The Helm of Awe or Ægishjálmur (EYE-gis-hiowl-mer) was one of the most mysterious symbols to the Vikings and Norse mythology. People regard it as a powerful and mystical symbol. The main power that people know about the Helm of Awe was its protection for the wearers.
The Design of Helm of Awe
The Helm of Awe consisted of eight spikes that radiated out like they were protecting the central point. This design stroke and instilled fear into whoever looked at it. The spikes acted as if they were defending the central dot against any hostile forces surrounding.
The construction of each spike, as people believe, had some connection with Runes, the Viking magical alphabet.
The arms of the symbol resembled the Z rune. Though the original name of the rune remained a mystery, many materials give it the name of “Algiz”. Actually, this runic letter was used for protection from the foes and the defense for the beloved ones. The lines that were perpendicular to the arms of the symbol might have been the Isa runes. This rune meant “ice” though the main power of it was unknown.
However, some people assume that this rune in the Helm of Awe helped increase the fear and power. Because it could be connected with cold spirit and darkness that could freeze anyone. In Norse mythology, the name Ægishjálmur was derived from the god of the ocean of Jotunheim, the land of the giant, Aegir. The land of Jotunheim was the land of frost, cold, and darkness, so the link between the Isa rune and Helm of Awe was quite reasonable. With the runes that formed the Helm of Awe, the protective and destructive power of the symbol was difficult for anyone to ignore it.
How Helm of Awe Used?
I wore before the sons of men
In defense of my treasure;
Amongst all, I alone was strong,
I thought to myself,
For I found no power a match for my own.
That is the poem that can let us know how powerful the Helm of Awe symbol can be. According to the myth, the dragon Fafnir, who once was a dwarf but cursed to become a dragon, declared that he was invincible and no one could ever beat him as long as he wore the symbol of Helm of Awe on his head. So that somehow could reason the meaning of the poem.
In the Viking age, many warriors wore the symbol of Helm of Awe when they joined the battles. Because they believed that the symbol would give them the protection to step over any danger in the combats. Moreover, it would give them the courage and strength to win any foes. Thereby, the Helm of Awe became a spiritual protection for the warriors who were skillful but they still wished for luck and protection in their battles.