Jera

Jera

“Patience up to a point. Know your time, but work your wyrd always.”

Jera – “Yehr-ah” – Literally: “Year” – Esoteric: Harvest

Rune of harvest and reward for, or reaction to, right actions in a horizontal (naturally ordered) cyclical process. Rune of peace on the land and in the heart.

Psi: psychological time, patience, the measurement of time

Energy: good harvest, orbits, cycles, progress, biorhythms, right effort

Mundane: waiting, gardening, farming, the seasons, harvest

Divinations: Reward for positive action, plenty, peace, proper timing; or repetition, bad timing, poverty, conflict, regression.

Governs:
Fertility, creativity and harmony with the land
Peace, prosperity and plenty
Realization of the cyclical nature of the multiverse, invoking the power of time and cycles
Bringing other concepts gently into material manifestation
Initiating gradual and lasting change in flow of life

Isa

Isa

 

“Ice only appears to stop a river’s flow.”

Isa – “Iss-ah” – Literally: “Ice” – Esoteric: Stasis, Stillness

Rune of concentration of things in a static or frozen state. Rune of stillness and the Ego-Self.

Psi: 
mental faculties, focus, ego, self-image/self-identity

Energy:
 stillness, contraction, stasis

Mundane: cold, self-preservation, harsh reality

Divinations: Concentrated self, ego-consciousness, self-control, unity of being; or egomania, dullness, blindness, dissipation, immobility, self-centeredness, lack of change, psychopathy.

Governs: 

Development of concentration, will and focus
Halting of unwanted dynamic forces as an act of self-defense (ard against demonic influences)
Basic ego integration within a balanced multiversal system
Power of control and constraint over other wights (entities), emotional outbursts
Focus of the will into single-minded action

Nauthiz

Nauthiz

“Consciousness is the Necessity.”
“That which does not destroy me makes me stronger.” – Nietzsche

Nauthiz – “Not-this” – Literally: “Need-fire” or “Necessity” – Esoteric: Constraint, Friction

Key Concepts: Need, resistance, constraint, conflict, drama, effort, necessity, urgency, hard work, need-fire, life lessons, creative friction, distress, force of growth, the consequence of past action, short term pain for long term gain

Psi: resistance, need, effort

Energy: necessity, coming forth into being, urgency

Mundane: doing what must be done, chores, hard work

Divinations: Resistance (leading to strength), recognition of örlög (ultimate law, primal truth), innovation, need-fire (self-reliance), personal development and life lessons, achievement through effort; or constraint of freedom, distress, toil, drudgery, laxity, warnings, worry, guilt, moral cowardice, unfulfilled or unrecognized needs.

Governs:

Overcoming distress or negative örlög
Acceptance of the unchangeable
Development of magical will, the manipulation of wyrd
Understanding the dynamic force of “resistance” in the process of creating
The generation of creative energy for problem solving
Protection of one’s own needs
Recognition of personal need
Love magic; especially to obtain a lover

Hagalaz

Hagalaz

“Don’t try to fix what we should break before it breaks us.”

Hagalaz – “Hag-all-az” – Literally: “Hail” or “Hailstone” – Esoteric: Crisis or Radical Change

Key Concepts: hailstones, crisis and catastrophe, disruption, radical change, destructive elements of nature, severe weather, the uncontrollable, unavoidable unpleasantness, Jungian shadow, psychoanalysis, regression, acceptance of the unalterable

Psi: disruption, change, personal past

Energy:
 power beyond human ability to harness, perfect pattern, seed formation, objective confrontation, destructive natural forces, chaos

Mundane: bad weather, obstacles, surprises, shelter

Divinations: Change according to ideals, changes for the long-term good, controlled crisis, corrections, completion, inner harmony; or catastrophe, crisis, stagnation, loss of power, loss of property, short-term disappointment, victim-consciousness, obsession with the past, blame.

Governs:
Completeness and balance of power, integration of unconscious shadow elements
The inevitability of Fate, WyrdOrlog
Evolutionary progress and operations of becoming
The outworking of a perfect pattern
Protection through banishing or exorcising disharmonious patterns, protection
Awareness of the unconscious ideas for eventual processing
Causing discomfort in others by awakening their own subconscious ‘garbage’

Wunjo

Wunjo

“Great minds think alike, though fools seldom differ.”
“Be careful what you wish for…”

Wunjo – “Won-joe” – Literally: “Joy” – Esoteric: Hope, Harmony, Perfection

Key Concepts: joy, perfection, the art of correct wishing, correct application of the will, well-being, contentment, hope, expectation, relationship, family, bonding, trusted kinsfolk, shared ideals or aims, group harmony, symbols of shared identity, optimism, cooperative effort, like-mindedness, friendship

Psi: contentment, optimism, like-mindedness, wishful thinking, shared identity

Energy: harmony of like forces, effortless ease, fellowship, fulfillment, wishing, genuine friendship,

Mundane: parties, friendship, family, community

Divinations: 
Joy, harmony, fellowship, accomplishment, prosperity; or stultification, sorrow, strife, alienation, warns of caution, blindness to danger, deception, betrayal.

Governs:
Strengthens links and bonds
Invocation of fellowship and harmony.
Banishes alienation and other inharmonious impediments to trust
Creating joy through the use of true will
Realization of the link and multiplicity of relationship of all things
The art of correct wishing, ‘law of attraction’

Gebo

Gebo

“For every gift a curse.”


Gebo
 – “Gay-boo” – Literally: “Gift” – Esoteric: Fair Exchange, Sacrifice, Sacred Marriage

Key Concepts: gifts, giving, taking, trade, sacrifice, process of exchange, balance, compensation, equilibrium, law of reciprocation, altruism, the gravity of equals and opposites, generosity, hospitality, honor

Psi: 
gratitude, forgiveness, appreciation

Energy:
 Exchanged powers, sacrifice, dissolution of barriers through gifting

Divinations: Generosity, gift, magical exchange, honor, sacrifice, divine vision; or influence buying, greed, loneliness, dependence, over-sacrifice, unbalanced behavior, dishonesty

Mundane:
 material gifts, thankfulness, trade

Governs: 
Sex magic
Mystical union and ‘Sacred Marriage’ between partners
Understanding of the true meaning of gifting and binding
Giving of oneself from within
Harmony between brothers and sisters and lovers
Favours, contracts, obligations, debt and oath-taking

Kenaz

Kenaz

“The student surpasses the teacher.”

Kenaz – Literally: “Torch” – Esoteric ‘Ken’ or Knowledge

Key Concepts: torch as a symbol of knowledge and intellect, illumination, searching for enlightenment, shedding light on matters, quest for truth, skills and abilities, creativity, art, craftsmanship, cunning, acquisition and application of knowledge, occult female secrets, intuition, enthusiasm in teaching/learning, study, kin-fire, opportunity, playfulness

Psi: observation, clarity of thought, cognitive faculties, humility

Energy: Controlled energy, transformation (pheonix fire), teaching/learning dynamic, illumination

Mundane:
 art, technique, improvement of skills, school, the stars

Divinations:
 Artistic or technical ability, craft, transformation, offspring, new information; or disease, decay, breakup, inability, lack of creativity, ignorance, arrogance, elitism, over-conceptualization

Governs:

Illumination (torchlight) when exploring transpersonal pathways
Creative inspiration, enthusiasm for learning
Exploration of paradigms in the search for truth
Exposing the hidden to gain new knowledge, esp. through study, reflection and new information
Strengthening of abilities in all realms
Female occult secrets
The light within, the observer

Raidho

Raidho

“The journey is the destination.”

Raidho – “Ride-ho” – Literally: “Ride” or “Wagon” – Esoteric: Journey

Key Concepts: the journey of Life, stories, heroism, means of transportation, right action, movement, motion, taking charge, being in control, initiative, adventure, decision-making, direction, counsel, the right path, the inner compass, leadership, kingship, nobility held by merit, moral responsibility, integrity, respect for the rights of others, innate knowledge of right and wrong, celestial procession, rituals

Psi: the story ‘form’ in the psyche, freedom from imprisonment, self-mastery

Energy: cosmic cyclical law, rhythm, presence (active)

Mundane: street-smarts, common sense, travel, movement, taking action

Divinations: Rationality, sound advice, action, justice, ordered growth, journey; or crisis, rigidity, stasis, injustice, irrationality, control freak, hypocrisy, wrongful imprisonment, restlessness.

Governs:
Living in the present
Access to “inner advice” and our inner compass, following the heart
Movement within one’s natural limits
Blending with personal and world rhythms, consciousness of right and natural processes
Mastery of circumstance and control of situations, taking the lead
Establishment of creative rhythm in activities
Protection while traveling
Decision-making followed by immediate action

Ansuz

Ansuz

Find your ears before you search for words.”

Ansuz – “Anne – suhz” – Literally: “Woden” – Esoteric: “Breath” or “Ancestral Sovereign God”

Key Concepts: order, gods, Odin, transmission of intelligence, communication, reason, inspiration, language, breath, sound, origins of language, the Voice of the Universe, spellsong, casting, chanting, ancestors, passing of the breath along the ancestral line, evolution of gods, speech, poetry, discussion of runes, memetics, semiotics, etymology, linguistics.

Psi: mental stability, communion, inspiration, listening

Energy:
 sovereign ancestral god, animating spirit, breath, communication, exploration, order, answers

Mundane: words, conversation, symbols, elders, music

Divinations: Divine inspiration, word-power, synthesis, transformation, intellect, open paths of communication; or misunderstanding, delusion, manipulation by others, boredom, bad advice

Governs:
All powers of naming and conceptualization
Convincing and magnetic speech and writing, and the power of suggestion and hypnosis
Acquisition of creative wisdom, inspiration, ecstasy and divine communication
Reason, analysis and good advice
Connecting and networking
Listening to oneself and one’s own particular inner-voice

 

Thurisaz

Thurisaz

If we must fight for peace then let us find our peace in battle.”

Thurisaz – “Thor-is-as” – Literally: “Thurses” or “Giants” – Esoteric: Strong one, Resistance

Key Concepts: Unconscious forces, sociological forces, Thor, Loki as giant, chaos, destruction by natural forces, complexities of aggression, conflicts, disputes, psychological problems,  lightning, breakthrough, aggressive male sexuality, battering down barriers, thorn of awakening, troubleenthusiasm

Psi: enthusiasm, struggle against unconsciousness, male sexual prowess

Energy: enthusiasm, self-empowerment, chaos, active defensive force, breaker of resistance, destructive storms

Mundane: storms, tools, weapons, conflict

Divinations:
 Reactive force, directed force, vital eroticism, regenerative catalyst, constructive conflict; or danger, defenselessness, compulsion, betrayal, dullness, disease, explosive violence, annoyance, strife

Governs:
Destruction of enemies, curses binds and fetters
Awakening of the will to action
Breaking resistance of blockages in body, mind and spirit
Increased potency and prowess in romantic relationships
Understanding of the division and separation of all things
Aiming the use of psychic force
The combination of right/left brain processes for generating powerful realization

Uruz

Uruz

“Mind over matter – matter over mind”

Uruz – “Oo – Ruse” – Literally: “Aurochs” – Esoteric: Endurance, Formation, Manifestation

Key Concepts: life force, physical health, courage, organic structure, manifestation, formation, healing, vigor, endurance

Psi: determination, persistence, freedom, courage, will, territoriality, independence

Energy: Vital formative force, archetypal patterning, raw primal power, survival, healing, endurance, manifestation, organic structuring

Mundane: physical health, stamina

Divinations: Strength, constancy, vitality, tenacity, pattern, luck, health, pragmatic knowledge, understanding; or weakness, obsession, misdirected force, inconstancy, sickness, ignorance, uncontrolled rage, insensitivity, brutality

Governs:
Shaping and forcing fortunate circumstances creatively through will and inspiration
Self-healing and maintenance of good mental and physical health
Assertion of home ground, personal space, independence and freedom
Strength and tenacity, courage, persistence against all odds
Ability to control aggression and take responsibility
Rites of passage, especially into adulthood

Fehu

Fehu

“Every beginning has within it the seeds of its own end.”

Fehu – “Fay-Who” – Literally: “Cattle” – Esoteric: Mobile Property, New Beginnings, Wealth

Key Concepts: Wealth, money, food, sustenance, Hamingja, luck, personal power, circulation of power,  financial strength, prosperity

Psi: Beginner’s Mind, presence, freedom, first impressions, young love

Energy: mobility, luck, charisma, dynamic power, liquid and mobile transferable energies, abundance, circulation, ‘mana’, sexual attraction

Mundane: money, recent purchases, reputation, freshness, fashionability

Divinations: New beginnings, social success, foresight, energy, travel, money, control; or greed, failure, atrophy, poverty, endings.

Governs:

  • Delegating your energy to another, power transference or projection; the sending rune
  • Drawing gravity into the personal sphere
  • Promotion of personal and social evolution, changing circumstances of importance
  • Increase in personal monetary wealth
  • Beginner’s mind and presence as a tool for consciously creating a fresh start

Introducing The Aetts

Introducing The Aetts

In the Elder Futhark, in other words the 24-plus-one runic set with which we are concerned here, there
are three divisions. These divisions contain eight runes each, the blank or 25th rune being a separate
item. This is similar to the Greek division of the alphabet into three ogdoads (groups of eight), said to
reflect the three parts of the universe. Each of these sets has its own name, and is called an aett, an
Icelandic word, with many meanings included in which are things connected with place, lineage and
eight directions.

 

It is interesting to note that the Scottish word airt is very similar, as is the Irish word aird meaning an
eighth of the horizon, and used as a means of direction. The number eight is said to have been a very
powerful number to the Vikings and each set of eight runes forms its own ‘family’, and is assigned to a
particular god.

 

There are three sets of aetts, three being another particularly powerful number to the Vikings. The first
set is called Freyr’s aett, the second set Haegl’s aett (the ninth rune itself is called Haegl), and the third
set Tyr’s aett (the 17th rune itself is called Tyr or Tiw). You may also see the word aettir used instead
of aett. It is important to realise that, whilst each runic set has its god, the overall ruler of the runes
remains Odin, rather than those mentioned above.

 

Freyr’s set is said to represent growth, increase and unfolding, Haegl’s set the elements, and Tyr’s set
courage in the face of adversity, Tyr being a warrior god. In addition to each set being assigned a
particular god, many of the individual runes were also assigned a god. These will be given when we
discuss each rune individually, along with details of the planet or zodiac sign connected with each
rune, and other connections, such as animal or nature associations. In this chapter, however, we will
go so far as to link four of the runes with the elements of earth, air, fire and water, considering how
other runes may also link with the elements, and also briefly consider a feminist connection.

 

I would point out at this stage that the Nordic races had little connection with the zodiac, and so
linking runes to zodiac signs is a relatively modern idea.

 

Each aett is set out in sequence, from right to left, with Freyr’s aett being the top row, and so on. Many
runemasters will lay out the runes in these lines before use, feeling that this imprints the runes with
their personal vibration, afterwards collecting them and putting them into their pouch.

 

Alphabetical And Language Links

We know already that each runic symbol represents a mnemonic. Each symbol also represents a letter.
Each symbol can be shown in modern English lettering, Old English lettering or German lettering, as
well as in Norwegian and Icelandic symbols. It is not vital to know all these connections, but it is
important to be able to see that there are other symbols for the runes, as you may well buy or wish to
make a set with slightly different symbols from the modern English with which we will principally
deal here, especially if you have an interest in personalising your own runes or have a particular
historical interest. In addition to each symbol in the languages mentioned, each rune has a name in
that language, which will be given in a separate list.

 

Please note that some runemasters transpose the 23rd and 24th rune. In other words, you will
sometimes find that Dagaz comes before Othila, rather than as shown here, which is considered by
many to be the traditional order.

The Germanic letterings given will correspond to the runic symbol normally used.

Making Your Own Runes

Making Your Own Runes

 

Before deciding what to make your runes out of, it is worth considering which alphabetical system to
use. These follow several forms, but most runes will use the common German Futhark symbols popular use today.

 

However, if you feel you have an affinity with ancient English, a little alteration will
produce slightly different symbols. As you learn more about runes and read more about their usage,
you may find that you end up with several sets of runes, all using different symbolism. Make sure,
however, that you keep each set of runes separate and do not mix the systems.

 

There are many substances you can choose to make your own runes. If you want to make them out of
pebbles, try to ensure that the pebbles are similar in size, and be very careful to copy the symbols
exactly if endeavoring to paint them yourself. Also make sure that you use a paint which will not
flake or fade, preferably made from a natural pigment. It is said that the Vikings often used blood to
stain their runes; I wouldn’t recommend this, but I would suggest that a red pigment is used, red
having a strong association with the god Thor. Those who wish to use the colour associated with Odin
should use blue. Traditionally it is suggested that the pebbles used should be gathered from the
seashore during a storm, so bear this in mind should you live near or be visiting the seaside!

 

People who are keen on pottery or have access to a kiln may like to try to make their runes out of clay
or ceramics. Another possibility is making a set out of card. This is especially useful as a starting set,
or if money is scarce. Each runic card should be around 1″ wide by 2″ long at least.

 

Those who are able to carve might like trying to make a set of runes out of one of the traditional
woods, such as hazel, birch, ash or apple. Ash is a strongly runic tree, being the tree in which Odin
hung, and birch is also a wood traditionally used for rune-making. Apple wood is often used because
of the connection with the Goddess Idun, who kept apples in a basket which, it is said, kept age at bay.

 

Some runemasters suggest that it is acceptable to make runes out of yew, but others suggest that, to
the Vikings, the yew was a tree of death, and so should not be used. This stems from the fact that its
bark, leaves, roots and fruit are all poisonous. However, it can also be seen as the tree of life, as it
stays green throughout the year, and can be regenerated by its own daughter-tree growing in the soil
inside the dying trunk. It is therefore up to the individual to decide whether to use yew or not.

 

Tradition suggests that such wood should be cut from a tree during the waning of the moon, and
chopped into the 25 pieces immediately. It is important to ask permission of the tree before doing this,
explaining the purpose behind your action. The tree is a living thing and should be treated with
respect. It is of course equally important that you ask permission of the tree’s owner, should it not be
in your own garden! Some traditions also suggest that you should leave a silver coin somewhere
within the tree for payment, but this is up to the individual concerned.

 

Each piece should be flattened and smoothed before the symbols are carved, and sharp tools used.
Any paint put onto the carving to darken or further distinguish the symbols should be made from a
natural pigment. Another way of marking the runes could be burning the letters, but this should be
done with care and by someone who knows exactly what they are doing. Likewise it is important to be
fairly confident, when making your own runes out of wood, firstly that you have enough wood for the
job, and secondly that you are capable of the task.

 

As it is said that Wednesday connects with Odin (Woden’s day -Woden being another form of Odin),
you may decide to embark upon making your runes on that day.

 

Cleansing And Protecting The Runes

As with crystals, runes should be cleaned, especially if they are bought from a commercial outlet.
They should be washed in natural water, preferably spring water, or at least mineral water (check the
label to make sure that it has not been irradiated), and left to dry before being put into a pouch or bag,
which traditionally should be leather, felt, silk or velvet. A pouch with a drawstring is ideal. Tradition
suggests that the drawstring or thong should be leather, but those people who are against using animal
products may think otherwise.

Some people who have made their own runes out of wood like to keep them in a box made of the
same wood from the same tree. Again, this is a matter of personal preference. Many runemasters also
use a casting cloth, onto which the runes are cast. This is another matter of personal choice, but it is
worth noting that a casting cloth will help to prevent damage to the runes and keep them clean.

Casting The Runes

Casting The Runes

Each individual will eventually devise his or her own way of casting the runes. What follows are some
suggestions, all following a similar path, but they are by no means fixed rules.

 

It is important to remember that your runes are your own, and are special. You have created a link
with them and that is important. Never lend your runes, unless you feel comfortable doing this. I
personally would never lend runes, Tarot cards or crystals to anyone else. If you are unsure, maybe
you should try drawing a rune from your pouch and seeing what you get as an answer. It is suggested
that an upright rune gives a Yes answer, and an inverted one a No answer. However, those runes
which look the same either way may prove a problem!

 

A traditional way of casting the runes is to mix them in a pouch and cast them on a cloth, usually
velvet. I keep my runes in such a pouch and use them in this way. It usually happens that the runes I
am intended to use find their way into my hand or between my fingers as I mix them in the pouch. I
usually draw nine runes.

 

Others have suggested drawing three runes at a time, three times, with a break in between each set of
three.

 

Old Nordic tales suggest that throwing runes at a person was a means of casting a magical spell.
Likewise spells are said to have been cast by writing certain runic inscriptions on a piece of paper and
passing it to the unsuspecting intended victim.

 

All these things may belong in folklore, and have no bearing on the modern usage for runes; it is up to
the individual to decide. One runemaster I know draws three runes which represent current
circumstances. Having looked at these three runes, he returns them to the pouch and draws three
more. The second set of three represents courses of action or possible outcomes. The second set is
then also returned to the pouch and a final single rune drawn, which indicates influences likely to have
a bearing on the problem as a whole.

 

Tradition suggests that Odin’s number was 5. For this reason, some runemasters work with only five
runes. Those interested in numerology will note that the runes total 25 if you include the blank rune.
This all adds up to 7, which is a powerful and spiritual number, and for this reason, perhaps, some
runemasters draw seven runes when casting.

 

Another means of casting the runes is to ‘shuffle them’ and leave them to their own devices for a while
(15 minutes is usually suggested), and then draw 12, laying them on a runic chart especially
prepared for the purpose.