Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and the Valknut are considered to be one of the most powerful symbols that represent Viking history and culture. From the Viking era and all the way until today they keep the spirit of the Norse warriors alive.
To understand how their symbolism transcendent time and space we need to take a look back in time and out of the boundaries of our world. Only through the Viking sagas about the Old Norse gods’ way we can truly comprehend their meaning. To that end, first, we need to look at them separately. Here is a separate account of the two symbols, what they are, their origin, their symbolism over time and what meaning they have today.
Thor’s Hammer - Mjolnir
Most folks know of Thor’s hammer from Marvel’s blockbuster movies, like a tattoo or that thing many men wear around their necks. That thing has a name and a mighty owner – Thor himself. So, before we try to comprehend his weapon, let’s take a look at Thor himself.
Thor is the god of lightning that guarded Asgard, the home of Norse gods and Odin himself, from all sorts of menaces. Thor with his hammer fought giants, armies, evil gods, and sorts of attackers that tried to invade and destroy Asgard. His weapon was a short hammer called Mjolnir. Due to a manufacturing mistake, the hammer came out with a short handle. But it was one of the most feared weapons in Viking mythology. It was considered so powerful that with only one strike entire mountains would crumble to pieces.
There are great deals of Norse Sagas in which Thor uses his weapon to defeat his enemies. According to the legends, that was his primary weapon until the moment he died with it in his hand.
Other than that Thor’s hammer in Viking mythology is used for blessing birth, marriages, and consecration. According to some legends, Thor’s hammer is also a symbol of fertility. As a result, many couples wear it because they believe it can help them with their fertility issues.
Thor may be the most popular Norse god in modern times, but based on actual Norse mythology, he can’t be compared to Odin – the most powerful of all and his father. The Valknut is a representation of the power of Odin.
All sorts of mystical powers are attributed to the three interlocked triangles that form the Valknut. The symbol is often associated with Odin’s power to bind and unbind. With it, Odin could put men under spells so that they felt helpless during battles or the opposite of that. He could invigorate warriors so they would rush in battles feeling strong as bulls and fearless.
There are recorded sagas in which Odin is described using the magical powers of the Valknut. But, shockingly enough, the Valknut was just a fraction of Odin’s powers. He was the ultimate Norse god that ruled everything and anything.
VALKNUT AND MJOLNIR IN ANCIENT TIMES
Both symbols were extremely popular with Norse warriors during the Viking era. They’ve made them felt that they were closer to their gods, as well as that part of their powers was to be transcendent to them. The fact that the Vikings were one of the most feared warriors speaks volumes about the impact that these symbols had on them.
When Christianity started to took over the Norse countries, these symbols kept the old faith strong with the Norse people. Even when most Norse men accepted Christianity, they often wore these symbols under their shirts. Especially soldiers and warriors that often had to go in battles. They believed that the symbols would protect them in battle as same as in the past.
VALKNUT AND MJOLNIR TODAY
Nowadays, those symbols still go hand to hand as a reminder of what remains a glorious past. However, they have not seen as much as religious symbols anymore. That has had pretty much faded away as there is almost no one to worship the Old Norse gods. Some smaller groups still keep the flame alive, but still far from the old days.
Nowadays, it is more about what the two symbols represent. They symbolize strength, muscularity, and courage. Very often they are in the form of a necklace or a tattoo. Whether they take the form of small jewellery or a tattoo, they are very subtle, yet the message they send is clear and comprehensible. Many soldiers that serve in the armed forces, especially those that serve in Scandinavian armies, still wear them. Same as their famous ancestors they too are big men that believe in the protection that these symbols provide.
Generally speaking, strong and confident men are sometimes hesitant about wearing jewelry. But what better way to break stereotypes about Jewelry than wearing a piece representing the Valknut or the Mjolnir. Their symbolism has transcended not only time but continents as well.
Nowadays, they are so widely spread that strong men of all nations, color, and culture proudly wear them. They might not know the full story about these symbols, but they know what they represent. That alone is enough for most people.