Banning the Runes?

When I learned that Sweden wants to ban certain Runes – Othila, Tyr, and even the Valknut symbol – because they were used by Nazis for an evil cause, I decided I had to add my voice to the outcry.

The Runes are ancient symbols that contain energies that assist life, and the Runes held congruent for at least 1800 years. The idea that a government could ban selective symbols from history is the same story of the ostrich burying its head in the sand – and avoidance of a problem does not make it blithely go away.

There is an underlying naivety in the human race that seems to think if we point the finger and blame the other guy we are somehow dissociated from the shame of an act. But the fact remains that hatred exists within the human collective and it is up to all of us to ferret hatred out and chose not to give expression to that within our self.

I understand that some people have the experience of so much hatred that they cannot see clearly to be other than how they are. But for me to direct hatred against that person is not to bring them Light! Rather I must try to hold my own Light clearly enough that someone might experience the seed of Love and move forward in their own work on self. As long as institutions like prisons or poverty exist on Earth we shall have these problems before us. As far as I can discern, the only solution is for each human being to wake up, seek their own enlightenment, and thus person by person, illumination may be experienced by our species.

Meanwhile, I celebrate OTHILA because it reminds me to honor my family and brings me closer to my Ancestors and to help me heal what was unfinished in the family lineage.















I celebrate TYR/TEIWAZ because by honoring the Warrior in myself I develop the strength, courage and integrity to move above and beyond the superficial thinking generated by seeing only the outward image.

So my final thought to the government of Sweden: Think again. Why ban a wonderful national heritage just because of a few hate groups? GEBO carries the same lessons inherent in Christ’s words: Love another as your self.





The name Othila is derived from the root word for “noble” or “prince.”[1] This idea may hark back to the earlier Runes suggesting the blood of the god in the people, especially that of the ruling class, including the idea of sovereignty. The Othila Rune itself is a combination of the Ingwaz and Gifu Runes, indicating the inheritance we acquire through the bloodline, our genetic code, the DNA.[2] Traditionally families held the land that supported the clan, and they were willing to defend this land with their blood and their toil. The old mystery relating the blood to the soil speaks to the relationship of the king to the land. The king held the hamingja, or the luck, for his people, and when the luck stopped, the king was considered unlucky, and became sacrificed. The blood spilled through battle and sacrifice sanctified the land for its people. Othila relates to one’s relationship to the land. So the Rune Othila has also become the Rune of the family estate and real property. It further represents the virtues of loyalty, troth, and frith toward one’s family and one’s country.

The Othila Rune deals with real property, estates, landscapes, ancestral lands, family and clan, and what we have inherited from the ancestors through our essence, genetic memories, our DNA, and the attitudes, beliefs, and karmic matters that have come down through the family lines. The original interpretation came down from the days when our ancestors held their lands through the generations, so Othila also relates to one’s relationship with the land. This would be especially true for farmers and those who depend in some way on the land for their livelihood. It can have any of these meanings in a reading, depending on the surrounding runes. If Othila shows up with Ansuz, Tyr, or Jera, for example, it might relate to a Will, an estate settlement, and/or legal problems with same.

Othila is a Rune that one can use to meditate on the Ancestors. I have used Othila and Raidho to practice “bloodwalking,” a technique taught in Raven Kaldera’s book Wyrdwalkers. This is a trance journey that involves going inward rather than outward. I tend to follow my own heartbeat, and let it’s drum sound carry me backwards. Kaldera describes other ways of going about this. Any of these ways are advanced techniques.


The third ÆTT is about humanity in the world. The masculine (Tiwaz) and the feminine (Berkano) principles cooperate through partnership (Ehwaz) and social groups (Mannaz) to contain and order (Ingwaz) the activities of the group (Laguz) throughout the day (Dagaz) and hold their own place (Othila) for those activities necessary so the group can survive and thrive.

[1] Freya Aswyn, Northern Mysteries & Magic, p. 85

[2] ibid., p. 85