Realize that by reading something to get what you want out of it is not the truest angle to proceed. Yes you must read between the lines, forming your own ideas and conclusions, but sometimes that is a form of analyzing to the extreme which leads you to make blatant assumptions that are not actually there. Simply stated for those of you already forming your own conjections; I mean realistically, don't take things out of context. Symbols are nothing more than concrete concepts of what cannot themselves be pictured, for an assortment of reasonings, which then happen to be based upon various idealogical representations either through abstract, intangible, or theoretical means to thus convey the overwhelming sense of feeling behind the object in question. What I am actually attempting to imply here is that each cultural grouping throughout the world has of its own accord developed formalized symbolisms to express specific thought patterning. We of the Northern Traditions are no different, therefore I present a few of our very own ideologies here.
…The Hammer of Thorr:Actively used by those who are Tru to the Northern Traditions, this sacred symbol, known as Mjöllnir, is considered to be a phallic symbol of fertility. It is known to be laid in the lap of a bride-to-be for the consecration and blessing of the union. Embodying the facets of creation and destruction alike, it is brought openly forth to hallow both the newly-born and the newly-dead for the life to come. It is oft used to hallow a stead, and thus sanctify a place, as this then sets the intended area apart from other common worldly time constraints. Displayed whilst it is resting upon the head, or striking portion, with it's handle upright, the Hammer oft contains a solid, un-broken ring that has been passed through the topmost part, and it is through this sacred symbol whereby oaths are solidly made. It is worn proudly round the neck as a sign of one's Troth, embodying just as much, if not more, spiritual meaning as other, well known amulets of the many diverse faiths of today.
…The Valknut:Symbolizing a sense of goodness and spiritual enlightenment. A slaying of the earthbound ego and the personal ascension for higher spiritual attainment. for the "Slain" have esoterically transcended their own personal Ego. Oft representative of the eye of Odin, and known as the Knot of the Slain, the valknut is more specifically said to symbolize the Valkyr, known to be Alfađer's daughters, who are Choosers of the Slain. Yet, is it not also a symbol of Freyja's, the matriarcal Mother of Valkyries, for she receives first choice of all who are slain. The valknut also symbolizes, to me, an awakening. Ida can remember drawing "intertwined triangles" in grade school and telling the teacher that it meant it was time to celebrate. The one pictured here is a continuous course as opposed to three separate forms. This can be seen as signifying the continual life threads born of Holde and woven for us by Urd, Verhandi and Skuld. A melding from one to the other. Unbroken, unending.
…The Trefot:Also known as the triskele or three-armed wheel, it is depicted as ever-turning and composed of three Laguz runes which are radiating outward from a central point. Creating magickal inspiration though the nature of its energies, this symbol can be seen as representing the universal three-fold context in the All, which are; Space, Matter, Energy… Earth, Sea, Air… Physical, Mental, Spiritual… or Life, Death, Re-Birth… and then there's the Male, Female, Bipolar aspects as well… It is symbolized as having a beginning, middle and an end. With its tense, tightly-coiled, and constantly-moving aspects, this motif epitomises the dynamic patterns of organized activities and contains ancient historical artistic associations down through the countless ages of time.
…The Swastika:Considered by some to be composed of two Sowilo staves to thus form a bind, this sacred ornament of the North with arms pointing deosil, or clockwise, represents a feminine symbol of solar aspects and those of the day. Yet it is when the arms of this emblem are seen to be pointing widdershins, counter-clockwise, that this generally indicates a masculine symbol of lunar aspects and those of the night. Retaining all the energies of dynamic might and individualized will, and those of luck and magickal power under will, it is oft called the Sun Wheel and/or the Hammer. As this Sacred Symbol is used to energize the potency of, as well as amplify the energies of other runes rather considerably, it is used quite regularly in healing works, as this stave will greatly empower the regenerative processes.
…The Horse/Mare:This, the holiest of beasts, is an image oft associated with the Goddess and there are few animals more loved by all the masses than that of the horse. Admired for its swift and sleek form as well as the loyalty to its own kind, which can, over time, expand to include its rider, the horse is often associated with the Vanir and particularly with Odhinn. It is this glorious concept of special bonding betwixt horse and rider becoming as one that has long been considered integral to human progress and cultural advancement down through the ages. In days of yore, a sacrifcial mare was known to have been offered out to the masses for the ritual purpose of imbibing Vanic energies. Eating horseflesh was considered the specific sign of a Heathen, which is why it was made illegal after the conversion and why such a strong prejudice against it still lingers in English-speaking lands. The Kristjan's would often accuse Völur, or Nordic witches, of shape shifting into mares and then bringing to the populace frightful dreams and visions, or "nite-mares". Considered to be connected to the elements of Earth, Water, and Fire, Horse magic uses speed and endurance, oneness of thought, and increased perception to bring about the dynamics sought by the Vitki. As a beast of prophetic powers, fruitfulness and of death, horse heads were buried as protections, and carved as ornamentation on houses for the same purpose, its head was used on nithing, or cursing, poles.
…The Eye of Od:Symbolic of the Sun, and represented by an unbroken circle with a dot at its center, this image frequently signifies the creative spark of divine consciousness, eternal immortality, pure incorruptable energy, and untarnishable traits which are sought after by all of humanity in one form or another. Od is a divine being who is only briefly mentioned in the Sagas and Eddas. We know of him as Lady Freyja's husband, he who set out upon an unknown journey never to return. It is her woeful tears of sorrow, which she sheds for her great loss, that are formed into amber. Quite often meaning something closely associated with the sun, such as hydrogen, this symbol is also known to represent men in general, as well as people in positions of authority. It is also related to the image of the father, yearly cycles of growth, and the mineral of gold to name just a few. For further enlightenment as to what extent gold plays in the lives of men, the Northern Saga of the Volsungs is highly recommended. This symbol also signifies the conception of Orlog within Ginunngagap, with the circle being defined as the realistic and infinite unmanifest potentiality which ever gives rise to the dynamic conception of actuality that is represented by the central dot, which then formulates distinctive Wyrd. (One can begin to understand the limitless possibilities this can bring about if it is visualized as a fertile egg and healthy sperm. Each of which provides defined specifics, yet together they formulate a new creation with its own singular series of particulars, tenuously relative to the cause of said creation.)
… The Helm of Awe:Also known as the Ćgishjálmar, and the Helm of Terror, this is one of the most potent sigils of the North, for no matter the correct title, it signifies the Force of Irresistibility. Although it has primarily been thought of to care for, or to boost and to cure one against all forms of dis-ease, this emblem is also used for warding, as it gives its wearer true might and fills all those who come against its wearer with terror. Affording preservation of life, and discernment of morals, this symbol is connected with such energies as health, happiness, and overall well-being, plus aids the wearer against harm, any form of maddness, and bad reflections. It is also reputedly able to alert one to signs of agreeable affection and boost any friendly relations. Said to be made from lead and placed upon the helmet, betwixt the brows for the best potency, it is also mentioned within the Sagas as a tattoo on the left arm. Available in countless stylistic varieties from the genuinely simple to the most complex, this most ancient emblem has none-the-less long been famous and it's use is continued to this day in the more common style of that worn around neck.
… The Apple:The word literally means any round fruit in Olde Norse, and is a complex symbol with a variety of meanings and incorporated into a wide variety of contexts. As the sign of life through death, and fruitfulness springing forth, wild apples have been found in Scandinavian graves since before the Bronze Age. The apple can embody the eternal youth of immortality, for without consuming the golden apples of the goddess Idun, the Ćsir would grow old and frail. In secular terms, the apple functions as a symbol for knowledge, wisdom, and especially the cosmos, due no doubt to its nearly perfect spherical shape. In the realms of fertility and love, brides who receive, and thus eat, an apple upon their engagement then become mystically fertilized through partaking of the fruit, whereby the kin-soul enters their body and springs to life again. The apple can also be erotically associated with a woman's breasts, while the core sliced in half can represent the vulva. As a sign of oneness betwixt the living and their dead kin in the daze of the Inquistion, an apple was said to be offered to one just met by a practitioner, and if the new arrival cut the apple with one deft movement in such a way as to display a pentagram, the person was then openly accepted and all topics could then be discussed. Wilt thou share an apple with me?
… The Owl:Depicted as a creature of the Great Goddess, though generally within her aspect of crone who therefore embodies both wisdom and mortality, the owl naturally becomes associated with death by those who do nothing more than take a cursory glance. However one must fully realize that within the Northern Lore the owl is truly sacred to Holde, Nerthus, Frigga, Skadi and also to Helija. Although little lore has survived, we do know that this creature is seen as bringing messages through dreams and is associated with wisdom and deep learning, as well as seidhr mysteries and the shamanic underworld. The owl shoud be considered with respect and veneration at all times in thought and action alike. The hoot is said to prophesy pending death- which in turn therefore guarantees life. For death is but a natural cycle within the dynamics of the Creative Life Force.
… The Holy Oath Ring:Known as the most legendary of the golden arm-rings which exist in prehistory, and seen as a symbol of our holy fellowship with our ancestral deities, the name comes from the Islandic sagas, which describe temple rings or oath-rings of precious metals used by the Gydhjur and Godhar. These rings were worn or held at the swearing of oaths, marriages, and other important events, and when given freely to another they create a bond stronger than that of blood. The archaic arm-rings still existant show traces of wear from prolonged use, and there are some more than a thousand years older than the oath-rings mentioned of in the Icelandic sagas. One of the best and most holy times to make oaths is to state them over the horn during sumble, or to make them on the boar during the Yule blot, although oaths may be given at any time. You must realize that these oaths, or Statements of Truth, are an essential part of the Northern Traditions, for it is our words, closely followed by our deeds, which enables us to be most remembered, fondly or otherwise, by others.
… The Raven:Spelt singularly as "hrafn" in Olde Norse and pluralistically as "hrafnar," this creature is thought to be associated with shape-shifting as well as aspects of battle, death, greed, trickery, cunning, wisdom and prophetic knowledge; though most oft mis-represented as an ill-omen. Fabled to forebode pestilence and death, hrafnar actually indicate the approach of foul weather by their cries, and impending battles due to their following of an army, no matter how well concealed. It is through this common recognition as eager carrion feeders of the battlefield that they are oft associated with both death and Valkyrs, who are known to take on their shape. Various accounts mention the fatal hrafn flag portending victory or defeat. If the raven hung his wings, defeat was at hand; if he stood erect and soaring, victory would be the outcome, the standard bearer oft dying as the cost; a gyft for a gyft. One such, woven and embroidered in one noontide by the dottiers of Lodbrok Sigurdsen upon the Danish standard, Landeyda (desolation of the country) was especially dedicated to Odin. Known to fly before his chosen, Alfather's two ravens, Hunnin (thought) and Munnin (memory) are sent forth daily to discover what they will and return nightly to inform Odin of all they have seen. It is thought by some these two are in fact the bearers of Odin's mind. An archaic term is, "to have the foresight of a raven."
"'Tis hight Miameith, but none knoweth
from what root it doth rise;
by what it falleth the fewest guess:
nor will fire nor will iron fell it.
Of its berries thou shalt bear on fire,
for ailing women to eat: then out will come
what within was held- such strength is bestowed
upon that glorious tree of might."
copyright © 2000 Reverend Godhi Yens Jensen all rights reserved