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Ulfhednar were similar to berserkers except that they fought in packs around the battlefield and wore wolfskins while fighting.
They were protectors of people and would eventually end up in Valhalla. Fenrir is the son of Loki and a giantess. He was a large wolf who would not stop growing and who was uncontrollable, even by the gods.
Dwarfs fashioned a chain to keep Fenrir under control. According to myth Fenrir is still chained and plots his revenge for being contained.
At the dawn of Ragnarok Fenrir will break free and eat the moon and the sun. He will also kill Odin. Fenrir is a symbol of destructive forces.
He is something that cannot be contained and will wreak havoc upon the earth. The Vikings were one of the first Norsemen to travel and conquer parts of Europe.
They were able to do this with their longships. Longships were made to be rowed or used with a sail. They stood up to the ocean and were important in wars.
They could sail in both small streams and oceans and could be used to outpace their enemies. The curled front of the ship made many Europeans call them dragon ships.
These were not large ships but were more like boats. Still, the Vikings used them to conquer Europe and sail to North America.
Symbol Dictionary - Web Of Wyrd. Justin Pollard - The World of Vikings. Biblical Mysteries Jul 13, Featured Stories May 6, Featured Stories Nov 7, Featured Stories Mar 23, Archaeology Jun 3, Featured Stories Apr 4, Ancient Places Jul 12, Ancient History Facts Mar 10, They were intimately acquainted with the dangers of battle.
Whether as warriors or as settlers, they lived in the wind, rain, heat, and cold. They depended on the bounty of the land to feed their children.
Through everything, they felt the hand of fate governing all things. Divine symbols on amulets, boundary stones, stitched onto clothing, painted on shields, carved into their longships, or as items around their hearths could offer the Viking that small edge he or she needed to face the uncertainties and dangers of life.
The difference between symbols and motifs is simply a question of formality. A symbol is an established, recognized visual image that is almost always rendered in a specific way.
Because of this, symbols tend to be very simple so that almost anyone can draw them. Things like Mjölnir, the Valknut, or the Helm of Awe are symbols.
Motifs are much less formal and can vary greatly from one artist to another. Because of this flexibility, new interpretations of ancient Viking motifs are still being made today.
Following is a brief introduction to some common Norse symbols and motifs. The list is not all-inclusive, nor is it meant to be exhaustive but rather just a basic starting point.
Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Runes denoted phonetic sounds like letters but also had individual meanings like the glyphs of other ancient languages.
Runic alphabets are called futharks. The oldest known futhark arose sometime between the second and fourth century, which is not surprising considering that was the time when war and trade between Germanic and Mediterranean peoples were accelerating.
The Vikings had an oral culture and did not use runes to write just anything. Runes had power. They were seldom if ever penned onto parchment, as the enemies of the Vikings did in France, Ireland, and England; they were carved into wood, stone, metal, or bone hence their angular appearance.
Most of our surviving examples of runes are inscriptions on rune stones commemorating the lives of great rulers. Runes also had expressly magical purposes and were engraved on amulets, talismans, beads, and shields to ensure protection and victory.
Rune casting was another magical use of runes in the Viking Age. The skilled practitioner then deciphers the message rendered, not only of the runes but also their orientation to each other similar to Tarot, in which the same card can have very different meanings depending on context.
Runes are associated with the god Odin, who first discovered them at great pain and effort from the Well of Destiny, at the foot of Ygdrassil. For the Vikings, this discovery of runes meant that they were not invented tools of humankind but part of the larger, deeper truth.
The early runes became known as the Elder Futhark and were used by a wide range of Germanic and Norse tribes. Just before the Viking Age began, the Elder Futhark began to gradually give way to the more streamlined Younger Futhark.
The Younger Futhark has fewer runes only 16 to reflect changes in the Scandinavian language and dialects at that time. Again, the transition was gradual, and runes from the Elder Futhark that were no longer useful as letters remained in use as glyphs for quite some time.
And just as we can still interpret the Elder version today years later , Vikings skilled in rune lore were most likely capable of reading both.
Most of today's modern Viking jewelry relating to Runes reflects the Elder version as it offers more letters for easier translation to the English language.
The Vikings believed that people who lived ordinary lives went on to a shadowy existence after death, but those who died gloriously in battle lived on in Valhalla.
The Valkyries would carry the souls of these heroes from the battlefield. In Valhalla, they would live the Viking version of the good life: fighting great battles against each other every day but — in their immortal state — spending each night in revelry and feasting.
This paradise comes with a price, though. They will fight this doomed battle against the giants and fearsome creatures of darkness for the sake of our world and the world of the gods.
The Valknut is most-commonly believed to be the symbol of these slain warriors. The exact meaning of the three interlocking triangle shapes is unknown.
Clues arise from Celtic and Neolithic art from Northwestern Europe in which interlinking triple shapes are common indicators of magical power and magical essence.
Experts hypothesize that the Valknut may depict the cyclical path between life and death that these warriors experience. Others believe that the nine points represent the nine worlds of Norse mythology.
Hrungnir was a fearsome giant — the only giant that was ever able to wound Thor — so in some ways Hrungnir may also symbolize death.
While the details are lost to time, the Valknut symbol now calls to mind courage, bravery, and destiny throughout this life and the next.
The Helm of Awe is mentioned in several of the Eddic poems as being used by both warriors and even dragons! The symbol itself survives from later Icelandic grimoire books of magic , penned well after the Viking Age but from an unbroken intellectual lineage to sea traveling Vikings of earlier times.
I never faced so many men that I did not feel myself much stronger than they were, and everyone feared me.
According to Nordic mythology, mead is a symbol of wisdom and poetic inspiration. Just like Awen in Celtic symbolism.
Anyone who drinks it will become a wise poet. A stone from the 9th century found in Denmark. Jörgmungandr is a snake-shaped monster from Nordic mythology.
He is said to be the son of the giant Angrboda and the god Loki. It seems that in the prosaic Edda, also known as Edda Minor or Edda of Snorri, the god Odin threw him into the ocean to avoid the catastrophes that such a monster could cause.
Under the ocean the snake continued to grow until it surrounded the whole Earth and bit its own tail. Mythology says that Jörmungandr will remain there until the day of Ragnarök.
Then he will face the god Thor, his main enemy. Jörmngandr is also known as the Midgard serpent or snake of the world.
Yggdrasil is the giant tree that allows the correct union between the nine worlds of Norse mythology to work. Several creatures from Nordic mythology inhabited this magical tree; such as dragon Nidhug, the squirrel Ratatosk, or an eagle.
Because the Viking symbols could not be without their beloved trees. Yggdrasil has three main roots. One of them brings the world of the gods to Asgard.
Another root passes through the land of the giants, Jotunheim, while the third reaches the Niflheim. The Troll Cross is one of the favorite symbols for historians.
It also appears in different fantasy games or series. It is attributed with a power that is very typical of the magic cards.
Troll Cross symbol was used as protection against evil creatures, such as trolls and elves. It was an amulet in the shape of one of the letters of the rune alphabet: the odal.
If you look at its form just without having any knowledge about its symbolism, it will be enough to wake fear and awe.
Its eight arms or rays that are similar to the spiked tridents emit from the center point of this Norse symbol as if protecting and defending this central point from the foe forces that troop round it.
Those arms were constructed from two intersecting runes: Algiz runes and Isa runes. The first one was used a symbol of protection and victory, while the last one was considered a symbol of hardening, that helped to overcome hardening of the soul and mind.
However, Stephen Flowers runologist says that the original meaning of the Helm was not a magical item wearing to provide enormous power.
This Helm of awe was initially been a kind of sphere of magical power to strike fear into the enemy.
It is symbolized by a crosslike configuration, which in its purest form is made up of what appear to be either four younger M-runes or older Z-runes.
These figures can, however, become very complex. It is an ancient Norse symbol that is also known as the Triskelion. There is no exact meaning of this symbol, although it can point on the stealing of the Mead of Poetry by Odin.
This symbol appears on the Newgrange kerbstones in BC. Horns of Odin plays an important role not only in ancient times but also in the modern Celtic art, as they symbolize three realms of material existence: water, earth, and sky.
Moreover, this symbol signifies the three words: physical, spiritual, and celestial. The other Trinity connections that are associated with this symbol are past-present-future, earth-water-sky, life-death-rebirth, and creation-protection-destruction.
According to the fact that this symbol is associated with the Mead of Poetry, there are a lot of modern accessories with this symbol image, that is specially designed to bring inspiration to everyone who wears them.
The most well known and appreciated Viking weapon was an axe. It was a famous Viking symbol as well as armor symbolizing power, bravery, strength and audacity.
Home Viking Symbols and their Meaning. Brief Overview of Viking Symbols Each symbol had a different meaning.
What is the Difference between Motifs and Symbols? Runes In the previous article, you have already read in the Nose age there were many different runes, and each of them had their special meaning.
Rune Masters For Vikings runes were not only symbols. Yggdrasil The symbol of Yggdrasil appears in the mythology of many ancient cultures as a symbol of the connection of all the things in the world.
Aegishjalmur Aegishjalmur is rune stave that is well known to be a Viking symbol of victory and protection. I bear the Helm of awe between my brows!
The Horn Triskelion This symbol is another Viking symbol that took a prominent part during the Viking era. The Swastika The Swastika is one of the Viking symbols that completely lost its true meaning.
Huginn and Muninn Huginn and Muninn are the twin ravens of Odin. Gungnir Gungnir is the magical spear of Odin.
Viking Axe The most well known and appreciated Viking weapon was an axe. Viking Axe came in different sizes, from the hand axes to the large long-hafted battle-axes.
One of the most characteristic features of the Viking Axes is the fact that they were single-bitted — it was specially made to make them faster and more maneuverable to use during battles.
The lower part of the axe head was hook-shaped. The axe di don required as much time, efforts and skills to be produced as a sword required.
This was a handy tool for Vikings. Therefore every one of them had axe since childhood. It was not only a highly useful tool in battles but on farms and homesteads.
Usually, axes were the choice of the poorest man during the Viking Age. Even the lowliest and the poorest farm had to have a wood axe to split and cut the wood.
Longship At the Viking age, the heart of Vikings was Longship. It has a far deeper meaning, for example, a man or a woman who was always ready to deep and face into something unknown.
The longship was the main thing with the help of which they could achieve it. They were very flexible and manoeuvrable even in the storming oceans.
Vikings were brave warriors. They were always ready to cross the places where there they had never been before.
They could cross cold oceans to cross the lands where they had never been before and outpace their enemies who could contradict them. In Nordic mythology, there existed two main ships.
One of them is Nalgfar. In the German-Scandinavian mythology, it was a ship made entirely from the nails of the dead. It was the ship of the goddess, Hel.
In Norse mythology, Odin the Allfather often appeared to be holding a beautiful spear in his hand. Other famous wolves that came from Norse mythology were Hati and Skoll.
This pair of wolves was the children of Loki.