Have you ever heard of the Helm of Awe, or as the Vikings called it, Ægishjálmur? It's not your typical Viking helmet; it's more like a supercharged symbol of protection and inner strength.
According to ancient poetry, like the Fáfnismál from the Poetic Edda, wearing the Helm of Awe was believed to give you an extra dose of courage and shield you from harm during tough times, especially in battle.
Fast forward to today, and this symbol still packs a punch – not against physical enemies, but in the fight against negative energy.
It's like a little reminder that you've got the power and resilience to face whatever life throws your way.
What Is The Helm of Awe Symbol, And What Does It Mean?
The Helm of Awe, a.k.a. the Helm of Terror or Ægishjálmur pronounced “EYE-gis-hiowlm-er", is such a fascinating stave symbol from Norse mythology and first appears thanks to Snorri Sturluson and the Huld manuscript from 1847.
It consists of a set of interlocking runes that form an eight-armed wheel-like shape. Its purpose is not to provide tangible physical protection, like a magical helmet as mentioned to have been taken by Sigurd, but rather to invoke a sense of inner strength, courage, and spiritual protection from energetic or emotional harm. Think of helm as in those connotations of leaders, at the front, ready to organise and tackle any challenges.
In traditional Viking times, there isn't an abundance of archaeological evidence suggesting the widespread usage of the Helm of Awe but many symbols and artifacts from the Viking Age have been lost to time, and our understanding of their culture is still evolving. The absence of physical evidence doesn't necessarily mean these symbols weren't used.
The resurgence of the Helm of Awe and other Norse symbols in recent times is primarily attributed to a renewed interest in Viking culture, folklore, and mythology. From Vikings with Ragnar Lothbrok, to the amazing museums of Iceland, Norway and Denmark, to tracing our ancestral histories, modern folks interests in the nordic living is ignited. Sigils and symbols have become popular in contemporary culture, often associated with notions of strength, courage, and protection. People today find inspiration in the rich stories and legends of the Norse tradition, which includes symbols like the Helm of Awe.
In a way, these symbols have transcended their historical context to become modern emblems of strength and resilience. They resonate with people, serving as a reminder of their inner power and the ability to face life's challenges with courage. Something of note however; please be sensitive to the fact that some symbols can hold cultural significance for people. I have to mention the importance of respecting the cultural context while using these symbols, especially in our practice of witchcraft, and especially with the troubles relating to right-wing and racist groups using many Asatru symbols.
So while the Helm of Awe may not have been used in the past, its significance and popularity have grown in more recent times, symbolizing the enduring fascination with Viking heritage and the universal human need for protection and inner strength.
How Can We Use The Helm of Awe In A Modern Witchcraft Practice?
The Helm of Awe can be used in so many ways, especially for those who want to use it in protective glamour magick. Witches can hang the Helm of Awe on doors, windows, or even their Book of Shadows to create protective wards. Use this symbol to act as barriers, preventing negative energies or unwanted influences from entering your sacred space. This practice serves to maintain the sanctity of your magickal work, and provides a sense of protection.
We don't have to go into dark territory either. Incorporating the Helm of Awe into your meditation and visualization exercises can be a powerful means of invoking its protective qualities. During meditation, you could visualize the symbol forming an impenetrable shield around you, warding off any negativity or harm. Maintaining this regular visualization work could instill a deep sense of inner strength and security.
In candle magic, why not use it as a guide so you can carve or draw the Helm of Awe onto a protective candle. As the candle burns, its flame could amplify the symbol's protective energy if that is your intention. Focus your intention on the symbol by visualizing it as a source of protection, thereby imbuing the candle with its qualities. This could be perfect to practice before going into an exam, or for heading into a job interview, as a way to fuel your confidence.
Another way you could use it is by putting it into your spellwork. Create a spell bag specifically for fuelling your inner strength and courage. You could include the Helm of Awe pendant or draw it onto a small piece of paper, along with other protective herbs and crystals, like black tourmaline or rosemary. Hold the spell bag in your hands while visualizing yourself surrounded by a powerful barrier of protection. Carry this bag with you as a talisman for strength and resilience throughout the day.
Alternatively, you could use your pendant as a way to open and close circles at the beginning of rituals. By invoking the Helm of Awe as you cast a circle, you can create a protective space for your magickal work. You could duplicate the energy by drawing the stave on the ground of your ritual in chalk and salt.
For those who practice divination, the Helm of Awe can be integrated into tarot decks or scrying tools. Drawing the symbol on these tools can create a connection to its protective qualities, aiding the practitioner in accessing their intuition and providing protection during readings. Wrap your pendant chain around your deck or tool, or rest it on the top to charge with intent - divination doesn't need to be all future foreshadowing, but providing a safer space to shed insight about yourself and your surroundings.
By adapting the Helm of Awe symbol to your individual practices, we can harness its energetic significance and infuse it with your own intent for protection. It serves as a versatile tool that can provide a sense of security, warding off negativity, and helping practitioners maintain their magical and spiritual well-being. In the comments below, leave how you use the Helm of Awe in your practice - we would love to hear from you!