Vegvísir and Icelandic Staves
Got some figurative rough weather ahead? Going to be away from home for a while? You may need a little divine help finding your way home. That’s where the Vegvísir comes in.
The Vegvísir is an Icelandic stave, a part of a group of sigils and symbols from Iceland that are used for various magical purposes. You may have seen a few of them before– indeed, we even featured the Ægishjálmur (also known as the Helm of Awe) in a previous article. We have a lot of customers that get them carved into their alehorns, and we’re only too happy to oblige. Whether you believe in their magic or not, they’re pretty bitchin’ signs.
So, what does this particular symbol mean?
The Vegvísir operates like a compass. It’s originally found in the Huld Manuscript, a collection of Norse occultic symbols authored by Geir Vigfusson in 1880. But unlike the Troll’s Cross, these symbols actually do have some pretty ancient origins. And don’t think that these symbols were particularly used to curse enemies or harm people. They were mostly used to help your average Icelander– your average Guðmundur, if you will. If you can get your hands on the Huld Manuscript (which I have helpfully linked for true students of the Norse ways), you might find that many of those signs and symbols are the sort that would help farmers and travelers. It’s no Santeria, just practical, pastoral magic.
In fact, this sign means, “if this sign is carried, one will never lose one’s way in storms or bad weather, even when the way is not known.” Perhaps it was crafted for those students of Odin, who wandered the world in search of wisdom. Perhaps it was made for shepherd boys and girls who might find their way far from home. Maybe it was for Viking raiders, a la the opening of American Gods, who might find themselves on far distant shores with no hope of returning home. Perhaps this is a case of all of the above? We don’t really know, but even centuries on, we can admire the romanticism behind the sign.
Got a friend who wanders the world? Maybe they’re in the military, or they’re studying abroad. Maybe that’s just the sort of person they are– one of those who follows the Western wind when it calls? Consider getting them a Vegvísir pendant or an alehorn with that engraving.
Or maybe you yourself are going through some rough and stormy weather. It’s alright, friend. We’ve all been there. Regardless, if you or someone you know needs help finding their way home (perhaps some divine intervention), look no further than Vegvísir. It will guide you to where you are needed most.