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Runes - Part II

Reading the Runes: Part II

There is a system to reading the Runes, as there is to every other divination tool. For our purposes here, they will be divided into three "families" or groups of eight. These three groups, called aettirs, are named after the Norse Gods Freyr (Freyr's Eight), Hagal (Hagal's Eight) and Tyr (Tyr's Eight). (*Note: The 25th Rune, the Blank Rune, is not included here. The use of this Rune came about only in modern times, and is not accepted by most Rune authorities. If you choose to accept the use of this Rune, as I myself do, it may be placed as centered above the three Rune families.)

Freyr's Eight consists of: Fehu, Uruz, Thurisa, Ansuz, Raido, Kano, Gebo and Wunjo

Hagal's Eight consists of: Hagalz, Nauthiz, Isa, Jera, Eihwaz, Perth, Algiz and Sowelu

Tyr's Eight consists of: Teiwaz, Berkana, Ehwaz, Mannaz, Laguz, Inguz, Othila and Dagaz

In Part II, we will look at the upright and reversed meanings for the Hagal's Eight.

Hagalz: The traditional meaning of Hagalz is change and freedom. The keywords are "disruption, elemental power, hail". Here we are asked to take our attention away from the material world and pay attention to the world of archetypes. Much like the Tower in the Tarot oracle, Hagalz blasts away the foundation of one's being in unexpected, sudden ways, in order that we may rebuild on a firmer ground. There is no reversed position for Hagalz.

Nauthiz: The traditional meaning of Nauthiz is that of learnign to deal with situations in which one is restrained, blocked or held back. The keywords are "constraint, necessity, pain". Here we are dealing with our shadow side in the form of obstacles that are placed in our path, as well as t hose t hat we ourselves place there. When it appears in the reversed form, Nauthiz is seen as a great teacher. This is a lesson of learning to release the old ways so that one may grow and move forward in life.

Isa: The traditional meaning of Isa is that of a period of hibernation, or "down time". The keywords are "standstill, withdrawal, ice". Do not attempt to begin anything new at this time, or to take action on existing endeavers. It is time to go within and enter contemplation. There is no reversed position for Isa.

Jera: The traditional meaning of Jera is that of beneficial outcomes. The keywords are "harvest, fertile season, one year". Patience is needed here to allow the seeds that you have sown in life to take root and grow. There is no reversed position for Jera.

Eihwaz: The traditional meaning of Eihwaz is that one is in a time of waiting. The keywords are "defense, avertive powers, Yew tree". This lesson shows us that delays are sometimes beneficial. Learn the art of patience - allow the outcome of your actions to come to you. There is no reversal for Eihwaz.

Perth: The traditional meaning for Perth is that it represents the Unknowable, the Divine in life. The keywords are "initiation, something hidden, a secret matter". This is a Rune of change - change brought about when one comes into contact with the Mysteries of life. This can mean a letting go of things, or a rising above things. Perth refers to internal, rather than external forces. Reversed, Perth advises us "not to expect too much", and certainly not to expect growth to come from continuing to work in our old patterns. Staying centered and believing in oneself is called for here.

Algiz: The traditional meaning of Algiz is learning to control ones emotions. The keywords are "protection, sedge or rushes, the Elk". Expect to find new opportunities and challanges entering your life witht his Rune. We are reminded that "right action and correct conduct" are the spiritual warrior's only protection. In the reversed position, Algiz asks us to take care of our health, and to take note of the people that we surround ourselves with. Do Not become a burden to them ... and do not allow them to become a burden to you.

Sowelu: The traditional meaning of Sowelu is that of "wholeness" - of the need to follow our own individual path through life. The keywords are "wholeness, life force, the sun's energy". This is a Rune of spirituality, of recognizing that you already are what you are striving to become. This is a time when you are redefining yourself from your very heart, or core. There is no reversed position for Sowelu.

In Part III, we will be taking a look at Tyr's Eight.

Thank you for visiting the Runes. May your day be Blessed.

(c) April 2002
Bonnie Cehovet


"The Book of Runes", Blum, Ralph H. St Martin's Press, New York, 1993. ISBN #0-312-09758-1.

"The Women's Spirituality Book", Stein, Diane, Llewellyn Publications, 1989. ISBN# 0-87542-761-8.

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