Vanatru Symbol Found!

Calling all Vanatruar: PLEASE USE THIS SYMBOL!

I have long been frustrated by the lack of a single clear symbol for modern Vanatru suitable for a pendant. Mjolnir and Valknots are popular among modern Asatruar. The most popular symbol for the Vanir are knotwork boars, and various Trees but they’re used among Pagans in general, especially Celtic pagans, so it’s not a clear message when we use them to represent Vanatru.

So I have been searching for some time for a suitable symbol, preferably with some historical basis, but not already in common modern use, that can represent Vanatru clearly when we wear it. I have hoped to find something simple and striking, such that it is instantly recognizable even when drawn casually by a person who isn’t much of an artist.

Well, I do believe I’ve found it!

This version has 9 bristles and 4 legs, deliberately. Historical versions vary.

Last November, I returned to LosCon (the convention where I first found my own Brisingamen necklace) after years away. While I was there, I was shown this design by a numismatist in the vendors room. He studies all kinds of Medieval European coins, and when I asked after coins depicting Norse gods, he showed me a series of Sceattas.

This stylized boar symbol is derived from coins issued by Pagan Danes during the era of the Danelaw in Anglo-Saxon England. The Anglo-Saxons were Christians by then, and had learned coin making from the Romans. When the Pagan Danes invaded, they learned coin making from their Anglo-Saxon subjects, and designed their own coins with Pagan themes including Mjolnirs, solar crosses, horses, birds – and BOARS!

Their boars started out more recognizable, but still clearly stylized, and as they increased their contact with neighboring Anglo-Saxons and Celts, became progressively simpler and more symbolic – “Celticized” – until they settled into this abstract gesture of an arching boar with characteristic bristles and four legs.

A Saxon Sceatta depicting a stylized boar

A Saxon Sceatta depicting a stylized boar

Similar designs can be found on Sceattas throughout the region and era, and boar art with similar shapes can be found on Scandinavian armor and jewelry in honor of various Vanic gods, especially Swedish references to Freyr. Coins with this design are sometimes labelled “porcupine”, but it is clear if you look at pictures of the progression of designs over time that it is intended to be a boar.

When I saw this symbol and he explained it to me, it was like a bell ringing in my mind. This is it. This is what you’ll use. Show them! I quite literally thanked the gods for Their guidance, and have been buzzing with excitement over this ever since. I have been waiting to show it to you all until I could compose a well-researched essay about the history of these coins, to back up my UPG with a strong reconstructionist argument for using it to represent Vanatru. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find appropriate online resources showing what the numismatist I talked to showed me in his books.

After showing the design to several fellow Vanatruar at PantheaCon, I just couldn’t hold back any longer. Honestly, it was all I could do to even postpone this post until the afternoon, so everyone could see it!

I intend to make this design available on stickers, t-shirts, and hopefully jewelry in my store, but I want to be clear: this design is historically based, and thus not under any copyright. I would LOVE it if other Vanatruar used it in their designs too. I am really hoping we can promote this as a symbol reclaimed especially for Vanatru!

–Ember–

P.S. Edited to note: I’m getting feedback that the title is misleading, because this is not a historical symbol for Vanatru, and is thus not authoritative. To be clear: There is no source of authority for Vanatru, either modern or historical. This is a historical symbol directly linked with honoring the Vanir, which I did indeed find for this use – I do not claim to have discovered it.

Please also note that Vanatru as we know it today is not a historical tradition, so there can’t be a historical symbol for it. At best we can find symbols which were used historically to honor and represent the Vanir and employ them for this purpose. That is exactly what I propose here.

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About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
This entry was posted in Crafts, Polytheistic Theology, Praxis, Vanatru and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Vanatru Symbol Found!

  1. I’ve been roaming around for something nice like this for ages! Thank you!!
    Of course I also found the boars and trees. But I want something that can be used as a small tattoo aswell, and having a ferocious boar on my wrist just doesn’t really seem very ladylike to me ☺ so I’m very happy Lord and Lady and the Internet brought me on your path 😄 so again, thank you so much for your efforts and research!

    Like

  2. Carey says:

    Finally got this cast. Will be releasing it to the wilds of Etsy soon! =) I’ll share a link when it’s up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Saludos. quisiera saber como puedo encontrar pegatinas, camisetas y joyería, sobres este simbolo, muchas gracias

    Regards.
    I would like to know how I can find stickers, shirts and jewelry on this symbol, thank you very much (I do not speak good English and use Google translate)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: FAQ for the proposed Vanatru Symbol | EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir

  5. Pingback: New at my Etsy shop: Vanatru pendants! | The Serpent's Labyrinth

  6. Pingback: Vanatru Symbol Found! | Valkra Kärna

  7. Silver Wolf says:

    Reblogged this on Moon of the Wolf and commented:
    Pretty awesome! I recognized it as a boar immediately. Not to brag. 😛

    Like

    • EmberVoices says:

      Hee! Whether people recognise it as a boar on the first try depends so much on where they’re coming from. I don’t blame people for seeing a porcupine. It’s great when people catch the boar immediately. Some folks like that it can also be seen as a rising sun or a wheel, which are also sacred to the Vanir. The abstractness and simplicity of the design is part of the appeal. -E-

      Like

  8. BCDiver573 says:

    Interesting stuff, and it really does have a porcupine thing going on. What books were referenced when you were discussing it?

    Like

    • EmberVoices says:

      The hedgehogness is only out of context.

      The books were largely about Anglo-Saxon coin history. I’m not a numismatist, so I don’t own them, or have their titles memorized. It was VERY obvious from the sequence of images – and the total lack of porcupines as a theme anywhere else in any of the relevant cultures.

      Also, friends of mine who are much more steeped in the Celtic side of things recognized it immediately for a boar taken totally out of context. The abstraction is according to the requirements of designs for sacred symbols in UK cultures of that time, so I have confirmation from an independent direction, which is nice.

      -E-

      Like

  9. Sable Aradia says:

    Reblogged this on Sable Aradia, Priestess & Witch and commented:
    Signal-boosting for any Vanatruar out there (and I can’t help but love it; my household “totem” is a boar. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. wildkat6 says:

    Reblogged to Flaunt your Sin.

    This is lovely.

    Like

  11. wildkat6 says:

    Reblogged this on Flaunt Your Sin and commented:
    I saw the symbol and thought it was a hedgehog… Anyway, it’s nice that they may have a symbol to represent them specifically now.

    Like

  12. Nornoriel Lokason says:

    Reblogged this on The Serpent's Labyrinth and commented:
    What I like about this is when I first saw it I thought it was the sun, or the top of a wheel, which are also Vanic symbols. (I might see about making some pendants incorporating this symbol to sell in my Etsy shop too.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • EmberVoices says:

      You are one in particular I was really hoping would run with this. Thank you! -E-

      Like

    • EmberVoices says:

      Oh, it should be noted – this motif can go right facing or left facing. It doesn’t have to be exactly as drawn above. Also, there being 9 bristles was my choice. I’ve seen everything from 7 to 12 so far. Similarly, they don’t always fit in all 4 legs, but I think it’s more clearly a boar when we do.

      -E-

      Like

  13. Carey says:

    I’ll get right on making a new pendant design based on this. THANK YOU for sharing this!

    (My shop is OdysseyCraftworks on Etsy)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: New Vanic symbol! | Syncretic Mystic

  15. Soli says:

    Awesome! Sharing.

    Like

  16. Reblogged this on Loki's Bruid and commented:
    Yay!

    Like

  17. This is fabulous and wonderful. I don’t use the term Vanatru for myself, but I love the Vanir and I love the boar symbolism in general. I want this tattooed and inscribed and branded on me (and other things!)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. caelesti says:

    Reblogged this on The Lefthander's Path and commented:
    Awesome! Get to work, artsy folk!

    Like

  19. Reblogged this on facingthefireswithin and commented:
    For those looking for a Vanic symbol

    Like

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