The Valknut is a symbol that many history buffs and even fans of the show ‘Vikings’ are quite familiar with. It’s a religious symbol above all, but also a symbol of fate, and it’s a very old one indeed!
Today we’re going to take a closer look at the Valknut and Valknut Tattoos, so that you can learn a little more about this symbol and what it actually means. It’s definitely not a choice for the faint of heart, however, so read on and we’ll tell you all about this unique skin art choice!
What is the History of Valknut Tattoos?
If you like the show Vikings or simply have a fondness for early Scandinavian history, then you’ve probably seen this symbol before. It’s called the Valknut, the literal meaning being ‘Victory Knot’ although it’s also called ‘The Knot of the Slain’. For the ‘Vikings’ is definitely correct to show it, because that’s the time period that it comes from.
In as early as the 8th and 9th centuries A.D., the Valknut has been a symbol found in jewelry, carved on stones, and upon various objects from religious sites.
As Vikings had tattoos, then it’s also pretty much guaranteed that some of them were wearing this, as such a mark was known to mean that they’d given themselves to Odin, the chieftain of the Aesir gods whom the Vikings believed in!
What Do Valknut Tattoos Symbolize?
The symbolism behind the Valknut is twofold. First, as the ‘knot of the slain’, it was a symbol worn by the fiercest of warriors who chose to follow Odin, hoping one day to die in battle and enter his sacred hall – Valhalla. While everyone seems to say that in television, there were actually many halls where the dead might go!
Secondly, the 3 triangles represent past, present, and future, known as Wyrd (basically ‘Fate’) by the Vikings and it was believed that this was a knot that only Odin could untie.
In modern day, it can symbolize one who has given themselves to Odin or one who believes that fate is almost impossible to change, and thus live their life to the fullest. While a lot of symbols have many interpretations, the meaning of the Valknut is simple but powerful!
What Do Valknut Tattoos Mean?
If you believe in the Norse Gods, then you might wear the Valknut in a religious capacity, and you could conceivably wear it to represent faith, but you should be careful. This symbol, to those who believe in Odin, is basically viewed the same way that Christians view the cross.
If placed as part of the scenery, however, then it wouldn’t be considered giving your loyalty to Odin, but caution should still be practiced if you are considering this symbol.
With it’s strong religious ties, it’s a very clear statement of faith and fatalism, so when someone wears one of these you know that follow very old beliefs or at the very least, that they believe that almost nothing can change their fate. This is a philosophy that frees you a little, believe it or not.
It says ‘I can’t change my destiny, but I can choose the value of my word, and I can choose to be brave.’ Sort of like a harsh form of Stoicism, really, when you think about it!
Where Do Valknut Tattoos Usually Go?
Valknuts are generally displayed openly, for all to see, though it’s really up to you. They don’t have to be giant tattoos, of course, and some choose to display them just above the elbow, while others might place it over the heart.
On a back piece, you can create a large Valknut and many choose to do this in order to better personalize their Valknut. That way, it can be a pledge of faith, but also to particular beliefs that the owner holds or even family members whom they swear to defend.
You could even place on your ankle, if you wish to profess your faith but aren’t exactly in an environment that will support this – simply placing this symbol on your body will still be powerful, no matter where you decide to put it.
Characteristics and Styles of Valknut Tattoos
Valknut Tattoos are mostly depicted in two styles, one being 3 thin, interlocking triangles where each triangle is quite clearly depicted, while the other most popular method is a tribal-sort of Valknut where it seems almost as if one piece – until you look closely at it.
You can personalize the symbol quite a bit to your needs, of course, and many choose to do this. Runes inside the lines of the triangles are one example of this, or even the colorations – a white, gray, and black triangle, for instance.
While the symbol’s depiction doesn’t change much other than this, it works well in just about any tattoo style that you can think of. That said, with it heavy religious overtones then you will most often see it depicted very starkly and meticulously.
That’s good news really, when you think about it – as your tattoo design, color choices, and style can really make your own Valknut Tattoo quite unique and you don’t even have to get complicated with it. A religious symbol like this works perfectly well with minimalism and gets the point across every time!
As you can see, the Valknut is predominantly a religious symbol, but it also represents the fierceness of a warrior’s spirit and a fearless approach to one’s fate. Three interlocking triangles might seem simple, but with the meaning behind them the Valknut gives you an option for a truly powerful and profound tattoo.
Just be careful if you decide to use this symbol. Unless you are incorporating it into a scene from the Viking era, then you are basically saying that you’re putting yourself in Odin’s court and looking forward to an afterlife in Valhalla. So, don’t say that we didn’t warn you – that’s all part and parcel when it comes to wearing Valknut tattoos!