All about Runes and how to make your own

The Viking Runes

"There are two types of rune sets that you can create – Oracle or Healing. Oracle runes provide guidance and answers in regards to the future. Healing runes provide guidance and empowerment for the present. The process for making sacred runes below refers to Healing Runes as these give guidance to one’s wellbeing, the next step in the healing process and encourage self responsibility – all of which are vital for the client to restore balance within their life and being. "

There are 24 runes in the Elder Futhark, the most popular kind of runes.

You can easily make your own. Traditionally runes are made just before sunset, the beginning of the old Viking day, if possible outdoors. On each of your runes draw one of the symbols. Red is traditionally used to mark runes, but many people use black as it is clearer to see.

For example, the runic symbol fehu can be drawn or painted on stone or crystal or drawn, carved or burned on a twig or flat piece of wood.

Making rune staves

You can also make runes from twigs that need not be more than 10-12 centimetres long and just wide enough to etch the symbol on one side. You might like to use one of the traditional runic trees, the pine, the ash, the birch or the yew, but any dry, firm wood will do, Make sure all your twigs are the same size. Scrape away the bark at the top and etch on each. Or use an engraving tool or penknife to cut the symbol and paint it red or black. Runic staves are especially lovely when they are cast in a forest clearing in a circle made from leaves or twigs or drawn in the earth

Preparing a rune cloth and bag

You may wish to buy a large square piece of cloth in a light colour and on it draw or paint or sew with running stitch a circle about 50 cm in diameter on which to cast your runes if you are working indoors. You can also improvise indoors, using a circle drawn with a stick in a large sandbox you keep for rune work (draw a fresh circle each time) or a circle outline formed from tiny crystals or pebbles again in your sandbox – forming it before you begin helps to focus on the question. Outdoors you can make your circle anywhere with a markable surface from chalk in a yard to a stick on sand in earth or in snow. By the sea you can use shells or pebbles to create the circle or draw it in sand.

Finally, you will need a bag of a natural fabric in which to keep your runes. A drawstring kind is best so that the runes do not fall out in transit. If you do make longer rune staves, then you might like a tiny set on crystals you can carry with you and, if necessary, draw a circle on paper for all those impromptu readings you will be asked to do by friends. 

Choosing a rune of the day

Place the runes in your bag and each morning draw one out without looking. This will give you a good idea of what is going on in your world, as all the runes address aspects of our lives. What is more, it will suggest the strengths or qualities that will be of most help. Best of all you can then take your rune of the day to work or out with you to allow the power or protection inherent in the symbol to inspire you. Some people have a special set carved or drawn on different crystals so that they can carry with them the symbol of the day and benefit from the living energies of the crystal. It also means you don’t risk losing part of your divinatory rune set. Remember to get up ten minutes early so you can hold your rune of the day and allow images, words or impressions to form in your mind. If it is a dark morning light a white candle.

Casting the Runes - a more general reading

  1. Ask a question and take three runes from your bag without looking and cast them into a circle.

  2. Only read those runes inside the circle and if none are, it is not the right time to ask.

  3. Hold each rune in turn and allow pictures and impressions to come into your mind.

  4. Then apply the meanings below.

  5. If a rune falls blank side uppermost the issue may be a difficult one emotionally or it may just not be the time to manifest in your life.

  6. Then allow your mind to weave the rune meanings into an answer.

  7. If it is not clear go for a walk and ideas and solutions will come that may be continued in your dreams.

 

 Rune Meanings

Below are listed key words and mythology and history about each rune. These form a template and in time as you study, draw and use each symbol you will find that you are adding and altering meanings. Like tea leaf symbols, they are a focus for your own inner imagery. Relax and let your intuition guide you.

The twenty four runes of the Elder Futhark, (Norse system) are traditionally divided into three sets of eight:   

The Aett or Set of Freyja, Goddess of Fertility and Love

(Cattle)

Wealth;  Money, financial prosperity, the Price

The basic meaning of Fehu is wealth in the sense of money or currency.  Cattle were mobile property, a measurement of one's wealth.  Fee, a payment, comes from this term and so the rune has the added meaning of the price one must pay for any action or inaction. Indeed the old Norse Rune Poem warns that `Money causes strife among kinsmen’.

Throughout the old Norse legends the deities and heroes were continually paying the price for their actions. Odin craved wisdom and so he went to the spring of Mimir at the root of Ygdrassil, the World Tree. Mimir demanded the payment of one of Odin's eyes as payment for a drink from the waters of memory. Odin accepted and never regretted his sacrifice. 

The eye was placed in the fountain and each morning Odin drank of its healing waters. Odin's outer vision was replaced by an inner guide and the conscious sight in his blind eye by contact with unconscious wisdom. But his new insight was a double-edged sword for Odin understood now that all things must pass, even the rule of the Elder Gods.

Tyr, the Spirit Warrior, God of Courage and War paid the price of his right Sword hand to bind Fenris Wolf who was threatening the gods. However he too was aware even as he made his sacrifice that Fenris Wolf could only be bound till Ragnarok and the Last Battle. 

But the price may not involve noble sacrifice; Freya, Goddess of Beauty and Love, was prepared to give her body to four hideous dwarves, Alfrigg, Dvalin, Berling and Gerr, so that she might obtain the wonderful golden necklace they had fashioned that would make her even more lovely and desirable. 

 

(Aurochs)

 Strength; Primal strength, courage, Overcoming Obstacles

The auroch was a huge wild, very fierce ox, much like the Longhorn cattle of modern times. The horns of these creatures were worn on the Viking helmets, engraved with the UR rune to transfer by associative magic the strength of the auroch to warriors. The last aurochs roamed the plains of Northern Europe about 1627.

Uruz is also associated with the primal creative force, since in Norse mythology, Audhumla, was the primal cow formed from the dripping rime produced from the union of Fire and Ice at the time of Creation. Her milk nourished the cosmic giant Ymir. She also licks into being out of a block of ice Buri, the producer and grandfather of Odin and his brothers. 

The Norse and Icelandic Rune poems talk of poem talks of hardship for the herdsman and refinement by suffering using the images of iron and also drizzle and os create an image of hardships and objects to be overcome by strength and endurance. Throughout the Rune poems of the North are reminders of the cold, bleak world in which the Vikings lived and explains why so many of the runes use symbolism of the extremes of ice and fire, rough seas, mist and darkness. 

 

(Thorn)

Protection, challenges, secrecy and Conflicts

Thurisaz is a rune of protection. It is associated with another harsh image, the thorn trees, although thorns can offer protection from intruders. Bramble or hawthorn bushes were used to hedge boundaries and were traditional in many parts of Europe around the dwellings of those who practiced magic.  In the Norse and Icelandic poems, thorn isassociated with the Thurs, a "giant" in the Old Norse. There were several groups of "rime-thurses" or frost-giants, who fought with the Gods and maintained the cosmic tension, for they represented the ancient rule before the Aesir came into being. 

Because of this Thorn is a also a rune of challenge to those who seek to make change or go against outmoded tradition.

Thurisaz is also associated with Thor, God of Thunder and Courage who sought to protect Asgard, realm of the Gods from the Frost-Giants. Thor had a magical hammer, Mjollnir that always returned to his hand after it had reached its target. As well as defending the gods against the frost giants, Thor's hammer acted as a sacred symbol at marriages, births and funerals. 

Indeed, the tradition of eloping and marrying at the forge at Gretna Green in Scotland recalls this ancient symbolism. In pre-Christian times, the sign of the hammer was made a sacred mark of protection and the thorn rune was drawn or signed to call upon offer similar power. 

 

(a god)

Inspiration, wisdom.aspirations and communication

This is the Father Rune, the rune of Odin, the All-Father.

Odin was desperate to acquire the wisdom and knowledge of the older order of giants. Having traded one of his eyes for wisdom and obtained the knowledge of the runes by sacrificing himself on the World Tree, he desired the gift of divine utterance. Odin was desperate to obtain the mead of poetry, made from the blood of wise Kvasir, which made everyone who drank of it either a wise man or a poet. Kvasir, himself a creation of the gods, had been killed by dwarves Fjalalr and Galar and the Mead taken as blood price by the giant Suttung whose parents the dwarves had killed.

Odin obtained the mead by seducing Gunlod the daughter of Suttung who had stolen it. As Odin carried it back in his form of an eagle he spilled a little outside the walls of Asgard, one of the realms of the gods. Thus some fell to earth and inspired mortal poetry and from time to time Odin would favour mortals or one of the deities and share a little of the poetic mead.

The NorseRune Poem talks of `estuary as the way of most journeys’, conveying the concept that communication is essential for transforming inspiration into reality. The gift of the mead involved the death of Kvasir, the death of two giants and trickery by Odin - as with the Norse Runes there is often a harsh price to be paid for anything. Their power is not in the stark contrast of good and evil with good always winning through, but a philosophy whereby there is a struggle to reconcile opposites, to acknowledge man’s own weaknesses and to rise towards a greater understanding. What we say and how we say it can be crucial.  

 

(Riding)

Journeys, Travel , initiative, impetus and Change

RAIDHO is the symbol of the Wheel, portrayed in earlier symbolism as The Sun Wheel as it passes through the skies through its cycles of day and night and the year. It can also represent the wheel on the wagon of the Old Fertility Gods, as they gave new life to the fields, (see also the Rune Ing). Equally Raidho can beassociated with the constellations of stars around the cosmic axis.

Raidho is the rune of the long and dangerous ride,`the worst for horses’. The Norse poem refers also to thebest sword being forged by Regin, the wise dwarf . Regin made for the young hero Sigurda sword made from the pieces of his late father Sigmund’s sword so powerful that it could not be broken. Thus armed, Sigurd rode to avenge his father’s death. Action and sometimes uncertainty are essential if we are to ride forward into life, but it is important, like Sigurd, to be well-prepared

 

(Torch)

Guidance, inner Voice, illumination, inner strength

Kenaz is one of the Fire Runes, the fire that lit the great halls as well as more humble abodes and was made from pine dipped in resin. As well as giving light it could ignite the forge, the fire of the hearth or even a funeral pyre.  It was used to kindle the Needfire, (the rune Naudhiz) that was lit at festivals. But as always the other aspect is present, the burnishing, cleansing aspect of fire and it is the purgative effect that is emphasised in the Norse and Icelandic poems.

This is the Cosmic Fire from Muspellheim in the South that met with Ice from Nieflheim in the north in the creation of the Norse world, but which wouldbring about the destruction of the Aesir and Vanir order of the gods. Its alter ego is Hagel the rune of Hail and the second element increation. And the appearance of these runes in a reading or indeed any fire and ice runes, indicates a fusion of opposites. Without the torch there is darkness and without the inner flame there is emptiness within.  

 

(Gift)

Generosity, All matters relating to exchanges, including contracts, Love, Marriage and sexual Union

Gebo is the rune ofgiving to others and the union of mutualgiving, whether in sexuality and love or formally in marriage It can also be beneficence from a higher source, whether bounty or knowledge and insightand even the exchange of favours or information. In the Norse traditions a gift required one in return so there is always the question about whether one is giving too much in a situation whether emotionally, practically or materially. This rune is not mentioned in the Old Norse or Icelandic rune poems, but the Anglo-Saxon poem talks of the blessings of giving and also of receiving if one is in need, a Christianised version. 

However there is the sense that giving must be mutual to others even those closest and that giving too much as well as too little can be destructive. 

 

(Joy)

Personal happiness, Success and recognition of worth

Wunjo represents happiness through self and one’s own efforts rather than through others, achievement and is often used as a focus for those needing success.

To the Vikings happiness meant enough food, shelter and wealth and acceptance as part of a kin and although this runeonly appears in the Anglo-Saxon Poem, the symbol isone who knows few, (sometimes translated as `a little’) of troubles - but also who himself has power and blessedness.’ The second translation makes more sense, suggesting that it is those who have experienced hardships who know the importance of taking happiness as it comes and above all finding personal joy through one’s own actions and not expecting life to provide bounties.  

The Aett or Set of Hagalaz or heimdall, Watcher of the Gods

 

(Hail)

Disruption; Disruption by natural events and uncontrolled forces

This is known as the Mother Rune, in the position of the sacred number nine. In its original shape as the six-pointed snowflake, Haegl had a geometric form found in the composition of many natural forms of life Hagalaz means Hail or Hail stone and is regarded is seen as the cosmic seed, for Ice was the second main element invoved in creation and as such it is the alter ego of kenaz. The Old Norse Rune Poem.talks of hail as `the coldest of grains’, associating it with the harvest, for when hail melts it is life-giving water.

Haegal has therefore come to represent unwelcome external chnage that if used positively can transform life and sorrow to happiness.

 

(Need)

Needs that can be met by action and reaction to external events, self-reliance, the desire for achievement, passion

Naudhiz, the second Fire Rune, is another of the cosmic forces which is recognised as being a shaping power which form the fates of the world and mankind. It is the spindle that generates the need fire by friction, the fire from within that is manifest externally, Need fires were lit from early times all over Northern Europe on festivals such as Beltane, (May Eve) the beginning of Summer and Samhain, (Halloween), on the Solstices and even today in the Christian Easter Eve ceremonies of burning theJudas Man in parts of Germany and Eastern Europe and rekindling the paschal candle. These were not only purging fires, but fires of new life and light, whose ashes fertilised the fields and which persuaded the sun to shine again.

It is a rune of want and desire that produces the "need-fire" that drives a man or woman to obtain that which he or she desires. Because ofthis naudhiz is associated with love magic.

The Old Norse poem makes the link between fire and ice, the ned-fire being kindled against the frist, inner and outer.

 

(Ice)

Blockage, A period of Inactivity which can be used for Good, waiting for the Right Moment

Isa is the second Ice Rune and the fifth element in the Norse world. The single vertical form of the rune means that it is contained within every other rune, again a cosmic seed, described in the Norse poem as a `broad bridge’ and in the Icelandic verse as `roof of the waves’. 

Isa can be seen as the ice of winter that freezes even the sea over and stops hunting and exploration, an external object to movement that can be used positively for reflection or planning . Alternatively Isa can be regarded as a bridge between dimensions that needs to be negotiated with care by those who are perhaps blinded by the fear of going forward. Isa is also the icy glacier flowing imperceptibly from Niflheim, indicating progress that seems slow but is occurring beneath the surface.

 

(Year)

Harvest, the results of earlier efforts realised, life cycles that can be fruitful or a repetition of old mistakes

Jera represents the natural progression through the cycles of existence, whether from season to season, year to year, the stages of life or a specific relationship or situation. Jera, the good harvest or positive completion of endeavour, is invoked magically for a good season or harvest), fertility of all kinds, to achieve any goals by hard work and nourishing to fruitful completion. Both the Norse and Icelandic poems refer to a good harvest being to the profit of all men and the Norse poem talks ofthegenerosity of Frey or Ingwaz the God of fertility of the land, whose symbolic wagon was driven across the fields in a ceremony of fertilising the fields.

The rune is a version of the Biblical `As you sow, shall you reap; and if the cyclic progression of existence becomes stagnant, it is important to unblock any obstacles whether inner or outer to progress.

 

(Yew)

Natural Endings, leading to new beginnings, banishment of what is redundant, tradition

Eihwaz, the Yew Tree,  represents of the cycle of death and rebirth and so is often associated with endings leading to a new beginning. Death was an ever-present feature of the Nordic world and so it is an issue confronted by the sacred system with the promise that halfthe warriors slain in any battle would win a place at the everlasting feast at Valhalla, to rise againto fight at the Last Battle. Warfare was considered as the most glorious of occupations and Odin was worshipped as God of War above all his other functions.

Because the yew is the longest-living tree, it was adopted by the Northern peoples as a symbol of longevity, tradition and eternal life and was frequently placed where ashes or bones were buried to transfer its immortality. Sacred to Ullr, God of Winter and Archery who himself lived in a grove of sacred yew trees, the yew which induces visions from its resinous vapour was the tree of shamans and magic. It was also one of the trees burned as the sacred yule at the Mid-Winter Solstice to persuade the sun to return and is called in the Norse Rune poem `the greenest wood in the winter.’

For this reason the rune is also in the Icelandic poem associated with the bow, often made from yew wood, as a symbol of new life from the old.

 

(Lot-cup)

What is not yet known or revealed, the essential self, taking a chance

In the earlier forms of rune reading there was not a blank rune, but Perthro served as the rune of destiny. For this reason I have not used a blank in this section, as it seems to duplicate Perthro

In the tradition of the early Northern peoples, gambling and divination were very close in function and decisions would be made from casting lots, (sometimes runes), whether to travel or to remain close to home, to fight or to take evasive tactics, for the fall of the dice or runes or whatever was cast, would indicate, it was believed the will of the gods. 

However this was not a fixed fate andthe gambler or diviner was expected to read his orlog or fate and then take appropriate action either to maximise good fortune or avoid any potential pitfalls.

There is a mention of Perthro only in the Anglo - Saxon poem which speaks of `play and laughter in the beer hall among bold men’.

`Testing their luck' which Vikings did both in lot-casting and then in the real world was a way the warriors discovered truths about their essential self, essence, theroot person with both strengths and weakness, vices and virtues and so this too is an important attribute of perthro.

 

or Algiz (Elk -Sedge)

The Higher Self, Spiritual Nature, Duality, needing care in approach to important matters

In many ways Elhaz is the most difficult rune to understand, for it is given several interpretations, perhaps because there have been different images used to express a complex concept. The Old English name, "elk-sedge" is a kenning for sword.  It represents a two-edged blade, that like the two-edged sword mentioned in the Book of Revelations, coming out of the mouth of the Son of Man, signifying on the one side destruction and the other salvation. It is easy for the user of a double-edged sword to injure himself and yet it is a very powerful weapon with double the power of a conventional blade. The rune shape is taken as a splayed hand held out ion defence or the horns of an elk, another translation, both of which can be used in attack or defence. The four sacred elks lived in the World-Tree, eating its leaves.

The Anglo - Saxon Rune poem, the only one to mention this rune, interpret the rune as eel-grass, found on marshes, `that grimly wounds,--any man who tries to grasp it. Eel-grass has many creative functions. It was used for thatching, kindling for the fire and bedding for animals -again that which is of worth must be handled with care. So too must the path of spiritual growth and divination be approached with respect and not treated as a game or for selfish or negative ends.

 

(Sun)

Victory, Success, Potential, energy and Expansion

As with any system, the Sun is the most positive and potent symbol, especially in the world of the North where the sun was so precious. It can also be seen as lightning and forms the third and most powerful fire rune, melting ice, causing the crops to grow and her festivals, especially the Longest Day or Summer Solstice were celebrated throughout the Northern world by great fire-wheels rolled down hills, flaming tar torches waved over the fields and bonfires lit on hilltops to welcome the Sun and give it power. 

In the Far North and Scandinavia, the Sun was female. The Sun is referred to as the White Sow even today in Scandinavian countries. It is the rune of the sun or the sun-wheel, the sun moving through the year. It is seen in the Old Norse rune poem as light of the lands and refers to its holiness while the Icelandic poem talks of the sun as the `life-long destroyer of ice’, a reminder of how important the Sun was in these very cold land, 

In the Elder Edda the Sun Goddess’s golden beams brought forth green plantson the newly created earth and brings forth green plants. Sunna or Sol, as she was also called, slept in a golden bed in Hel, the underworld when the Sun sank in the West, Before Dawn Sunna travelled through the underworld to emerge in the east through the jodyrr, the horse -doors. It is said that her arrival was proclaimed by Goldcomb, the Cockerel of Morn.

The Aett of Tiwaz

 

(The Pole or Load Star, a Guiding Star)

Justice, Altruism, Self - Sacrifice, following a Chosen Path and keeping faith even in dark times

Tiwaz who is identified as the Pole or Load -Star and sometimes called the Spirit Warrior is the constant pointer in the Northern Skies. Tyr or the God Tiw is the Norse god whosymbolically presided over the Germanic General assembly and over all matters of justice.  Tyr is also the God of War because justice was sometimes settled by combat or even full-scale battle. It was believed that Odin and Tyr would allow the `just cause ‘ to win.

In the Norse and Icelandic poems Tyr is called the one-handed god, referring to the sacrifice he made of his most precious gift, his sword hand to bind Fenris Wolf, alegend mention in Fehu, the rune of the price. This, even more than Odin’s sacrifice of his eyeto obtain wisdom, was not for personal gain but for his fellow gods, as he was warned that the wolf would kill his father Odin and so it is the altruistic aspect of the rune, one of the noblest of the concepts in the Northern world, is the runes’ guiding principle.

The one-eyed Odin and the one-armed Tyr with his magical sword were seen as embracing imperfection that they might gain greater glory. 

 

(Birch)

Renewal Healing, physical or spiritual regeneration, , Fertility and mothering in all aspects

Berkano is related to Nerthus, the Great Mother, the Earth Goddess and is also linked to Hel, Goddess of the Underworld and daughter of the trickster God Loki. The original Nordic earth mother was Nerthus and the tradition continued with Frigg, wife of Odin who was associated with fertility and motherhood and was evoked by women in labour. 

This runethereby contains the concept of birth, death and rebirth. Indeed the birches were the first tree to recolonise the land after the retreat of the ice-cap at the end of the last Ice Age. Accordingto the old poems, the birch`puts forth shoots without seeding.'

Birch Trees were planted in front of a dwelling in the Northern countries to invoke the protection of the Earth Mother and the custom spread toAmerica with the settlers.

 

(Horse)

Loyalty, harmony between people or inner and outer worlds, partnerships and friendships, moving house or career

Ehwaz is associated with the horse, a sacred animal to the Vikings, especially the horse that carried its rider into battle. It therefore represents a harmonious relationship as typified between a warrior and his horse. The rune, mentioned only in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem, emphasises the joy a horse brings to his rider and how it can make him feel like a prince or aethling. 

If a warrior was killed in battle his horse would often be buried with him and when a much loved horse died it would be given an elaborate burial too. Odin had an eight-footed grey steed, Sleipnir as he rode.

into battle. On his teeth Odin had engraved magical runes that his mount might be invulnerable.

 

(Man)

Power of human intelligence, seeing our lives as part of a wider pattern, compassion and acceptance of the weaknesses and strengths of self and others

Man was seen in the ancient world of the North as a reflection of the divinity in his three functions, as warrior, farmer and ruler/magician. 

In Norse legend the first man and woman were formed from trees. Odin and his brothers Vili and Ve were walking along the edge of the land where earth met sea and came upon two uprooted trees, an ash and an elm. These they used to create the first man and woman. Odin gave them the breath of life, Vili intelligence and a loving heart and Ve their natural senses. Ask and Embla the woman were given Midgard, Mid - Earth as their home and so began the human race.

At the destruction of the existing order at Ragnarok their descendants Lif and Lifthrasir sheltered in the world tree and survived the holocaust to re-populate the new world. Mannaz says that although individuals may cease to be, they live on in their deeds and their descendants. This rune therefore is a celebration of the strengths and potentials of the individual and his or her connection to the human race in all times and places, Jung’s two million years old man that is said to be within us all, the `increase’ quickening of dust into life, according to the old poems.

 

(Water)

Birth/beginnings/Initiation into life, emotions, following the flow of Life, unconscious wisdom and intuition

Laguz is the rune of water or the sea and the ancient poems tell of the hazards of churning water' and the `brine stallion' that does not heed its bridle. To the Vikings water was a frightening yet exciting concept because sea journeys could be hazardous, but could lead to wondrous journeys and great conquests and discovery of new lands.  In the tales of noble exploits it is forgotten that many did not survive the voyages over stormy oceans. 

The Aegir, the gods and goddesses of the sea, both gave and took life and offered fertility and wealth Sailors would always carry a coin with a hole in it or gold earring so that they might pay Ran, wife of Aegir, the principal sea goda tribute to live in her coral caves under the waves if they drowned. The sunshining on the waves was said to be Ran’s treasure.

 When the leader of an expedition approached a new shore, hewould throw into the seas the ainstafar, ( huge wooden posts from the abandoned hall at home) These would be used to mark the new enclosure and where the currents carried the posts ashore they too would land and mark out their new territory.

 

(the God Ing)

A time of Gestation, both human and symbolic, creative withdrawal, waiting for new strength andlife, the promise of better times

Like Jera and Berkano, Ingwaz is another fertility rune with powerful associations with protection, especially of the home. Ingwaz or Ing was the old Germanic Earth God, consort of Nerthus, the Earth Mother. Like many of the old Earth religions the God of the Corn died each year at harvest time and was reborn at the Mid-Winter Solstice to shoot into life again as vegetation in the early spring. Ing was traditionally the God of the hearth and the huge old fireplaces that had seats were called Inglenooks because the members of the household were contained close to the fire.

Ing’s sacred Wagon made a circuit of the fields after the winter in a ritual re-enactment, bringing fertility .back to the land In the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, the only one to mention him, talks of Ing riding his wagon eastwards or backwards as it is sometimes translated, away from the sun or natural progression. This led to the realm of darkness inhabited by the Etins or Giants and refers to his ritual annual death to be reborn strong and renewed. 

The constellation called Ursa Major or the Great Bear in Western Astrology was known in Northern tradition as the Wagon. 

 

(homestead)

Home, Domestic Matters, the family and family finances, stability, responsibility and Duty

Othala is sometimes placed as the final rune, but it seems to make more sense to follow the suggestion that Dagaz, the Awakening, should be the last rune. Othala is the rune of the sacred enclosure, the homeland, the village, the homestead. It is the rune of the home and family, its customs, duties and responsibilities that go along with maintaining family ties.

In the Rune poems, othala is said to be `beloved of every human' but this domestic contentment is linked with a good harvest, i.e. material comfort. Because odal refers to land owned by generations rather than leased from a lord, it speaks of permanence and stability and so represents domestic stability and security and living with others rather than branching out alone. Though the Norse people were great wanderers, nevertheless, the homestead was important to them and as shown in the rune laguz, establishing the new homestead ,however temporary in a new land, was a priority.

 

(Day)

Awakening, clear vision or awareness, light at the end of the tunnel,  Optimism

Dagaz refers to the coming together of day and night at the moments of sunset, the beginning of a new day in the Northern world and daybreak or Dawn. Dazaz is therefore the moment of fusion, of transition and so has special potency. The mid-point of theNorthern day,  a period of darkness and light, was Dawn and the rising of the sun. It is a of the balancing of opposites and like the World Card in the Tarot, the uniting of disparate forces in harmony, stillness and movement

The Anglo-Saxon Rune poem, the only one to describe Dagaz, refers to it as`the Lord’s messenger’ bringing. This may reflect an attempt by scribes to Christianise the rune poems but whether it is the light of Day, of the Sun god or the Christian deity who offers enlightenment, the light of Dagaz is seen as shining on rich and poor alike, offering them hope. 

In the Norse legends, Nott, the Goddess of Night, was the creator of this light. By her third husband, Dellinger (dawn) she gave birth to a radiant son, Dag, whose name meant Day As soon as the Gods saw the radiance of Dag they fashioned him a chariot, drawn by a white steed, Skin-faxi (shining mane). From its mane brilliant beams of light radiated in all directions, scattering the fears of night.