Norse Symbols Are Not Hate Symbols

Norse Symbols TattooWhat would you feel if you saw a guy with a runic tattoo? Many would probably feel uneasiness, including myself. The question is why. I perfectly know that ancient Germanic peoples used the Elder Futhark not because they were white supremacists. I realize that vikings used the Younger Futhark not because they were racist skinheads. So where comes the uneasiness from? Let’s take another example. If you use the Bluetooth technology on your mobile phone, you should remember their logo. Do you? It is actually a bindrune, that is two blended runes: Hagall (hail) and Bjarkan (birch). These two represent the initials of the 10th century viking king Harald Blåtand (Bluetooth), who ordered the Jelling stones to be erected. Bluetooth team are certainly not a hate group, and their rune logo does not scare people away from buying their technology. However, tattooed on someone’s shoulder, it may make others feel uneasy. The question remains: why? My answer is: because western civilization has been too long obsessed by Classical Antiquity as its treasured source. All we usually know about Norse or ancient Germanic symbols is that nazis used them and neo-nazis still use them. That’s not a lot. The other answer is: many people with Christian background still feel that heathen convictions may be dangerous, especially if associated with Norse or Scandinavian culture (or with anything ancient Germanic). Even atheists have been educated in schools long dominated by Christians who admired Classical Antiquity. “Virgil and Homer, not Edda and Beowulf” has been their slogan for many centuries.

True, Norse heathen symbols were used by Nazis. For instance, the Hagall rune used in the Bluetooth logo is present on the SS Totenkopfring. In his description of the ring, Himmler wrote: “The swastika and the Hagall-Rune represent our unshakable faith in the ultimate victory of our philosophy.” This rune was also used during the SS wedding ceremonies. Does it mean that the Hagall rune is in itself a hate symbol? No way.

The origins and the cultural meaning of Norse symbols or Germanic heathen symbols, which may point to racism in certain contexts, are treated in a series of articles on this web site:

Photo © Daniel Meyer. Used by permission.

95 comments… add one
  • Pavel Kovář

    Hei guys! I’am from Czech rep. I’m a punk and I love Vikings and whole Scandinavia. But runes as a tattoo there? I’m a “nazi punk” then… People are weird/stupid and it’s so sad. However.. I still love all these things.. I don’t care. :-) This web site is awesome. Thanks! SKÅL!

  • Karen

    I’m Jewish and think runes are lovely. In fact, they remind me of old Hebrew. Wear those runes and shave your head and be pagan with pride! The Nazis lost, woo-hoo!

    • Susan

      That’s the spirit! And right attitude ;p Woo-Hoo LOL

  • Thomas Raven-Sight

    I am of scandinavian norse decent and i will say that ive been called a Nazi because i shave my head. Well i dont shave my head in support of the nazi clucks but i am balding and have been since 16 which i started to receed so i shave my head. I wear symbols of the gods in honor of them i also wear bindrunes and have a couple tattooed. But i dont have them as symbols of hate.

  • Ivar Boneless

    Great Article!
    Im a Norwegian and im very proud of the scandinavian Viking heritage!

    Im VERY SAD when I see some Nazi idiots are using the signs! Screw then and the soilders of odin morons!

    Im happy to use theese signs are argument against the nazis and inform and tell others that this is not nazi signs.

    • Viking Rune

      Thank you for sharing this, Ivar.

    • Ingan Svärd

      I am also of Nordic ancestry and heritage, I hate how the stupid Nazi’s ruined my culture and history by creating so much hate towards runes. They had no right to take runes that had a good meaning and remake them into symbols of hate.

  • Brandon

    I believe most of these rune symbols were used solely because the nazis had a over wellming belief in the occult so any symbol dealing with the occult was used my entire head is covered in Norse tattoos but I am a believer in the Norse paganism so screw the nazis

    • Marie

      I’m a non-bigoted Norse Pagan as well. Hail, brother!

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