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Viking Symbols: What do they mean? Meaning / History

Posted by Kurt Noer on

When it comes to common symbols associated with Viking era, they all have meaning to them. Norse mythology, gods, symbols and runes make up a lot of the background to what went on in the Viking Age. We thought it would be helpful to provide a simple overview of the more common symbols associated with the Nordic and Celtic times and what they mean.

mjolnir meaningMjolnir

Also known as Thor’s hammer. Thor was the son of Odin and Fyorgyn, the earth goddess. He was the god of thunder and the god of war and one of the most popular figures in all of Norse mythology. The mjölnir is known for its ability to destroy mountains.

View all of our Mjolnir jewelry.



Tree of Life symbol meaningTree of Life

Also known as the Yggdrasil or the World Tree. A mainstay of Norse mythology, this giant mythological tree holds together the Nine Worlds or realms of existence. With roots that reach deep into the earth and branches that reach into the heavens, this ash tree is the daily gathering spot of the gods. 

View all of our Tree of Life jewelry.



valknut symbol meaningValknut
Also known as the symbol of Slain Warriors. The three interlocking triangle shapes have many proposed origins. First, it may be a Celtic symbol of motherhood and rebirth or it could signify the afterlife. But more commonly, it represents Odin's slain warriors. 

View all of our Valknut jewelry.



helm of awe meaningHelm of Awe
Also known as the Algiz. This powerful protective symbol guarded the Vikings from the ravages of illness and disease. Norse mythology shows it being worn between the eyes to incur a sense of fear in the enemies and to shield from the abuses of power.

View all of our Helm of Awe jewelry.



viking compass meaningViking Compass

Also known as a Vegvisir, this Viking rune stave is a similar shape to the Helm of Awe but has different shapes at the ends. It was known to help with navigation on the high seas. It was essentially a protective symbol shown on vessels to hope for their safe return from battle.

View all of our Viking Compass jewelry.



odins ravens meaningOdin's Two Ravens

Also known as Huginn and Muninn, they symbolize “thought” and “memory” in Norse mythology acting as twin ravens who are essentially servants of the god Odin. He sent them out into the world every morning to bring him news so he could be better prepared on what to expect.

View all of our Raven jewelry.



Horns of Odin
Also known as Odin's Horn, the horn triskelion or the triple horned triskele. In deference to the god Odin, this symbol comprised three interlocking drinking horns, worn in tribute to the modern Asatru faith. The horns’ names were Óðrœrir, Boðn and Són


View all of our Horns of Odin jewelry


troll cross meaningTroll Cross
Also known as Trollkors. This heavy amulet comprised of an iron circle with a cross at the bottom characterized an odal or othala rune (the letter O). Revered by the Scandinavian people, they believed it protected them from trolls and elves. It was a common amulet to ward off malevolent magic.

View all of our Troll Cross Jewelry


sleipnir meaning

Also known as the eight-legged horse or the 'The Sliding One'. Sleipnir is the steed that was ridden by Odin, the father of all gods. Sleipnir is the child of Loki (when he shape shifted into a mare) and became pregnant by Svaðilfari (stallion of a giant) and is described as the best of all horses.


View all of our Sleipnir jewelry


viking wolf meaning

Also known as the Viking Wolf. Fenrir was a fearsome wolf in Norse mythology whose name means “the monster of the river Ván.” He is the son of Loki, the brother of the Midgard Serpent, and father of Skoll and Hati. It is said no chains can hold this monstrous beast.


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jormungand meaning

Also known as Jormungand, the sibling of Fenfir the wolf. Dragons were something to be feared yet attempted to be trained in battle. This dragon / sea serpent resides in the ocean that surrounds Midgard, the visible world. It grew so large that it was able to encircle Midgard and grasp its own tail.


View all of our Dragon jewelry


rune meaning

Also known as Elder Futhark. The letters of the Norse runic alphabet used to compose many German languages before the Latin alphabet was adopted. Even English letters today are very similar (see the letter F to the left). Elder Futhark comes from the first six runes: (F, U, Th, A, R and K). 


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celtic knot meaningCeltic Knot

Also known as the Triquetra or the Trinity Knot, this symbol comprised one continuous line interweaving around itself, meaning no beginning or end, or eternal spiritual life. That everything comes in three stages, from life and elements to domains and time.

View all of our Celtic Knot jewelry



Comments, corrections and/or suggestions to add additional symbols are welcome! See below to add your comments. SonsOfVikings specializes in Viking jewelry and other Viking related products. 



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