The Hammer of Thor

Yesterday was my birthday and my husband gifted me with an iron Thor’s hammer pendant. I haven’t been wearing a lot of jewelry of late, but this feels good, a solid, comforting weight at my throat and it’s got me really thinking about what the Thor’s hammer stands for and why so many Heathens choose to wear it as a symbol of our tradition.

For those of you who may not know the story, Mjölnir (the name means ‘crusher’ or ‘grinder’) is one of the key attributes of the God Thor. It is often associated both etymologically and folklorically with the thunderbolt. Thor is the son of Odin and the earth Goddess Fjörgyn. He is a God of strength and power, thunder, lightening, and is above all else, the Protector of Midgard. Midgard is our human world. Thor, with His hammer wards the world against destruction and dissolution. He protects it from the forces of entropy and unproductive chaos. Likewise He protects the realms of the Gods against attack.

Thor received His hammer thanks to the machinations of Loki. The story is told in the Skáldskaparmál, part of the “Poetic Edda,” and involves quite a bit of back and forth between Loki and the Duergar, the best craftsmen in all the nine worlds. In many respects the hammer is the repository and symbol of Thor’s protective might and is as strongly associated with Him as Brisingamen is with Freya.

So what does all of that mean?

It is grounding power. Thor’s presence is one of a vital, fierce rootedness, massive and crackling with energy. That’s how it always seems to me at any rate. When I think on what it means to call upon the power of this God, it’s that grounded strength, the ability to remain unmoved no matter what the incoming storm. He is the God Whose presence shatters the force of an attack before it even finds its target. Not only is He fierce enough to ward off and repel harm, but His very presence wards and protects oneself and one’s space from harm, by its very nature. When He is present that which would do us harm cannot be.

The strength of Thor, for that is what the hammer symbolizes, contains the Holy. It readies the space and protects the space in which the Holy may root itself and grow. It protects the viability and integrity of our tradition. It ensures its growth just like the thunder ensures the growth of the grain*; and like that, it stands for our commitment to our tradition, to our Gods, and to the next generation. It is the emblem of perseverance regardless of difficulty or struggle. It is an emblem of vitality, the smoldering warmth of the hearth fire of devotion that, well tended, can blaze into a bonfire that nourishes us even through the most difficult of times.

Finally, it is a symbol of unity, connecting us all, regardless of our denominations and whatever infighting we may have within our tradition, to the Gods with we honor.


*thunderstorms are almost indispensible for grain to ripen—I don’t understand the alchemy but it apparently fixes the nitrogen and this is important in the growth process of grain. Yada yada yada because science. ^___^ I am not a farmer but I do think this is neat.

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at

Posted on March 29, 2016, in Heathenry, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. This is the a good article on Thor and His Hammer. It seems to explain “Saint” Boniface’s reasons for wanting the Donar Tree cut down at all cost. With Thor in the way, he would not succeed in his mission. The tree, I think, was probably an important communication system between Thor and the people who worshipped Him. A lot of spirituality was invested in that tree, I suppose. With the tree cut down, so was the investment. However, Boniface got killed later in the area now called The Netherlands. He held up his Bible to protect him, and it did not help; poetic justice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a very beautiful pendant. Hail Thor!

    Liked by 2 people

    • ganglerisgrove

      that’s actually not the one he gave me. lol. it’s from wiki commons (i have this one pictured here…my mom gave it to me). i was just too lazy to take one of my new hammer.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As a devotee of Thor I found this a beautiful read. 🙂

    Question though, it’s come up that the Mjolnir symbol could also have been seen as a phallic fertility symbol. Wondered what your thoughts were there?

    Personally though to me it’s all the things you’ve said above.

    And you’re one of the few authors I’ve seen who mentions Thor’s wisdom.. It seems too many people sadly have the ‘Thor smash’ image in their heads. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    • ganglerisgrove

      I think it absolutely could be seen as a fertility symbol. THere’s some evidence it was placed in the lap of a bride to guarantee fertility (i can’t tell you where i read that….it’s one of the random things floating around my memory lol) and if we look at the thunder/grain symbolism, that’s a double indicator of fertility.

      One of Thor’s names was “Deep Minded,” and He wins a contest of wit with a very, very wise Duerg. It bothers me too when people paint Him as all brawn and no brains! Plus…it’s a God.


  4. Ah, yes, the weddings, I remember that! I think a lot of people associate storm gods with fertility in general both then and now.

    And you’re right – it’s really annoying when people have a one dimension view of a god, or of any deity. He’s a god, not a frat boy, lol. That’s one of the reasons that the ‘lore thumping, deny that personal experience exists’ approach is an issue. Of course people won’t see all the depth of someone if they’re content to experience them only through reading words on a page. 😦

    Not to mention that those words came through other humans to begin with :p

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Specifically, lightnigh strikes fix nitrogen in the soil partly because of conductivity and fungus and other things all interacting in one super-charged moment. It’s pretty cool, if you’ve ever had the chance to see the difference between the field that got struck and the field that didn’t. (*is a farmer.)

    Excellent choice of design, by the way. I appreciate the re-created style even though for myself I prefer the more modernized version. (Mine’s got a goat head on it! 😀 )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. After reading this article, I was reminded that after Ragnarök, Thor’s sons Móði and Magni will find Mjölnir. This is important because it means a recovering process for the world and the continuation of the cycle.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahhh Thor my sweet wonderful protective Thor I do still love Him. He helped me when I was in an abusive marriage (mental,emotional with threats of physical violence but he never actually hit me)
    As a side benefit of His benevolent presence in my life at that time my gardens grew like mad. Every seed I planted grew.

    Nice Hammer. Great gift.
    may Thor always be at your side.
    Blessings now and always

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yay Thor! He’s blessing my garden with a nice thunderstorm right now. I like to give him a beer whenever he does. We’re getting into the spring rainy season now, so everything is very green outside.


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