Viking Symbols and Meanings

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When you think about Vikings, you might envision fierce warriors sailing across the seas, but there’s more to their culture than meets the eye. One fascinating aspect of Viking heritage is their rich symbolism. In this blog post, we will explore the meanings behind some of the most well-known Viking symbols.

The Helm of Awe (Ægishjálmur)

The Helm of Awe, also known as Ægishjálmur in Old Norse, is one of the most powerful Viking symbols. It is believed to provide courage and protection to its wearer. The symbol consists of eight spikes radiating from a central point, creating an intricate web-like design. Vikings often painted this symbol on their foreheads before battles, as they believed it would instill fear in their enemies and grant them invincibility.

The Valknut

The Valknut, also known as the “Knot of the Slain,” is a symbol associated with Odin, the chief god of Norse mythology. This symbol is comprised of three interlocking triangles, and its exact meaning is still a subject of debate. Some interpret it as a representation of the afterlife, while others see it as a symbol of Odin’s power over life and death. The Valknut often appears on Viking memorial stones and is believed to guide fallen warriors to the afterlife.

Mjölnir (Thor’s Hammer)

Mjölnir, commonly known as Thor’s Hammer, is one of the most recognizable Viking symbols. It represents strength, protection, and the power of Thor, the Norse god of thunder. The hammer’s shape features a short handle and a larger, block-like head with a distinct split. Vikings believed that wearing or carrying a Mjölnir pendant would grant them Thor’s protection and invoke his power during times of need.

Vegvísir (The Viking Compass)

Vegvísir, also known as the Viking Compass, is a symbol associated with guidance and protection. It consists of eight arms radiating from a central circle, creating a compass-like shape. Vikings believed that carrying or wearing this symbol would help them find their way during stormy seas and lead them safely home. Today, Vegvísir is often used as a navigation symbol and a reminder of finding one’s path in life.

The Ouroboros

The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol found in various cultures, including Viking mythology. It depicts a snake or dragon devouring its own tail, creating a circular shape. The Ouroboros symbolizes eternity, cycles, and the interconnectedness of all things. In Viking culture, it represented the everlasting cycle of life and death, as well as the continuous renewal of the cosmos.


Viking symbols are not just mere drawings but carry deep meanings and significance. They were a way for the Vikings to connect with their beliefs, find strength, and protect themselves. From the Helm of Awe to Thor’s Hammer, each symbol has its unique purpose and story. By understanding these symbols, we gain valuable insights into the Viking culture and their worldview.

Next time you encounter a Viking symbol, remember its deeper meaning and the fascinating history it represents.

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Viking Symbols and Meanings