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08.11.2019

The troll cross

Also called a trollkors, a Troll Cross is said to ward off the dangerous sorts of magics. In particular, they ward off evil trolls– which are admittedly a big problem in Norse mythology.

Unlike our other runes, there’s not a strong archeological record of the Troll Cross in Norse graves. In fact, it was reportedly first created by a smith from Dalarna, Sweden in the 1990s. Kari Erlands turned the symbol into jewelry after reportedly finding it in her grandparents’ home.

In fact, the symbol does strongly resemble the Odal or Othala rune– and it would make sense that Kari might have found that in her grandparents’ home: it’s the symbol for, ‘estate, heritage, or inheritance.’ Prior to the 20th century, it was often used to denote the home, family, and all that came with it. Kari said that she found it in her grandparents’ barn and it was a common symbol in their day to put it around where the cows were to protect them from trolls. That report has never been verified and it’s caused a lot of skeptical speculation among folklorists. But there is another reason why it raises even more eyebrows in the modern era.

During World War II, a certain group that was super into their race and heritage adopted the Odal rune as their own. That’s right– the Nazis. In fact, an Odal rune with little feet on the end was the symbol of the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen, a mounted infantry division conscripted from Eastern Europe. Following the war, it made its way to various Neo-Nazi and hate groups throughout the decades, including the White Liberation Movement, the most far-right organization in South Africa.

But worry not. Wearing the Troll Cross won’t put you in league with neo-Nazis. Astaru practicers unaffiliated with Neo-Nazis use both the footed and un-footed rune as a symbol of their religion and culture. The symbol has also cropped up in modern fantasy tropes– in the recent TV show, Sleepy Hollow, as well as Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter novels.

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