Symbols were one of the first forms of communication known to man. They have been preserved and used over millions of years to tell stories that remind about people, legends, myths and historic events that, in one way or another, shaped the modern world. They are also known and revered as powerful gateways into unknown worlds or unimaginable capabilities. The Viking Triple Horn is one such symbol.
What is the Triple Horn of Odin?
Also referred to as Horn Triskelion or triple-horned triskele is a symbol that features three interlocking drinking horns. They allude to the three times Odin drank the Mead of Poetry. The three horns were named Óðrœrir, Boðn, and Són. The story is told of god Odin who bargained to spend three nights with the giantess Gunnlöð who guarded the Mead. The plan was for Odin to drink from the Mead once a day for the three days to gain knowledge of the power of words. Instead of sips, he drank a full horn of Mead every day and by the end of the third day, he had all the mead and he fled the location in the form of an eagle.
Triskelion is also one of the oldest symbols of spirituality dating back to the Neolithic era. It could be worn as a sign of commitment to the Asatru faith.
Also connected to the divine number 3, Odin’s horns is an image of three interlocking horns to show poetic inspiration and wisdom. In the desire for knowledge, Odin upon stealing the mead of poetry showed it to the gods and shared it with humanity. That way anyone who drank of it would transform into a scholar and would have tons of wisdom. The three horns also symbolize the number of times Odin drank the Mead of Poetry.
This symbol could also be used to symbolize the sacrifice necessary to be made for wisdom. Like Odin who gave his time, wits, energy and eventually part life for the sake of finding knowledge and understanding.
Viking Triple Horn meaning
Three is a digit of great significance from days of old till today. This emblem has been used by churches to represent the holy trinity. In ancient times, it represented the bond between earth, man and sky, the elements of god the father, son and holy spirit and the three stages of life death and rebirth.
The significance of this important mead dates back to a time before Odin when an all-wise man named Kvasir roamed the lands. It is said that no question could challenge this man and for this reason, Kvasir was killed by two dwarves who then made a mixture of his blood and honey and storing the contents into three historic drinking horns. The revered Mead of Poetry symbolized poetic inspiration and wisdom making whoever drank of it became an instant scholar of beautiful poetic words. It was Odin’s new mandate to distribute the mead as he saw fit. That’s why this symbol is about Odin for the great part he played in the poetic and literally world. It is commonly seen tattooed or branded on historians, musicians, poets and any other individual with an appreciation for Viking culture.
Vikings used runes or alphabets in communication and portrayal of gods, events or legends. These runes have had a transformation of their own as language continued to evolve and become more complex.
The former runes were the Elder Futhark consisting of 24 characters or runes. These inscriptions can be found on jewelry, tools, weapons, plate ware, and runestones.
The more recent runes of the 9th century consist of 16 characters and are called the Younger Futhark or the Scandinavian runes. They remained in use through the Early and the Middle Ages and effectively so much so that people forgot how to read the Elder Futhark. This was however resolved by a Norwegian scholar who successfully manage to decipher the writings.
Runes were considered to possess great power per whatever magic they carried. The triskelion horn symbol was believed to channel Odin’s energy that would give one knowledge, cleverness and a quick-witted tongue that was associated with the mead.
Depictions of the triskelion
Over the years, many cultures who have come across the ancient triskele symbol or emblem have adopted it to represent something significant that relates to them culturally or spiritually.
Ancient Artifacts bearing the Triskele symbol
A stone 1.25 meters in height stands in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. This stone was originally located in Snoldelev. Excitement about this stone was around the fact that it bore the ancient triskele design of three interlocking horns forming the shape of an incomplete ring. Triskele also appears on the Labro stone in Gotland, Sweden depicting the Odin’s shield of Horns because of its relationship with the Mead of Poetry.
Modern Artifacts bearing the Triskele symbol
This symbol has been widely used in the representation of some countries’ flags. For example, the Sicilian and the Isle of Man’s flags. This symbol also appears in the United States Department of Transportation and the Irish Air Corps.
Even more so today, people from all walks of life have been spotted with the triskelion symbol on their body as a tattoo. If shopping in the ancient stores or visiting ancient towns, it is very easy to come across this emblem etched on pots, pans, walls, doors, rocks. Scholars will encounter the symbol in old books and ancient poetry as well. Odin’s brave act of retrieving the mead and his consequent noble act of sharing it with humanity granted him praises that were incessantly created by these skalds in his honor.
As is evident, Viking Triple Horn is a timeless symbol whose significance has transformed from one age to the next. Luckily for us all, it has prevailed to help us dive deeper into the world of this long-gone tribe. We can only hope and actively work towards preserving this history for it to remain relevant and accurate long after we are gone.
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