What is the Significance of a Hammer for Thor?

Quinn Pedrick, Managing Editor

I’ve wondered what the significance of an object that is commonly used for hanging pictures on the wall was to the Norse when they told their stories of Thor, the gods of Asgard, and the rest of the nine realms. What did a hammer mean to the Norse for it to be a symbol of great power?

Mjolnir is the hammer of Thor who is the Norse god of thunder, protector of the main tribe of the gods, the Aesir, from giants of the other realms. Mjolnir is a symbol of power and protection in Norse mythology because it harnesses the power of lightning and is wielded by one of the most powerful gods.

Mjolnir was said to be able to level mountains, defeat giants, and bring down strikes of one billion volts on command when wielded by its Viking master. The hammer itself holds so much power that it cannot be lifted by anyone who is not worthy.

Mjolnir’s origin is not quite clear to many scholars. According to Ancient-Symbols.com, some believe it traces back to the verb ‘Molva’ which means ‘to smash’ while others believe that it comes from the Welsh ‘Mellt’, Russian ‘Molnija’, and Old Slavic ‘Mlunji’ which all are interpreted as ‘lightning.’ I think all of these would refer to a lightning rod of a hammer in any culture.

According to legend, Thor’s Hammer was created by two dwarven brothers, Brokkr and Sindri, from Svartalvheim. Dwarves are typically perceived as the crafters of the realms and forgers of the gods’ weapons. Brokkr and Sindri were basically the dwarves who determined a hammer only worthy of Thor was the best suited weapon for a god of such power.

“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,” Ancient-Symbols.com stated.

Mjolnir wasn’t only a symbol of fear towards enemies but a symbol of safety and protection for the Norse community. Nowadays, the symbol of the hammer has been placed on amulets worn by religious groups of the Germanic Neopagan faiths as ways to feel safe and protected.

There really was no significance in why a hammer above all other weapons was so important for such a mighty god, but the way his weapon was interpreted and portrayed gave people a sense of security they may have not felt otherwise. Mythology was once religion to past people and what we call stories used to be thought of as truths that they needed for sanity, for clarity, in a time where explanation was only imagination. Mjolnir is much more than a hammer. It is strength, security, and, above all, hope.