A Norse charm also known as the Vegvísir, the Viking compass derives its name from an ancient Icelandic manuscript.
The symbol became known as “the sign post,” a charm to guide one through treacherous weather and terrain without getting lost.
In recent years the Viking compass has sparked new interest, and is now a much-revered tattoo subject.
The Viking compass consists of eight staves branching out from a shared point, with each stave representing a cardinal or intermediate direction. Each stave point ends in a unique symbol believed by Norse scholars to be a protective rune.
While some depictions of the Viking compass have all the staves sharing an equal length, other adaptations show a variation depending on each direction. It is generally believed that the length of the staves does not deter from the charm’s central meaning, with artists and historians alike stressing only that the prospective tattoo wearer make sure they’re picking an accurate design.
The Viking compass tattoo can be a powerful symbol to honor one’s lineage or bestow guidance and protection upon one’s self. Just as the Vikings were unflinching warriors and adventure-seekers, they were also bound by a deep loyalty to their communities and loved ones. The man who wears the Viking compass does not run from battle nor stray too far from his purpose, but cuts his own path and leads the way for others.
You may have to explain the compass’s origins to the uninitiated, but once you do it is highly unlikely you will be forgotten.