Posts Tagged ‘Divination’

Today’s affirmation comes from the third rune of the first aett (or “family”) in the Elder FutharkThurisaz. Its traditional meaning comes from the Rune Poems, the oldest of which translates as follows:

The Thorn is sorely sharp for any thane
Hurtful to hold
Uncommonly severe
To every man who lies among them.

–The Anglo-Saxon rune poem, Verse III

In the mid-70’s author Michael Crichton wrote a book called The Eaters of the Dead based on the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf. In 1999 it was made into a movie starring Antonio Banderas and Omar Sharif. Though an abysmal failure at the box office, the movie remains one of my favorites. A line from the film stuck with me, one I feel succinctly conveys the meaning of Thurisaz: “Fear profits a man nothing.”

At a deeper level, this rune speaks to the power of anger as a catalyst for positive change…a “thorn” we can use to cut ourselves free from relationships and circumstances that don’t empower us. However it also speaks to the danger in holding on to anger after it has served its purpose. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all personally experienced (and observed in others) the damaging effects of anger that stays around longer than it should.

Yet another facet of Thurisaz is a warning to be cautious of temptation. To put it another way, be cautious of thorns when you reach out to pluck that ripe, sweet berry from the vine.

And so the affirmation for Thurisaz is,

Today I choose peace, and release fear. I trust in my innermost self to give all the guidance and strength I need.

A note about this affirmation (and any written by someone other than yourself): if the words presented don’t ring true for you, feel free to change them. Make the affirmation something that feels good to you. For example, some may want to replace “innermost self” above with the name by which they address their Higher Power (God, Goddess, Buddha, etc.). The words don’t do the work on their own…it’s words + repetition + personal intent and emotional connection that make affirmations such powerful catalysts for positive growth. Make the affirmation your own!

Click here to see other affirmations in this series.

Affirmations inspired by Orin and Sanaya Roman

Source material: Oswald the Runemaker

I’ve been a runology student for 20 years. See the About page or click here to learn more about my work with the runes.


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The following is a 3 Rune Spread on a relationship. The names have been changed for privacy, but the person who asked for the reading has been invited to comment. (Interested in a psychic rune reading? Click here for more info.)

“The issue is, John Doe’s relationship with Jane Doe.”

Present outlook: Truth obscured, possibly due to secrets being kept. Mixed signals from Jane regarding the status of the relationship. (Rune drawn: Ansuz, converse)

Challenge you must overcome: With eyes wide open, ask yourself (and answer honestly) whether this love is fulfilling. From my perspective, it doesn’t seem to be. Though no relationship is perfect, if you spend more time giving than receiving, more time loving than being loved, and more time feeling down than up, this is not the love for you. If there is an ounce of truth to what I’ve said here, you deserve much, much more. (Rune drawn: Fehu)

Best possible outcome if the challenge above is overcome: Awakening to what you truly want and need in a relationship, and coming to the realization that this relationship contains little of either. Your choices are to remain and continue feeling malnourished in love, or to claim your right to a mutually fulfilling, mutually loving, mutually respectful relationship and move on. Happiness and peace may be yours if you choose the latter. (Rune drawn: Hagalaz)

I hope this has helped you, John. Please let me know if I can clarify anything I’ve said above.



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WunjoToday’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.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

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GeboA sister in spirit got in touch with me yesterday and asked about the significance of the rune Gebo. She is searching for her next home, and saw this rune in two trees nearby while praying about the issue.

The traditional meaning of Gebo is “gift,” but runes are like layer cakes and their commonly understood meanings are just the icing. There’s a lot more going on under the surface.

Gebo teaches us about the balance that’s needed between giving and receiving to support well-being on all levels, mental, physical, and spiritual. We should expect to give if we want to receive, and should neither consistently give without receiving nor receive without giving. This applies to all things – material goods, mental/emotional/spiritual energy, etc.

In her book Northern Mysteries and Magick, Freya Aswynn says that “giving gifts was a serious matter” in the Northern tradition (33), and that it was dishonorable to give or receive without an exchange. This concept was (and still is) present in several cultures around the world. For example in many Native American tribes, it is still considered disrespectful to ask for a blessing from a spiritual leader or the Creator without first making a meaningful offering. In this way Gebo shows us that sacrifice is necessary to manifest the gifts we seek. (Let me point out however that the original meaning of sacrifice was to make sacred. Its associations with concepts like ritual killing and pious suffering are primarily due to the influence of Christian doctrine.)

So then, what must you make sacred to attract what you wish?

To my sister, I heard and saw these things as well when meditating on this rune’s meaning for you:

  • A cave, and a waterfall. Find a way to spend some time inside/near either or both, whether this means visiting an actual physical location or journeying there in ceremony or meditation.
  • I heard the word “neighbor.” Does a neighbor have a gift you’ve refused, or have you given them a gift without an exchange of energy? Could be past, present or future.
  • Gather scattered energies and focus them on your desired outcome. Be cautious of the balance between give and take – are you giving too much and expecting to little? Or, are you expecting too much and giving too little? This could pertain to legal matters or a contract, and/or the spiritual energy you’ve invested in reaching your goal.
  • I see bats. You taught me about bat medicine – do they have a message for you? Cougar is also present.

Love and kindness,


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While meditating on the meaning of this rune a few years ago, the following imagery came to me:

A horse and rider are caught in the rain. The road has become muddy and too difficult to move on, leaving the rider little choice but to stop and wait out the storm. The wait is less bearable due to lack of fire for warmth and food. The rider feels defeated, but knows the only sensible choice is to wait.

According to Freya Aswynn in Northern Mysteries & Magick, one lesson offered by Ehwaz is how to adjust to changing circumstances (75-76). In its inverted form, difficulty adjusting to change seems implied. In my imagery above, the rider is certainly unhappy about (and having difficulty adjusting to) waiting out the storm.

In Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic, Edred Thorsson says “Ehwaz is a combination of two sympathetic, yet dually arrayed forces or entities that work harmoniously together toward one goal” (59). With horse and rider, the latter’s progress is dependent on the former’s ability/willingness to move. Delving deeper into this duality, I begin to see the rider as mind and the horse as heart/emotion. The rider is less “in the moment” because he’s focused on the destination, and anxiety and restlessness arise from difficulty in adjusting to circumstances. The horse, a being of instinct and impulse that knows only the present, simply is regardless of whether it’s galloping down the road or standing motionless in the rain.

It’s a short leap to relate Ehwaz reversed to the challenges inherent in overcoming addictive behavior. Horse (body/instinct/impulse) has been trained by rider (mind) to a certain pattern of behavior. Anyone who’s spent any time around horses knows that getting them to take action contrary to their training or will is a difficult task. As someone who’s struggled with addictive behaviors, I can say that though I was keenly aware of (and very unhappy with) the destructive patterns I was engaging in, the impulse to follow through with those behaviors nearly always took precedence.

How are these patterns undone? I’m not entirely certain, though I do know that impulse and instinct must be retrained, and that takes time.

Other posts about Ehwaz reversed:

Ehwaz, reversed

The Birth of the Warrior, Part IV

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Used with permission of the artist, Tom Waters

Sowilo by artist Tom Waters (used with permission)

Sowulo and six of the other twenty-four Elder Futhark runes have no reverse position, or Merkstave. This does not mean they are simpler than the other seventeen, nor that their most commonly accepted meanings should be taken for granted.  There is another side to these seven – a “shadow” which the experienced diviner or astute student can draw much meaning from.

Today we’ll discuss the shadow side of Sowulo.

Though not yet proven by science, human beings require sustenance of spirit in addition to that provided by food, water, and air. Some get this from the higher realms – some get this from people and things in the world around them. The former is the essence of Sowulo; the latter is the essence of Sowulo’s shadow.

Do you seek wholeness from within, or do you look to other people, addictions, and/or material things to make you whole? Those who take the latter path (one many of us have travelled at some point in our lives) often become controlling or bullying, manipulative, emotionally needy, chemically dependent, and/or materialistic. They do whatever is necessary externally to feel whole and worthy, even if this means hurting themselves and others in the process.

Contrary to societal teachings, no person or possession has the power to make us whole. Sowulo’s shadow reminds us that true, sustainable wholeness can only come from within.

More on Sowulo can be found here.

The stunning depiction of Sowulo above originally appeared in the post Rune Magic at Tom Waters’ blog, Starweaver’s Corner.

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This morning I came across an interesting post at a site called Uncle Thor’s Lessons, Anecdotes, and Humor. It talks about symbolic rune pairings, and how each member of the pairs mentioned can perhaps be understood in a clearer way when it’s considered in light of its opposite or reciprocal.

Some of the rune names Uncle Thor uses may look unfamiliar – he uses the German equivalents:

Urus = = Uruz;

Thurs = = Thurisaz;

Ase = = Ansuz;


Ken =   = Kauno/Kano

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