The Viking Valknut, its meaning and origin
Nordic Mythology is rich with symbol different, the Valknut Viking is among the most popular symbols, but do you know its meaning? What does it really stand for? Today what does it mean?
We know this part is not the most interesting, so we'll keep it short. It is a word " values ", composed of two words.
This is the least problematic word. It seems to come from the word Knutr, which means Node. Incidentally, in Old Iceland this word is still used. However, writer Eric Westcoat seems to lean more towards linking it with Not, which means " nut ", which is a poetic turn of phrase meaning heart. In short, Knut means either heart or knot.
You thought Knut was a problem ? Let us introduce you to the word Val. The most popular origin is the one meaning dead warrior (as seen in valhalla, the paradise of valiant warriors). Val can also mean Hawk, or Choice.
If we put all these hypotheses together, it might look like :
- Warrior's knot died in battle
- Node of the falcon
- Choice knot
- Heart of the fallen warrior
- Heart of the falcon
- Heart of choice
Not easy to navigate ...
The two variants of the VALKNUT
The Valknut is a symbol composed of three interlocking triangles. It has historically been found in two forms:
- The unicursal form, was found on a stone dating from the 7th century the Tängelgarda stone in Sweden. It has the peculiarity of being able to be drawn with a single stroke.
- The trical form, found on the Stora Hammar stone, also in Sweden and from the 7th century.
INTERPRETATIONS OF VALKNUT
The Army of Odin
This interpretation is due to Hilda Ellis Davidson. According to her this symbol is the " liberation of the human spirit offered to certain warriors so that they join Odin's army for Ragnarok ". This connection was made thanks to symbols found onburial urns in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, with representations of wolves and ravens (very much linked to Odin).
The most striking example remains that of the Stora Hammar stone. On this one, the Valknut can be found in the beak of a bird, which certainly represents a valkyrie coming to fetch a warrior. The theory continues with the man below holding a spear, a symbol of Odin. The scene depicted on the stone would therefore represent the access to Valhalla for a warrior who has died in battle.
The seidr is a form of magic found in Norse mythology, coming from the goddess Freya. This magic, considered feminine, was therefore not to be mastered by a man. Yet Odin managed to become a master of it and use his magic on the battlefield. He was able to render a warrior unfit for combat, or on the contrary, to remove all forms of fear of the enemy. According to this theory, the valknut would therefore be the symbol of Odin's magic. Specifically, this intertwining triangle represents the confusion that Odin can create on a battlefield.
There is a theory that the Valknut represents the tree of life Yggdrasil. Yggdrasil, also known as the Cosmic Oak is the equivalent of the universe in modern culture. This giant tree is the bearer of the nine worlds of Norse mythology (all the same).
To return to the Valknut, each of its tips, of which there are nine, represents one of the nine worlds. In the same way as for Yggdrasil, one can also spotthree levels of height, on which the nine worlds are easily placed.
This theory is reinforced by a ring, found in the river Nene (England), which has on one side the symbol of the Valknut, and on the other a symbol which over time has been associated with an enormous tree : Yggdrasil.
SYMBOL OF FATE
According to some, this symbol is said to represent the three most powerful Nornir Urdr, Verdandi, and Skuld, each of which represents what has happened, what is happening, and what is going to happen, respectively (basically, the past, present, and future). According to the myths, it was these three Nornir who looked after the roots of Yggdrasil, so that it would not rot.
According to the schools, this symbol could represent an infinite knot, meaning that life is but an infinite knot, or that each triangle represents either the past, the present, or the future, and that each was inseparable from the others. In either case, according to this interpretation, the Valknut represents the destiny of all being.
The Heart of HRUNGNIR
Hrungnir is the most powerful giant living in the ice kingdom. Despite this, he will be defeated by Thor who shatters his skull with his Mjollnir hammer. His heart was described in Snorri's Poetic Edda " it was of hard stone, had sharp edges and had three protruding horns ". Rudolf Simek, a philologist of Germanic literature (a person who studies ancient texts), put forward this theory after studying this passage from the Edda. It is true that the characteristics of Hrungnir's heart correspond to that of the Valknut.
MODERN USE OF THE VALKNUT
Today the Valknut is a very common symbol in the world of tattooing, indeed, there are so many theories and interpretations around it, that everyone can use the one they prefer or inspire. Here are some tattoos of this symbol. Among the tattoos of Vikings, we also find the Vegvisir on many arms. It looks great by the way!
A RACIST SYMBOL ?
On June 6, 2021, invasion of the capitol. There we find an army of men and women who have come to express their anger. Among them, Jake Angelli, dressed, at least originally. But what interests us is one of his tattoos, representations of the Valknut. This symbol was then immediately associated by the press with a neo-Nazi symbol. Here is a video that explains this perfectly.
The VALKNUT AND ODIN'S HALL
We hope that after reading this you have found some answers to your questions about this Viking symbol the Valknut. At Odins' Hall we love thissymbol, which is why you will find it on many of our Viking jewellery and accessories.
Thank you for reading, it's a pleasure to write for Odin's Hall, the leading brand in accessories from Norse mythology.
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