Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Icelandic Wolf Hammer

This Thor`s Hammer dates back to 10th century Foss in south-western Iceland. Its origins are mysterious and there are unresolved issues about its symbolism. Some claim that it is a hammer, some a cross, some that it has the image of a dragon at its head, some say that it is a wolf.

Is it a hammer of Thor, a christian cross or a syncretism of the two at a time of a `dual faith` Iceland?
My opinion is that it is most definitely a hammer as can be discerned from the round shape of its arms. If it were a cross then one would have to conclude that it is inverted and thus non-christian or even anti-christian! The presence of a cross shape in the centre of where the arms meet is not of a typical cruciform shape but resembles that of the pre-xtian Aryan sunwheel form. As readers of my blogs will be aware I have covered this issue of the Aryan pre-xtian symbol of the cross in other articles. Also the symbol of the cross in the form of the Gebo or Gyfu rune also appears on the Danish Bornholm hammer.

As for the notion that this was a `secret hammer` worn by post-conversion heathens who clung to their faith secretly I believe that this is nonsense. Germanic heathenism was tolerated in Iceland for a while after the peaceful conversion and there would have been no need for any such closet demonstrations of our faith. Furthermore the hammer predates the conversion and this fact itself invalidates their argument.

The very fact that an animal head-either that of a wolf or a dragon appears at the top is an indication of its heathen symbolism. Is the head a dragon or a wolf? If a dragon then this would more appropriately agree with the mythical connotations of Mjolnir being the instrument by which Thor slays the Midgardwyrm.

We know of course that both the wolf and the dragon feature prominently in Germanic mythology and that the werwolf legend has its basis in the Icelandic Volsunga myth of Sigurd, the shape-changing man-wolf and destroyer of the dragon.

This form of the hammer is worn by the current Allsherjargothi of the Icelandic Asatru Association Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson and may make a suitable alternative to the more commercial forms of the hammer that are available and worn by non-believing re-enactment enthusiasts!
This hammer tends to invoke a more fearful response in the faces of xtians that I have encountered on the few occasions that I have worn one! It thus is both a potent heathen symbol and a powerful weapon against our enemies.

Alternative modern interpretations of this hammer sometimes feature a Tyr or Tiwaz rune instead of a cross in the centre.


CDean Andersson said...

Good article. I have worn this form of Mjolnir since 1974. I found a replica in sterling silver in a shop in San Diego, California. The jeweler had added a hanging loop to the bottom so it would hang like a cross. I said I would buy it if they removed that extra loop. They did and I did. At the time it was not easy in the USA to find a Hammer to buy. Your article agrees with my opinion about this form, so thank you. Before I left San Diego I took the Hammer into the Pacific Ocean with me as a sort of personal ritual statement. My father was born in Sweden and had crossed the Atlantic to immigrate to Vinland. I felt like dipping my new Hammer in the Pacific in his honor made a kind of poetic, sentimental sense.

Wotans Krieger said...

Yes Hammers would have been difficult to come by in the 70s. I did not see my first one until the mid 90s and now they are almost everywhere, having become just another commercial commodity.The Internet has contributed to the easy purchase of what would have been hard to find items.

Leonard Majere said...

As recently as 2002 they were still a little hard to find in the area that I live (Fresno, California). However, since then 15 years have passed and now I see them all over the place, it usually went a-little-something like this:

DUDE-BRO: Hey fag! What's that around your neck.

ME: Hey dude-bro nice to see you, AGAIN.(implied sarcasm that soars right over his head). Umm well, it's a pendant that I like and it looks cool, so I bought it.

DUDE-BRO: So you think worshipping the devil is cool?!?!

ME: (head lowered in stunned bewilderment at the stupidity of this creature, that I am now forced to engage with) No Dude-Bro, that is not AT-ALL what this pendant represents, this is thor's hammer, ok, it has nothing to do with God or the devil. So, NO, I am not out here worshipping the devil(Shakes head).

DUDE-BRO: OHHHHHH REALLLLLLY, YOUR NOT?! Then why are YOU wearing an Upside-down cross, fag!

ME: It's not a cross....not Satani....
(that is me getting cut off at every word I try to say!)

ME: Listin, I'll take it off if that'll make you happy but I'm not gonna sit and do this all day, alright?!

DUDE-BRO: You know what bro, I appreciate you offering to take it off. I just have one more thing to say.

(His posse chuckle and cackle amongst themselves like the
sub-human primates-like creatures they are. With Dude-Bro, of course, leading the foray.)

DUDE-BRO: Like I said, Just one more thing to say. (By this time people have gathered)



So yeah, that was my experience wearing my "Mjölnir Pendant" around High school in Fresno, ca from 2002-2005. Hahahaha! So when I say that I am surprised to see young kids sporting the Mjölnir Necklace as if it's nothing. I really truly am surprised.
Since for us, it definitely wasnt something we wore to be cool or because it looked cool, as you can see it litterally got us harrassed, beaten, and mistreated because of other people's ignorance. NOW, I should mention that it ABSOLUTELY was NOT everyone that acted in this manner. Just a couple groups of crazy guys and of course "Dude-Bros' crew".
TO tell you the truth, we really didn't give a shit about those guys, we started lifting weights, working out, making tons of friends, learning to wrestle and fight, gaining confidence with the girls, the whole time still reading and increasing our intellect, many of us played instruments-so we began to form a few black metal and folk metal bands.
Finally, by senior year. The once feared "Dude-Bros Crew" were now very seriously cautious around us and were not only respectful but they now WANTED to hang out with us! HAHAHA seeing that we were now the ones with all sorts of cool people, and absolutely beautiful girl everywhere! So the PREPS had their dumb blondes but we got all the mysterious dark haired chicks that were all at once smart, beautiful, super artistic, head strong/body strong, and scary! (Did I mention they were HOT-AS-HELL! hahaha)
So we let the Dude-Bros join the group after they apologized, of course. Which we were fine with because the only way to combat ignorance is to become friends with it and educate it.
That is the story of my experience with the beloved Thor's Hammer pendant. Hopefully that helps to illustrate why I find it so odd that kids are wearing it all over the place nowadays. However, on the upside...I love it and more power to them!!! ��

We wore it because we loved it and it stood for something that helped us connect to our ancestors! I hope it is doing the same for this generation and I REALLY hope that they didn't just buy it because the liked the movie "Thor" hahaha

srk256 said...

Interesting post! A couple of thoughts- an inverted cross is not traditionally an anti-Christian symbol. It is referred to as the Cross of St. Peter, as he was crucified upside down. It is still used as a Papal symbol or a Christian symbol of humility. The symbol has been adopted by anti-religious groups who clearly didn't do their research. This doesn't necessarily change the interpretations around this particular cross, but it should be pointed out.

It could also be pointed out that while it doesn't look like what most people assume a cross pendant looks like, it looks nothing like other Thor's hammer found during the Viking age. However, there are actually quite a few cross pendants that have similarly rounded arms dating from approximately the 8th-12th centuries in both the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe.

I like your interpretation of the animal head as a reference to Jörmungandr, if this symbol is indeed a hammer.

This object is certainly unique and is, in my opinion, the most interesting of all the Thor's hammers, especially since so few other hammer pendants have been found in Iceland. I've always enjoyed the mystery surrounding objects such as this that have disputed origins and symbolism. Norse imagery is particularly fascinating because of the influence of Christianity on so many Scandinavian objects and literature- so much room for interpretation.

Wotans Krieger said...

srk256, thank you for your comment. I agree this hammer (if that is what it is) is certainly a very mysterious symbol but if you care to read my article you will see why I am now convinced that the amulet is a Hammer rather than a cross. The Eyrarland statue of Thor which is Icelandic shows Thor holding a remarkably similar shaped Mjolnir.

Wotans Krieger said...

Thank you Leonard-I enjoyed reading your comment.