Thor’s Hammer, called Mjolnir (pronounced ‘Miol-neer’) is perhaps one of the best known and historically most important of all Norse mythology symbols. It was the primary weapon of Thor, the Viking God of Thunder who guarded Asgard where the main tribe of Norse gods and goddesses, Aesir had their home.
The origin of the hammer’s name, Mjolnir is not very clear. Some scholars trace it to the verb ‘Molva’, which means ‘to smash’. Most of the others associate it with the Welsh ‘Mellt’, Russsian ‘Molnija’ and Old Slavic ‘Mlunji’, all of them interpreted as ‘lightning’.
The Norse myths depict Thor’s Hammer, Mjolnir as a very powerful weapon that could even level mountains. It was said to return (just like a boomerang) after being thrown. The hammer is supposed to have been crafted by Brokkr and Sindri, two dwarven brothers from Svartalfheim.
Besides being a fearsome weapon, Thor’s Hammer was also used as a ceremonial object. It played an important role in hallowing and consecration rituals. The Mjolnir was supposed to have the power to ensure the community’s well-being and was used for blessing all important ceremonies happening in the community, including births, marriages, and, even funerals.
Thus, Thor’s Hammer not only represented destructive power but was also a symbol of protection and security from the evil and violent forces. Thor’s Hammer amulets were often worn as a symbol of healing and protection. Even today, Mjolnir pendants are worn as religious symbols around the world by those who practice the Germanic Neopagan faiths.
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