What does the Valknut Symbol represent?

Image Credit: 
Main Image: 

The Valknut means slain warriors and is depicted with  a symbol that comprises of three entwined triangles. This symbol is used on many Germanic objects. The term Valknut symbol has evolved in the modern times although the origin of it dates back to ancient times. Many archeologists relate the Valknut symbol to the symbol found on the snoldelev stone of 9th century. Many images of this symbol also reveal it as the representation of afterlife and Odin. Although no one has fathomed the perfect meaning of Valknut, it is believed to have connection with nine worlds that are depicted in the Vikings world. Some theories also have stated connection of this symbol with reincarnation, as a talisman against evil and cyclical relationship.

What are the types of Valknut symbol?

The historical evidence shows two major Valknut symbol formations:

  • Borromean symbol: This type of Valknut symbol can be seen in many ancient stone artwork, old norse weapons and documents. In this symbol the three triangles are separate but are still connected suggesting boding between the three.
  • Unicursal symbol: This too can be seen in historic artworks and documents and the three triangles are interlocked in such a style that they resemble the infinity symbol.


What are the historical references related to Valknut symbol?

The unicursal Valknut symbol can be traced back to 7th century on the Tangelgarda stone that was found in Gotland, Sweden. At the same place the Borrmean symbol too is found on the Larbro stone and also on ring that was found in River Nene, England. Such symbols have also been traced on bedpost inside the 834 oseberg ship burial, Slagen, Norway. But the only traditionally as well as historically attested Valknut symbols are Borromean tricursal and triquetra unicursal.


What are the various theories associated with Valknut symbol?

Various theories related with Valknut symbol have evolved over the times all drawing references from the historical artforms, weapons and documents. Some of them are:

Hrungnir’s theory: The Hrungnir’s heart theory too works on the same basis. The 17th chapter of a 13th century book prose Edda- skaldskaparmal has the description of heart of Jotunn Hrungnir as a heart made of stone having 3 sharp and pointed corners resembling the carved symbol hrungnishjarta. Historians feel that this is the reference to the Valknut symbol. This theory is termed s Hrungnir’s theory.

Odin and mental binds theory: This theory was put forth by Hilda Ellis Davidson and assumes a relation between mental binds and Valknut. It takes into consideration the knot depicted on the different memorial stones laid beside the Odin figure on his horse. This knot is termed as Valknut here and the relation is drawn to triskele. Hence it is postulated that it demonstrates the power of God to bind and unbind. Odin was supposed to hold certain powers that influenced the mind and hence he could make the men helpless in the battlefield and also make them forget about the fear and strain by his gifts of intoxication, inspiration and battle madness. According to Davidson,  some cremation urns found in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries of East Anglia display Valknut symbols beside the wolf and raven figures. And since Odin has been connected with crematin this theory is called Odin and mental binds theory.

Other theories: According to Rudolf Simek, since the name Valknut resembles Norwegian name Valknuter and has been found on the stones related with Odin and also on burial gifts traced in oseberg ship burial, it has been assumed that this symbol was associated with religious death practices. Topologically, Valknut is parallel to both Borromean rings and the trefoil knot which is a closed chain with 3 links.


How is Valknut symbol used in modern times?

Even today Valknut symbol plays a vital role in the faiths of modern Germanic Neopagan and they have innumerable explanations and interpretations on this symbol. The famous Swedish company svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget involved in the manufacturing of pulp and paper has a logo symbol resembling triquetra Valknut. This symbol was also used by many neo-Nazi groups and is even being used today. Amon Amarth used the Valknut symbol on the cover of his album ‘ With oden on our side’ released in 2006. An atmospheric black metal band termed as Walknut was created by Stringsskald or Syyagir in 2006. The symbol is being used as a logo by Germany’s soccer team since 1991 and was first represented in DFB (Deutsche Fubball Bund).


External References
Related Videos: 
See video
Related Images: