Signification du Valknut Symbole et Tatouage Nordique

Meaning of the Valknut: Norse Symbol and Tattoo

The Valknut is a representation of three interlocking triangles . This popular symbol, which evokes death, is observed as early as the 8th century in England and Norway. And it is reminiscent of the Triskel , a Celtic symbol created by Odin and adopted by the Bretons.

Valknut means, in Old Norse, "knot of the slain", "knot of warriors killed in battle". Indeed, the word comes from the Norwegian root “ valr ”, which means “ killed soldier ”, and from the root “ knut ” which means “ knot ”. If the Valknut symbol dates from the Viking period - located between 793 and 1066 AD -, it does not appear in writings until much later.

What does Valknut look like?

What Does Valknut Look Like?

The Valknut is a set of three interlocking triangles. There is also a second version, in which the three triangles actually form only one. Moreover, it is undoubtedly the oldest of the representations.

We find the Valknut in two very distinct forms. It can be drawn unicursally , that is, a fully continuous line forms all three triangles . Or in a tricursal way, therefore with more routes since composed of three very distinct triangles .

Where is the Valknut found?

Valknut Trace History

We first find the Valknut in Sweden, on the island of Gotland , engraved on funerary stones dating from the Viking era. On a first stone are depicted in color scenes from Norse mythology. And it is on the second scene that we see the figure of the Valknut. On this same scene, we can distinguish a character carrying a spear, and supported by a crow. We can then easily guess that it is a representation of the god Odin . The spear he holds is Gungnir, and the raven his faithful bird.

On the second stone found on the island of Gotland, it is not one but two Valknuts that can be seen, at the level of the horses' crotch. Again, Odin is also represented on the scene.

The depiction of the Valknut can also be seen in other places. On a funeral ship found in Norway first. On a ring found in England as well. As well as on funerary urns , also found in England. And almost every time again, the Valknut is depicted with a figure of the god Odin, or one of his attributes.

The Valknut and its connection to Odin

We understood it well, the Valknut seems to have a special link with the god of war, Odin . Yes, but which one? Odin is the god of war in Norse mythology. When in combat he knocks down enemies, they are received in Valhalla. In this journey through the nine worlds to Valhalla, the deceased won by Odin are accompanied by the Valknut .

The Valknut among the Vikings

Among the Vikings, when a brave warrior dies in battle, he then thinks he is taken to Valhalla . It is therefore customary to represent the Valknut on funeral urns , for example, so that he helps the deceased to go to the side of the god Odin.

What is the symbol and meaning of the Valknut?

Meaning Valknut number 3 and 9

The Valknut evokes first of all death , or in any case the liberation of the soul . It also evokes the three roots of Yggdrasil – the world tree in Norse mythology – and with that the connection of the nine worlds of Norse mythology . Indeed, three triangles give a total of nine corners and nine lines. In this sense, the Valknut can both be a symbol of travel across the worlds, of protection and of respect for the deceased.

For some scholars, the Valknut may also represent the heart of Hrungnir , a giant from Norse mythology. In a passage from the Edda, the heart of it is indeed described as "made of hard stone with three sharp corners", which could refer to the three points of the triangles.

The meaning of the number 3 in the Valknut

In many Nordic symbols, the number 3 is omnipresent. And it is not a hazard. Here, the three triangles of the Valknut represent body, soul, and spirit . They also represent the three goddesses of fate : Urd (the past), Verdani (the present) and Skuld (the future).

In the Viking world, where the Valknut symbol is apparently used, the number 3 can represent the three classes of society : Jarl, Karl, Thrall.


The Valknut tattoo

It is not uncommon to get a tattoo of the Valknut, whether one is a follower of Scandinavian mythological culture or not. Legend has it that the Vikings, at the time, already engraved the symbol on their skin . Today, many still do the same.

There are many reasons to get a Valknut tattoo. It can be tattooed as a tribute for a dead person , and more specifically for someone who has fallen in battle. It can also be a symbol of belief in reincarnation . Or even out of pride in his Scandinavian origins .

If the geometric representation of the Valknut is always preserved, the symbol can be declined in various forms. You can choose to make it in black, in a classic way. In color if not, or even with illustrations inside each of the triangles.

Here is a selection of images of Valknut tattoos to give you inspiration:

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