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The Helm of Awe

Drawing a helm of awe

The helm of awe (aegishjalmr in Old Norse) appears in the Poetic Edda in connection with Fafnir and the Otter's Ransom, which Sigurd takes when he kills the serpent. In the Eddas, it is an actual helm, but in the magical workings of the Icelandic people, it becomes a sign. Stephen Flowers (Edred Thorrson) describes it as a "cross-like configuration, which in its simplest form is made up of what appear to be four younger M-runes or elder Z-runes."

In the Galdrabok, the uses of the helm of awe are many and varied. Some of the uses include these:

  • Against fainting and pestilence of livestock (spell 7)
  • To win a girl's love (spell 8)
  • A washing verse, which is a purification/banishing (spell 25)
  • To disperse the wrath of men (spell 26)
  • Against wrath (spell 41)
  • To be sure of victory when meeting an enemy (spell 2, Arnason collection)

My method of making these is simple. Draw the figure beginning with the vertical line, from top to bottom, then the crossbar, from left to right. Place the tines on the top line, then the right line, then the bottom line, then the left line. While drawing the helm of awe, hum the sound "Mmmmmmm" until completion, particularly vibrating in the back of the throat.

Helm of Awe (version 1)           |           Helm of Awe (version 2)
Both versions are attested.

--from the Galdrabok and my own inspiration

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