Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.
My struggles with magic aside, I do believe in the power of symbols. Not magical power per se but more of a power to encapsulate thoughts, concepts, and ideas into a single pattern or image. For me, these become very powerful focuses that keep me steady in my thoughts and philosophy. They also remind me of what is spiritually important.
I adopted the valknut as my replacement for the cross right after leaving Christianity. I had become fairly certain that at least the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru were going to be my new moral code, so I looked for something to symbolize that and the symbol of the Valknut was almost always present in any website I was studying at the time and so made it my own. The fact that it is connected with Odin and death rituals (burial) only solidified this. The Grey Wayfarer (me) often wears a pendant of the valknut around his neck on a chain. Mine also has a circle of runes around it like in the picture above.
Both the valknut and the runes are mysteries as to their full meaning. Much has been lost thanks to the invasion of Christianity and the subsequent purge that followed them of all things pagan. The valknut and runes apparently were too pagan to find their way to being incorporated into Christian worship and so were actually expunged. A few examples survive and so what we know is very little. The valknut is associated with Odin and burial because we find them on gravestones. Runes are everywhere but they don’t seem to be about language although some modern pagans have made it so. From a scholar’s point of view, they are largely a mystery as well.
What this meant for me is that I was left to give this symbol and the runes around it their own meaning. So…
Time to Look Through the Eye:
“To see the truth, change one eye for another”
I am a deistic humanistic pagan. First and foremost I fall on the side that says while religions are bunk and made up for the most part, I don’t dismiss the idea of a supreme being, beings or force of the universe being a real possibility. However, I believe that the only real source of overcoming my own and other human problems is myself and other humans. I am pagan because my spirituality basically draws me back to the spiritual roots of my ancestors. It is far more about heritage than religion for me. The valknut and runes are a good symbol of that as both call to my Germanic and (hopefully) Scandinavian roots. It is at least the faith and spirituality of my own spirit regardless of biological genetics.
I suppose my meditation times that I have used the valknut and rune circle are the ones that have given both new meanings for me. Firstly the nine sides of the three triangles became representative of the Nine Noble Virtues. Later, the nine formed the three triangles of the Higher Virtues of love, Justice, and Wisdom. All of them are interlocked and the three triangles, if you look closely, cannot be separated fro meach other. It thus forms a single spiritual path of following virtue, a single symbol – the valknut. It also because of its connection to Odin serves as a reminder of the finality of life. Virtue is the only thing that gives that life value.
The rune circle around it is all 24 known runes. In many ways, it symbolizes the mysteries of the knowledge of the universe to me. By following the path of virtue, I begin to understand these mysteries better.
One of those mysteries is the divine. Part of that, to be honest, is to assess whether such divine entity or entities exist. As a diest, I fall on the side of agnosticism that says we don’t know enough to dismiss the idea of the divine, so I believe more in its possibility than it is not possible. I will give the atheists their due in saying they could very well be right, but at the same time, I don’t think I can myself close my mind, heart, and body off to the idea that a creator or creators exist. It seems too ‘dogmatic’ of ‘fundamentalist’ to me so to speak.
The issue then is to find meaning either way – for me, this is the following the path of virtue as a means to coming to better understandings of the world around me and perhaps finding the answers I seek. I am a pilgrim searching for truth, wherever I find it. I am the Grey Wayfarer
I find spirituality in Virtue. Virtue allows me to connect with myself, other people and the universe and all it contains. How can one not be connected when following after virtue? For me, this symbol reminds me that part of understanding the universe requires connections. The path is what connects and virtue is the path. In meditation, this symbol has proven to be the best focus when I am looking to understand this connectivity to everything else.
As I meditate more on this, I am sure more things will come to mind. I have plans to make my meditation time more ‘ritualized’ in that I may have other foci and even some candles and incense. Regardless, the valknut and rune circle will always be central to it. The centerpiece if you will regardless of what becomes my first meditation altar.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.