The Shield Knot ⌘

The Shield Knot ⌘ is also called the looped square, Bowen knot, heraldic knot, and true lover's knot.  It is a symbol consisting of a square with outward pointing loops around the corners.  It is a universal symbol of protection in all cultures of the world. This symbol takes on many forms but the distinctive features that make it such a powerful protection charm are the square shape and interlacing pattern similar to a Celtic knot.

One of the earliest recorded Shield Knots was from Mesopotamia with a square and loops at each corner.  This symbol also appears in the Kabbalah as the Sherma which was used to invoke the four Archangels.  

The Shield Knot also represents love, flow, infinity and flowing water.  
This symbol belongs to the class of symbols that are called Valknute in Norway. This symbol has bone by many names with many variations and is in common use today.

This symbol was carved or painted on homes, barns and utensils in Finland protecting the owners from evil spirits and bad luck.  Northern Europe features many of these symbols on old objects.  It is carved on a picture stone from Habingbo, Gotland, Sweden created between 400 and 600 AD.

Today, this symbol can be found in the Ukraine, Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Lithuania, and Sweden indicating locations of cultural interest.  Scandinavian countries use it as a place of interest marker on information signs and maps sine the late 1960s.

Sweden calls this symbol the Sankthanskors.  Some believe it was chosen for its resemblance to an aerial view of the Borgholm Castle, however the symbol predates this castle by centuries in Scandinavian artifacts.

This symbol is featured on the cover of The Kalevala and has taken on that name as well.  The Kalevala is a 19th Century compilation of epic poetry by Elias Lonnrot based on Karelian and Finnish folklore and mythology.  Fineland achieved independence from Russia in 1917 and February 28 is now Kalevala Day created using this symbol as its identifier.

The Cox Mount Gorget symbol is very similar symbol as is the Bowen Knot which is the same symbol only using rope instead of a simple line.  Other names for this symbol are Sankthanskor, Hannunvaakuna, Gorgon Loop, Saint Hannes Cross, Saint John’s Arms, and Johanneskor.

Today I am sure you have seen it as the Apple Command Key symbol on your keyboard.  In 1984 when the Macintosh personal computer was introduced, Steve Jobs decided that using an apple for the shortcut key was overuse of the apple symbol and tasked bitmap artist, Susan Kare to appropriate a new symbol for the command key on all Macintosh computers.  She found and chose this looped square symbol she thought was representative of camping grounds of Sweden.
This symbol has been around for centuries and will be for centuries to come. 
People and nations have used this symbol for many different purposes and I wanted to share with you some of the interesting history of such a simple symbol that is anything but insignificant.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published