The Valknut (pronounced VAL-knot) is a symbol found in Norse mythology. The symbol shows three interlocking triangles and has been discovered on several runestones and memorial stones found in Gotland, which is a Swedish island. It has also been found engraved on graves from the Oseberg ship burial in Norway.
The name of the symbol is not mentioned anywhere in any credible source from the relevant period, and “Valknut” is a Norwegian word that has been adopted as its name in modern times. It means “knot of those fallen in battle.”Since there is no mention of its incredible sources, the meaning behind the symbol can only be derived from educated guesses.
The facts are as follows:
The Valknut has been found mostly concerning death; it is engraved on runestones, graves, and burial sites. This placement leads to the assumption that the symbol has something to do with death, or perhaps the transition from life to death.
Furthermore, in most of the cases where the Valknut symbol was found, it was found surrounded by symbols of Odin. If not a straightforward symbol of Odin, then symbols that represent him (horses and foxes). Odin is a Norse god that holds a few connections to death: he is said to be a traveler between the nine worlds believed to exist in Norse mythology (one of the worlds is the world of the dead), meaning that he would help transport the spirits of the dead to the underworld and back to the world of the living. He is said to lead different groups consisting of the dead, namely warriors of the Valhalla, as well as the Wild Hunt.
Odin is also strongly associated with magic. He is said to have the power of binding and unbinding, as well as tying up and untying the mind. He is considered one of the most powerful magicians and shamans ever to exist. It is perhaps an undeniable connection that this knot-like Viking symbol represents this magic that consists of binding and unbinding.
A further reason that it is believed to be tied to magic is that people who practiced Seidr (a form of heathen Norse magic practiced by women) incorporated symbols involving weaving and spinning of fiber into their magic. It is therefore relatively safe to conclude that the knot-like symbol could be one of these Viking symbols related to magic.
The last and least popular view is that the Valknut symbol is related to Hrungnir’s Heart. Hrungnir was said to be giant, as well as a spirit of all things dark (the night, winter, graves, and even darkness itself). His heart is made of a three-cornered stone, which some think resembles the Valknut.
Finally, the triangles are believed to represent fertility, rebirth, and reincarnation, as well as the connection between earth, Hel (the goddess of the underworld), and heaven.
While none of these conclusions are for sure, it is safe to say that the Valknut symbol relates to life, death, Odin, and magic. That being said, the exact meaning might never be discovered.