ARMORIAL GOLD HERALDRY SYMBOLISM LIBRARY
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WAGON (war-cart): A symbol of sovereignty, territory. The Vanir god Freyr (one of the most important gods of Norse paganism) is said to ride in a wagon annually through the country accompanied by a priestess to bless the crops. A symbol of agriculture.
WALLET: See Scrip.
WALNUT: Different nuts had their own specific symbolic qualities, for example the walnut was considered good for the brain because of its sympathetic shape. It was to some, an evil talisman but to other a symbol of intellect; stratagem.
WATER-BOUGET: See Bouget.
WEASEL: A ferocious fighter considered by some to be poisonous and unlucky. Ancient peoples believed that Weasels would attack by the thousands to avenge the death of a single Weasel. To counter this and instead of setting traps for the Weasel which threatened their livestock, they held Weasel festivals on St. Matthew's or St. Catherine's Day to honour these fierce creatures. They are symbolic of boldness and resoluteness due largely to their reputation of battling much larger enemies. The Weasels have long been considered spiritual warriors.
WEEL (fish-weel, fish basket): A device used to catch fish; fertility, abundance, resurrection.
WELL: The well was viewed as a shrine dedicated to the miraculous emergence of living water, and in most cultures was a symbol of generation, purification, and the matrix of life itself.
WHALE: This marine giant is strongly linked to the biblical story of Jonah and is an emblem of righteousness, repentance and majesty.
WHEAT: See Garb
WHEEL: The wagon wheel is symbolic of transportation, successful journeys and expeditions, and also perpetuity. Winged wheels are symbols of peace, flight, freedom and spiritual transport. There are many charges that feature wings which have their own meaning; such as a winged globe as a symbol of the holy spirit. In Heraldry a single wing is called a “demi vol” and usually enjoys the symbolism of the eagle. Associated with Hermes, the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology. The winged wheel is also a symbol of progress, seen in many contexts including the coat of arms of Panama and the logo of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. A Religious symbol of the Holy Spirit, and the continuity between old and new....
WILLOW: Known as the tree of enchantment to some and a totem of grief and mourning to others. Eastern cultures revered the willow as a symbol of beauty, grace, endurance and strength.
WINGS: Usually borne in pairs on either side of another charge and denote protection. Symbols of peace, flight, freedom and spiritual transport. There are many charges that feature wings which have their own meaning; such as a winged globe as a symbol of the holy spirit. In Heraldry a single wing is called a “demi vol” and usually enjoys the symbolism of the eagle. Associated with Hermes, the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology.
WOLF: Webster's (1828) describes the Wolf as "a beast of prey that kills sheep and other small domestic animals." Sometimes called the wild dog, the Wolf is crafty, greedy and ravenous. From mythology and story telling from all parts of the world, the Wolf has carried a sense of contradiction: a wild and fearful animal that can represent death and Satan; but at the same time a companion to the goddess Artemis and Scandinavian god, Odin. Throughout ancient history the Wolf was admired and respected as a symbol of strength, intelligence and courage. Neolithic artists duplicated its image on cave walls. Shamans sought its power. Even Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, were reportedly nurtured and raised by Wolves. Eventually, this noble legend became the "bloodthirsty savage" of European lore. Many cultures included the crafty Wolf in their legends. Vereticus, king of Wales, was converted by St. Patrick into a Wolf; it was an emblem of the tribe of Benjemin; the Chinese saw the Wolf as a guardian of the heavenly palace; in Japan the Wolf was admired for its ferocity, tenacity and swift attack, and was also considered to be from heaven and to be venerated.
WOODCHAT (Shrike): See Shrikes.
WOODCOCK: From the Middle English woodcock, of origin in the Old English words "wudu" for wood, and "cocc" for cock or bird. Highly esteemed as game birds and said to be a bird easily caught. Usually borne as a pun on the family name.
WOODPECKER: The Woodpecker is the guardian of the forest and heralds the rain and storms. Since Picas the Roman god of agriculture was famous for his divination skills and was associated with the Woodpecker, this bird became a symbol of prophecy.
WREATH: Generally a symbol of victory and to some, immortality, although a laurel wreath is a symbol of triumph, an oak laurel signified strength, rosemary, remembrance, etc.
WREN: The Druids considered the Wren 'supreme among all birds.' It was the sacred bird of the Isle of Man, formerly a shrine of the dead and the dwelling-place of the Moon Goddess who cared for pagan souls. In Scotland it was the Lady of Heaven's Hen and killing a Wren was considered extremely unlucky; however in England and in France the Wren was hunted on St Stephen's Day, where an ancient Christian ceremony took place. It is said that hunters dressed in ritual garb, hunted and killed a Wren, then hung it on a pole, taking it on a procession though the village demanding money and fortune. The Wren is generally accepted as a totem of good fortune and affluence.
WRYNECK: Name derived from the habit of twisting its neck around like a snake, when disturbed. Anciently use in the practice of divination and magic where the practitioner used a live Wryneck to cast a spell or jinx on an enemy. Those who bear it, enjoy protection, those who view it should beware.
WYVERN: The word Wyvern is an alteration of Middle English "wyvere" for viper, it is also from Old North French wivre, and a modification of Latin vipera. A mythical beast usually represented as a 2-legged winged creature similar to a dragon (much like a cockatrice but with the head of a dragon) and with wings and a barbed serpent tail. Considered a sign of strength to those who bore the symbol the Wyvern is an ancient token associated with Mercia and the old kings of Wessex. Mercia was one of the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, consisting generally of the region of the Midlands. It was settled by Angles c.500, probably first along the Trent valley. Its history emerges from obscurity with the reign of Penda, who extended his power over Wessex (645) and East Anglia (650) to gain over-lordship of England, South of the Humber River. Later, the Wyvern symbol was adopted by other societies including the Slavs and the people in the South-West Baltic. The Wyvern is symbolic of valour, strength, protection, warden-ship and dominion.
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Heraldry Symbolism Library by Armorial Gold Heraldry Services is provided as a free resource tool for Heraldry enthusiasts. The Heraldry Symbolism Library and the information contained therein, has been researched through original manuscripts and Armorial Golds own sources. The Heraldry Symbolism Library is provided as a free resource tool for Heraldry enthusiasts. Reproduction in any form is prohibited.