Crossing Bifrost – Norse Symbols and Objects – The Valknut

Happy Saturn’s Day and Happy Disting.  Let’s all remember those mothers and women who passed on before us, and the beginnings of spring in which there is new life even in the ice and snow.  

In looking at symbols of the Norse people this one seems to have a long origin and goes back to possibly the 9th century.  It is composed of three interlocking triangles. It can be found on gravestones and in archaeology in various places from the Viking Age.  The Norwegians introduced the idea of it meaning ‘knot of those fallen in battle’ long after the Viking age was over but it could be true.

What does it mean?  We don’t know really.  It is connected with the dead in Viking culture, because it appears on gravestones and viking funeral ships. Representations of Odin appear with it, so it is often thought to be connected with him. Mostly though we get the idea that this symbol for the Vikings was connected with death.

That hasn’t stopped modern people from running with it and giving it their own meanings.  Currently it is connected withe the revival of heathen practices among people with Norse and Germanic decent. It has come to symbolize other things in the modern mind.  But the one thing it seems to maintain is its association with the Vikings and their death rituals. Many theorize a connection with deep strong magic in the Viking culture associated with death.

For me and many others I think, the Valknut symbolizes the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) the best.  It is basically three interlocking triangles, total of nine sides that form a single symbol.  Each triangle has come to mean one of the higher virtues for me and each side one of the NNV.  The whole thing stands together as one symbol representing my total philosophy.  In the end it makes a great meditation focus for me. I have also seen it used in conjunction with the nine worlds.

I am well aware of the fact that there is one white supremacist group that uses this as their symbol but I think they pervert it. It never had any connection to white supremacy until they used it this way, and I would say it is a common practice of race oriented groups of all kinds to take good and noble symbols and pervert them.  The most notorious one being the swastika which originally was a symbol of balance and harmony.  Hitler perverted it. Mostly though for the Valknut, I stand with a lot of other pagans in my defense of the symbol representing a heritage without racial hatred. It should be noted the symbol is used by many other non-racist organizations and companies. Including ones that actively stand against this racism.

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In the end the symbol has a lot of mystery and so it can be given a lot of meanings and perhaps that is its greatest strength. It allows the individual the freedom to think what they wish about it and give it the meaning that best works for them. For me it is a reminded of the virtues I place value on and try to practice.  So it remains a constant reminder to me of that and that, because of its connection with death, I should be remembered for the noble life I lived because of following the virtues to me it represents. I wear one on a necklace around my neck these days.  A reminder of the mysteries of following the NNV and walking as a pilgrim through life.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


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