The Viking Vegvisir Symbol

Aside from farming, pillaging and ransacking, the Vikings were also popular for their sea adventures. On a voyage, they usually carried with them lots of food boxes, barrels, baskets, jugs, pots, etc. In some ancient Viking tales, it was stated that they even carried with them a very important symbol that helped them survive. This symbol is very popular today and it’s called the “Vegvísir.” 

We all know that despite the struggles and different problems during their expeditions back in the day, the Vikings used well-constructed ships and they obviously had fantastic navigation skills despite living in an era where maritime technology hadn’t peaked yet. This allowed them to reach far away places where some of them eventually settled.

Viking Compass

The Vegvísir was known to be a symbol of mystique, power and magic. Some people get confused because it looks similar to the Aegishjalmur or Helm of Awe symbol. However, they’re two entirely different symbols with their own meaning and significance for the Vikings. 

The Vegvísir looks like a compass and has eight spikes pointing out with different ends while the design of the Aegishjakmur or Helm of Awe symbol has eight tridents radiating out to protect the center.

Just like the Aegishjakmur or Helm of Awe symbol, a lot of Vikings used this symbol for guidance and protection. The word “Vegvisir” consists of two root words – “Vegur” and “Visir.” The former means “road” while the latter means “guide.” If we combine those two words together, we have “road guide” and can already tell that this symbol could help guide people along the way and steer them in the right direction.

According to the meaning of some lines of a prose, one would never lose their way due to a storm or bad weather even if they didn’t know the exact way to get to their destinations if they were carrying with them this sign or symbol. This is the reason why it’s not surprising that the Vegvisir symbol was very powerful and something that the Vikings carried with them to help find their way if ever they got lost.

Along with asking help from Odin the allfather and other gods for divine guidance, there are sources that the Vikings even used this symbol on their ships as a talisman to help them face and deal with different challenges that life threw at them when out in the sea.      



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