Rune 7 - GIFU

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Bibliography for runes
Notes on Gift Exchange societies

Gift is for everyone / Glory and exaltation / And for the needy / A help and sustenance. II

We give the gift / to us beautiful thereby / The exiles miss this I

Partnership, A gift,
A partnership of some form is at hand. Do not collapse self into that union. Balanced partnerships are made by separate and whole people who retain their uniqueness even as they unite. Remember to keep your identity with you as you compliment your partner. The gift of freedom: all good things come from this.

"I don't want to be your better half, I believe that one and one is two…" - Alanis Morisette, Not the Doctor, Jagged Little Pill

Trust: The rune of restoration. Rebuild your belief in yourself, your life and your relationship with God. It has been said that faith is not belief without proof, but rather trust without reservation. If trust is lacking in your life, consider what you can do to restore it or create it where it never was. Show trust in a present situation; embrace the changes your are going through with trust and wisdom. In relationships, I love you and I trust you are two stones for crossing the same stream. However oppressive or painful the moment may seem, this rune urges you to have faith and to know that as you heal you will be able to trust again. Receiving this rune you are encouraged to take the first step, to reclaim the lost trust you once cherished and thrived upon. We are born to live our lives in trust. Let no one tell you differently. IV

Name Gefu, Gyfu, Gifu
Number 7
Sound (hard) G
Colour red
Origin Hallristingor carving, the Greek letter xi
This represents a gift, an act of hospitality or sacrifice to the Gods. 'A gift demands a gift'. It is possible that the symbolic content refers to a balance. It is in the shape of a cross, which has been a symbol of sacrifice in all its forms. Every decision of value encompasses a sacrifice. V

When we want to indicate that two people are extremely close, we cross our first and second fingers and say 'they're like that'. The symbol of the cross to signify union is ancient in origin. Associated with Venus - love - a peaceful and relaxed state of mind. On an inner level the rune warns of a gift - money love or wisdom is likely to arrive. 'Nothing in life comes for free'. All gifts imply that one has to give back. This reveals the immutable law of Karma. II

Germanic name; Gebo
7 of 1
Anglo Saxon; Gifu
Norse; none
Phonetic value; G
Traditional meaning; Gift
Most aspects of this rune are connected with marriage and boundary markers - which are attributes of Thor although this rune belongs to Odin. Giving and receiving has always been a part of Northern customs as is well documented as these passages from the Havamal show.
No man is so generous he will jibe at accepting
A gift in return for a gift
No man so rich that it really gives him
Pain to be repaid

With present friends should please each other
With a shield or costly coat
Mutual giving makes for friendship
So long as life goes well

A man should be loyal through life to friends
And return a gift for a gift
Laugh when they, but with lies repay
A false foe who lies

If you find a friend you fully trust
And wish for his goodwill
Exchange thoughts, exchange gifts
Go often to his house
(Trans. W H Auden and P B Taylor)

This verse tells of the social obligations attached to giving gifts, a custom widespread through the Northland.

Mans generosity is a grace and honour
As support and glory
And help and sustenance to any outcast
Who is deprived of them

(Anglo Saxon rune poem, Trans. R I Page)

Giving was not a one sided affair, a gift was given on the understanding one would be received in return. The law of balance and compensation.
This applies equally to a negative gift as implied in the Thorn rune (3). The best example of this attitude was the custom where the King acted as 'giver of rings' on the understanding that the recipient of the ring was prepared to give his life in battle for the king. The Anglo Saxon rune poem implies that an outcast could be rehabilitated by receiving a gift which they where expected to return. This rune refers to agreements, settlements, legal matters, honouring of contracts and even betrothal
This rune was also used as a boundary marker. The warning against the use of runes to send a negative gift can be found in the Havamal.

Better not to ask than to overpledge
As a gift demands a gift
Better not to slay than to slay too many

A negative gift in the sagas is known as a 'sending'. This rune implies voluntary sacrifice of your resources, time and energy to whatever you hold sacred, without expectation of a reward. VI

Letter: G
Meaning: A gift
Planetary Relationships: Venus (active)
Love and amicable partnerships. Two lines in rune itself offering support to each other. A union of partnership. Perhaps generosity - giving of gifts, information or money. An important development in an emotional relationship. This is the only rune which has filtered down to the present day;- as the cross we put down to the end of letters to our loved ones to signify a kiss. The unity of intention and action. VII

GIFU: A Gift.
A partnership either in business or love. Perhaps an important development in a romantic relationship. A commitment of marriage or cementing of a long term relationship. An act of generosity in your life - a material gift of timely nature - perhaps an item you have been needing. Relief from troubles, a time of peace and contentment.

- Gift - Exchange - As you do, so shall be done to you.
- Partnerships - Mutually benificial & dependant.
- Marriage and boundary markers.
- Decisions of value encompass a sacrifice.

Meaning: Gift.
Divinatory: A spiritual gift.
A gift is coming, you can accept or reject it. If you accept you must give back equal in return. The cost is always worth it. Learn the lesson of responsible giving. Learn when and who to give to. You must be a giver and reciever. Compassion is a sharing of understanding and love. XI

The verse for giving continues the theme of contrasts. Here the contrast is between the man who has wealth and a place in his society and the man who has not. The givers wealth may be in material things or inner resources.
Gift giving formed a complex part of structure of the rune using society. Not only was the gift giver part of it, but also the gift reciever was a part of the same equation.
For the giver; charitable impulse might be intended to impress self worth or a token of respect for the others heroic action. The value depends on their motive. The reciever chooses between freedom and responsibility.
The social structure of the Anglo-Saxons was based on the extended family. The obligations of blood and marriage relationships formed a network of responsibilities which involved most members of the society in a binding nexus.
The outcast has none of these ties to give him status, hence considered very unfortunate. A gift to him, that is something which gives him obligation to someone, could be considered to give him a worth, something he did not previously own. The meaning of the verse is complex.
The rightly motivated gift not only reveals the spiritual worth of the giver but also establishes a positive link with the social group for the outcast. The badly motivated gift is a valueless ornamentation for the giver and a loss of freedom for the reciever.

This means gift. The linking rune symbolises connection between people or gods. Unification through exchange. Unity between donor and reciever. The creation of balance. Access to powers which link us to other people. Co-operation between two individuals. Should be drawn as two touching marks > and < representing a connection between two people on an equal basis. XII

Meaning of Gift. Could mean sacrifice of man giving to gods or bounty of gods giving to man. Man giving to gods could be considered a religious act, religion could be regarded as a gift from gods to men. This rune was said to protect against the poisoned cup, and as such may have been used as part of a sequence scored by Egil Skallagrimsson at Bard's feast, when Gunnhild passed a poisoned cup to him. Beer barrels marked with three crosses are almost a cliché. Only the Anglo Saxon poem has comment on this rune. The name translates as Generosity. Thus it brings credit and honour to the support of dignity and in the sense of charity it furnishes help and substance to those in need. XIV

Literally 'the gift of all it's levels', status within the people of the Northern Way was judged by how generous they where. It was a practice to cement friendships by exchanging tokens. The law of cause and effect :-what is gained is in direct proportion to what is given. Something valuable may be bestowed, with it comes obligation to give something in return. A contract between two parties which leads to the greater good of each.
Spirit powers are sea elves or mermaids. XVII

A gift that brings about connections between people through exchange. Symbolises unity between the donor and recipient. Personified by the Norse goddess 'Gefu', the 'bountiful giver'. The power to link ourselves with other people, helping further a common cause or business partnership.
When illiterate people signed a document that bound them to an oath or contract, they used this rune as their mark, signifying a gift from one to another. Write this rune as a crossing of two lines to represent the principle of giving. At other times use > and < joined. These written horizontally represent a link between two people on an equal basis. Written above and below each other it signifies a link between humans and Gods. XVI

A gift, contract or opportunity. A useful talent of gift. Be prepared to pay for whatever you receive. Good partnerships and happiness in love. XVIII

The 7th Rune
Associated with the elm tree and the colour red. Indicated a blessing, unexpected act of generosity or an exchange of tokens. In Norse times it was customary to give a gift in return for a gift. XX