Saturday, 4 December 2010

New Lines from The Silver Bough

The Silver Bough will soon be introducing three new lines of handmade designed items to our shop.

Valknut Sculptures: these beautifully crafted small 3D oak sculptures will be mounted on a polished Black Walnut base. For shipping purposes and convenience to our customers, the sculptures will be mounted on the base by a thin copper ‘stand’ which is detachable from the base. All Valknuts are hand made and finished.

Wooden Hanging Runes: Each rune is made to order. Again these runes are fashioned in oak and handcrafted. A brass fixing at the top with a suede leather thong will allow you to hang these where you feel appropriate. Each choice of rune is unique to the buyer.

Handcrafted Cards: Yggdrasil and Runic cards. Each card is individually handcrafted. There will be differences between each due to the uniqueness and handmade nature of each Yggdrasil (Life Ash – Norse Tree of life, which encompasses the Nine Worlds) and runic cards. Each card will be supplied with an envelope and a plastic sleeve to protect them. They will be sold individually (free P&P) or in boxed groups of ten.

 Along with these new items, of course, we have our beautiful silver pendants: Runic, Ogham and Jorgmangund, the World Serpent.  

Commissions considered on any other design which you might require. This does not exclude non-Norse or non-Celtic designs.

Valknuts roasting on an open fire

The Valknut (the translation is Old Norse meaning valr (slain warrieros) and knut (knot).
It is a symbol consisting of three interlocking triangles, which appear in a unicursal and tricural form. There are various theories proposed for its significance. The name Valknut is a modern invention which describes the symbol. It was not used when the symbol was originally used. 

Authentically the triangles are joined in two ways:



This symbol has been found in unicursal form on many stones such as the 7th c Tängelgarda stone from Gotland, Sweden, in tricursal form on the Lärbro stone in Gotland, on a ring in the River Nene in England and on a bedpost from the Oseberg ship burial, Slagen NorwayThere have been comparisons made to the three-horned symbol inscribed on the 9th century Snoldelev Stone.

In chapter 17 of the 13th c Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál there is the following description of the heart of the Jötunn Hrungnir.
 (a giant who challenges the gods);
 "Hrungnir had a heart that was famous. It was made of hard stone with three sharp-pointed corners just like the carved symbol hrungnishjarta, Hrungnir's Heart."

The Valknut occurs in a central and predominant position on the Stora Hammars I Stone.

 It appears alongside the images which have been interpreted as Odin with his characteristic spear Gungir thrusting another figure into a burial mound while a raven (the bird attributed to Odin) is overhead and another man is hanged. 

In the above photograph Odin is shown riding Sleipnir (the eight legged horse and son of Loki from a rather nefarious liasison with a giant’s stallion Svadilfari. The Valknuts are drawn beneath Sleipnir. (Photograph of the Tängelgarda Stone.)

Dr. Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson theorises a connection between the valknut and mental bonds . Dr Roderick Ellis (1914- 2006) was an English antiquarian and an academic, who wrote on Germanic and Celtic paganism. Dr Davidson relied on literary, historical and archaeological theory and evidence in her research on the stories and customs of Northern Europe. She wrote the book Gods and Myths of Northern Europe (Penguin Books, 1964). Dr Ellis Davidson is considered one of the most reputable sources on the myths of Northern Europe and Germany.

In one of her theories, she cites that beside a figure of Odin on his horse, which is shown on several memorial stones, there is a knot shown which is referred to as the valknut, and is related to the triskele. It is thought to symbolise the power to bind and unbind by the gods. This is mentioned in the poems and in other sources. Odin was attributed with the power to lay ‘bonds’ upon the mind. With this men became helpless when in battle. He could loosen these bonds of fear by the gifts of  inspiration ,  madness in battle (berserkers) and intoxication.

Due to the fact that the symbol (valknuter) is inscribed on stones with Odin and also on burial gifts (Oseberg ship burial) it has been theorised that the symbol may have been associated with religious practices associated with death.