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Runes

The runes are a system of magic and divination from the Teutonic tribes, and is primarily associated with Norse traditions. Each rune is simultaneously a pictorial symbol, a word of power, and an archetypal mystery. Runes can be used for divination and for creating change through talismans and amulets.
Many systems of the runes exist, but the most well-known among modern pagas is the Elder Futhark. Below is each rune and its various interpretations upright and reversed. This is a very basic list of meanings. Just as each tarot has a multitude of lessons, so does each rune, and each is open to interpretation by different scholars and practitioners.

To truly be understood, each rune is a mystery of power, and must be delved into through meditation and serious study of runic lore. Use this as a basic springboard to further a deeper understanding of the system.

Lagu/Laguz (Knowledge)

The situation is fluid. Changes occur. Trust your intuition - your unconscious knows the correct course of action to follow. Pay attention to your dreams. Lagu is another journey rune, this one of the sea. It is to Sigel, what Eh is to Raed. It is the rune of the rough passage, of the terrifying transformation. An alternate name for this rune in the Proto-Germanic is Laukaz or the leek. Leeks are known for their rapid growth and are sacred to the god Thunor (Thor). Here again we see the North Sea storm symbolism for Thunor is god of the Thunderstorm. Lagu, therefore refers to rapid uncontrolled change which if geared towards growth can be helpful, but if allowed to go astray may lead to destruction. Leeks were also used for healing though, and this is Lagu's good aspect. Physical healing in and of itself can be a rapid though controlled process like the growth of a leek, and rapid change if controlled can lead to great progress for any undertaking.

Lagu's name means "sea" and this indicates that the rune itself may have links to Wyrd. Much of the water symbolism in Norse Mythology was tied to the concept of Wyrd (see Bauschtaz), and the rune Lagu is perhaps no different. Lagu may refer to one caught in the results of their own deeds, caught in their own wyrd, being tossed about like an uncontrolled ship on the ocean. Lagu may then be those times in life of great travail, bankruptcy, divorce, family deaths, things that often seem beyond our control. In divination, Lagu can indicate rapid change good or bad. In spell work Lagu can be used to promote growth and healing, but one must be careful to control these processes. A safer rune to use for such things is Beorc.

Ing/Ingwaz (Good outcome)

Your efforts bear fruit. Good results are expected. A child may be conceived, a love affair may begin. Good fortune is yours at this time.The name of the rune Ing is also the name of the Norse god Frey. Therefore the rune Ing is a rune of fertility, peace, and plenty. Many runesters see it as the "castrated male," but in truth, it is the virile father. Ing is the principal of male virility and along with Beorc is the rune of the start of new life. While Beorc is the nurturing of motherhood, Ing is the protectiveness of the father. Ing was protector of the frith, the peace that surrounded a community along with the prosperity that kept it safe. Frith guilds in Anglo-Saxon England kept the peace, and Ing is a good rune for policemen and other "officers of the peace." Wars and strife broke the peace necessary for the care of crops and animals. Ing therefore symbolizes a provider, protector, and leader.

Ing is also tied to the hero who shows up out of nowhere to save a kingdom and then returns whence he came. This motif is common throughout Northern European mythology and may give the rune added meanings. Ing may indicate the knight in shining armor, the one that shows up suddenly to set things to right and then leaves as quickly as they came. In this sense Ing may indicate unexpected gifts from the gods, the sudden happy surprise. In divination Ing can indicate a prosperous period of peace, sometimes romantic love. In spell work, it can be used to promote fertility and peacefulness.

Ur/Uruz (Wild Ox)

Determination. Strength, virility and Health are well favored. Rapid recovery from illness. Ur is the power of the extinct wild ox, the aurochs. The aurochs was one of the largest bovines to ever live, often standing 7 feet at the shoulder. As fierce and strong as the American buffalo, its horns spread out form its skull like a Texas longhorn and made it a deadly prey to hunt. Ancient Germans used to hunt the aurochs as a test of manhood in the woods and glades of Northern Europe. The horns were prized as drinking vessels, and the hides and meat provided warmth and food for the children of the tribe.

Ur symbolizes strength, fierceness, and individuality. It is the rune of determination and individuality, the strength needed to accomplish great things. It is the rune of raw physical might or spiritual strength. It's traits are valuable to a warrior, but they also have much in common with the outlaw. The word fr,cne used in the "Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem" is related to the Old Icelandic word Freki, the name of one of Woden's wolves. Wolves in the ancient lore were commonly associated with outlaws in general and seen to have many traits in common. This trait is further borne out by description of the aurochs as a "moor walker" in the "Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem."

Many feel Ur represents the cosmic bovine Audhumla and therefore represents the vitality of the life force or maeen. This ties in with the meaning that lies behind the "Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem" verse quite well, although more likely Ur represents the physical aspect of maeen called might. In divination it usually represents strength will be called for or fierceness and the courage to use these qualities. In magic it can be used to bring about strength and physical health.

Eolh-secg/Elhaz (Positive influence)

Creativity and artistry are well favored. New career, or opportunities for advancement. You may be learning something new.
Eolh-secg is primarily know as the rune of defense, it is the rune of sacred ground, of sanctuary. It's protection is passive, but brings forth painful results. The rune poem verse packs a warning, do not violate warded places. Eolh-secg is related to the concept of the sacred, that dedicated to the divine which cannot be violated. Eolh-secg invokes the divine's protection, and can be used to communicate with the divine. Its rune verse is similar to that of Thorn's, both being defensive runes. The primary difference however is while Thorn is geared to an active defense and can be used offensively, Eolh-secg is oriented towards passive protection. This passive protection is the protection of the gods and that which they make sacred.

This concept of the sacred is linked to the concept of wih, that which more properly belongs to the realms of the gods and not that of the mundane world. Wih is a divine state, one that belongs to a higher plane. The alternative rune name Ealh was used of places that were also called in Old Norse ve a word which derives from the proto-Germanic ancestor of the word wih "sacred." This linkage to the idea of the "sacred" brings with it the awe and fear of the divine, and herein rests the power of the rune Eolh-secg. For the uninitiated, or the unenlightened to attempt to touch the divine could result in dangerous consequences "burning with blood any man that tries to grab it." Ancient Germanic law prescribed the death penalty for those that stole from temples or other holy sites or otherwise desecrated them.

In divination Eolh-secg may indicate a period of safety and security or a time when safety and security is called for, it could indicate contact with the divine or that divine protection is coming. In spell work its primary use is related to defensive spells and warding. Its defense being passive, while Thorn's is more aggressive.

Nied (Patience)

Be patient , protect yourself first , meet your basic needs. Delays or resistance may plague you for a while, but results will ultimately be positive. Look after your health.

Nied is the rune of necessity and constraint. It is representative of the stresses of everyday life. However, stress, as the rune poem verse says need not be a bad thing. Often, it can signal a need for change, and if this signal is heeded, the changes to be made can lead to healing of mind, body, and soul. It is the rune of the overcoming of all odds. Whereas Wynn is a rune of joy and happiness, Nied is its nearly its opposite. Nied is the "school of hard knocks" where lessons are learned by necessity. It is therefore a rune of struggle, sometimes of the ordeal. Nonetheless it can be used to help fight hardships one endures. In the Sigdrifumal Sigdrifa advises Sigurdh to carve Nied on his finger nails and any drinking vessel to avoid enchantment. Nied can be used to avoid those situations that cause hardship by constraining those very causes. It is also the rune of the need fire, the fire created from a fire drill and used by the ancient Northern Europeans to drive away pestilence and disease and other forms of evil. For this reason, Nied also represents not only the stresses of everyday life, but the ability to overcome them.

In divination, Nied indicates a need that may have to be met or overcome. In spell work it can be used to overcome such obstacles.

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