The Valknut, a Norse symbol associated with Odin, comprises three interlocking triangles and is known as the ‘knot of the slain’ or the ‘heart of the slain.’ 

Found on Viking Age artifacts, its meaning is subject to interpretation. Some view it as representing the cyclical nature of life, death, and the afterlife, while others associate it with Odin’s role in guiding warriors to Valhalla. 

The Valknut has gained popularity as a tattoo, chosen for its aesthetic appeal and symbolic significance. 

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You’d often select it to express a connection to Norse mythology, appreciation for the Viking Age, or personal beliefs related to strength and the cycle of life and death.

Let’s delve into the topic “what is the meaning of a Valknut tattoo”.

What is the Meaning of a Valknut Tattoo?

valknut norse mythology

Source: Britannica

The Valknut is a compelling symbol deeply rooted in Norse mythology, particularly associated with the god Odin. 

Its name is derived from Old Norse, where “valr” translates to “slain warriors,” and “knut” means “knot.” Also known as the “knot of the slain” or the “heart of the slain,” the Valknut consists of three interlocking triangles. 

This distinctive design has historical significance and is found on various artifacts from the Viking Age, such as runestones and objects associated with Norse culture.

The symbolism of the Valknut is open to interpretation, and its exact meaning remains elusive. 

One prevalent theory suggests that the symbol represents the interconnectedness of life, death, and the afterlife. 

The three interlocking triangles could possibly signify the cyclical nature of existence and the eternal cycle of life and death. Some associate the Valknut with the concept of fate and the inevitable journey of the soul.

Another significant association links the Valknut to Odin, the Allfather in Norse mythology. Odin is revered as a complex deity with roles that include being a god of wisdom, poetry, and war. 

Additionally, Odin is the leader of the Aesir and is closely associated with Valhalla, the mythical hall where heroic warriors go after death. The Valknut could symbolize Odin’s power over life and death, suggesting a connection to his ability to select and guide the slain warriors to Valhalla.

This symbol has become a popular choice for tattoos, often chosen for its aesthetic appeal and the rich history it carries. 

You may opt for the Valknut as a tattoo to express a connection to Norse mythology, an appreciation for the Viking Age, or to convey personal beliefs related to the cycle of life and death. 

Others may choose the Valknut as a symbol of strength, resilience, and a reminder of the interconnectedness of various aspects of life.

Interpretations and Variations of the Valknut Tattoo

The symbol has been adapted in various art forms, evolving to incorporate different styles and creative interpretations.

Beyond its historical and cultural significance, the Valknut holds personal and spiritual meanings for those who choose to adorn it permanently. It often symbolizes strength, courage, and the willingness to confront challenges head-on. 

Some may also see it as a reminder of the impermanence of life and the importance of embracing every moment.

10 Valknut Tattoo Design Ideas

Blackwork Valknut Tattoo Design

Characterized by bold and classic designs using only black ink, this style employs clean lines and stark contrasts to create a powerful and striking Valknut tattoo.

Dotwork Valknut Tattoo Design

Utilizing small dots, this style allows for intricate and detailed Valknut designs. Alternatively, it can be approached with a more minimalist perspective, offering a range of possibilities in terms of complexity.

Linework Valknut Tattoo Design

Using thin lines, linework can result in delicate and elegant Valknut tattoos or take on a bolder, graphic appearance. This versatility allows for a wide range of stylistic choices.

Celtic Valknut Tattoo Design

Integrating traditional Celtic knots and designs into the Valknut creates a visually appealing fusion, adding a touch of cultural heritage to the tattoo and enhancing its symbolic meaning.

Tribal Valknut Tattoo Design

Bold and stylized lines and shapes define the tribal style, resulting in eye-catching Valknut tattoos that exude a powerful and distinctive presence.

Watercolor Valknut Tattoo Design

Employing washes of color, watercolor-style Valknut tattoos achieve a soft and ethereal effect, delivering a beautiful and unique visual impact.

Realistic Valknut Tattoo Design

Aimed at creating a lifelike representation, realistic Valknut tattoos showcase intricate details, offering an impressive and visually captivating rendition of the symbol.

Minimalist Valknut Tattoo Design

Embracing simplicity, the minimalist style uses few lines and details to create a clean and elegant Valknut design, allowing for a subtle yet meaningful expression.

Geometric Valknut Tattoo Design

Employing geometric shapes and patterns, this modern style produces eye-catching Valknut tattoos that boast a contemporary and visually stimulating appearance.

Abstract Valknut Tattoo Design

Departing from literal representation, the abstract style uses creative shapes and lines to evoke the meaning of the Valknut, resulting in a unique and inventive interpretation of the symbol.

Aftercare Tips

  • Keep it clean and dry: Wash the tattoo gently with unscented antibacterial soap and warm water 2-3 times a day for the first week. Avoid soaking it in baths, showers, or swimming pools for at least 2 weeks.
  • Pat it dry thoroughly: Don’t rub the tattoo, as this can irritate it. Use a clean, lint-free cloth or paper towel to gently pat it dry.
  • Moisturize regularly: Once the tattoo is dry, apply a thin layer of fragrance-free, oil-free moisturizer. Look for ointments recommended by your tattoo artist. Avoid petroleum jelly, as it can trap moisture and bacteria.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing: Tight clothing can irritate the tattoo and prevent it from healing properly. Wear loose, breathable clothing made from natural fibers like cotton.
  • Avoid sun exposure: Direct sunlight can damage the tattoo and make it fade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure for at least 4 weeks, and always use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when outdoors.
  • Don’t pick, scratch, or itch: This can damage the tattoo and increase the risk of infection. If the tattoo itches, resist the urge to scratch and gently pat it instead.
  • Avoid saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms: These can irritate the tattoo and hinder healing. Wait at least 4 weeks before using these facilities.


In conclusion, the Valknut tattoo encapsulates a rich tapestry of meanings deeply rooted in Norse mythology and history. 

Its symbolism extends beyond the ancient past, resonating with individuals seeking a connection to their roots, a sense of protection, or a reminder of life’s transient nature. 

As this enigmatic symbol continues to capture the imagination of tattoo enthusiasts worldwide, the Valknut remains a powerful emblem, weaving together threads of spirituality, heritage, and personal conviction.