When you explore the VKNG Jewelry shop, you will notice that we have a large collection of Mjolnir pendants. You might wonder why Thor’s Hammer is so prolific in our store?
Thor the Protector
The name of Thor’s Hammer in the Viking tongue is Mjolnir and it was a powerful symbol of protection. Thor was the strongest of the gods in the Norse pantheon and he was charged with the protection of both Asgard (the realm of the Aesir gods) and Midgard (the realm of men) from the chaotic forces of the giants.
For this purpose, he used his hammer, which made the sound of thunder when it struck. But the hammer was not gifted to him by his father Odin, as we see in the Marvel movies. It was in fact Loki that procured the hammer for Thor from the dwarven craftsmen, but more on that below.
As well as protecting against the chaotic forces of the giants, Mjolnir also protected the Vikings against chaos in the social order. The hammer was called on to hallow births, deaths, weddings, and other important events that marked changes in community social structures. Hallowing by the hammer certified the change.
Mjolnir Protective Amulets
Since Mjolnir was a symbol of the strength of the god Thor to protect his people, it should be of little surprise that it was a popular amulet worn by the Vikings.
It was very common for the Vikings to war religious symbols as amulets, but Mjolnir was the most popular by far. More than twice as many Mjolnir amulets survive in the Viking archaeological record than all other amulet symbols combined.
Mjolnir also seems to be the only Viking symbol widely used well into the Christian period. There is even evidence of hammer symbols and Christian crosses being made in the same workshops.
Some scholars have suggested that Thor was presented as an antidote to Jesus Christ, the son of the king of the Norse gods Odin and the protector of mankind.
Mjolnir certainly seems to have been used to show continued allegiance to the old religion as Christianity swept through the Viking world.
The origin of Mjolnir begins with Loki who, for an unknown reason, decided to remove every golden hair from the head of Thor’s wife Siff. When the trick was discovered, Thor demanded that Loki replace the hair with something as fine, or that he would torture and kill the trickster giant.
Loki knew that the only place that he could find such a thing was in the workshops of the dwarves in Svartalfheim. The dwarves were master craftsmen and often enchanted their creations.
There he approached a group of dwarves and asked them to create a headpiece of spin gold for Siff that would magically attach to her head. But while there, through a variety of tricks and machinations, he also acquired five other objects to give to the gods in order to clear his name.
One of these objects was Mjolnir. No information is provided on what Thor’s hammer is made of, but the hammer was originally meant to have a long handle. However Loki tried to sabotage the creation of the hammer in order to win a bet, and it came out with a short handle. This meant that the heavy axe needed great strength to wield.
While Thor, as the strongest of the gods, did have the strength, he also used special gloves and a belt to enhance his strength to wield the weapon.
Mjolnir in Marvel
The origin is not the only thing that Marvel changes about Thor’s hammer in their superhero story. There is no evidence that the Vikings believed that the hammer worked like a boomerang and that it returned to the hand of Thor after it was thrown.
There is also no evidence that there were restrictions on who can lift Thor’s hammer and that only Thor, or someone worthy, could wield the weapon. There is a story in which a giant king steals the hammer, and Thor must cross-dress to disguise himself as the goddess Freya in order to get it back. But the giant does not seem to have any problem stealing and commanding the hammer.
Mjolnir Beyond the Vikings
Thor is not the only weather deity to be considered to wield a hammer-like object, and it is in fact a common theme in Indo-European religions. The Roman god Jupiter threw lightning bolts, the Celtic deity Dagda carries a club, and the Vedic god Indra has a lightning spear.
The Slavic deity Perun was also a fertility deity and a protective deity, and he wielded a hatchet axe, which was also called Mjolnir. Like Thor’s Hammer, this Mjolnir symbol was also a popular protective amulet among the people of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland.
Get Your Mjolnir
If you are looking for a genuine Viking symbol to wear to mark your affinity with the Norse culture, there is no better choice than a Thor’s Hammer symbol. Not only was it the most popular symbol worn by the Vikings throughout the height of their power, but it continued to be a symbol of allegiance to the old religion in the Christian period. So, check out the many Mjolnir symbols available in the VKNG store and embrace the protection of the god Thor in all of your endeavors. Read our jewelry store reviews!