Category Archives: thurisaz

September 22, 2010 – Thurisaz


Thurisaz is the letter “th”

Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem (from

The thorn is exceedingly sharp,
an evil thing for any knight to touch,uncommonly severe on all who sit among them

Thurisaz signifies misfortune, challenges and difficulties. The phrase that always comes to my mind when seeing Thurisaz is “it’s difficult to kick against the pricks (pricks meaning thorns). Mainly it seems to me that it’s misfortune that is unexpected, and often times cannot be avoided or planned for.

As it relates to the rune of the week, my sense of it is that something has penetrated into the home and estate, causing a bit of trouble as it enters into your space of contentment and prosperity.

March 5, 2010 – Thurisaz


Thurisaz is the sound “th”

Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem (from

The thorn is exceedingly sharp,
an evil thing for any knight to touch,uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.
Thurisaz, the thorn and the thurse (ice giant) is the rune of misfortunes, challenges and difficulties. It indicates that things are doing to be difficult today, as you will be encountering a lot of things that are unpleasant or just hard to deal with. Perhaps an injury will occur, or a vehicle will break down, or you will miss your bus. Don’t expect today to be an easy day.

February 21 – February 27 Thurisaz

Thurisaz Reversed

Thurisaz is the sound “th” (like think or thorn)

Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem (from

The thorn is exceedingly sharp,
an evil thing for any knight to touch,uncommonly severe on all who sit among them

This weeks rune is Thurisaz, ie the thorn. In this case, the thorn is reversed, in a sense pointing outward rather then inward. My own meditation on this indicates that it is that power, severe, dangerous, sharp and deadly which is acting on events outside of myself. Rather then me having to deal with the thorns that I have gotten myself into, I am one of the few sitting in a safe place, perhaps surrounded by them, but distant, not among them. Rather, it is my sense that I am watching others struggle with challenges and rough times as they work their way through the briar patch.

Trees and Runes

In the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc there are a few trees mentioned, mainly in the names of various runes. The most clearly mentioned are as follows.


In the poem itself, Birch is often understood to be a form of poplar tree found in British Isles, but for the sake of simplicity, lets just say Birch.

In a sense, all of these trees could be seen as a different aspect of Yggdrasil or the world tree, especially in the context of the runes and their qualities described. The quality that I perceive in these trees is as follow.

Thorn – I identity Thorn/Thurisaz with the challenging and destructive side of the World Tree. The main identification comes from the Rune Poem where it is described as “harmful” and “exceedingly cruel”. In some light studying of Thorn trees (of which the whole family has been named Hawthorn) one of their qualities is to grow a fruit. Most of the trees, the fruit is either bitter or very sour, and needs to be conditioned in someway to become more palatable to people. One entry even indicated that in most cases, it was the fruit eaten only during the winter, when most other food stores were low or gone. The rune Thurisaz is identified with the Thurse or Giants and particularly the oldest Giants i.e. the Frost Giants (winter). It also works nicely in understanding the nature of the Giants. You cannot just reach out and grab them. They need to be approached carefully; otherwise they can wound you, and are exceedingly dangerous.

Yew – Yew can be seen in two runes. The main one is Ihwaz/Eoh, The 2nd one is the wood of yew trees, worked into a tool, the bow. This rune is found at ýr. As that rune is more related to humanity, I will overlook it now. In the Rune Poem, the many virtues of yew is extolled, but in the last line, the author describes the “deep roots” of the yew tree. My own impression of Eoh is that it connects to the Underworld, but also connects all worlds. Most Trees have a root system that mirrors its branches. If you look at a picture of the yew, its branches are very twisting and bent, with a lot of complexities. The root system mirrors this. In my own revelations about this, it shows the twisting roads that exist and connect all of existence. They can also lead you down into the underworld, but sometimes the paths themselves are dark, deep and forgotten. They are secret paths that can lead you between worlds, and even between locations. Yet, at the same time, it is a mighty tree, a good fuel for fire, and a joy to the home. Those qualities suggest something about its protective nature, which is often mentioned by authors about the Runes

Birch – Birch (and Poplar) are often one of the first trees to come back to life after the cold of winter. In most information about the end of the Ice Age, the first trees to grow as the glaciers receded were Birch trees. It is known for its ability to quickly repopulate open areas of land, even after fires and other destruction of local flora. It was also used as a tool to write on in many countries, where the thinly peeled birch bark could be removed and written upon, and it would last for a long time, because of the high resinous oil content of birch bark. In Birch, I see the nurturing and regenerative aspect of the World Tree.

Oak – Oaks are some of the most recognized and celebrated trees in Western Culture. Often times they are noted for their Strength and Endurance, and this is a theme which is found in the rune poem, as well as a source of food, although not for people directly. Their endurance is also tested, as the oak is made into boats that men would use to travel across the sea and oceans. I see the Oak and the rune Ac (which is pronounced similarly) as relating to the Trunk of the World tree, and its connection to the Middle World or Midgard.

Ash – The most commonly held tree in Northern European native spirituality, Ash is most common held to be the World Tree itself. I also value that idea, but find that Ash itself has a particular connection to the top most branches of the World Tree. Up in the shining skies is what Ash and its rune Aesc relate to. The first man was said to be made from an Ash tree, and the ash itself has many folkloric uses, from repelling snakes, to curing warts and other diseases. While Oak and Birch also have uses as woods in musical instruments, Ash is generally considered to produce a brighter tone and a more sustaining quality to sound produced using Ash wood.
It is also these woods that figure best in creation runic talismans, to carve and redden the runes into them, and are often described in the Galdrabok as wood to be used, with Oak and Ash being mentioned the most.