking and Norse symbols special.
So, while we can’t say for sure which Viking and Norse symbols are truly “original”, we can certainly appreciate their uniqueness and history. So go ahead and find your favorite Viking or Norse symbol – it just might be more original than you think!
Most Popular Viking Symbols and their Meanings
Norse mythology is rich with symbolism. While most of their symbols are now lost to history, we still know a few of the most popular ones and what they mean.
Let’s explore some of the most common Norse symbols and explore their meanings.
Bears – Viking Symbol of Berserkers
The bear was a sacred animal to the Vikings and had great symbolic significance. Bears were often associated with berserkers, warriors who went into battle in a wild, frenzy-like state. It’s said that berserkers would wear bearskins while they fought, and some even believe that they would transform into bears during battle. The bear was the symbol of strength, courage, ferocity, and tenacity to the Vikings. But it also symbolizes gentleness, playfulness, and nurturing.
Boars & Cats – Nordic Symbols of Fylgja
Boars and cats are popular Nordic symbols of Fylgja or guardian spirits. In Norse mythology, the boar is often associated with Freyja, the goddess of love and fertility, while the cat is associated with Freya’s husband, Odin. Both animals are said to be able to see into the future and offer protection to those who call upon them.
These days, boars and cats are still popular symbols of strength and protection. Many people believe that these animals can help guide us through life and offer us wisdom when we need it the most.
Dragons – Norse Symbol of Greatness in Many Forms
Dragons were feared creatures in Norse mythology, but they were sometimes seen as benevolent beings. These powerful creatures could breathe fire, often associated with treasure. Dragons appear in many Norse stories, and they are usually depicted as fearsome opponents.
Among the Vikings, the dragon has a symbolic place. He represents strength, courage, and superhuman intelligence and is considered a bearer of luck and prosperity. According to legend, one had to fight a dragon to gain fame and recognition. It was an obligatory passage.
In the History of Nordic Mythology, we distinguish three main types of dragons:
- Fâfnir was a dwarf before becoming a dragon. After seizing his father’s cursed treasure, he took the form of a snake-like dragon to protect it.
- Jörmungandr – in several myths, he appears as the rival of the god Thor. It was a monstrous sea serpent, the child of the Giant Angrboda and Loki.
- Nidhogg – the figure of the dragon continues to retain its strong symbolism and popularity even today. It is particularly widespread in men’s fashion.
The dragon bracelets are a real best-seller in men’s jewelry. Here are a few examples that may be of interest to you: Viking bracelet with dragon head.
Fenrir – World-eating Wolf
Fenrir was a giant wolf in Norse mythology, and he was the son of Loki. He was so large that he could not be contained, and the gods eventually chained him up. Fenrir is often seen as a symbol of destruction, and he is said to be one of the monsters that will kill Odin during Ragnarok.
Gullinbursti is one of the most famous Viking symbols. It is a symbol of good luck, protection, and strength. It is also said to represent the sun. This symbol was often used on Viking ships and shields.
Gungnir – The Spear Of Odin
Gungnir, also known as the spear of Odin, was a powerful weapon and was said to be made by the dwarves and given to Odin by Loki. It was said never to miss its target and always return to its owner’s hand.
This symbol was often used as a talisman for protection in battle and reminded us that the gods are always watching over us. It is also a symbol of strength, courage, and success.
Gyllenborste – Frey’s Golden Hog
The name Gyllenborste comes from the Old Norse word for golden hog. The golden hog is a symbol of fertility and happiness. It is often seen as a tattoo, carved into furniture and other objects.
Hugin and Munin – Odin’s Ravens, The Twin Ravens In Norse Mythology
Hugin and Munin were Odin’s two ravens. They were said to fly around the world gathering information for their master. The ravens’ names mean “thought” and “memory,” respectively, and they are often used as symbols of wisdom.
Jormungandr – The Midgard Serpent
Jormungandr is one of the most well-known Viking symbols. This massive serpent is said to encircle the world, biting its tail. The symbol is often seen as representing the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Jormungandr can also be seen as a symbol of protection, as it is said to keep the world safe from harm.
Longship – Norse Symbol of the Viking’s Mentality
The longship was a Norse symbol of the Viking’s mentality. The longship was their primary means of transportation, and it was also a significant part of their culture. The longship represented the Viking’s way of life, and it was a reflection of their values and beliefs.
The longship was a powerful symbol of the Viking’s strength and abilities. It represented their fighting spirit and their willingness to face any challenge. The longship was also a symbol of the Viking’s unity and solidarity. The longship represented the Viking’s ability to work together as a team, reflecting their shared values and beliefs.
Mjölnir (Thor’s Hammer) – Norse Symbol of Thunder & Lightning
Thor’s hammer is another well-known Viking symbol that is often depicted on jewelry and other objects. The hammer was said to be so powerful that it could level mountains, and Thor used it to protect Asgard from the giants.
According to legend, the Vikings wore pendants representing Thor’s hammer. They thus protected themselves from the forces of chaos and especially from the giants, the greatest enemies of the gods, who were regularly slaughtered by Thor with his hammer.
Nowadays, Mjölnir is an inspiration and even a reference to popular culture in fashion, literature, video games, and cinema. It represents strength, courage, and virtue.
Nordic (Norse) Alphabet – Viking Runes
Runes were the alphabet of the Vikings, and they were used for writing, divination, and magic. Each rune had a specific meaning, and scholars have spent centuries trying to decipher their mysteries. Some of the most well-known runes include Fehu (wealth), Uruz (strength), Thurisaz (protection), and Ansuz (communication).
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Skidbladnir – Skíðblaðnir
The name Skidbladnir derives from two old Norse words: skíð, meaning “shield”, and blað, meaning “blade”. Together, these words create the image of a shield made of blades – an appropriate name for this powerful symbol.
Skidbladnir is said to have been created by the god Loki, and it was a gift to the god Freyr. The legend goes that Loki shape-shifted into a fly and bit the ear of a horse named Svadilfari. This caused the horse to go wild and run off, leaving Freyr’s builder, a giant named Svafnir, without the means to finish his work. In order to appease Freyr, Loki offered to create a new horse – one that was even more magnificent than Svadilfari. And so Skidbladnir was born.
This symbol is often associated with strength, power , and protection. It is said to represent the unity of all things, and to be a reminder that we are all connected. Skidbladnir is also a symbol of good fortune, and is often used as a talisman to attract luck and success.
Sleipnir – 8-Legged Horse of Odin, Nordic Symbol of Traveler’s Luck
Sleipnir was Odin’s eight-legged horse, and he was said to be the fastest horse in the world. He could travel over land and sea, and he could even run through the air. Sleipnir is often seen as a symbol of speed and strength.
Swastika/Sun-Wheel – A Symbol of Luck and Sanctity
The Swastika, also known as the Sun-Wheel, is one of the most widely recognized and revered symbols in Norse culture. This potent symbol was believed to represent good luck and sanctity, and was often used to decorate homes and sacred spaces.
The Swastika also had a deep spiritual meaning for the Norse people, representing the cyclical nature of the cosmos and the continuous cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
In modern times, the Swastika has been appropriated by hate groups and is now widely associated with racism and bigotry. However, for the Norse people, this powerful symbol still retains its original meaning of luck and sanctity.
Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder (Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr) – Thor’s legendary goats
Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder (Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr in the Norse myths) goats were said to be able to pull Thor’s chariot, and they were also known for their ability to provide food and shelter for Thor and his companions.
While the meaning of these symbols is still up for debate, there is no doubt that they are significant in Norse mythology. Thor was a powerful god, and his symbols reflect that power. Whether you see them as strength, power, or fertility symbols, there is no denying their importance in Norse culture.
Triquetra or the Celtic Knot
Triquetra comes from the Latin word triquetrus (tri-, “three” and quetrus, “with corners”). It is a Celtic symbol consisting of three Vesica Pisces. It is sometimes accompanied by an inner or outer circle and closely resembles the Valknut, a symbol associated with Odin.
The Triquetra was used to represent groups of three people or three objects. It has been found on runic stones from Northern Europe and Germanic coins.
This symbol can have several interpretations. For example, it is linked to Germanic paganism in the religious context. In Christianity, the Triquetra represents the Holy Trinity. It is also the symbol of the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth – the three forces of nature: Water, Earth, and Air.
The Triquetra knot is also considered a good luck charm. Many people wear it every day as a necklace to assert their originality and feel lucky. Boldly Trendy offers many choices of Triquetra or the Celtic Knot jewelry for men: Viking necklace with Triquetra pendant, Triquetra Medallion Pendant Necklace, Triangle pendant stainless steel necklace and much more! Pick the one you like!
Triskele – Triple Horn Of Odin
The Triskele is one of the most popular Viking symbols, and it is also known as the triple horn of Odin. This symbol is composed of three interlocking horns, and it represents the three main gods of the Norse pantheon: Odin, Thor, and Frey. The Triskele is often used to describe the Norse concept of the threefold nature of reality, and it is also a symbol of protection.
Troll Cross – Norse Symbol Protecting Against Trolls And Elves
The Troll Cross is a Norse symbol that is said to protect against trolls and elves. It is often found in Viking artwork, and its meaning is unclear. Some believe that it represents the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Others believe that it is a Christian symbol, meaning the cross of Christ. Whatever its true meaning, the Troll Cross is a powerful symbol of protection and strength.
Valknut – Viking Symbol For Death In A Battle
The Valknut symbolizes Odin, the god of war and death. It consists of three interlocking triangles, and it is often found on burial monuments and other artifacts associated with death. Some scholars believe that the Valknut was used as a symbol of power or a way to invoke Odin’s protection in battle.
Valknut, also known as the Viking Triangle, is one of the most well-known and intriguing Scandinavian signs. The term comes from Norwegian and has two meanings: the knot of warriors or fallen in battle. It represents interlocking triangles that refer to fallen warriors.
Historians offer many possible explanations for the origin of this symbol. Most pertinently, it is linked to the god Odin who was himself a fighter. According to legend, he had an incredible talent for dispelling the fear of his warriors while terrifying his enemies. The symbol of Valknut evokes immortality, the liberation of the soul, and rebirth.
Today the Valknut is a rather famous emblem in men’s fashion. Powerful and aesthetic, Valknuts accessories are an authentic tribute to History. Moreover, Linkin Park (the famous American rock band) has made Valknut their logo. Valknut is particularly widespread in the form of jewelry. Here are a few examples: Leather bracelet Valknut
Vegvisir, The Viking Compass/The Runic Compass
The Viking compass, also called Vegvisir, is one of the oldest Viking emblems. In Icelandic, Vegvisir means traveler. According to the legend, this symbol allowed the Vikings to navigate without getting lost. It represents luck, protection of the gods, and guidance.
The eight branches of the compass are lines, circles, semicircles, and dots. They offer different types of protection against difficulties and obstacles. That’s why the Vikings drew it on all their ships.
The compass is not only the symbol of the Vikings. They are not the only ones who believe in the power of Vegvisir. It is widespread in fashion today. Many people wear it every day, as accessories, tattoos, or clothing. This symbol gives them the conviction and confidence that they can achieve their goals despite all the obstacles and difficulties of everyday life.
Viking Axe – Norse Symbol of Bravery and Strength
The Viking Axe symbolized bravery and strength for the Norse people. It was also a practical tool that was used for hunting and warfare. The design of the Viking Axe varied depending on the region, but they were often decorated with intricate carvings. Some of the most popular Viking symbols were carved into the axes, including dragons, ravens, and wolves.
These symbols held essential meanings for the Norse people, and they were used as a way to communicate with other tribes. The Viking Axe was a powerful weapon that many enemies feared. But it was also a symbol of the strength and courage of the Norse people.
In Nordic mythology, this animal is omnipresent. It has a controversial nature. On the one hand, it symbolizes the destruction of the Gods and the terrible danger. On the other hand, it symbolizes strength, wisdom, independence, loyalty, and the thirst for liberation. According to the legend, the symbol of the wolf protected the warriors against bad waves and evil spirits.
Today, men have become accustomed to wearing jewelry with the wolf symbol to have a feeling of power. But not only that! The wolf’s head jewelry is distinguished by its originality and trendy style.
Yggdrasil – Norse Symbol of the Life Cycle
Yggdrasil is the world tree of Norse mythology, and it is one of the most important Viking symbols. The tree was said to hold up the sky, and its roots stretched down into the underworld. It was often depicted as an ash tree, and it was believed to be the home of the gods.
Frequently Asked Questions About Norse And Viking Symbols
The Vikings have always attracted all generations to their history and culture. Since the massive success of the Vikings or Game of Thrones series, they have also revolutionized the world of fashion. Today, Viking symbols are very trendy in men’s fashion.
Intriguing, mysterious, and imposing: Viking symbols have found an irreplaceable place in men’s fashion. Aside from being aesthetic, they are also bearers of values and rich in meaning. Whether in jewelry, tattoos, or clothing, they complete the look and convey different messages.