Symbols were very much a part of Viking’s life, depicting the various aspects that held the most meaning. Strength is one attribute that one can confidently attribute to the Vikings, given their ability to wage war and conquer their enemies. They had gods on their side, calling to them for strength, particularly during battle.
Here, we’re going to look at the various symbols these Nordic people converted into amulets or curved on their weapons for strength.
Ægishjálmr, The Helm of Awe
The Ægishjálmr had two meanings, serving as the symbol for both strength and protection. Pronounced “EYE-gis-hiowlm-er,” or simply said in English, the Helm of Awe, the symbol looked very much like a compass with the eight cardinal points. While that would be the fastest way to draw it, that isn’t precisely how to view it. Instead, the sign has a circle with eight tridents stemming from the middle to protect it.
The Ægishjálmr contains two words that mean “shield” and “helm.” The symbol itself was primarily intended to paralyze the enemy with fear. Just as a snake gives an intense stare before striking, the Vikings would do the same, with the symbol drawn on their helmets between their brow. The belief was the drawing, placed on the location of the pineal gland, would help the Vikings access the spirit realm and harness the power of various gods. That would then give them the strength to strike fear into the enemies by merely using their eyes.
Mjölnir, Thor’s Hammer
Thor, the god of thunder and lightning, was one of the mightiest gods that ever lived. His strengths surpassed all his peers; with the hammer he wielded, making it clear he would be undefeated. The hammer Mjölnir, which means lightning, was the weapon Thor primarily used during battle. It possessed magic, given that wherever he threw the hammer, it would always get back to him. In war, the Vikings would place the symbol for Mjölnir on their bodies or weapons, using it to tap into the power Thor and the hammer he was revered for.
Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse
Odin’s horse Sleipnir, pronounced “SLAYP-nir,” was an incredibly strong and powerful horse. With eight legs, the latter four growing from the haunches and shoulders allowed Sleipnir to move with incredible speed and power that no other horse in the cosmos could rival. Be it running, jumping, kicking, or neighing, no one could beat him. The mythical horse would not let any obstacle get in his way; the elements included. With this level of strength, it was no wonder the Vikings would look to Sleipnir to symbolize strength.
Life is complicated, no matter how you look at it. Having something to signify strength gives you that extra push you need when you’d instead give up. There are many cultures with symbols for strength, but the Norse gives us incredibly unique signs that we can make relevant in our current times.
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