Thor's Hammer – Myth and Meanings

In Norse mythology Thor was the God of Thunder and the God of War and he carried a short handled hammer or Mjolnir, crafted by Dwarves, which he used to smash the heads of his enemies, especially Giants. The hammer was so heavy that in order to wield it, he had to wear a special belt, Meginjord, to boost his strength and iron gloves to enable him to lift it. When thrown, the hammer magically returned to the person who threw it. Mjolnir literally translated means crusher and in some literature is referred to as a club or axe.

Thor travelled in a chariot pulled by goats, which he would eat when hungry and then bring back to life with his hammer, very handy! The most notable story in Norse Mythology relating to Thor is when the King Of The Giants steals his hammer and refuses to return it until the Goddess Freyja agrees to marry him. (Something she does not want to do!). Thor is persuaded to disguise himself as Freyja in a bridal gown and veil and attend the wedding feast. The King Of The Giants becomes a little suspicious when he notices how voracious his bride to be's appetite is. But he is reassured that it is simply bridal nerves that has stopped her eating for 8 days! He also notices that she has red, fiery eyes, but again this is excused as lack of sleep due to excitement. Thor gets his chance and slays the Giant King and his followers when the King demands that Thor's Hammer be brought to his bride to bless her.

In the Viking age the symbol of Thor's Hammer was popular as an amulet and worn for luck and protection. The Vikings were especially influenced by Thor's reputation as ferocious in battle and his hammer symbolised this warlike quality. They were also found in graves and were used as a symbol of defiance against the newly emerging conversion to Christianity in many areas of Norway, Denmark and Sweden. It is still worn today as a Germanic Neo-Pagan symbol and to a lesser extent by heavy rock fanatics, goths, bikers and Pagans.