The Valknut is probably the most known and used symbol (as well as the Mjölnir) by the neo-pagans who follow and practice the old Norse pagan traditions. However, most people don’t know it’s meaning, sadly. The word Valknut is a neologism, created in modern times, formed by the combination of “valr” (the dead or the slain” and knut (knot). This symbol has many connections with the other symbols I have written before, this is a symbol of three interconnected triangles. These triangles may be joined in two ways, and I will place images below.
It can either be as Borromean:
Know that other types of Valknuts that you may encounter, different from these two, were never used in original Viking ornaments. Only the two designs above are genuine Viking Valknuts, keep that in mind. The Borromean triangles type can be seen in the Stora Hammer Rune Stone (below).
Right above the Valknut, we can see a raven, obviously Odin’s symbol. Below the symbol, probably a burial scene or even a burial mound, it is obvious that it is something connected with death. A dead person, probably a warrior, is placed there by a figure with a spear and accompanied by another raven, probably Odin himself, since the two ravens are his symbol and also the spear, Gungnir, his famous weapon. To the left, it seems that there is someone hanged on the tree, which is another symbol for Odin, for he is also called Hangadróttinn (Lord of the hanged) and Hangatýr (God of the hanged), but I am not sure if that is a hanged person, so I leave that to the experts in Rune stones. One thing is certain, all these symbols are around the Valknut, which is in the center of all this scene, this means that all the symbols point to death and that Odin is also the god of the slain warriors.
The unicursal type of valknut (which can be drawn with one stroke) appears on Tängelgarda stone (below):
Other instances of the valknut in Viking ornaments are Lärbro stone, River Nene ring and a bedpost found on the Oseberg ship.
The Valknut as a symbol linked to the slain, isn’t the only possible interpretation/explanation. This symbol is also caled Hrungnir’s heart, based on the descripion found in the Prose Edda.
It isn’t clear the true function and meaning og the Valknut. However we do know that it is also linked to the slain and taht the number three is a very common magic symbol in many cultures. In Scandinavian context three multiplied by three might designate the nine worlds, which are united by the Yggdrasil tree. In modern times, the Valknut, such as the Triquetra and also the Horn Triskelion whih I have written before in another post, is often interpreted as a symbol pointing to heathen convictions.