22 Most Popular Viking Symbols (Norse Mythology)

In this article, you can find some of the most famous Viking symbols: Runes, Aegishjalmur (Helm of Awe), The Troll Cross, Mjölnir (Thors Hammer), Viking Ax, The Swastika, Vegvisir, Valknut, Yggdrasil (Tree of Life), Triquetra, The Horn Triskelion, Huginn and Muninn, Svefnthorn, Gungnir (Odin’s Spear), The Web of Wyrd, Longship, 8-Legged Horse, Dragons, Cats, Bears, Boars, and Wolves.

Overview of Viking Symbols

In Norse culture, symbols were significant to Vikings as religious iconography is to us nowadays. The establishing of Norse Vikings’ spirituality in their culture and cognitive process is deep. They didn’t have a word for religion. There was no distinction between religion and reality (as is the case today). Cosmic forces and fate influenced everything.

Because of Marvel movies, almost everyone now knows about Thor’s hammer (Mjolnir), a favorite choice for Vikings to utilize in their jewelry, as depicted in this old Danish artifact.

Although there are letters that the Vikings use (known as runes), they consider writing as sacred and even magical. So, even though the Norse culture was rich in storytelling, songs, and poetry, it was all passed down orally.

The stories of Thor, Freya, Odin, and other Viking heroes that we now know were all passed down through the generations by exact word of mouth. Everything is in record centuries later as sagas by Viking descendants. Symbols and motifs visually transmit critical messages to the women and men who held them (instantly and across language boundaries). 

Symbols themselves were supposedly have power. Vikings were at the mercy of the great waters when they set sail. They were all too familiar with the hazards of battle. Lived in the rain, wind, cold, and heat, whether as warriors or settlers. And relied on the land’s riches to feed their children. Yet, throughout it all, they sensed the hand of fate guiding everything.

Divine symbols on boundary stones, amulets, painted on shields, stitched onto garments, engraved onto their longships, or as things around their hearths may provide the Vikings the slight edge they needed to face life’s uncertainties and dangers.

Runes (Norse Mythology Symbols – Alphabet)

Norse Runes are letters in the most fundamental meaning, and the word rune means “secret”. Runes represents phonetic sounds (similar to letters) and specific meanings (like the glyphs of other ancient languages).

Futhark is the Norse alphabet. The first six runes are F, U, Th, A, R, and K, just as our word “alphabet” comes from the first two Greek letters (alpha and beta).

The earliest known futhark evolved during the second and fourth centuries, which is not surprising because this was a period of increased warfare and trade between Germanic and Mediterranean peoples.

The Vikings had an oral culture and did not write everything with runes, as they were powerful. Instead, they carved it into stone, bone, wood, or metal rather than inscribed on parchment. This is why most surviving stories about the lives of the most famous Vikings were found carved in rune stones. Unlike the Vikings’ opponents in Ireland, England, and France (hence their angular appearance).

Viking Runes, Most Powerful Norse Symbols

The majority of the runes from today are inscriptions on stones commemorating the lives of renowned monarchs. Carving of runes on talismans, shields, beads, and amulets is to assure protection and victory.

In the Viking Age, rune casting was another magical application of runes. For example, spilling bits of wood or bone (with a rune on it) onto a piece of fabric is known as rune casting or “casting rune sticks.” The message is then deciphered by the skilled practitioner, not only by the Runes but also by their alignment to one another (similar to Tarot, where depending on the context the same card can have different meanings).

Who And What Are Linked With These Runes?

Linked with runes is the god Odin, which he discovered from the Well of Destiny at the foot of Ygdrassil. For the Vikings, the discovery of runes meant that they were not only human-made tools but also a part of a broader, more profound truth.

The Elder Futhark known as the first runes, a broad spectrum of Germanic and Norse nations use it. It began to give way to the more streamlined Younger Futhark just before the Viking Age began.

To represent changes in the Scandinavian language and dialects at the time, there were fewer Younger Futhark runes (just 16). Again, the change was gradual, and for a long time, the Elder Futhark Runes are no longer effective as letters, instead, they use it as glyphs.

Vikings knowledgeable in rune lore were most likely capable of reading both, just as we can still decipher the Elder version (1200 years later). In addition, the Elder version reflects in most modern Viking jewelry linked to Runes, as it contains more letters for easy translation into English.

Aegishjalmur – Helm of Awe (Norse Mythology Symbol)

The rune stave, Aegishjalmur (helm of Awe), is one of the most famous Viking symbols of protection and victory. The symbol itself comprises eight branches that resemble radiant tridents and arranging them around the symbol’s core point, and it’s preserving it. The eight tridents guard the focal point.

We may deduce from the derivation of the term “Aegishjalmur” that it is made up of two words: “aegis,” which means “shield,” and “hjalmr,” which means “helm.”

Aegishjalmr (helm of Awe) was frequently on the foreheads of Viking warriors. They saw it as a powerful sign that would protect them from their enemies, instill terror in them, and help Vikings in battles. Nowadays, the Aegishjalmur symbol (helm of Awe) is widely tattooed, and it serves as a protection amulet for numerous popes.

There is another name for this ancient symbol: “Helm of Awe.” According to Stephen Flowers (runologist), the Helm’s original meaning was not to be a supernatural artifact that provided immense strength. Instead, the original meaning of the word was “covering.”

This awe-inspiring Helm began as a mystical power sphere designed to terrorize the adversary. It is like the serpents’ ability to immobilize their prey before striking. Helm of Awe is a force that emanates from the pineal gland and the eyes.

The Troll Cross (Norse Mythology Symbol)

The Norse symbol of protection is the Troll Cross, and shaped like an Othala rune. Regarded as a part of Swedish folklore. According to Norse mythology, the Troll Cross served as a protective amulet against trolls, evil elves, and dark magic. Vikings believed that by wearing this symbol, it greatly reduces their chances of coming into trouble.

Mjölnir (Thor’s Hammer)

Thor’s Hammer or Mjölnir (me-OL-neer), is unquestionably one of the most important and valuable symbols in Viking/Norse mythology. It represents a crusher, grinder, hammer, and thunder and lightning.

The Vikings knew Thor had used Mjölnir to send a giant to his fate when they saw lightning and heard thunder in a howling storm. Thor was the son of the god Odin and the earth goddess Fyorgyn (Jord). He was the god of thunder and war and one of Norse mythology’s most popular figures.

Mjölnir’s origins is in Skaldskaparmal from Snorri’s Edda. Loki bet two dwarves, Brokkr and Sindri, that they couldn’t create something more powerful than the armors made by Ivaldi’s Sons. As a result of the process, the magical hammer is Thor’s.

While wise and cunning, the Viking jarls and monarchs accepted Odin well. Thor’s limitless might, bravery, tenacity, and forthrightness were more appealing to the typical Viking freeman. Mjölnir’s capacity to smash mountains is legendary. The Mjölnir was not only a weapon but also an important tool used by Thor for a wide range of different purposes.

Thor also used Mjölnir to bless or hallow. In addition, Thor could bring some things back to life using Mjölnir. Thor’s ability to bless, make holy, and defend were invoked during marriages, births, and other rituals. For example, Thor used Mjölnir to bless couples with fertility during their marriage.

In Viking graves and other Norse archaeological sites, hundreds of Mjölnir amulets have been recovered. Amulets of many forms are use undoubtedly since prehistoric times.

What are the other meaning of Mjölnir?

Norse Christians still wore Mjölnir amulets after the Old Ways faded (often in conjunction with a cross), indicating that the symbol had considerable importance even after its religious significance had changed.

The Mjölnir represents power, strength, bravery, good luck, and protection from all harm, thanks to its connection to Thor, the god of war and nature’s Awe. It’s also a visible indicator that you respect the Old Ways.

This symbol is regarded as the powerful Viking and Norse symbol of protection and safety since Thor saved humans from disorder by consecrating them with Mjollnir and safeguarded the land from giants by smashing them with it.

Viking Ax (Norse Mythology Weapon)

The Viking ax was the most famous and arguably most common Viking weapon. The Vikings used axes ranging in size from hand axes to long-shafted battle axes. Viking axes were single-bitted, unlike the axes represented in fantasy illustrations. In addition, Viking axes were occasionally “bearded,” meaning the lower half of the ax head was hook-shaped to aid in grasping and pulling shield limbs or rims.

The axe needed significantly less iron, time, and expertise to make than a sword, and they would have had one in their hands since childhood because it was such an important tool on farms and homesteads.

The Viking axe would make the Norsemen famous, and descendants of the Vikings would be sought after as elite mercenaries or bodyguards for their axe skills long after the Viking Age had passed.

Who is the other god of thunder that Vikings worshipped?

The Vikings encountered people who worshiped Perun as they journeyed east into regions held by the Balts and Slavs. Perun, like Thor, was a sky god and a god of thunder. Perun, like Thor, was a champion of mankind, a guardian from evil, and a monster slayer. He was a happy, indestructible red-bearded warrior who rode a goat-drawn chariot across the sky.

The significant difference between Perun and Thor appears to be that Perun battled with an ax rather than Thor’s tremendous hammer, Mjolnir. Many ax-shaped amulets have been unearthed in the Baltic, Russia, and Ukraine, whereas many Mjolnir amulets have been discovered in Viking Age sites in Scandinavia. 

The ax is a symbol of strength, bravery, and audacity. It serves as a reminder of family history and forefathers’ achievements who used what they had to bend the world to their will. It’s a berserker’s symbol, with all that involves. It expresses the ability of the heart or mind to cut through what holds one back and move ahead boldly.

The Swastika

One of the Viking symbols that has completely lost its meaning is the Swastika. This emblem has special meaning for Vikings and Indo-Europeans, who used it to represent holiness, continuity, power, and luck. It is akin with Thor in the Norse religion. Inscribed on items often, the Swastika bring their owners luck and holiness.

However, Hitler appropriated the Viking iconography, and connects it with the Nazi party and Hitler ever since.

Vegvisir Symbol or the Viking Compass  (Icelandic Compass – Norse Mythology)

Viking Compass is often confused with Aegishjalmur because the Vegvisir symbol has eight branches, each distinct from the others. It’s also a symbol in Icelandic grimoires.

It is a wayfinding symbol, that according to the grimoire, even if the user have no idea where they are heading to, is never going to be astray. The Viking Compass is for physical navigation. The symbol becomes connected with spiritual direction in modern Asatru.

Given the fact that Vikings were prone to numerous sea tragedies, it’s easy to see why they wanted mystical assistance to accompany them and keep them on track. The Huld Manuscript contains this Vegvisir symbol. Unfortunately, there is no information on how old this symbol is.

On the other hand, Icelandic people are descendants of Vikings who have spent their entire lives sailing the open seas. Nowadays, we have access to a wide range of contemporary technologies that can assist us in overcoming numerous marine disasters as well as preventing the loss of direction.

Even though there were no technologies available to overcome struggles at the time, the Vikings believed in symbols, and Vegvisir is one of them. It may help them find their path in life and aid them on their lengthy journeys.

Before setting sail, Vikings utilized this symbol and wrote it on their ships to ensure that they would return home safely and without injury.

However, it’s also worth noting that there’s not a lot of information available about the symbol’s genesis. As a result, we can’t be sure that Vegvisir existed throughout the Viking era.

Valknut Symbol (Knot of the Slain Warrior)

One of the most common symbols in the Viking realm is the Valknut (Odin’s Knot or the knot of the slain warrior), made from three overlapping triangles. It always appears in conjunction with Odin or the dead, leading many to believe it was a Valhalla emblem. 

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In Asgard, Valhalla is Odin’s hall. He selects the most valiant slain warriors to live there. They live happily ever after until they are summoned to fight alongside the gods in Ragnarok’s ultimate battle. Repelling Ragnarok is a goal shared by all warriors.

It’s possible that the Valknut symbol indicated that the fallen warrior had passed on to Valhalla. However, it could also have been used to summon Odin’s servants, the Valkyries, to carry his soul to Valhalla or to ward off spirits that wanted to take the warrior’s will to one of the other Norse underworlds. 

The Valknut symbol has nine points because it is made up of three triangles. In Viking culture, the number 9 is particularly significant, as it is associated with the nine worlds of northern mythology.

The Valknut is on the Stora Hammar stone in Lärbro, Sweden. On the stone are etchings with color of several Nordic symbols.

God Odin descends to rescue a warrior who was killed in battle. Odin is known for his Gungnir spear and raven families. The warrior’s body is lifted from his grave to Valhalla by Odin’s hands as a sign of blessing.

Other places one can find the Valknut

You can also find Valknut on the Tängelgarda stone from Gotland. The symbol appears between the warrior’s horse’s legs. Odin is supposedly to be the warrior escorting the other warriors to Valhalla.

The Valknut was also found on a gold ring recovered in the Nene River near Peterborough, England, in 1855. This ring is unique because it has two discs opposite each other around a circle. In addition, there are three granule clusters on either side of the discs.

Norse Symbol Yggdrasil (Tree of Life)

Yggdrasil is depicted as an evergreen ash tree, the largest and most perfect of all trees. Its branches extend over the nine worlds of northern mythology, encircle and connect heaven and earth. This Norse symbol represents the cosmic tree, the tree of life, and the world’s center.

Yggdrasil represents all life and is not only one of the most important symbols of Scandinavian and Viking culture, but it is also the foundation of the Nordic faith.

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The nine worlds of the Norse universe, according to the Vikings, were stowed away in the tree’s roots and branches. The tree serves as a link between worlds, delivering life-giving water between them. The tree separates the realms and keeps the universe in order.

Keep in mind that myth is a way for humanity to comprehend cosmic reality. Myths like these were as close to science as our forefathers could go, and while quantum physics is difficult for many of us to “see,” it is still our way of explaining the truth as we have discovered it. A way of thinking about reality and how it could connect to other facts is Yggdrasil.

This is a distinct and unique Norse-Germanic concept, yet it is thematically comparable to other “trees of life” found in ancient shamanism and other religions. Yggdrasil is a symbol for the cosmos, the relationship between time and destiny, harmony, creation cycles, and the essence of nature.

The Yggdrasil emblem appears in the mythology of many ancient cultures as a sign of the world’s interconnectedness. Nothing can perish, and everything is in a never-ending cycle of transformation.

Depiction Of Ragnarok According To Yggdrasil

Another important factor is that Yggdrasil’s fruits give the gods youth. According to Norse mythology, Ragnarok, a war between gods and giants in which only one man and woman will survive and hide inside the hollow of a tree – will bring the world to an end.

They’ll depart the tree to give the world a new lease on life. Believing that the tree of life shields entity from Ragnarok.

Another intriguing thought is that Yggdrasil was regarded as a tree of life and as a “tree of horror.” That is because Odin hung himself on that tree in a search for wisdom when he decided to sacrifice himself.

Triquetra (Celtic Knot)

The Trinity Knot, also known as the Triquetra, is one continuous line that wraps around itself, implying that there is no beginning or end to spiritual existence. The Triquetra and other Celtic symbols were originally Celtic, not Norse. Still, with more interaction and assimilation between the Vikings and the peoples of Ireland and Scotland, they became culturally syncretized.

On the Funbo Runestone, a design identical to this was discovered in Uppland, Sweden. The Celtic Mother Goddess associates with the Triquetra initially, which reflected her triune nature (the mother, the maiden, and the wise, old woman).

The threefold identity was vital in many parts of druidic doctrine and practice. The Irish and Scottish monks use Triquetra later to symbolize the Christian Trinity.

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This symbol signifies the three words: celestial, physical, and spiritual. The other Trinity connections associated with this symbol are past, present, and future; sky, water, and earth; life, death, and rebirth; creation, destruction, and protection.

Because this symbol is related to the Mead of Poetry, many modern accessories feature this symbol image that is specifically made to inspire everyone who wears them. People today wear the Triquetra for any of these reasons and to be reminded of higher truths’ continuity and multi-faceted nature.

The Horn Triskelion (Viking Symbol)

Another Viking symbol that was widespread throughout the Viking era was the Triskelion. Its three interconnected horns represented three horns in Odin’s search for magical mead, also known as Odhroerir or Mead of Poetry.

According to Viking legend, two dwarfs named Fjalar and Galar killed Kvasir (a man or a god). He was created from a spit of Aesir and Vanir, who possessed the inhuman ability to know everything and answer any question. The blood of Kvasir was mixed with honey and poured into the three horns. 

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Odin utilized his cunning plan every day to ensure that the giant Gunnlö let him swallow a sip of mead (which lasted for three days). However, allowing him only one taste of mead every day.

As a result, each time he drank mead, he drank a whole horn, and in three days, he consumed three horns of the poetic mead, which assisted Odin in escaping by turning him into an eagle.

The Triskele symbol was first discovered in the eighth or ninth centuries. The earliest discovery is on the Larbro stone in Sweden, and it is to date from the 8th century. The Snoldelev Stone is linked to the other rune discovery from the 9th century in Denmark.

Because of its relationship to Odin’s artistic attributes and the Mead of Poetry, the Horn Triskelion or Triple Horn of Odin is now utilized as a sign of inspiration and knowledge by artists and authors.

Huginn and Muninn

Huginn and Muninn are Odin’s twin ravens. They assisted him by acting as his messengers. Huginn and Muninn were depicted as seated next to Odin or even on his shoulders in certain artworks.

They were his eyes, and he relied on them to keep track of everything they observed on the flight. They flew around the globe every day, and when they returned, they told Odin what they had seen.

Huginn and Muninn were given special skills by Odin that allowed them to travel all of Midgard (the planet) in one day and communicate and understand human language. Huginn and Muninn were thought to be projections of Odin’s consciousness, according to one theory. The fact that ‘Huginn’ and ‘Muninn’ literally mean ‘thought’ and ‘mind,’ only adds to this theory.

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Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s Vikings Ravens, were very important. Ravens were essential to many Viking kings and earls, notably Ragnar Lothbrok, who featured them on their banners. Vikings placed a high value on the Norse animal symbolism of Huginn and Muninn, especially when sailing to unfamiliar waters.

They believed Ravens could see everything, and they thought they could assist them in finding the land. Ravens are in cages and released at regular intervals to find their way to the ground. When the ravens are released, they were scouting the region around the ship, flying towards land if they saw it and back to the boat if they didn’t.

Raven is one of the most common Norse Symbols. There is a well-known Viking story of how Floki, a legendary Viking, discovered Iceland thanks to ravens.

Svefnthorn (Norse Mythology) 

Svefnthorn is a well-known Norse mythology symbol that appears regularly in Norse sagas such as The Saga of the Volsungs, The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, and The Saga of the Gongu-Hrolfs.

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Every myth has a distinct interpretation of this Viking symbol’s meaning and magical capabilities. Svefnthorn, on the other hand, had one use in all stores: it was used to put their enemies to sleep. For instance, according to The Saga of the Volsungs, Odin used Svefnthorn to put Valkyrie Brunhild into a deep sleep.

Gungnir

Odin’s spear, Gungnir, is a Viking symbol connected with this god of wisdom, inspiration, and war. Gungnir was created for Odin by the sons of Invaldi, dwarfs who also made the goddess Sif’s golden hair and Frey’s legendary ship, Skidbladnir. It is a magical spear with a carving of black runes into the tip. Gungnir never fails to hit its target.

Odin stabbed Gungnir through the chest and hung for nine days and nights from the world tree, Yggdrasil, to discover the runes and the cosmic truths they carried. Because of this, Vikings and previous Scandinavian/Germanic peoples used a spear simultaneously with hanging for their sacrifices to Odin.

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The Odin would fling Gungnir over the heads of gods, saying, “You are all mine!” while he was leading the Aesir gods against the Vanir gods. The Vikings had a tradition of doing the same, and they would start wars by tossing a spear over the enemy’s ranks while shouting, “Odin, take you all!” They felt that by symbolically offering their enemies to Odin, the Allfather would bring them victory.

Gungnir is a symbol that represents the ecstasy, courage, wisdom, skill, and inspiration of the Allfather. And it means strength, focus, precision, and faithfulness.

The Web of Wyrd (Fate)

Viking believing that everything, even the gods, are subject to fate. The concept was so essential that the Old Scandinavian language had six different words for fate. The Vikings’ famous bravery was due to their firm belief that “fate is inevitable.”

Predetermining the conclusion, no man or woman even striving avoid their fate, no matter how bad it was. What mattered most was how one dealt with the difficulties and tribulations that life threw at them. In the Viking age, this symbol represented the past, present, and future events in a person’s life.

The Norns are the ones who shape fate in Norse mythology. The Norns are three ladies who sit at the bottom of Yggdrasil, the world tree, at the entrance of the Well of Urd. They create a massive tapestry or web there, with each strand representing a human life.

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According to certain traditions, notably the Volsung saga, there are numerous smaller Norns of both Aesir and elf kinds and the three great Norns (known as Past, Present, and Future). These smaller Norn could function similarly to the guardian angels of Christianity or the demons of Greek mythology.

The Web of Wyrd symbol represents the Norns’ tapestry. Although it is unknown whether this symbol was utilized during the Viking Age, it uses iconography that the Vikings would recognize right away. The emblem is made up of nine intersecting lines.

Nine is a magical number in Norse, one can find the runes within the pattern of these lines. Endowed with inherent meaning and power, are the runes from the Well of Urd. When one looks at the nine lines of the Web of Wyrd, one sees all the runes at once. After that, revealing through symbolic form are the secrets of life and destiny.

Longship (Viking Ships) – Norse Mythology

The longship was the Viking’s soul. The term “Viking” does not just refer to any medieval Scandinavian but rather to a man or woman who took the risk of venturing into the unknown. The longship was the vehicle for accomplishing this. According to eyewitness accounts from centuries before the Vikings, the Norse were always in their ships.

Still, technological breakthroughs in ship design around the eighth century transformed what these ships could perform. The Viking ships could use oars to row or a big, square sail to catch the wind. In the natural oceans, they were supple and flexible. They were keeled to move quickly and precisely. In addition, the Vikings had an extremely shallow drought, which was crucial to their mobility and military dominance.

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This meant that Vikings could travel the icy oceans from Scandinavia to unknown areas, then march deep into these lands through river routes, all while outpacing any opponents who could come against them. It took a long time for Europe’s strongest nations to find out how to respond to such a danger.

It is no surprise that the Viking longships other name is “dragon ships,” as it seem as though an extraterrestrial force is release upon the European peoples. According to accounts from the first recorded Viking attack, monks saw visions of dragons in a prophecy of this disaster (Lindisfarne).

Ships In Norse Mythology

In Norse mythology, two ships stand out. Hel’s ship, Nalgfar, is the goddess’s ship. It is from the dead’s fingernails. It will rise from the depths at Ragnarok, oared by giants and led by Loki, and cross the Bifrost bridge to spearhead the assault on Asgard. The Norse gods have a longship called Skblanir.

Frey’s ship, Skblanir, is large enough to hold all the Norse gods and their chariots and battle gear. But the dwarves design is for it to fold and carried around in a little bag or pocket.

The gods use Skblanir to travel together across the sea, on land, and even in the air. This legend demonstrates the Vikings’ attitude toward ships: a good ship can transport you anywhere.

The Vikings’ bond with their ships is even more astonishing when we consider that these ships were glorified boats in some aspects and not what we think of as ships. A Viking reaches down and touch the waves despite entirely exposed to the elements. You’d feel the deep seas slipping beneath your feet as sea spray slapped your face in such a vessel.

The Vikings were able to sail these ships to the Mediterranean, Iceland, Greenland, and even North America. Many of us find it challenging to comprehend this level of dedication, risk acceptance, rejection of limitations, and insatiable desire to shape the universe in one’s way. As a result, symbolizing the Vikings and everything about them is the dragon ship.

8-Legged Horse (Sleipnir) – Norse Mythology

Odin’s horse, Sleipnir, has eight legs instead of four. His additional limbs are joined by conventional limbs that grew from his shoulders and haunches. As a result, “best of the horses” is his other title. He joined Odin on various expeditions, astounded by his power, strength, and speed. He could sprint, jump, whinny, and kick considerably quicker and louder than the other horses.

Moreover, there were no obstacles in his way. The elements could not slow Odin’s horse, and if necessary, he could even fly through the air and swim across water. Furthermore, Sleipnir has the ability to transport Odin into and out of Hell (the realm of the dead).

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Horses with eight legs symbolized a means of transporting souls between the nine worlds in Norse mythology.

Sleipnir represents speed, strength, perception, endless life assurance, transcendence, and travel, among other things. Today, an extensive range of accessories with the image of Odin’s famous and well-known eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, are available.

Sleipnir’s symbol is particularly significant for athletes, travelers, and people who have lost their way in life or their love. It is a magnificent symbol, capable of bestowing power, spiritual protection, and enlightenment upon all who seek it.

Dragons (Norse Mythology Serpents)

The Vikings had many myths about dragons and giant serpents, and their art included many portrayals of these creatures. “Dragon ship” is its another term, because of their sleek shape and carvings of dragon-headed prows.

To signal that the Vikings arrived in peace, occasionally, they remove these heads. As seen in fantasy films, dragons with big bodies and heavy legs are more akin to medieval heraldry inspired by Welsh (Celtic) mythology. The first Norse dragons had a serpentine appearance, with long coiling bodies. Only a few of them had wings, and only a few could breathe fire.

Some Norse dragons were more than simply massive beasts; they were cosmic powers in their own right. Nhöggr “Curse Striker” is one of these creatures. He wraps himself around Yggdrasil’s roots, biting at them and dreaming of Ragnarok.

Jörmungandr, “The World-Coiling Serpent,” is so massive that he wraps himself around the globe, enclosing the oceans. Jörmungandr (Midgard Serpent) is Thor’s arch-enemy, and the two are doomed to meet in Ragnarok.

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Luckily for Viking heroes, not all dragons were as giant as the entire world, but they were all large enough. Such creatures put heroes like Beowulf to the ultimate test. By destroying a giant, evil serpent, Ragnar Lothbrok gained his name, his favorite wife (Thora), and accelerated his destiny.

The Tale of Fáfnir the Dragon – Norse Mythology

Fáfnir was one of the most intriguing dragons. He is a dwarf once, but his greed and treachery transformed him into a terrifying, nearly indestructible monster who slept on a gold pile. Fáfnir (as well as Nhöggr) exemplify one of the most frightening aspects of dragons: they are not only large, powerful, and difficult to destroy, but many of them are also extremely intelligent.

According to legend, dragons are as rich in symbolism as they are in treasure. Dragons signify both immense strength and great danger as the genuine apex predator. Dragons can represent opportunity via risk because of their associations with heaps of wealth or as the captors of beautiful women.

Though the Norse did not associate dragons with the Devil in the same way that Christians do (the Norse did not have one), dragons such as Fáfnir can sometimes signify spiritual corruption or the darker side of human nature. Dragons represent the destructive phase of the creation-destruction cycle the most. As a result, they signify both chaos and devastation and change and rejuvenation.

Cats (Viking symbols – Norse Mythology)

The Vikings believed cats are spirit animals of the Vanir goddess Freya. Freya was one of the most adored, widely worshiped, and interesting Norse goddesses or gods. She is the goddess of love, romance, desire, and sex, but she wasn’t just another version of Venus from the north.

A terrifying goddess of war she is, riding into battle on her wild boar, Hildisvini (“Battle Swine”). Odin learns much of what he knows about the secret arts from Freya. Poetry, music, and contemplation are all things she enjoys.

Freya is a goddess of fertility. Skaldic poetry reminds us that she possesses unfettered libido despite amber tears when she misses her traveling spouse. Often describing Freya as the target of desire not only of gods but also of giants, elves, and men in Norse Mythology.

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Freya traveled in a chariot driven by black or gray cats when she wasn’t riding Hildisvini into battle or using her wonderful falcon-feather cloak to shape-shift into a lightning-fast bird of prey. Some folklorists interpret the goddess’s ability to get cats to cooperate and move in the same direction as a metaphor for the strength of feminine influence, which frequently appears in the Viking sagas.

Cats are autonomous but friendly when they want to be; ferocious fighters and lethal hunters but lovers of luxury, leisure, and riches. This link between the goddess of magic and her cats explains why cats are akin with witches in the late Middle Ages and into the modern era.

Bears (Viking symbols – Norse Mythology)

The Bear was one of the Vikings’ most formidable and dangerous beasts. Even the bravest of men would shrink back slowly at the sight of a bear in the wild. Their hide and fur are resistant to most weapons, and they are enormous, quick, and deadly. So it’s simple to see why it’s interesting for the Vikings and wished to imitate them.

Bears were a favorite pet of Viking sea lords. Lagertha, the excellent shield-maiden, had a pet bear, which she let loose on Ragnar Lothbrok when he first came to court her, according to Saxo Grammaticus. This incident was, understandably, brought up again during their subsequent divorce. Greenlandic Vikings excelled in bringing polar bears and polar bear furs to Medieval European courts.

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Odin held the Bear Symbol in high regard, and this connection spawned the most renowned of all Vikings: the berserkers. Berserkers were Viking warriors who fought in a delirious state of ecstasy.

What Is A Berserker?

Berserker is from two Old Norse words meaning “bear shirt” or “bear skin.” It’s also where the phrase “to go berserk” comes from. The berserker absorbed the essence and spirit of the Scandinavian wilderness’s giant bears.

He assumed all of the Bear’s ferocity, bravery, strength, and indestructibility in battle. As a result, he donned the Bear’s skin, which he could have done literally by donning bear hide as armor. Or he wears no armor at all and is completely bare (the play on words is the same in English and Old Norse). The berserker was a warrior who entered battle enraged and inspired by Odin’s fatal ecstasy in either instance.

The berserker would sometimes go ahead of the line rather than fighting as a unit like the other Vikings. This craziness has a two-fold method. First, his bravery is to inspire his colleagues while disheartening his adversaries. He hoped to break the enemy’s cohesion and exploit vulnerabilities in their defenses that his brothers in arms could exploit by striking the opposing lines alone before his forces could make contact.

Boars (Norse mythology and Celtic)

During the Viking Age, various animals symbolizes religious symbols. The exception was not wild boars. Wild boars are cautious animals who strive to stay away from humans. When cornered, though, this animal transforms into a terrible beast. The wild boar for many years is a symbol of bravery, curiosity, and aggressiveness.

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The majority of the creatures were fylgia or god’s attendant spirits. Freya’s fylgia boar name is Hildisvini (“Battle Swine”). Hildisvini was Freya’s constant companion in battle. Freyr or Frey (the god of male fertility, sex, riches, bounty, and peace) had a boar-fylgia named Gullinborsti. Any Viking who saw the Gullinborsti sign thought of peace and contentment.

Wolves (Fenrir) – Norse Mythology

The wolf is a more enigmatic motif, as the interpretation is in various ways. Fenrir was the most well-known among the Vikings as one of Norse mythology’s most terrifying monsters.

The gods attempted to restrain Fenrir because of his rapid growth and ferocious appetite, but he shattered every chain. Finally, the gods could subdue the creature with an unbreakable lashing – but only after he ripped the deity Tyr’s hand.

The gods put a sword in Fenrir’s mouth to keep his jaws from cracking, and a river called Ván flowed from his open, drooling mouth while the wolf dreamed of his vengeance. Fenrir is fated to escape someday, at the dawning of Ragnarok, and will devour the sun and moon and even kill Odin in the last days.

Image by Bernhard Stärck from Pixabay

Are All Wolves Bad?

Not all wolves in Norse mythology were bad. Joining Odin in war, hunting and roaming by wolves named Geri and Freki (both names meaning Greedy). The alliance between humans and dogs arose from this cooperation between god and wolf.

The berserker — men who “become the bear” and fought in euphoric fury, empowered by the spirit of Odin – is the most famous form of Viking fighter. A similar Viking warrior known as a lfhenar, which means “wolf conceals’ ‘ (or werewolf). It’s unclear whether this was a synonym or a different berserker type.

Some accounts suggest that the lfhenar is similar to berserkers, although unlike berserkers (who fought alone in front of Viking shield walls), the lfhenar is in small groups. We know that the wolf was sacred to Odin and that some Vikings were able to channel the wolf to become impenetrable to “iron and fire” and achieve incredible feats of martial prowess and heroism in combat.

In Norse culture, the wolf has both positive and negative meanings. Even the gods are no match for the destructive forces of time and nature, which the wolf can represent. The wolf can also represent the most admired qualities of bravery, cooperation, and shamanic power. Savagery and primitive nature are the common denominators in these two disparate expressions. The wolf can bring out the best or worst in humans.

Gloria White

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