© Lori Lappin, the Witch of WITCHCRAFTS ARTISAN ALCHEMY®
One way to decode the meaning of the Valknut, an iconic symbol of Odin and Odin's power, is to envision it as representing the successful personal psycho-synthesis of the three spiritual orders of consciousness characteristic of the shaman and shamanic practice. For example, the three spiritual orders in Celtic Druidry are Ovate, Bard and Druid. In Hebrew Kabbalah, the three orders are Prophet, Psalmist and Judge. In Old Norse Germanic Tradition, the three orders are Völva, Bragi (Braga-men or Braga-women) and Lawspeaker. Broadly, the three levels correspond to the skills of Divination (pattern-seeing), Arts and Teaching. In terms of witch-crafting, these spiritual levels can be understood to correspond to the natural and ever evolving abilities of the soul (interestingly called a witch* in Hebrew Kabbalah) to properly apprehend, to bind or unbind as desired, and to cast into emerging reality the deep sublime energies of the Cosmos.
In terms of societal function, these orders name the Seers (those with the power of foresight and pattern seeing), the Artists (those who excel at all manner of poetry, skillful craftsmanship and building) and the Philosophers (the visionaries who evolve new ideas and ways of thinking, the teachers and founders of the future). Odin's Valknut symbolizes the expert shaman who has powerfully developed within him/herself all of these three evolutionary levels of shamanic practice.
In Norse Germanic Tradition, the Valknut is a sigil which catalyzes and drives this psycho-synthesis of shamanic consciousness - it is the sigil of the Mastermind. As visualized in the graphic above, the encircling river of runes (or likewise any mystical alphabet particular to a particular culture) symbolizes the fundamental and elementary forces of the Cosmos with which Consciousness and Reality are themselves master crafted. Each of the three points on the inner circle making contact with a unique triangle (of thoughtful awareness, acquired emotive understanding and mode of directed action) reminds us that shamanic time is not linear (as we perceive it as incarnate beings experiencing normative, everyday awareness). Indeed, Consciousness itself creates time - time is a construct of Consciousness itself pulling order out of chaos (in which All Time reverberates). The outer circle represents the event horizon in mystical consciousness beyond which there is no-thing (called Ginnungagap in Germanic Tradition, Ein in Hebrew Kabbalah). The runes (like all mystical alphabets) are the fundamental energetic building blocks of all potential consciousness and reality. The inner circle represents the event horizon boundary between new emergent consciousness and reality in potentia and newly revealed consciousness and reality made manifest.
The Valknut may also be understood to symbolize a perfect actualized unity of the powers of rational thought, intuitive feeling and physical sensation. In other words, the shaman is whole - this wholeness is conducive to powerful magic-making and more importantly, catalyzes, empowers and supports the continued evolution of the consciousness of the tribe or community the shaman serves.
*"And now the sorcerer depends on these techniques, and therefore, every soul is a witch." Meditation and Kabbalah, Aryeh Kaplan, page 103