Over the past few years the Vegvísir has become increasingly popular as a tattoo design. It's a stunning design which lends itself particularly well to black work.
A Vegvísir is an ancient Icelandic magical stave which 'seeks to help the bearer find their way during stormy times'. Originally intended to help in actual stormy weather it has now taken on a more metaphorical meaning and is seen as a protective symbol for protection during the journey of life in general. Björk famously has a Vegvísir tattoo on her arm, and it is now found more and more in global tribal tattoo design. The pictured tattoo was done by our friend and incredible black work tattoo artist ; Neil Bass of Tattoo_FX It fuses Samoan styles with the Vegvisir.
Many people think it is a Viking symbol, but it was actually first seen in the 17th century Icelandic grimoire called Galdrabók (‘magic book’) hundreds of years after the Vikings had disappeared. The symbol is identified in the Huld Manuscript (pictured), put together in Iceland by Geir Vigfusson in 1880. It says that "if this sign is carried, one will never lose one's way in storms or bad weather, even when the way is not known" So it's actually a form of Icelandic 'witchcraft' which seems to have been picked up later by the ancient Germanic runic tradition.
Another symbol depicted in the Galdrabók and which has become even more popular in tattoos, is the ‘helm of awe’ (below).This magical sign gives it's bearer the ability to strike an enemy with fear and supposedly grants great magical powers!
We have silver plated Vegvísir pendants available ;-) Grab one for protection against storms and to help you find the way!