The Valknut has been assumed to be many things, and though its depictions contribute a great deal to its overall narrative, its meaning remains elusive.
What is known is clearer:
-it is tripartite, and
-it is created by interweaving or interlocking
The Norwegian phrase kaste runer etter means to cast a spell on or to practice magic on somebody. It is cognate with the Faroese phrase kasta runir a ein, and also from Faroese we find runabinda meaning to bind by runes (akin to English “spellbind” and “spellbound”).
If the Valknut is a bind rune, then perhaps it was used in:
-the binding of Loki,
-the binding of Baldr,
-the binding of Fenrir, or, as found in peat bogs,
-the ritual binding of sacrificial victims.
In addition to the Valknut there is the Herjoturr or “war fetter”, described as a form of paralysis used by Wodan and the Valkyries. And there is the possible noose from which Wodan hung himself with.
And what of Hel herself. As a chthonic woman she can be seen in Indo-European Kolyo, the “coverer”, who used a noose to guide bodies to her Underworld. Of interest is the Middle High German word for noose: helsing, or Hel’s Sling. Could then the Wodanic Cult of hanging be a ritual enactment of those destined for Hel’s Hall?
Does Wodan relate that he knows this ‘fetter’ in Havamal 146 and 147? (Wright translation):
I know a third,
if I happen to need strength,
fetters against my hated adversaries:
My opponents edges blunted,
neither their weapons nor staves will bite.
I know a fourth,
if warriors bear bonds to curve my limbs:
Then I galdr, and I am able to walk,
springing forth fetters from my feet
and bonds from my hands.
Could this ‘third’ be the Valknot, a bindrune, and the fourth the means to unbind it?
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