Valknut: Meaning & Symbolism
The valknut is composed of three intertwined triangles, these are three intertwined triangles symbolizing the roots of Yggdrasil (3X3 = 9) and thus the nine worlds of the Asatru religion. Because of its very close shape, This symbol is sometimes confused with the Triquetra, a shape that is also associated with Odin.
But not only, the Viking Valknut Symbol created by the God Odin gathers the past, Urd, the present, Verdandi and the future, Skuld (Urd, Verdandi and Skuld who are the three Norns, Goddesses of Destiny).
This Viking symbol is therefore linked to figures 9 and 3 of the Asatrúar religion and of German-Nordic paganism. This symbol shows us then that contrary to what the religious texts want us to believe most of the time, that the Gods are, like all beings of the nine worlds, inferior to the Goddesses of destiny the Norns, the God Odin does in truth what he wants from this law.
consists of two root words :
- VALR which means "killed warrior".
- KNUT which means "node".
It literally means : "The knot of the slain warriors".
What does Odin's symbol mean?
Most of the time, the God Odin is represented to the Valknut and, when he is not present, they are often animals considered as his companions in the tales of northern mythology, such as wolves and horses. Indeed, Odin is considered a soul smuggler, a powerful chaman capable of accompanying souls who incarnate or leave the Earth.
He was also the leader of great armies of the dead such as the army of the warriors of Valhalla and was the leader of the fantastic hunt. Often accompanied by Valkyries, Odin was reputed to use magic capable of "attaching and detaching everything from the spirit". We still find this notion of knot which would explain the shape of the valknut.
The link between the shape and the symbolism of Valknut
The shamans of the ancient Nordic religion practising Seidr, a pagan northern magic, believed that the course of events could be changed by unravelling and weaving the fibre of the course of things. Thus, it seems consistent that the symbol of the valknut represents a kind of knot.
Valknut tattoo meaning
It is believed that those who wore this symbol on their skin or clothing were prepared to die in the name of Odin or For The Honnor.
The knot of death is also associated with the giant Hrungnir of northern mythology, a mythical figure murdered by Thor (son of Odin) with his hammer called Mjolnir.
Odin, among others, is the God who receives the warriors killed in action in Valhalla. We are therefore in the presence of a symbol that accompanies the deceased's journey through different worlds to Valhalla, a sign embodying the post-mortem world of warriors. In this context, warriors are solar heroes who have managed to escape the law of cycles and become immortal. It's a symbol to recognize valiant warriors fallen in battle. This symbol, attributed after death, would then serve as a "pass" and allow the Valkyries to recognize the fallen fighters so that their clan could continue to prosper.
We don't really know what the exact Valknut signification in the time of the Vikings. However, from the numerous representations that have been found, one theme stands out strongly: death.
Valknut evokes death, in the sense of the liberation of the soul. This solar hero theme is typical of pagan Indo-European traditions.
In Germanic languages, the name is "the knot of the fallen". It refers to fallen warriors. In this symbolism, he has a profound bond with God Odin.
Where the Valknut is drawn?
For the reasons we have just evoked, and in view of the symbolism of the valknut, we find this drawing on burials and funerary stones. For example, it was found on the island of Gotland, Sweden, on the stones of Stora Hammars. They have also been found in Norway, at the Oseberg burial mound where a Viking drakkar was discovered.
The Meaning of the three interlocked triangles..
Throughout the millennia and in cultures around the world, the number 3 representing the sacred trinity :
- The three planes of existence - Heaven, Earth and Hell
- The Three Stages of the Universe - Creation, Preservation and Destruction
- The three basic elements - air, water and fire
- The three periods of time - past, present and future
- The three stages of life - infancy, adulthood and old age
- The Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- Body, soul and spirit
We also find the number 3 in Scandinavian Mythology through various stories and legends.
The Valknut could also be the Heart of Hrungnir
Snorri Sturluson describes in his work "Prose Edda" the following text:
"Hrungnir had a hard and pointed stone heart with three corners, just like the carved symbol which has been called the heart of Hrungnir since that time".
This could lead us to think that norse Valknut would, in fact, be the Heart of Hrungnir. However, for lack of archaeological data, nothing is more certain.
Let us look at the symbolism of the numbers 3 and 9, to finally better understand the symbolism of Valknut.
The number 3 symbolizes the three levels of the sacred:
- The body
It symbolizes fate through the three Norns: Goddesses of Destiny.
This number 3 multiplied by itself gives 9, a sacred number that represents the cosmogonic totality, the whole harmonious and divine.
Valknut and the 9 Worlds
These nine worlds outside Midgard, the land of men, teach us a series of interesting complementarities:
❄️ Nifelheim / Muspelheim:
Ice and Fire,🔥
🌐 Asgard/ Helheim:
Sky and Infra-World, 🌈
🌀 Vanaheim/ Jötunheim:
Creation and Destruction, 🗿
Light and Darkness.🌑
The number 9 linked to Valknut is sacred to Ásatrú because it is often found:
- 9 are the nights during which the god Odin is suspended from the cosmic tree Yggdrasil to acquire knowledge and wisdom.
- 9 are the mothers of God Heimdal, the guardian of the Bifrost Rainbow Bridge, the link between Asgard and Midgard.
- Nine are the nights that the god Frey must wait to unite with the goddess Gerd, Mother Earth.
- Nine are the days that Skadi and Njörd spend alternately in Nóatún. Every ninth night was born from the ring Draupnir a new ring.
- Nine are the girls that surround Menglöd, the virgin who is compared to the goddess Freyja.
- Nine are the steps that God Thor will realize after his final fight against the Serpent Jörmungand.
- Nine are the nine-day sacrifices and offerings that are made at the temple of Uppsala in Sweden.
Real Source of The Valknut Symbols
According to some sources, there appear to be two separate representations for Valknut.
- One consists of three distinct triangles that are nested within each other;
- another or they are three triangles forming only one, (as on the belt of the god Odin, in the photo on the bottom left).
The Valknut drawn in one piece is the older of the two representations, while the three interlaced triangles arrived later, probably because it was born from a bad copy of the original, or a symbol of late evolution.
In any case, Valknut has a deep symbolism in the asatru symbol of the fallen and thus becomes heroes, it takes a great place in a religion where the cult of ancestors is very important.
The blood bond between ancestors and descendants must not be lost, the loss of this bond is sacrilege, a terrible profanation, or even a real abomination in the great moral Ásatrúar.
Fortunately, this is no longer just an old way of thinking and this ideology is now perceived as bad because the blood mixture is scientifically proven beneficial for man.
Did you know that? Valknut Symbol was used for bad intention
Valknut - three interlocking triangles - is one of the many Viking symbols that have been hijacked by white supremacist and racist groups. It is a symbol that has been seen in Charlottesville, a Virginia town known for bringing together right-wing extremists through the "Unite the Right" demonstration. Known as the "Knot of the Dead", the Valknut represents, in northern mythology, life after death.
However, as we have seen, even if this rune has been misappropriated, its meaning is strong in symbolism and much deeper.