Vegvisir symbol

By Erik Solbakk 0 comments

Vegvisir symbol

Veggie, veg-vis-ir, vägvisir, wegweiser. Whatever you want to call it, the Vegvisir symbol is a staple in Iceland. The symbol is composed of eight rune staves and is known to be a symbol of protection and guidance. The word vegvísir translates to "wayfinder" and "sign post" in the Icelandic language, and is believed to have been used as a compass by Viking seafarers.

What do the symbols mean on Vegvisir?

The Vegvisir is a symbol of protection and guidance. it is said that Vikings would use this symbol to guide themselves during their voyages. The word vegvísir translates to “wayfinder” and “sign post” in the Icelandic language. This symbol is composed of eight rune staves which are believed to protect the wearer from evil forces.

The Huld Manuscript compiled by Geir Vigfusson in 1880 mentions that the Vegvisir symbol is a sign of protection and guidance. According to this source, the Vegvisir will never lead its wearer astray, even if he does not know where his destination is.

According to The Galdrabók, written in 1702, the Vegvisir has a more complex meaning. It says that the Vegvisir symbol guards against “every kind of danger and every attack of evil creatures…against every witch and every noxious creature”. It also states that the Vegvisir protects against straying off one’s path, or rather, onto ‘the paths of evil men’.

vegvisir symbol

How does the Vegvisir work?

Besides the symbolic significance of the Vegvísir, the symbol has a practical use as well. Even if one doesn't believe in its power to help one find one's way through storms, it does have the quality of being able to disorient someone who is trying to find their way.

When looking at the Vegvísir from above, we see that it is divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant has a line dividing it in half, making eight lines in total, which represent eight directions: north, south, east, west, northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest. The lines are of varying thicknesses and angles, making them more easily distinguishable than they would be if they were all straight lines. In addition, there are three sets of three equidistant dots on the Vegvísir; these dots represent common destinations or landmarks in Iceland like mountains or lakes.

The first time that a person looks at the Vegvísir without having been told what it looks like or how it works should be enough for them to figure out its meaning and how to utilize it. The problem with giving directions is that people can often get lost when listening solely to someone else's voice; this symbol was created so that people could follow

Runic Compass Vegvisir Wayfinder Coin

Runic Compass Vegvisir Wayfinder Coin

How do you say Vegvisir?

When people first see the Vegvisir symbol, they tend to ask how to pronounce it. It's not a simple word, in English or Icelandic. Vegvisir means “wayfinding”.

The name might be hard to say and remember, but it can be broken down into some more manageable parts. The first part is vegg, which is a noun that means something like “wall” or “barrier”. The next part is veeg, which is a verb that means “to see” . And lastly we have sír, which is a noun that means something like “feeling” or “emotion” . So we can break the word down in this way: wayfinding (vegg) through (veeg) emotion (sír).

Is it OK to get a Vegvisir tattoo?

It may seem strange and a bit risky to get an ancient Icelandic symbol, one that was associated with witchcraft, tattooed on your body. But the Vegvisir, or "direction-finder", isn't about magic, it is about guiding yourself through life. The symbol has been in use for centuries and it has been used as a protective amulet since at least the 16th century. Today's readers will no doubt be familiar with the compass rose we all learned in school, showing the directions north, south, east and west. But the Vegvisir is different in that it has a central point of origin (your head) and eight equally spaced arms that radiate out from that center point. The arms point to the eight points of the compass rose, with their number indicating which direction you are facing. It can be used as a kind of sun dial to tell you what time of day it is based on where the shadows fall, but it can also help you navigate towards your goals in life.

vegvisir symbol

Is Vegvisir actually Viking?

Vegvisir, otherwise known as the “vegvísir”, is a symbol of Icelandic culture that is often used on tourist merchandise and in the branding of Iceland. The symbol is said to have originated from the Vikings; however, this is not entirely accurate since there are no written accounts of the symbol from before the 20th century. The word comes from the Icelandic “vega”, meaning to guide or navigate, and “vísi” meaning path, so it does have ties to Viking culture.

It was created by Icelandic artist Ásgrímur Jónsson, who published a series of drawings with “vegvísir” inscribed on it in a publication appropriately named Íslensk-konungsskýring (Icelandic-kingdom-language), which was published in 1903. The symbol was intended to be used on maps and navigational aids for sailors. According to Ásgrímur Jónsson himself, he created it based on older Viking symbols that were popular at the time, such as arrowheads and axes.


Whatever the true origins of this symbol may be, it’s safe to say that the Vegvisir continues to impart its protection and guidance even today. And while there are very few who believe in the Old Norse Gods, it seems that in the twenty-first century, many people still find value in the image of this symbol.

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