War is a terrible time for many, whether you’re on the losing or winning side. Carnage is inevitable, and no life remains untouched. While that is true for physical wars, we tend to experience the same when fighting things in our personal lives. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the importance of not giving up on whatever warfare we’re facing, and that’s why symbols are essential.
The Nordic people had many signs and symbols to depict various aspects of their lives, and for them, the symbol of war was Gungnir, Odin’s spear. Odin was the god of war, and thus, his weapon best served to be the symbol used to depict war. If you’re looking for a Nordic sign to signify what you’re going through or have gone through, then the Gungnir could be an ideal pick.
Origins of the Gungnir
Gungnir means “swaying” in Old Norse. The story goes that the spear was forged from sunlight and made explicitly for Odin. There is, however, another text that mentions Loki, god, and cunning trickster, was the reason Odin came to possess the spear. That happened after he cut Thor’s wife, Sif, beautiful golden hair, and to repay it, he was tasked with getting just as magnificent as a replacement. He went to the dwarfs, Invaldi’s dwarf sons, who made a gold headpiece for Sif.
What happened next varies based on the account you look at. While Loki was with the dwarfs, he did either one of two things. He saw the spear and asked the cleaver and talented smiths for it as a gift for Odin, or he simply commissioned them to make it so that it can be part of Odin’s treasure. With this latter view, it would then tie into the tale that Gungnir was then forged from sunlight with Odin in mind.
It was believed Gungnir contained magic since it had the power to fulfill whatever end the owner wanted it to. Nothing on the cosmos could stop the spear once it was set on its course, no matter how far or near. There were runes on the spear, which were perhaps the source of the magic. Even so, no text shows what they say. That did not stop Nordic warriors from curving runes on their spears as an inspiration from the god of war. The Vikings also adopted the habit of throwing spears over the heads of their enemies, something Odin did, to get assistance from Odin during battle.
The meaning of Gungnir has morphed, coming to mean courage, power, fearlessness, and also inspiration. For others still, it symbolizes both wisdom and skill, a reflection of competent dwarf smiths that forged the sword. Nowadays, one can adopt the Gungnir to represent waging war over an area of one’s life that needs conquering. For example, a cancer survivor interested in Nordic symbols can consider getting a tattoo of the Gungnir to signify their battle with cancer. The more personal the fight, the more meaning this spear will hold.
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