Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Asatru FAQ: The Valknut

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

The valknut or "Knot of the Fallen" is used by contemporary heathens as a symbol of Odin. Those dedicated to Odin, most but not all of whom consider themselves warriors, wear a valknut to indicate their dedication. Some heathens say that wearing a Valknut means you are willing to die in battle and hope to be chosen to become an Einherjar, one of Odin's warriors in Valhalla. 

Odin and his brothers are a trinity (or triple god, depending on how you see it.) The brothers Odhinn, Honir, and Lodhur sculpted the world out of the body of Ymir, the primal giant, and sculpted the first humans out of driftwood. They are creator gods. The trinity has three sets of names: Odhinn / Honir / Lodhur, Odhinn / Vili / Ve, and Odin / Honir / Loki. In other languages, these names have slightly different forms. For example, Odin and Wotan are basically the same god, although one could have different experiences with the different cultural variations. 

The Valknut is three triangles. It is three times three, the power of the trinity multiplied by itself.

The Valknut is also sometimes called Hrungnir's Heart. Hrungnir was a giant who had a heart of stone. This gave him an advantage in combat. When one uses this symbol and calls it Hrungnir's Heart, one is invoking the constitution of a giant with an invulnerable heart. 

When named the Valknut, it draws the attention of Odin. That is why people say to be cautious of using it because Odin's attention can result in being drawn into battle. Saga literature is full of examples of Odin's favorite warriors who couldn't lose until the day they did, and died, and went to work for Odin in his army in Valhalla. So, many heathens consider drawing Odin's attention to be unwise unless one is willing to commit fully. The Valknut can also draw the attention of the trinity Odhinn / Honir / Lodhur or any of the other such names. 

Many heathens consider wearing the Valknut to be a prayer to Odin to accept their souls into his hall when they die. Some say that having a Valknut tattoo means "insert spear here," asking for death in battle because that is the way into Valhalla. However, some heathens who are not warriors wear a Valknut because of their dedication to Odin. Such people may include godhis and gythias (priests and priestesses), poets & other writers, godspouses, and so forth. 

Image: a Valknut I made of silk ribbon. 

Last modified on
Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners and other books. She was sworn to Freya as Priestess in 1989, given to Sigyn, and is a Bride of Odin and his brothers (Honir, Lodhur, Loki.). She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, is gythia of American Celebration Kindred, and admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office. She is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press for 5 years, and is the author of the Heathen Calendar 2017 and 2018.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Tuesday, 20 February 2018

    Long ago in the public library I remember coming across a book titled: "The men in the Pink Triangle". On the back of the book was a chart: yellow star for Jews, Purple Triangle for Jehovah's Witnesses; Pink Triangle for Gays; Black Triangle for Race Defiler. The latter designation apparently meant teenagers caught listening to swing music. There were a couple of others as well but I am not sure what they represented.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Wednesday, 21 February 2018

    Hi Anthony, I'm not an expert on that part of history, but it is my understand that the black code was for political opponents of the state, and included Lesbians, communists, heathens, and pretty much anybody they just didn't like.

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