View Full Version : Symbols of the Gods

Thursday, November 24th, 2005, 06:55 PM
THOR: the Hammer, Mjolnir

FREYR: the shield-knot (a vaguely square-shaped construction with a loop at each corner) which is still used today as a symbol of protection over Scandinavian historical sites; the boar, especially a golden boar; "goldgubber" amulets (little stamped or embossed gold-foil plaques depicting a man and a woman embracing, thought by many archaeologists to represent the marriage of Freyr and Gerd).

ODHINN: the Valknut (which is a construction of 3 interlaced triangles, may be either 3 separate triangles interlocked, or one strand woven to form the triplicate triangle design.); the "Spear-Dancer" amulets (see the Torslunda helmet dies and the Sutton Hoo materials, it's a little figure nude except for a baldric with sword, holding one or two spears point downwards and wearing a helm with horn-like projections that end in bird heads); tiny spear amulets (several are represented in the archaeological finds); the runes; the small female amulets archaeologists occasionally find may represent Valkyries, and these would of course also be associatedf with the All-Father; wolves, ravens and eagles (and there are several iconographic details distinguishing images of ravens from eagles in Viking art.).

TYR: Hilda R. Ellis-Davidson sees evidence for the ithyphallic rock carvings in Scandinavia to represent Tyr.

FREYJA: There is historically one amulet that is occasionally said to be Freyja. It depicts a female figure wearing a necklace framed in a circular motif that some Wiccan-influenced people take to be the moon.

SPAE-WIFE/VOLVA: often identified by her cloak, staff and large brooch; at least one amulet of a woman with cvloak and staff has been found.

NORNS: Modern Scandinavian jewellers and silversmiths from the Isle of Man use a motif of three swans to represent the Norns.

Thursday, November 24th, 2005, 07:25 PM
The Finnish Ukonvasara, a symbol much resembling Thor's Hammer, actually depicts quite a many things. First, there's one variation of it that has two men on horseback facing at opposite directions at the both ends of the hammer's head. These men are Lemminkäinen/Joukahainen and Väinämöinen, West and East respectively, and it is the struggle between these forces, united by Seppo Ilmarinen -- the center of the hammer and an unifying factor, often resembling the element of Air, wherein Väinämöinen is about Water and Lemminkäinen, Fire -- that creates the upward column, the hilt of the hammer. Some symbols actually have a tree as the hilt of the hammer, so it's pretty clear that it resembles the World Tree that harbours this conflict between the opposing forces within its roots. The state in which this unifying happens, the moment of finding new direction, is called the 'Sampo-state.' For example, Kullervo was in such a state when he broke his treasured knife to the rock that the mean wife of Ilmarinen had hidden in his loaf of bread, and then gathered himself to set out to war against Untamo, the slayer of his people.

There also one interpretation that claims that the shape of the hammer is actually based on geographical information, that the different main points of the hammer -- the arch at the bottom, both ends of that arch, the center and the hilt -- were places of cultural importance and traderoutes, through which the cultures of East and West met.