Tag Archives: runes

I is for Runes


Isa is the rune of Ice and cold. Ice, perfectly frozen with very very air bubbles can look like precious stones, so much so that people once believed that clear quartz was in fact a kind of ice that could not be melted.
Ice, the power of cold, to freeze things and lock them into a state where they are well preserved for as long as they stay frozen. That is part of the power of Isa. Whether it is to cool a situation down or you want to put someone “on ice” Isa is the rune to turn to. While heat is a very popular and widely used tool, from “hot footing” to melting wax dolls in order to soften someone’s heart, or even in the form of candle burning (which bring heat and light to the spiritual and magical work) cold can play a useful role, one that is often overlooked. As soon as methods of cooling things became available with items like iceboxes and then later freezer and refrigerators, people started using them to work cooling freezing magic.
Another useful parallel is language found in African diaspora groups of spirits that are “hot” and “cool” The cool spirits are often the main ones that people have allegiance to, like the Orishas, although they can turn hot when needed (or offended) but often the desire is to cool them down and to keep your spiritual essence cool. The practice of rogacion is about cooling the head and the spirit of the head to help bring clarity, insight and wisdom. A cool intellect often literally sees things much better then a raging hot head, something that is actually scientifically true.

Inguz/Ing/Yngvi is name that Sweden and seems to be a later addition to the Futhorc. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem refers it to the the leader of Ynglings, but it also seems connected to Freyr, usually in the form Ingvifreyr, which suggests that while Freyr was his title, Ingvi may actually be his real name. But the truth of that is lost to time. However connection to the god Freyr remains, and this rune seems to resonate with some of the powers of Freyr, the shining brother of Freya. He is the lord of seasons, and by some he is the compared to the Horned God of Wicca, believing that the rituals of which Wicca was seeking to revive was the older rituals of Vanir, the tribe and gods who predated the arrival of the Aesir and the establishment of Asgard. So, like the Horned God, he is through to rise anew each year, only to be sacrificed again with each harvest, that his sacrifice may give renewal to the ground in gratitude for the gifts of food that it has given. The Vanir might have even been the Gaelic people who inhabited Europe for a much longer time until the arrival of the nomadic and conquering Aesir.
The magic and mystery of Inguz is the masculine birth/death/rebirth cycle expressed by seasons. It is the masculine complement to the Beorc. It’s various shapes always remind me of a seed, which one might compare to the seed of sperm, the tiny activator that starts the process of pregnancy once it reaches and fertilizes the egg, but in doing so, it is gone, as the egg begins a new process, catalyzed by the sperm to start cell division and create a new life.
To some ancient cultures that saw this present in nature as well. Noticing that areas of land struck by lightning would produce more abundant crops (as the lightning would fix the nitrogen in the soil) they equated lightning with fertilizing force of the gods. The same with rain as well, as it brings growth to plants and food crops, which without it, they would lay fallow in the ground until sufficient water is brought to help the plants to grow.
A similar metaphor can be found internally. Sometime the formative idea or concept is there, working on itself until a catalyst, the lightning flash of insight, inseminates it and it starts to grow and form itself into the new work that you are creating.

Ior is the rune of the World Serpent, that beast born of Loki and Angrboda, a giantess who gave Loki three children, one of which was the Midgard Serpent, Jormungandr. As it is one of the much later Anglo-Saxon runes, and it’s rune poem is odd, describing a river fish that lives in both land and water. To older cultures, they readily identified anything that lived in water as being a fish, whether it is actually a fish or not by today’s scientific classification. The “river fish” that they indentified may have been an otter or a beaver, or some other kind of amphibious mammal that lives in and surrounded by water.
Part of the mystery of Ior is the dual natured, or polymorphous nature of this river fish. Something that inhabits both land and water, but is not tied to both. Some have seen this as a fitting description for Jormungandr, the world serpent, as it was born on land, and lives in the sea, mainly because it is so huge that is the only place with room for it. But the coils of Jormungandr are seem to identify what is within Midgard and what is outside of it, the serpentine “hedge” of in-lying and out-lying on a cosmic scale. Being able to cross those boundaries is usually part of the tool kit of the spiritual practitioner, being able to leave the physical world behind and enter in the other worlds, but also being able to think outside the limits of place, time and culture to see things differently and recognize beneficial change but also harmful change. Working with Ior can cause you to experience that boundary, and being able to cross it, but also to affirm it, and somehow to become it. Making yourself polymorphous and no longer locked into one state of being, thinking or doing. No longer a person who is something or is not something, but simple a person.

H is for Hagalaz

Hagalaz is the rune that marks the beginning of the second aettir of Elder and Anglo-Saxon Futharks. It’s name is usually translated as Hail. That frozen precipitation that falls from the sky in some parts of the world. I have been in a few hail storms, and usually very small pellets of hail, about the size of BB gun pellets. Mostly I have been inside, where it does make quite the din, but apparently being caught outside in such a storm is unpleasant, although only mildly as the tine stones beat against your face, head and exposed skin, as their descent from the sky causes them to be moving at very high rate of speed as they accelerate towards the earth.
There is the other hail storms, where hail stones can be as big as baseballs or softballs, and these hail storm can do significant damage to property, people and animals, as they are also moving quite fast, and being larger, can pack particularly more destructive power when they do so. If you have been fortunate enough to not live through one, here is a google image search link to help you.

For me at least, that is the lesson of Hagalaz. Destruction. Destruction that leaves only things that can barely be salvaged in it’s wake. What is left after the Hagalaz storm? Well, apparently ice that melts down into water, which can be beneficial to any crops that survive of the beating, and not much else. It is after the storm passes that is the important time to rebuild though, because what is left, is strong. It is durable. It has withstood the storm and can continue forward. The weakness has been cast away and it leaves only room for the strong to grow, prosper and move forward. If you were to use Hagalaz against a foe, and that foe manages to walk away at the end, you better hope is lesson in survival taught him to think better then messing with you ever again, and perhaps to follow a new path. Otherwise, he won’t be so easy to eliminate if there is a next time.

G is for Runes

In the Anglo Saxon Futhorc there are two G runes. One is pretty well known, as it is part of the re-created Elder Futhark, whereas the other one, whose inclusion as part of the Northumbrian extension, is a bit of am mystery of it’s presence.
The first one, appearing in the First aettir is Gebo or Gyfu. The gift. Part of my understanding behind this rune is the idea of exchange that creates connections. By exchanging gifts, you become friends, family, lovers, business partners, Governments and people that are governed. Connections are made. Contracts are agreed to. To be human, is to participate in the exchange of creating a social unit, a social unit which can be varied, diverse and complex, as you try to understand the exchange that you have with everyone, who all have different exchanges with each other. When the exchange fails to happen, when the gifts are not shared, is when that connection falls apart, and the social order separates. Sometimes this leads to divorce, or ending of friendships. Other times it creates wars between nations, or revolutions between people and their government. Thinking that you are independent, self made, or not reliant on other people is a mistake, because we all, in fact, rely on others all the time, and in this day and age, sometimes that exchange is so assumed or expected that it has become invisible, and thus forgotten and disrespected. Respect the exchange. Share your gifts. Only be sharing will betterment of yourself and others come about.


The second G rune, that of Gar, which means Spear. The spear was the oldest and most widely used weapon among Northern peoples. Lacking widespread availability of iron, swords were rare and usually reserved for the wealthy, and typically made of other metals. When Iron and steel swords became available, it was usually through trade with other cultures. But spears were easier to have and produce. Only the spearhead needed to be metal, and depending upon the length of the staff, it could be a weapon for close combat, or useful and dealing with distant foes or even keeping foes as a distance.
Yet, at the same time, the spear could be a metaphor for many other things. It could be a symbol of the world tree, a pillar around which all of creation is upheld and revolves. It could also be the spear that marks the turning point of the heavens, now days identified with the star Polaris. The axis of the sky and creation, which everything either revolves around, or is turned by. The point of the spear is the center of all creation, the source and end, the beginning and ending. All potential and all realization exist there, and can be found. But it is also a blank slate, a tabula rasa. Nothing is written, but could be. There is only possibility and potential that can be formed and realized. So what will you do? Where will you go? What shapes and forms will you give release to and how will it change and affect you? Now you can create anew, just be sure of what you are creating.

F is for Feoh


Feoh or Fehu is the first rune of the runic alphabet. It is from this letter that begins the general name of the runic sequence Futhark or Futhorc. The meaning attributed to Feoh is that of wealth, gold, valuables and by association from older cultures, cattle, the medium of understanding how wealthy a person or household might be. I mainly think of it as just wealth or gold as the best representation for modern day understandings. The name of this rune is see as the foundation for many modern words like finances, fees, fiscal and other words that relate to money and wealth that start with a similar sound.

After love magic, I would say that most people coming looking for magic to help make them prosperous, wealthy, rich, or at least financially stable, free from the upsets of unexpected losses, bills, fines and complications. Considering that the major cause of so much stress for many people, couples, and life in general in the modern US is based around wealth, including some of the biggest issues of economics, jobs, employment, social security, the costs of healthcare and so many other things, it can really get a person or a family down.

Wealth and prosperity magic is probably more practiced in some ways then love magic. While some people have various ethical reservations about getting someone to love them through magic, most people do not feel as complicated as doing spells to get themselves to get jobs, find money, or ensure financial favor and support. I know that I myself certainly have no problems with it, and work it often enough. Yet, so much of our culture has this divide between “materialism” and “spirituality”. When you meet a spiritual teacher or practitioner who is rich, people often look askance at them, seeing something questionable and perhaps fraudulent in what they are doing. Yet at the same time, some of these same people might completely ignore long standing spiritual and religious institutions who have more wealth then most of the developing countries in the world.

Yet, I myself find it particularly valuable in seeing the spiritual side of wealth, as well as the spiritual benefit of being enlightened, and applying that wisdom and gaining and managing my wealth, but also the wealth of states and nations. I think it would be much better to have someone who has compassionate enlightenment and reason to be thinking about how to best serve the management of the wealth of a nation then the greed and corruption which clearly plagues the economic systems of the world now.

To meditate and contemplate wealth, prosperity, and abundance not only of spiritual things, but of how it can serve to turn material things into their true spiritual natures is something that can be gained through working with Feoh. Carve it into a candle, or write it on a paper which you then dab with some kind of money related condition oil. Draw the rune from your rune bag and sit with it, either before you, or held in your hands. Chant the name, or draw it in the air with energy and intent and press it into your etheric and astral bodies. What does Feoh tell you about your relationship with Wealth? What would be enough? What do you really want and need to be prosperous?

E is for Runes

I felt like double posting this week, cause, well I can.


Anyway, I would have to say the letter E is probably one the more under represent vowels in the various Futhorcs.  So, it makes this easy


Eihwaz – The yew tree.  Another one of those darn trees just popped up again.  You’d they lived in the woods or something, these rune-casters.  This particular rune has some interesting overlapping meanings.  The first meaning I learned for it was defense.  Different then the protection rune that follows shortly after, Eihwaz is more like the pit of spikes defense. Sure it protects you, but it can hurt you too, as well as anyone else who tries to violate it.  After working with it some more, I came to understand it’s defense a little better, that it was also the severe warning.  It makes it look dangerous to those who think about violating it.  Or it just freaks people out.  I do use this rune to protect things, and more then a few times when someone who was bad news came around, they often just couldn’t stand to be here and fled, in some cases quite literally.
The other, more focused on attribution that I have learned and seems more common, is that it is the rune associated with death, dying and ultimately, the Underworld. I understand it more as the gateway to the Underworld.  Through this rune, you can reach those dark and sometimes frightening places below, where the dead, ancestors and various spirits of underworld and cthonic power reside.  Actually, you can reach lots of places with Eihwaz though.  The underworld is actually really well connected to all sorts of places, so if you’re spiritually traveling from point a to point b, you can use Eihwaz as the medium to get there.  Of course, if really want to avoid getting lost, use Raidho, and if you want to get there fast, use the next rune, Ehwaz, but, Eihwaz opens the door.  It’s the gate of the Underworld, but also the shortcut to every else.


Of course, within the tree cosmology I have seen, Eihwaz corresponds to The underworld, much like Aesc is the upper world, and Berkana is the creative power, and Thurisaz is the Destructive power, and Ac is the Middle World.


Eohlx – The name I prefer to know this rune by, as it talks about sharp swamp grass that can lacerate skin if you handle it unwisely, or just step through it.  It is also universally known as the rune of protection.  It there is any rune that everybody can agree on, it is this one.  I don’t think I have ever come across any author or writer about runes who has indicated otherwise.  The exact source of this protection is up to debate, but it seems that the protection is inherent.  Without walls, without armor without shield, without anything, you can be protected.  A giant “who goes there?” and “back off” all in one.  It’s kind of amazing.  Use it in all protection work, seriously.  You can’t go wrong. One of my favorite aegishlamur variants is known as “Solomon s innsigli” meaning Solomon sign.  It’s basically a 8 spoked sign made up of variants of Eohlx.  I have used it quite often for protection work and made some other version of it, and they all work amazingly great and give a very solid protection against any harm.


Ehwaz – Ehwaz, the horse, the rune of quickness and speed and fleetness.  It makes travels short and bearable to those riding on the horse, but remember the steed does have a mind of it’s own.  To make the journey, you need to work along side your mount, not just force to do what you want.  Steed and rider, working together as a team, not as combatants.


Ehwaz is find to be anything gained with speed, or quickness.  Wealth that is quickly gained and equally quickly lost.  Fast cars, Fast men, fast music, fast women.  You can have lots of fun, but don’t expect it to be anything permanent.  If that is what you’re hoping for, you’ve come to the wrong rune.  Be thankful for what you got when you got it, but don’t try to hang to it too tight.  Just remember the memory of it fondly once it is gone.


Ear – The rune of Death. The tomb. Different from Eihwaz.  Ear is more like the Death Card of the Futhorc.  Everything dies, everything rots, everything fades away. Your wealth won’t last forever.  Eventually the fortune will disappear.  Even the best of friends goes away eventually, cause you might outlive them, or they outlive you.  There is nothing too big to fail.  All things fail. It is the natural order of things.  Sometimes it’s best just to go with it.
Not all endings are “THE END” though.  Some endings are just little.  The closing of a chapter.  The time to turn over the tape or record.  Maybe it’s time to move some place else, look to someone else, become something else. It’s an ending, but the story goes.

D is for Dagaz


In the Elder Futhark Dagaz is the typically either the last rune, or the second to last rune (some orderings switch it with Aethel). In the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, it is only the last rune in the 3rd aettir, as a 4th aettir soon takes it’s place. The name means “day” as in the time period when the sun is passing across the sky, and it’s bright light covers that side of the Earth.
I personally find that this is a rune of light, and of Light. While other runes that indicate light are perhaps more personal (Cenaz) or the object which sheds light (Sowilo, Qweorth) Dagaz refers to that special quality of light, seemingly in abudance, surrounding, filling, maybe even penetrating. This is light is also benevolent generally. As in many folklores, when the sun rises is when all the unpleasant things that humans fear retreat back for a while. Life resumes it’s normal pace, and the whispers of harmful beings and unwanted influences fade away, at least for another time span of light.
While it’s nature is benevolent, the results of it’s actions working people, both yourselves and others, is not always. Humans are to a certain degree, hardwired to be blind. Things that don’t meet our sense of self are rejected, either casually and wantonly, or sometimes with anger and potential violence. It takes a lot of work to make yourself into someone who can accept everything, and even if you have done a lot of it, there is probably still something, hiding, secret, laying the darkness, that when it has the light of day shined upon it, the revelation will be challenging, if not outright unpleasant and undesirable. That is part of the human condition, but it doesn’t mean you have to be bound by it.

The revelation, the awakening, letting in the light, seeing things in the light, can be very difficult, and it only gets harder when we fight it. Better to let the light shine, and sit with our discomfort, or sensitivity, our pain, and let it shine through us. It is only trying to help us to shine brighter ourselves, or to be clearer so that our light can shine through, unobstructed.

Let the light shine.