WUNJO

Wunjo has been directly interpreted as “Joy,” and also means satisfaction, success, delight, deep lasting affection, and having all things necessary and really satisfying to one’s existence. The old Rune poem speaks of Joy in the company of the kinsmen sitting together in the hall. Wunjo can mean satisfaction in work or a job well done. All of one’s needs are met. There is the sense and feeling of connectedness, wholeness, or completeness in this Rune at the end of the first Rune Row.

This Rune in reversal indicates disappointment, dissatisfaction, failure, troubles, opposition, or obstacles to be overcome. This Rune is a reminder that although opportunity exists for great joy in life, so too does its opposite of suffering. The juxtaposition of joy and suffering, like pleasant and unpleasant, light and dark are constant reminders of the paradox inherent within the universe.

The first Rune row represents the process of Creation, of things coming into being. From Fehu, the Rune that empowers things to come into being, the Row moves to Uruz, the powers of animal nature and the cow nourishing the first man-like being Ymir. From Ymir, the prototype of humanity, Thurisaz, first the giants, or primal forces of Nature arise, followed by the gods, Ansuz, or beings of higher mind and consciousness. With the event of conscious being in the Cosmos, the great beings (stars, suns, planets, moons) find their balance in the Cosmos through electromagnetism and the power of gravity, establishing their position, the right rhythm and right relationship of Raidho. Within this positioning, all things have their place. Humanity arises on Midgarth, connoting conscious mind, knowledge, artistry, and the craft of Kenaz. Within Great Nature, all things exist in reciprocal relationships, the providence of Gifu, and the satisfaction of having everything necessary for existence, Wunjo.

GIFU

Gifu translates literally as “gift,” but its meaning includes a sense of obligation with the accepting of the gift. The worldview of the ancient Norse placed high value on hospitality and frith. Frith is a concept that most scholars interpret as meaning “peace,” but Odinic scholar Galina Kroskova has suggested its interpretation is more in line with “right relationship.” This fits what I wrote under Raidho. The concept of gifting thus represented that which was given in reciprocal exchange. On a mundane level this can mean two people coming together in partnership whether in a romantic union, a business relationship, or friendship. On a spiritual level this can equate with the sacred marriage or in communion with the Gods. The Rune has no reversed meaning, so if it appears in a reading with otherwise negative Runes it can point out a condition of an emotional nature or an area where a partnership’s reciprocal responsibilities have not been met. When Gifu shows up sometimes it is worth considering all aspects of what is expected in the mutual exchange before one commits to accepting what is offered.

KENAZ

Kenaz is one of the friendliest of the Runes. Whereas Fehu is the wildfire, Kenaz is the fire of the torch, the hearth, the forge, the candlelight that warms the garth, and the warm heat of the living human body. In this sense it has a protective influence. The Rune can be used to activate Tumo/Tuvo, the process that young Tibetan monks are taught to raise the heat within their own bodies.[1] (A useful kenning for a cold day!) Kenaz conveys the essence of strength and good health. As a forge fire it indicates all the good and useful things that can be designed and crafted to meet the needs for life. In modern times, the meaning may extend to electric lighting and electric usage.

Kenaz represents knowledge, the fire of the creative mind, a passion followed, or the birth of a new idea. It is a Rune for artists and craftspeople; the knowledge gained can represent a trade or apprenticeship of some kind. Protective, positive attitudes lead to right action followed by good benefits. It can indicate a time of good things coming into life – an opportunity to start a business or a new relationship. With proper application of knowledge, Kenaz can mean freedom from anxiety. When reversed in a reading, Kenaz can indicate misuse of knowledge, lost opportunities, or failing, broken relationships. The “heart” has left the “hearthfire.”

[1] See section on Shamanic Exercises and Meditative Techniques.

RAIDHO

Raidho, described as the journey Rune, actually has far more depth of meaning than this. Raidho is also the journey the heavenly bodies take through the Cosmos. The stars were the subjects of close observation by those who journeyed both by water and overland in those days when there were no compasses or GIS apps on cell phones. Travelers in the Northern Hemisphere could orient themselves by the North Star, also known as the Pole Star, and the trek of Sun and Moon across the night sky.[1] People who depended on their skills to orient their sense of place in space by such methods noted the roundness of the heavenly bodies. Perhaps this was the first concept of a wheel. Certainly we have the idea of “solar wheel” for the Sun. This Rune is also interpreted as the “solar wagon,” or chariot of Thor as he drives his goat cart across the heavens. The heavenly bodies sustain each other in their orbits via the laws of gravity and electromagnetism. Therefore it is also understandable that this Rune also holds the concept of “right rhythms” within the natural orders of the Cosmos.

I tend to extend this meaning of “right rhythms” one step further, to “right relationships.” My reason is simple. I’m a practicing shamanist. My Spirit Guide has spoken to me often about the importance of remaining in right relationship with the land, nature spirits, and other “invisible” helpers I work with, including the souls of plants, trees, and animals in order to remain in Balance. The concept of Balance is a very important one in shamanism. The Peruvian Indians express it as Ayni – “Today for me and tomorrow for you,” a version of reciprocity, and Munay, meaning “Love.” Right relationship has been expressed in other times and cultures, such as Buddhism. I am thrilled that my ancestral religion too has its version of it.

When the Runes first “downloaded” themselves into my awareness back in 2013, when it came to Raidho, I saw men working together as they prepared for war. They were dressed in leather armor, and the forges were working at hammering out swords, and the men were loading wagons with supplies. Then another scene imprinted itself upon me. Monks were working to load hay on to wagons for the care of the cattle during the winter months. Working together for war or peace represent aspects of this Rune that stands for Right Rhythm and Right Relationship. Within the natural cycles are included the year (the Rune Jera) and the daytime/nighttime cycle (the Rune Dagaz). To this list I would add the laws of the Cosmos: attraction, repulsion, and equilibrium.[2]

Inherent in the aspects of Raidho as a Rune of Right Relationships is communication. One can expect messages via letter, phone, telegram, or email. Generally a fortunate Rune, when one encounters Raidho reversed it could mean failure in communication, difficulties in transportation, delays in one’s plans, or the need to make a journey at an inopportune time.

[1] Edred Thorsson also relates the North Star to the Rune Tiwaz, also called Tyr, after the God of War who sacrificed his hand in order that the Fenris Wolf be bound.

[2] See chapter on Valknut where I spend some time discussing the correspondences between Gurdjieff’s Laws of Three, Seven, and the Runic Ætts.

ANSUZ

Ansuz is the God-Rune, the Rune of Divine Breath, wind, and wise council. The Æsir Gods evolved from the giants by the power of conscious being/becoming. Therefore no longer acting purely from instinctive natural impulses, they now act from the shining higher mind. The garth of the Gods, Asgard, is found at the very top of the World Tree representing the highest aspects of being, akin to the Crown chakra or Higher Self. This is the enlightened, illuminated mind. Humanity (the first humans Askr and Embla made from trees) received the gift of breath/life, inspiration, and physicality/passion/sensuality from Odhinn, Hœnir, and Lódhurr, the three grandsons of Ymir. These forces guided by higher mind represent the sacred pinnacle of life via the twinned aspects of Thought and Memory, symbolized by Odhinn’s Ravens Huginn and Muninn, given to him by Hulde, who may be the pre-Christian version of Hela, Norse Goddess of Death.[1] This relationship seems to point also at the life and death relationship of this Rune. Ansuz is the Rune of the Word made flesh, the transformative power of spiritual and numinous knowledge. A human being in prayer or in ecstatic practice becomes the receiver for this way of knowing, which possesses an inherent force for transformation in the sense of being.

Relating also to the Ancestors, Ansuz is a Rune for the knowledge held within our DNA, chromosomes, blood, and bone. This Rune is a knowing of the ancestral, sovereign god of consciousness, notably Odhinn, also known as “All-Father.” Another kenning here for Ansuz is Ond, or “mouth,” like the mouths of rivers from which all journeys begin, like humans are descended from this Sovereign God.[2] The capacity for consciousness is inherited from the Gods through our human ancestors, giving us the capacity for self-sovereignty, or self rule.

On the more mundane level of daily life, Ansuz can mean the spoken word; education, exam, or test; the receiving of knowledge, wisdom, or life experience from an expert source; or the chance meeting with a wise elder. When the Rune shows up reversed, it can mean poor advice, lies, lawsuit, trickery, deception, or the need to get a second opinion.

[1] Freya Aswyn Northern Mysteries at end of Hulde/Hela chapter

[2] Edred Thorsson, ALU, An Advanced Guide to Operative Runology, Kindle edition, location 943 of 3522.

THURISAZ

Thurisaz, the third Rune, has been interpreted to mean “Thorn,” but relates also to Thor, the Æsir God who protects the garth/gard/guard (enclosure or protective settlement) from the giants. The root word thurse also relates to the race of giants whom frequently oppose the gods who support humanity. Thor, with his hammer Mjöllnir, an iron belt, and an iron glove, travels about in his goat cart killing trolls and protecting Asgard from predation by the giants who represent large natural forces.

A “giant” might be any natural force, or any inherent unconscious force, that is larger than ourselves: floods, thunder and lightning, earthquakes, forest fires (Fehu), and other natural disasters, which are external to ourselves, and fear, anxiety, or subconscious rage, which are internal to ourselves. Thor himself has the property of making himself as large or as small as needed, which makes him the ideal counterforce to the giants.

Thor is also called Thunar, which means thunder. He has come to me when I needed guidance to work the weather and in friendship when I have worked the land. He definitely has ties to storms, as thunderstorms are essential for setting nitrogen in the soil for the legumes to prosper. His iron belt and the glove that he wears to use his hammer evoke also his capacity to attract and manage electrical forces.

As Thorn, Thurisaz reveals two aspects of itself. Rose bushes, thorn apples, and raspberry or blackberry bushes are those shrubs and trees which come to mind bearing both the nasty thorn, scented flower, and fruit. The shrubs provide protective hedges for the smaller wildlife to escape the winged predators: hawks, owls, and eagles. As with the thurses and Thor, the Rune is both dangerous and protective. When Thurisaz shows up in a reading, whether upright or reversed, look at both the destructive and protective potential inherent within the situation. Where lies the Thorn? Where lies the Rose? More than any other Rune, Thurisaz represents the power of Paradox.

If Uruz is the Rune of physicality, Thurisaz is the Rune that can indicate the inherently unconscious, emotional forces underlying situations where we get in our own way. As we explored in the chapter on the Subconscious, the reptilian and mammalian brain still retain the capacity for over-riding the waking consciousness of the neo-cortex in situations where quick response proves essential for survival. These episodes can result in unconscious patterns of behavior that can trip us up in our own lives and our own goals until we begin to discern the resultant behaviors and change them. (See Engrams and Negative Behavior Feedback Loops). Thurisaz thus becomes a Rune to help us get in touch with those lost and forgotten aspects of self through the process of recollection, recapitulation, and the effort to see ourselves as we really are, not as we would have others see us. Through our ability to weather the pointy, sharp, shadowy aspects of self we pass through the thorns to smell the roses.

The related fairy tale here is the one of Sleeping Beauty. The original story to the fairy tale is the one where Odin punished Brunhilda, a disobedient Valkyrie, by putting her to sleep in a thorn thicket until the hero Sigrid came along to awaken her. The sleep thorn is the unconscious, and the thorn the conscious. The awakened Valkryie is now able to teach the hero the full magical workings of the Runes.

URUZ

Uruz is named after the now extinct Aurochs, the wild, primeval European cattle. The large Aurochs had great horns, which the Norse used for drinking horns in their sacred ceremonies, and the young men probably used to show off their hunting prowess. This Rune links us to the Cow Audhumbla, coming into being out of the conflagration of the Worlds of Fire and Ice (the Creation mythology), and whose milk nurtured the first manlike-being, the giant Ymir.[1] We have explored cattle as wealth (Fehu), and now the second Rune, Uruz, links us to cattle as a symbol of physical wellbeing, strength, good health, stamina, and considering the cow, nurturing and nourishment. In the plant kingdon, Uruz may be considered the rootedness that connects plants to the nourishing soil of Earth.

Uruz is a powerful, primeval, animal force that one must be respectful of. If Fehu was a wildfire, then the power of Uruz can be likened to the stampeding Aurochs herd. In dealing with cattle, one must be mindful of the herd mind. The animal evolved a skull thick enough to support those great horns and withstand the impact of slamming into another Aurochs headfirst. When bulls or cows are determining which is to be the dominant one, they push against each other head to head, until the stronger one wins, and the pecking order is settled. The expression “bull headed” came about from pushing through until something gets resolved. Uruz can therefore mean a test of strength or an ordeal that must be passed through. You learn to stand on your own feet through situations requiring grit, energy, and determination. It might be prudent to ask whether the conditions are right for “bulling through” something when confronted with the major change that the appearance of Uruz represents. Natural occurrences present opportunity to fall back on self to fund the strength of will and develop the inner resources of fortitude, stamina, and perseverance to see the situation through. Calling upon this Rune during such times can help sustain you while you persevere.

Uruz also serves to remind us when we need to take time to self nourish. The Rune itself is shaped in the form of a grazing cow or bull. Sometimes the form this will take is a period of rest to replenish the energy needed to return to the fray.

Uruz reversed in a reading can indicate ill health, low vitality or low virility, lack of motivation, or that the questioner has failed to take advantage of the moment. Perhaps your own strength is being used against you, or perhaps you are being used to another person’s advantage.

[1] This giant is interesting. Ymir is a variation of a name that means “Roarer” or “Mudroarer.” See Maria Kvillhaug’s book for the best translation of the name, and refer to the chapter on Hela’s initiation at the Well of Souls.

FEHU

I have promised to write up the meanings of the Runes as I understand them. I stick to the Elder Futhark, and this is what will appear in the book I am writing called Goddesses of the Nitty Gritty: A Call to the Well of Being. Below is the Elder Futhark in the three Aetts from my first set I made hand painted on river stones.

Elder Futhark three Aetts

Here is the first: Fehu.

FEHU – The first Rune in the Elder Futhark ring, Fehu’s essence encompasses abundance, provision, prosperity, manifestation, and earned wealth, and in a sense contains the entire Rune cycle within itself. Edred Thorsson wrote that Fehu is wildfire. It relates to that passionate thrust for life that M.E.M. showed me in Vision, of the first little fish seeking life on land. As the first in the Rune cycle, Fehu represents a force forever calling things into being. From this Rune everything comes. Fehu lies above and beyond the physical form, not something we can perceive with the five senses. To my understanding this Rune ties into the Awareness that underlies physical life, supports our wellbeing, and is universally available to provide that which we call into physical life through our understanding of how to work with its power.

Fehu can mean money and moveable wealth through barter and trade. In ancient times this meant cattle, as the herds and increase of herds meant wealth in a form that provided easier subsistence than hunter/gathering. Tamed cattle provided milk and meat; herds of sheep or goats provided meat, milk, and wool. Fehu includes the wealth that arises from one’s own hard work, knowledge of craft, and/or how to provide a service. Fehu differs in this respect from Othila, which ends the Futhark ring, and means inherited wealth, land, real estate, country, and family. The essence of Fehu in wealth building manifests as one has a plan, one applies one’s self diligently to the manifestation of that plan, and one’s hard work pays off in the wealth generated.

Fehu is a rune that attracts, so there is a need to be very clear on that which one wishes to manifest. The warning inherent in this is that if your thoughts are muddled with negative expectations, one may also attract that which one is seeking to avoid.

To use Fehu to draw toward us goods for our wellbeing and physical sustenance, we focus on those wants and needs, utilizing the wealth of our positive imagination to harmonize with the Universe in delivering these things into our lives. If you long for a new car, for example, imagine yourself driving that car, how it will feel to have that car, and all the good associations you have with that car, then Fehu becomes an attractor toward manifesting that car.

However, if there is an area in your life wherein you are encountering a lot of resistance, Fehu can be used to clear the path of resistance. What we give thought and emotion to, we manifest, and if we are manifesting worry, concern, strife, or opposition (i.e. negative self-talk), we are pushing away that which we say we want.

Meditation with Fehu can help to clarify what your actual feelings about that want are. For example, I want to be slender, but being heavy keeps unwanted male sexual attention away from me. So to lose the weight I ideally need to clarify (a) that I am heavy to keep unwanted male sexual attention away from me, and (b) how I can begin to feel safe from unwanted male sexual attraction so that I can slim down. Perhaps I can feel safe by taking a kickboxing class, which could teach me how to defend myself from predators and also provide me a valuable form of exercise.

Or maybe my concern is financial. That brand new truck costs a lot! Maybe I can save up toward a down payment so that my monthly payment will fit within my cash flow. Or maybe I am willing to take a second or third job to make that happen.

In healing work, I have found that I can use this Rune to connect with a person’s energy and discern what ails them. I suspect Fehu correlates to the meridians of the human body, as it is a Rune that encompasses the entire Futhark within itself. I have not tested this theory of mine, however, except via self-healing and giving my husband hands on healing.

My favorite Rune story with Fehu was when Freyja came to me in my garden one spring day and taught me how to use the Rune to grow green beans. The previous year, I had asked the green beans how to save their seeds for future years of gardening, which they told me through Vision. At that time I was still learning to trust my own intuition, so it was through trial and error that I learned to let the bean pods dry down completely before the brown bean seeds were then ready to harvest for next year’s planting.

The next spring I was driving myself crazy with thoughts of “what if” I harvested the bean seeds wrong. On planting day, I sensed the presence of a beneficent, powerful Goddess, bringing her powers of calmness, confidence, and abundance. She said, “Let me show you,” and combining her power with mine, she laid a bubble of power over my little garden to which we fed the Fehu Rune energy. The bubble contained Fehu over my garden while it grew, and I would add more energy as needed. The green beans, to which the Goddess and I had most specifically directed the Rune’s energy, were more abundant than ever before in my lifetime of gardening. At that time, I asked Her Name, and She answered, “Vanadis.” Later I learned Vanadis, meaning Lady of the Land, is another name for Freyja. So, Vanadis/Freyja, the green beans and I thank you.

Christmas Angel | The Golden Child of 2017

When I was a child on Christmas night I would linger under the tree, lights lit in the darkened living room, listening to the bustling sounds of Mom and Dad putting the day away. My sister was in the play room watching television, but for me, alone under the Christmas tree, was a special moment. A feeling of peace would come over me. In the quiet and utter stillness was the living presence of peace.

Between young adulthood and middle age, I lost this feeling in the cares of the world, making my way. But after divorce, and raising my son apart from my former spouse, a light broke into my heart again. His dad had come to pick him up for the weekend, and I was sitting alone in my home, enjoying the moment of peace and quiet before exhaustion drove me up to bed. The lights were out, because I was preparing myself to go up to bed, but I had just sat down for the moment, and two ribbons of light, one red and one green began dancing around the living room. I extended my senses, and I experienced a feeling of love. Two days later, I visited a store that sold new age art prints, and someone had painted angels that way, as ribbons of colored light.

Cares and time weighed me down again for a few more years, but this year just past, in 2017, I have reconnected. My second husband is a Jewish man. When we first met, he asked his sister to teach me the song to light the Sabbath candles. It began slowly, but in August I first noticed that by the Sabbath candles I felt again the way I had felt under the Christmas tree as a child. The more I noticed its presence, the more I began to feel in touch with my inner child.

With this presence I feel calm, happy, and joyful. The more I bask in its presence, the more in touch I become with my inner child. The presence comes now when I work with fire. It comes when I need reminding to be a light. There is evil in the world, there are greedy people without love. To be a light in the world has meant I often have to face my own shadows; as my hatred or rage gets hooked by the mistreatment and disrespect of women, the rape of our environment (Mother Earth), the often unnerving hostilities perpetuated against innocents, I can remember the Light and find my inner balance.

I call this Light my Christmas Angel, the Sabbath Angel, or my Golden Child. 2017 was the year I met my inner Golden Child. I know that I AM a light in the world, but together, humanity together – WE ARE the Light of the World. We are to hold everyone in the Light of the World, even the GOP Administration as they expose the shadows inherent in their greed and their narcissism. We are to hold in potential, without judgment, for ALL of us are creating the conditions of this time, as we move forward into 2018. May it be the best of years!