Today’s rune is Wunjo. It’s commonly known as “joy,” but its meaning runs deeper than simple happiness on a personality level.
In his book Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic, Edred Thorsson offers the simplest, most concise, and yet most profound explanation of this rune’s meaning I’ve ever seen:
When all members of the clan are harmoniously working together, while integrated into their environment in a syncretic manner, a true state of holiness exists. (34)
In this context syncretic means growing together by setting aside differences and working toward a common goal. It seems the Germanic tribes, with whom the Runes originated, knew the value of syncretism and what would happen without it. In the words of American writer, historian, and philosopher Will Durant,
A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.
What was true for the tribes of the Migration Period is still true today, though in a broader context. If petty differences are set aside and all find and use their gifts for the greater good, the global tribe will continue to evolve. One way to experience the essence of Wunjo, the “true state of holiness” Thorsson spoke of, is to do anything that shifts our focus from our own wants and needs to those of others.
I look at this rune today and ask myself, “What is my role in the tribe?” As I commit to finding and living that role, I experience the joy of Wunjo.
Edit on 3/15/11: I came across this quote and thought it was appropriate:
When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.