Posts Tagged ‘Norse Paganism’

We acquire the strength we have overcome.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

NaudizThe Rune Poem: Verse X Naudiz

Hardship lies heavy on the heart
Yet oft to the children of men
It becomes nonetheless a help and a healing,
If they heed it in time.

Any journey through the runes, including this series of 24 runic affirmations, is nothing if not transformative. It’s been nearly three months since my last post, and the time between has been full of Naudiz’s energy, the second rune of the second aett (“rune family”) in the Elder Futhark.

In my case hardship took the form of an employer who, having recently experienced a great personal tragedy, proceeded to make the lives of those working for him very difficult. As I was already splitting my time between two jobs – this one, which provided for me financially and another, which doesn’t pay as well – I decided to resign from the former and focus fully on the latter. Looking back over the last few months, I realize this was the only viable choice. I certainly could have remained without financial worry by keeping the old job, but would’ve been miserable had I continued subjecting myself to a boss incapable of separating his personal life from work. What good is money if it comes at the cost of happiness, and what good is a job if it doesn’t allow me to contribute in a satisfying way? Though the choice to focus fully on the second job (which is really a career) will bring short-term financial hardship, it’s one that has already brought greater freedom and joy. Given time and hard work, it also has the potential to create more income than the job I’ve left.

And so the meaning of Naudiz becomes clear: hardship as something to be endured, with “help and healing” for those who “heed it” and persevere. Said another way, we can choose to see any unpleasant situation life presents as a chance to create something we love. Of course we can also choose to do the opposite, and many do. For some, playing the victim and assigning blame instead of taking responsibility for their happiness is the safer, more predictable bet. After the last few months of unhappiness, I’m done with “safe” and am ready to unfold into a joyful new world of unknowns.

The affirmations offered in this series’ previous post are also fitting for Naudiz:

I peacefully and lovingly release situations and relationships that are not for my higher good.

I view every situation as an opportunity to grow stronger and more joyful.

These affirmations by Orin and Sanaya Roman appear in the book Living with Joy. If they don’t ring true for you as they’re written above, feel free to change them! The words don’t do the work on their own…it’s words + repetition + intent and emotional connection that make affirmations such powerful catalysts for positive change. Create ones that feel good and reflect who you are.

Click here to see other affirmations in this series.

Additional 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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Just for now…stop, breathe, and listen.

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

The Mouth is the source of every speech,
The mainstay of wisdom,
And solace of sages,
And the happiness and hope of every eorl.

–The Anglo-Saxon rune poem, Verse IV

“The Mouth” in the first stanza as often interpreted as the Divine. In the Northern Tradition this is either the god Odin or Loki, depending on how the rune falls (upright or reversed, respectively). However the Divine has many faces and names, and means different things to different people. For example I see “The Mouth” as my own inner knowing – that part in each of us that answers with a soft but clear whisper when asked, “What now?”

Think for a moment about how much of your day you spend in constant motion, chasing tasks and giving your valuable time to anyone who asks for it. “Most of the day” is probably your answer, and almost everyone else would say the same. Now honestly consider how many of these tasks and meetings leave you with a greater feeling of peace, freedom, and joy once completed. “Not many” is probably your answer, and again many would echo this.

What if, even once today, you stopped what you were doing and asked yourself, “Does what I’m doing now contribute to my highest good?” Then take a deep breath, go within, and listen for the answer. If you don’t receive the answer right away, don’t worry…just keep pausing, breathing, asking, and listening. With practice you will receive the guidance you need.

Ansuz affirmation:

I am aware of my innermost self. It guides and directs me.

A note about this affirmation: if the words presented don’t ring true for you, change them! Make it something that feels good and reflects who you are. 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.

Click here to see other affirmations in this series.

Rune source material: Oswald the Runemaker

Affirmation by Orin and Sanaya Roman

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

The Aurochs is fearless and huge of horn
A ferocious beast, it fights with its horns
A famous moor-stalker that:
A spirited beast.

–The Anglo-Saxon rune poem, Verse II

Now extinct, the aurochs was a large and aggressive breed of ox present in northern Europe until the early 1600’s. The hunter who killed one was regarded as having great courage and fortitude, and aurochs horns were coveted trophies often used as drinking vessels, displaying the owner’s prowess for all to see.

Few would argue that it can take the strength and will of an ox to stay focused, centered, and balanced as we try to navigate the ever-changing landscape of daily life. Many of us continually encounter people and situations that threaten to knock us off our gait by pulling us out of a peaceful center.

The simple but powerful wisdom of this rune is that the actions of others and the circumstances we face can only upset us if we allow it. It counsels being the hunter, and not the hunted; being proactive instead of reactive. A successful hunter remains calm, confident, and focused regardless of how the landscape changes or how the quarry reacts. The hunted however is completely reactive, and can become agitated and aggressive in response to the hunter (everyday circumstances).

Every day I “hunt” for peace and balance, and aim to stay centered and focused regardless of who or what I come across.

And so the affirmation for Uruz is,

I remain peaceful and compassionate even when those around me are not. I stay centered and balanced regardless of what the day brings.

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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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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A client contacted me with a request to give a reading on his relationship. No background information was given or solicited, except for the names of the two people involved. Here are the results:

Overview: Ehwaz, converse

EhwazThe relationship isn’t going well. There is disharmony and confusion about how to move forward – you’re unsure what to do at this point. Trust and loyalty are issues – big ones.





Fehu, reversedChallenge: Fehu, reverse

Differences when it comes to money – making it, saving it, and/or spending it – are present. Can these views & behaviors be reconciled? I’m not sure. These differences are part of the trust and loyalty issues mentioned above.




KenazAction: Kenaz

Radical renewal is called for. This renewal can take one of two forms – either a break up or an agreement to self-examine, sacrifice, and forgive past transgressions for the good of the relationship. Please understand that you can’t make her agree to self-examine, sacrifice, and forgive.

If your partner is unwilling to reconcile, there will be signs. Silence is one. If signs are apparent, you must accept responsibility for moving on in a timely manner, for your own good and for hers.

If reconciliation turns out to be an option, know that you each must identify and let go of ideas and behaviors that hurt the relationship in the past. Being honest with yourselves and each other is a crucial part of this process, as is forgiveness. It also involves remaining watchful for the occasional return of old, familiar, and unproductive patterns.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service. I sincerely hope this helps you move toward more peace and joy…if not in the present, at least in the near future.



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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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sowuloA Novel Paradigm, the fledgling online book discussion group I facilitate, is currently reading Living with Joy by Sanaya Roman. Two passages in Chapter 5 describe each aspect of the rune Sowulo uncannily well. The first describes the “bright side” of the rune:

When you feel strong and in charge of your life, you can come from the heart.

And the second describes Sowulo’s shadow side:

When you feel lacking in control you may feel you must manipulate or engage in power struggles to get what you want. You may think you have to make excuses for your behavior or tell white lies to protect other people’s feelings.

Which of the body’s energy centers (chakras) comes into play when we “engage in power struggles?” The third, or solar plexus chakra, which is the energetic equivalent of Sowulo in our physical and spiritual energy systems.

More on Sowulo at Under a Violet Sun:
Sowulo’s Merkstave?
Sowulu, converse
Daily Rune: Sowulo

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