Several of the Viking Runes are ideographic, which means the symbol represents an idea rather than a specific letter or sound. Tiwaz is perhaps the best example of this, as the rune looks like the spear it’s meant to represent. Tiwaz is the rune for Tyr, the Norse God known for granting warriors victory in battle. Tyr is also known for sacrificing his hand to bind Fenrir, the wolf who will swallow the sun when Ragnarok comes again. Today, the Tiwaz rune is used to represent justice, a sense of duty, and honor.
Understanding Tiwaz: A Look at the Historical Record
Tiwaz appears in all three Rune poems, as well as in the Poetic Edda, which is a collection of Old Norse poems.
This is from Sigrdrífumál, a poem in the Poetic Edda:
if thou longest to win,
And the runes on thy sword-hilt write;
Some on the furrow,
and some on the flat,
And twice shalt thou call on Tyr.
Here’s the Old Norwegian Rune Poem reference, which acknowledges what happened when Tyr lost his hand to Fenrir:
Tyr is a one-handed god;
often has the smith to blow.
The Old Icelandic reads:
Tyr = god with one hand
and leavings of the wolf
and prince of temples.
In the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, we read:
(?) is a (guiding) star; well does it keep faith
with princes; it is ever on its course
over the mists of night and never fails.
Tyr is the Runic Letter T.
Yes, Racists Rune Everything
Historically, the Tiwaz rune was used on German uniforms during WW2. Subsequently it has been adopted and used by some far-right hate groups and terrorist organizations.
However, as evidenced by the 2018 Norwegian Ski Team, who wore Tiwaz in their uniform design, the rune can be worn by people who are in good faith seeking victory. All of our rune products, including the Tiwaz rune pendant and pocket rune sets, are offered in the spirit of love and inclusivity.