Viking Compass: Vegvisir In Norse Mythology

Vegvisir In Norse Mythology

The ancient Scandinavian nation Vikings are famous worldwide for their skills and contrivance. Vikings made up a compass to find the direction to the destination. Their compass, known as Vegvisir, is a symbol that has a fascinating history full of secrets and mystery. Today, we will go back to the Middle Ages to find out what the Viking compass means and introduce you to how to use a Viking compass.

Viking compass meaning

The word Vegvisir consists of two Norse words – Vegur and Visir that translate as a way and a guide, accordingly. The Viking compass Vegvisir has the second name – The Pointer of the Way. Ancient Vikings believed that Vegvisir had the power to help them find a way back home when they set out for a new sailing. The symbol involves eight paths or directions associated with numerous ways that a Viking can take. Interestingly, Vikings had even tattooed this symbol on foreheads since their belief that Vegvisir could show them way back home was truly strong.

The Viking compass symbol depicts eight spokes that intersect in the center, where each spoke has a different rune attached to the end. The character of the Viking rune compass might sometimes come in a circle that is surrounded by these runes. The modern version of Vegvisir originates in the Icelandic books of magic dating around the mid-1800s. According to the Huld Manuscript, Vegvisir was a symbol that guided people through the bad weather. The depiction of this symbol from this manuscript is considered the most common and recognizable.

As for the meaning of the Viking compass, this symbol has many interpretations. Initially, Vegvisir was the amulet that guides and protects people during their journeys and sailings. Over the recent years, Vegvisir was investigated as the symbol of guidance that can show seafarers a way back home. The Viking compass has the power to direct the life direction for those who have lost it. It also can help people make the right decisions in life. Vegvisir is a spiritual amulet for many people, too. It represents stability, safety, and control that belong to every spoke of Vegvisir.

How to use Vegvisir?

The Viking compass had an unusual way of using it. Vegvisir had the power to ensure guidance and safety for seafarers when it was drawn on a Viking`s forehead with their blood. Such use was mentioned in the Galdrabok – the ancient book of spells and magic. The other sources describe using the Viking compass differently. One version suggests that Vikings have used a compass during their sailing by putting a nail in the middle on Vegvisir. Vikings could also draw this symbol on their ships to find the right direction to their destination for navigation in the seas.