Valknut Symbol Meaning & History

valknut symbol
The Old Norse people left behind many curious Norse symbols, but one of the most intriguing is the valknut (Odin's knot). The name is derived from two different root words: 'valr,' means 'slain warrior, and 'knut' can be interpreted as 'knot'. The valknut is therefore known as the "Knot of the Slain Warrior."

The valknut is always composed of a succession of three triangles that often overlap. The Borromean method is sometimes used for drawing triangles as three shapes overlap and interlock.

However, the most remarkable version is an ingenious unicursal. That is when a single line that does not finish completes all three shapes as one.

How Do You Pronounce Valknut?

One of the most significant distinctions between “knot” in English and its Nordic equivalent is how we pronounce the letter K in English. While valknut has a similar beginning, it has a distinctive conclusion.

The -ut ending will be pronounced similarly to the -oot ending in “foot,” but with a more pronounced T and a shorter U.

Therefore, the correct pronunciation of the term is “Vaal’Knoot.”

What Does a Valknut Symbolize?

The valknut, also known as Odin’s knot, is an ancient Germanic symbol of the passage from life to death and is considered to signify the power of the god to bind and unbind.

One of the numerous magical abilities of the Norse god Odin is the capacity to act as a psychopomp. This figure is responsible for escorting the souls of the deceased to the afterlife. 

The name of the emblem is typically translated as “knots of those fallen in battle,” and it is meant to represent Valkyries gathering fallen soldiers from the field of battle and transporting them to Valhalla.

Valknut symbol
Valknut symbol

Many people, citing the book Prose Edda, consider this to be the same as Hrungnir’s heart. That was the heart of a giant conquered by Thor. This heart was composed of stone and pointed at three corners. However, experts are still debating whether or not these two symbols are the same. 

On certain cremation urns found in early pagan cemeteries throughout East Anglia, symbols similar to Odin’s “valknut” have been found. These symbols depict the horse and the wolf in a manner that is opposed to one another.

The interpretation of the valknut as a symbol of protecting transit from one realm to the next is probably accurate; however, this matter is still subject to debate among scholars.

The Synergistic Effect of Three

A valknut may take on a variety of unique looks, but at its core, it is always made up of three triangles locked into place.

There was undeniably some power that the number ‘3’ carried for the people of Norse culture, as seen by the fact that each of the three triangles had three vertices.

Is Valknut a Real Viking Symbol?

Yes. The valknut rune, pronounced “VAL-knoot,” is undoubtedly the most well-known emblem associated with the Viking religion. It depicts the hammer of the deity Thor.

The Viking emblem of valknut is only one of many that racists and white supremacists have appropriated. This emblem was first seen in Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the “Unite the Right” rally.

Is Valknut Pagan?


Followers of Heathenry, a modern religious movement based on traditional Germanic paganism, use the valknut symbol in their religious practices.

The valknut consists of three interlocking triangles, representing the nine interconnected branches that make up Yggdrasil (3 by 3 equals 9), hence the Asatru religion’s nine worlds.

The Asatru religion and German-Nordic paganism connect to the number nine, and so does this Viking sign.

Tattooing the valknut Symbol

The use of the valknut symbol in tattoos can be traced back to Germanic people. The ancients used the valknut tattoo to honor the dead, especially those killed in an all-out conflict.

The traditional significance of a valknut tattoo has evolved into something slightly different in the present era. This tattoo is meant to pay tribute to loved ones who have passed away.

When it comes to this, does the valknut bring ill fortune?

Some people think it’s unlucky to wear the valknut or have a tattoo of the symbol because it’s one of the god Odin’s emblems linked with the dead.

Other Representations of The number Three in Norse Mythology

The norns, Often Known as the Three Fateful Goddesses

Urd, also known as Fate, Verdani, referred to as the Present, and Skuld, are the three goddesses of destiny (Future). As a group, they are responsible for weaving the web of fate that shapes the lives of gods, giants, and dwarfs.

The Three Roots of the Tree of Life, Which Correspond to the Three Worlds

The Norse Tree of Life, known as Yggdrasil, has three points of origin. One of the roots will bring you to Asgard, the domain of the gods; another will take you to Jotunheim, the home of the giants; and the third will take you to Niflheim, the underworld.

Under every one of the roots was a separate well, for a total of three.

Three in the Creation Narrative

The Norse sagas recount events before the gods, giants, and human worlds came into being. At this location, there were three separate areas:

Ginnungagap was the location where the first being in the universe was conceived. Instead of being a god, he was a jotun (giant). He went by the name Ymir.

Following in his footsteps was Buri, the first of the gods. Ymir was ultimately put to death by Buri’s grandchildren, Vili, Odin, and Vé, who arrived at a later time.

The three brothers created the first human beings, man and woman. Thus endowing each of the mortals with a distinct ability:

  • Odin’s breath gave them life
  • They gained knowledge and the capacity to move, thanks to Vili.
  • They were endowed with all five senses by Vé.

The Three Tiers of Social Status in a Society

Heimdall is a god who watches over the Bifrost bridge. That is the sole passageway leading into Asgard.

He is credited with establishing the three social strata we see today: 

  • Serfs
  • Peasants
  • Nobles

He accomplished this by having sexual relations with three mortal ladies from three separate households. Each lady gave birth to the ancestor of a particular group of males.


Ana has always been interested in all things Norse mythology, Vikings and tales of ancient Germanic myths. An avid reader of books on Norse mythology, she also enjoys watching movies and TV shows based on Viking culture, and she secretly watched every Norse god-inspired MCU production as well!

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