Nordic symbols of protection

Plan all we might, there is a significant part of our days that harbor uncertainty. For some, that brings a heightened level of fear and anxiety. Not being sure if something terrible will happen to us can profoundly affect the kind of day we’re having. That’s why it helps to have something that keeps ups grounded and anchored. That means having something, or someone, that returns us to space where we can begin to feel secure.

The Norse, very much like us, understood that symbols were vital in harnessing things they desired. Whether in battle or deflecting evil, they needed something to help them feel safe and change how they moved in the world. You’re likely here because you appreciate Nordic symbols and runes and do need protection from one thing or another. Read on to find out what you can adopt to restore a sense of security.

What is the Viking symbol for protection?

The symbol for protection the Vikings used was called the Ægishjálmr. It is a rune stave well known in Viking tradition to signify both protection and victory. It consists of eight branches similar to the compass, only that they look like tridents. There is a circle where the branches intersect, showing the place that needs protection. When you look at it, it appears that the tridents stem from this circle, protecting it from outside forces.

The name Ægishjálmr is rather complicated, even in pronunciation, which is “EYE-gis-hiowlm-er.” The English version of the world is “Helm of Awe,” which is easier to remember. Etymologists conclude that the name has two words that together mean “shield” and “helm.” From the narratives available, it was thought that Vikings drew the Ægishjálmr on their foreheads before the battle. Apart from providing protection, the sign was to intimidate their enemies and give them an upper hand in battle. Norse writings indicate that Viking helmets and armor bore the symbol.

The Vikings weren’t the only ones using the Ægishjálmr. There are instances where dragons did the same. The prevailing belief was the Norse symbol cast an invisible spell, forming a sphere of security for the user. In turn, it would evoke both fear and defeat on the enemy. The Ægishjálmr was intended to have the same effect a snake has when it’s about to strike- most people freeze in fear.

The poems found in Poetic Edda say that Fafnir, the man turned dragon, attributed his powers and subsequent thoughts of invincibility to the Helm of Awe. He was indeed a fierce dragon but was eventually outwitted and killed. Some runologists say the Helm of Awe was initially used as part of a spell to paralyze the enemy with fear. The practice requires putting the symbol between their brows where the pineal gland sits. It was thought that it was through this gland that people can connect to the spirit realm. From there, a person could use the eyes to beam out rays of spiritual power.

What is the rune symbol for protection?

You might note that the entire Ægishjálmr symbol is a combination of runes. The first one is Z rune, which is called the Algiz. The meaning behind it is protection and also the act of prevailing over enemies. The other is a spike, known as the Isa runes. The implication is uncertain given its application in various contexts, but here, it refers to hardening and intense concentration. This last rune is where the concept of scaring your enemy with a fierce scare like a snake comes from.

Another rune recognized as a symbol of protection is The Troll Cross or trollkors. The shape is similar to Othala or Odal rune with Proto-Germanic origin, which represents the o sound. Generally, the symbol forms an overlapping circle with two curled tails. In some cases, there is a Nordic rune for protection in the center. The rune consists of two Ws drawn vertically to mirror each other, with a line dividing the two. In jewelry and similar contexts, you’ll find runes all around the surface of The Troll Cross though it’s unclear what they all mean.

The trollkors rune is speculated to be common in Swedish folklore derived from Norse mythology, whereby it was used to protect people from dark magic and evil trolls. Vikings would wear the amulet with the belief it would significantly reduce their chances of getting into danger. While that is the held belief, there aren’t reliable archeological records to ascertain the symbol’s meaning. It first came into public consciousness in the 1990s, when Kari Erldands, a Swedish smith, made jewelry bearing the simple, apparently inspired after finding the symbol in her grandparents’ house.

Going back to the resemblance of the symbol to the Othala or Odal rune, it would not be farfetched for Kari to conclude the rune signified protection. The symbol itself stands for either estate, inheritance, or heritage. Kari mentioned finding this symbol in the barn. As we’d said, the sign was thought to protect oneself, others, and property from trolls or elves. Thus, the grandparents likely put it there to protect their cows.

Cation about using the Odal rune

If you’re to adopt this rune, ensure that you stick to the original circular shape. Just as with the swastika, the Nazis used the Odal rune in various emblems. The symbol did not die with their regime; Neo-Nazi use the same thing to show their allegiance. However, the shape of the rune was square-like and not round. You’d want to keep that difference in mind to avoid being offensive to others.

Adopting Norse symbols and runes for protection

In popular culture, you’ll find people tattooing the runes on their skin. Others still will wear pendants that bear the shape. Protection can take many forms and so you’ll find people using the symbol for personal reasons. For one, it could be protection while living in a rough neighborhood. For another, it would be seeking shelter from the evil eye or other people’s bad energy. You can, therefore take this symbol to represent something unique to you.



Viking Jewelry