On the right you can see a page from the book Zinnebeelden in Nederland bodaly W. van Heemskerck Düker and H. van Houten (1943). The word “zinnebeeld” can be translated as “symbol”, but it is not entirely the same as the Dutch word “symbool”.

In any case, the text reads:


Very closely connected to Sun-symbols, that we discussed before, is the Odal-rune. We know this rune in a large number of variations. These variations can mainly be reduced to two ground forms, the old odal- or odil-rune and the so-called new odal-rune.

The ground form of the old odal- or odil-rune consists of two circles, connected by a straight line. Derivations hereof are the double spiral, the double square, also connected by a straight line, and the S-form, while the wolfs-angle possibly can be connected as well.

The authors mention two very different kinds of symbolism: sun-symbolism and the Odal rune, which can rather be connected to earth, land, property, homeland, ancestor ground, the place where the ancestors are now.

The two circles could be the sun on the summer and winter solstice. The Odal, like I said, is more of an earth symbol. Both explanations have been put forward for two symbols of the Picts (or perhaps it is one symbol). Many different Pictish symbols have been found and a symbol reminding of the old Odal is one of them. Investigators usually refer to this symbol as “double disc”. In the Pictish variety the discs are not always connected by a single line. There can be two lines, or the space between (and within) the discs has been filled up with ornaments.

More famous is the enigmatic symbol usually called “double disc and Z-rod”, see below. There you have the connected discs again, but then with some sort or arrow over them that appear to indicate a direction. Investigators have suggested it may be a broken spear. Another thinks that when the two circles refer to the sun at two solstices, the arrow could be the sun’s ‘steps’: summer solstice, autumn equinox, winter solstice. Half a year, since the ancestors only used summer and winter to divide a year.

Three steps over a symbol that can refer to the land of the ancestors. Does that make you wonder too?

z rod for double disc.aipictgolspie

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