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Interpreting the Runes ~ Wunjo ~ Joy ~ Light

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  — Adapted from the words of Reinhold Niebuhr

Wunjo is considered to be a positive rune and when drawn in the upright position will always represent joy and happiness coming into life. It is an excellent omen in a reading. A shift, that was due, has occurred and the blessings associated with Wunjo may freely be received and accepted. These blessings may relate to material gain, emotional life, or in a heightened sense of one’s own well-being. Be happy!

In combination with other runes, it indicates success in whatever areas they rule. For example, with travel runes such as Raidho or Ehwaz, it can show a fortunate and generally pleasing journey; with message runes such as Ansuz, it can mean good news; when Wunjo is drawn with love related runes, in can show deep affection and long-lasting emotional happiness.

Often, Wunjo will signify the object of one’s affections. In this case, it usually shows some activity undertaken with this person will end with a happy result.

Wunjo can also represent joy in one’s work, especially if that work is artistic or creative . Like the rune Kenaz, Wunjo appears in readings for people who are artists or craftsmen and shows that this creative element is very important to their personal happiness and wellbeing.

Reversed The meaning of Wunjo reversed is exactly the opposite of everything stated about its meaning in the upright position. Things are slow in coming and the person for whom the runes are being consulted may be undergoing a difficult, if not crisis time, filled with misery and unhappiness.

The runes drawn in addition to Wunjo should show the specific problem areas. Drawn with Raidho or Ehwaz, an unsafe or unsuccessful trip with breakdowns and delays are indicated and are likely.

If the question being asked relates to one’s employment, Wunjo reversed warns of dissatisfaction, either with the job itself or with one’s job performance.

In matters of love, this rune shows disappointment or a delay of some type in a present relationship, the intensity of which can be discerned from the other runes drawn.

In all questions about business, travel or love, Wunjo reversed shows a need for caution, perhaps even putting off an important decision until a seemingly better time.

The rune of Wunjo can also show trouble caused by a third-party in the form of friction and delays. One should be on the lookout for any possible double-dealing on the part of acquaintances, friends, business associates or opponents.


You Are In Integrity

“You are in integrity when the life you live is an authentic expression of who you are.” — Alan Cohen

 

Interpreting the Runes ~ Sowelu ~ Sigel ~ Sun

 

This rune represents the sun which rules the astrological sign, Leo. Leo is a sign that likes to enjoy life and have fun. Leo is also a very proud sign and one that likes to be the center of attention. Sowelu is a supremely positive rune.

When this rune appears in a reading, it can imply that one has been overstretched lately and is in need of a rest, to take time away from the everyday pressures associated with life and needs to enjoy him/herself.  The appearance of Sowelu also may warn that one is in the midst of a situation in which control must be taken. If feeling “off” or out of sorts, this rune may be a sign that the person receiving the reading may be worrying about something and feeling unable to make any positive move to change the situation. The advice from this rune is to return to the center of affairs and seize control.

The sun has been associated with energy and strength, so the surrounding runes in a cast hint to one’s state of health. On the other hand, if Sowelu is close to very positive runes this means one may be at the peak of his/her powers. Sowelu can be seen as the “guiding light” that shows the way. On a material level, its appearance may imply one’s need for help, or a need for someone or something to show the way forward. On a spiritual level, Sowelu may signify that one should seek, or will soon find a spiritual guide.

Interpreting the Runes ~ Eihwaz ~ Yew

To the ancient people, the wood from the yew was perhaps the most important.  It fashioned the longbow, the weapon that brought food and, in times of war, protection as well. The yew was of tremendous practical value to its people and held a spiritual significance as a symbol of death and resurrection.  Even today, yew can still be found in many church cemeteries.

When this rune Eihwaz, appears in a runecast or reading, it may be taken as a very positive sign.  It suggests that the person being read is close to their target and, with steady aim will achieve it before too long.  Sometimes the appearance of Eihwaz can also signal delay.  Either way, the outcome can be assuredly positive.

On a spiritual level, Eihwaz represents the ability to put one’s inner self into stronger and safer territory.  The yew tree is evergreen and extremely flexible, yet very strong and is an excellent source wood for making staffs which may in turn, be seen as symbols of inner strength.  The yew tree in a churchyard exists symbolically to direct the souls on to the other side, revealing that Eihwaz has more than one side to its nature.

As with Jera and Is, Eihwaz shows no distinction whichever way it is drawn or cast.  Because of this, particular attention must be paid to the surrounding runes in the reading or cast, as they show the kind of anticipatory actions one should take to avoid problems.  Eihwaz shows that there is a way out of any difficulty as long as the situation is approached in the correct way.`

The Five Rune Spread

Overview

1

Challenge

2

Action

3

Sacrifice

4

New Situation

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5

When consulting the Runes, situations will occasionally arise when one’s “need-to-know” goes beyond the authority of a single stone or the Three Rune Spread. The Five Rune Spread can help to identify the distinctive components of a situation that might otherwise overwhelm with its complexity.


Begin by clearly formulating the issue. Draw five Runes from the bag, one at a time, and place them one below the other. In descending order, the Runes stand for:

  1. Overview of the Situation
  2. Challenge
  3. Course of Action Called for
  4. Sacrifice
  5. New Situation Evolving

The Five Rune Spread is absolutely personal and specific. If five Runes are drawn from the bag and placed down on the field, the odds against drawing this particular spread are 607,614 to 1. If however, a Rune is drawn, written down, returned to the bag making the next selection from a full bag of Runes, the odds against drawing this particular spread are now 312,500,500 to 1.


The fourth position, “Sacrifice” is intended as recognition that life offers choices and options that are often mutually exclusive. The concept of sacrifice has, over time, come to be associated with pain and loss. The application of sacrifice in the Five Rune Spread refers to that which has peeled away, shed or discarded, as is called for in the Rune Othila. Othila portends the emergence of new wholeness. Originally a boding of two Latin words, sacrificium and facere, one of the core meanings of sacrifice is “surrender to God.”


A Sample Reading

From my Rune Journal I will again make reference to the successful business I owned with my ex-partner. I was the creative impulse of the idea, and the slogging hard work of getting the company on its feet. The company was “my baby.” When it came time to allow a competitor to acquire the company, the competitor wanted my participation, but not my partner’s. All my fears regarding loyalty, abandonment, the risk to the long-term relationship with my partner and his self-esteem were brought to the surface by this situation. I decided to do a Five Rune Spread which is the spread used above.


Perth, the Rune of Initiation as the overview of the situation, immediately shifted my focus away from both my relationship with my partner and the business. “Nothing external matters here, except as it shows you its inner reflection” – these words were key for me. I realized this was another crossroad on the path of self-change.


Uruz, the Rune of Strength Reversed, indicated the need to respond consciously to “the demands of such a creative time.” It was clear the correct decision would encourage my growth at all levels – corporate as well as personal.


Wunjo reversed speaks of the process of birth being long and arduous as well as the fears which arise for the safety of the child within. The Runes were reminding me that I was going through a test.


Nauthiz, the Rune of Constraint Reversed, in the Sacrifice position conveyed the great teacher in the guise of pain and limitation. I was able to more clearly see that it was time to take a new kind of responsibility for what I had created, to own and honor it and to do what was right for the company.


Dagaz, the Rune of Breakthrough addressed the New Situation Evolving. This Rune offers the assurance that, “because the timing is right, the outcome is assured, although not, from the present vantage point, predictable.” My partner went on to become a success with his considerable talent with a prescription drug company.

The Three Rune Spread

The Three Rune Spread does the job for all but the most demanding or challenging situations.  With an issue clearly in mind, select three Runes, one at a time of course.  Place them from right to left in the order each Rune was selected.  So that one doesn’t make a conscious effort changing the direction of the stones, especially as one becomes familiar with the symbols, it is good practice to place each Rune blank side up, and the turn them over.

With the selection complete, the Runes will be before you as in the diagram above.  Reading from the right, the first Rune reveals the Situation; the second or center Rune identifies the Action; and the third Rune (the one on the left) indicates the New Situation.  The way in which one happens to turn the Runes may have some effect and alter the direction of the symbols to either an upright or reversed position, but remember, this too is all part of the process.  Since only nine Runes read the same upright and reversed, the readings for the remaining Runes will be determined on how the Runes have been placed or turned.

Application

When I was faced with the end of a long term relationship, experiencing emotional pain and grieving over the loss, I turned to the Runes and did a Three Rune Spread.  My issue I felt at the time was, “What am I to be learning from this separation?”

From my journal I am able to recall the Runes I drew: Reading from the right, the first Rune was Algiz, the Rune of protection reversed addressed my sense of being totally vulnerable, and unprotected.  This was the first time in my adult life I would really be on my own; without a partner.  Only right action and correct conduct provide protection in a time such as I was facing.  I would have to grow and learn from the loss of the relationship.

The second Rune drawn was Kano, the Rune of opening.  I was encouraged to trust the process and consider what aspects of my old conditioning would be best if changed.

Third drawn was Nauthiz, the Rune of constraint and pain.  The new growth would not free me from anguish over the situation.  The end of that relationship caused me to begin on my path of personal growth.  For the first time as an adult, I was working on me.  I also came away from this reading knowing that I was being called upon to be mindful of the fact that rectification must come before progress.

Though I was feeling vulnerable and “exposed,” I was made aware that with pain comes the necessary clarity to get on my path of personal growth and change.  As I began to move along that path, I was often reminded to consider the positive uses of adversity.

Readings From the Runes

Beautiful bag for beautiful Runes

I begin most days with a reading from the Runes, asking what my course of right action is for the day ahead of me.  Before I draw a Rune from my special sack, I recite to myself “The Prayer of St. Francis.”  If I anticipate a situation before me that could be intense or turbulent, I may meditate or pray for specific strength, wisdom or guidance.  With a clear mind, and a strong will, openness and the intention to know my direction for the day, I then draw one stone.  My Runes are made of rose quartz and I found them in a metaphysical shop in Sedona Arizona.  I feel that because they come from Sedona, which has a special energy from the vortex’s there, my Runes are highly charged.

Like me, there are many who set aside that special time of day to consult the Runes.  Some light candles or incense. It is important to compose one’s self through meditation or a focus on breathing.  It is important to free the mind of all cares and concerns.  To the beginner, even to have the mind cleared for just one moment will be helpful.  The key here is focus and to control one’s mind.  Life happens however; the Runes can be consulted or read without the more formal preparation I’ve described.  One’s need is what brings forth the energy of the Runes.

The consultation of the Runes is referred to as “casting” and is considered “play.”  This however is a very sacred form of play.  I find that a particularly good time to consult the Runes is when one is faced with a decision.  Especially situations one is facing where one’s own resources are exhausted or one possesses little or incomplete information.  For me, the Runes serve as a decision making tool.  Focus the issue clearly in the mind.  Reach into the sack of Runes, making contact with the stones.  Each time I reach my hand into my bag of Runes, some of the stones feel cold while others feel hot.  Intuitively I know, without looking into the bag of course, which Rune is the “right” Rune.  The individual that introduced me to the Runes said to me, “The right Rune always sticks to my fingers.”

When Runes are being cast for someone else, this person should be asked to put together their question or concern in their mind, but not say it out loud.  By keeping the matter to themselves, any unconscious personal bias is removed from the reading.  Rune readings for others don’t have to be face-to-face.  A connection through the Internet or telephone works just as well.  What is required is the individual’s focus on their issue.

Let’s say that one wishes to consult the Runes on behalf of another person, but their permission to do so can’t be obtained.  This is when the Runes should be consulted for “the course of right action.”  The Runes can be asked whether such action is timely or correct.  “Yes” or “No” questions may be asked.  If the Rune is drawn in its upright position the response is “yes”.  The reversed position indicates “no.”  Nine of the Runes have no upright or reversed position.  When I consult the Runes regarding an issue that requires a “yes” or “no” response and I draw a Rune that has no reversed position, I continue drawing Runes until I reach one that does.

I have made reference a number of times to “the course of right action.”  This form of request is very appropriate for the Runes.  I have consulted the Runes for myself and many others regarding issues such as career moves, real estate sales, investment opportunities, business dealings, relationships and much more.  My preference is to use the word “issue” as opposed to “question” when consulting the Runes for myself or others.  Often, someone will ask, “Should I quit this job?” As an issue, one would say, “The issue is my work.”  It may seem trivial but re-framing a question into an issue is a crucial distinction.  If a question is asked and the Runes provide an answer, the role of the individual facilitating the reading is a passive one.  If an issue is addressed, and the Runes comment on that issue, one is able to extract one’s own answer and determine for one’s self what the course of right action should be.

If there is no specific issue at all in mind, and one still feels drawn to consult the Runes, ask, “What is it that I need to know for my life right now?”  The response from the Runes will always be just what is necessary at that moment.

Interpreting the Runes ~ Uruz (Ur), Manhood, Womanhood, Strength, The Wild Ox


Uruz ~ Ur ~ Strength ~ Manhood ~ Womanhood ~ The Wild Ox

Uruz

The Rune of terminations and new beginnings, drawing Uruz indicates that the life you have been living has outgrown its form.  That form must die so that new energy can be released in a new form.  This is a Rune of passage and, as such,part of the Cycle of Initiation.

Positive growth and change, however, may involve a descent into darkness as part of the cycle of perpetual renewal.  As in nature, this progression consists of five aspects: death, decay, fertilization, gestation, and rebirth.  Events occurring now may well prompt you to undergo a death within yourself.  Since self-change is never coerced, we are always free to resist, remain mindful that the new life is always greater than the old.

Prepare then, for opportunity disguised as loss.  It could involve the loss of someone of something to which you have an intense emotional bond, and through which you are living a part of your life, a part that must now be retrieved so you can live it out for yourself. In some way, that bond is being severed, a relationship radically changed, a way of life coming to an end.  Seek among the ashes and discover a new perspective and new strength.

The ancient symbol for Uruz was the aurochs, a wild ox.  When the wild ox was domesticated, an incredibly difficult task, it could transport heavy loads.  Learn to adapt yourself to the demands of such a creative time.  Firm principles attach to this Rune.  At the same time humility is called for, since in order to rule you must learn how to serve.  Uruz puts you on notice that your souls and the Universe support the new growth.

Without ears to hear and eyes to see, you may fail to take advantage of the moment.  The result could well be an opportunity missed or the weakening of your position.  I may seem that your own strength is being used against you.

Uruz Reversed

For some, Uruz Reversed will serve to alert, offering clues in the form of minor failures and disappointments. For others, those more deeply unconscious or unaware, it may provide a hard jolt.  Reversed, this Rune calls for serious thought about the quality of your relationship to your Self.

Take heart: Consider the constant cycling of death and rebirth, the endless going and return.  Everything we experience has a beginning, middle and an end, and is followed by a new beginning.  Therefore, do not draw back from the passage into darkness: When in deep water, become divers.

Interpreting the Runes ~ Fehu

I am going to do my best to explain with as much detail as possible, the meaning of each of the Runes over a series of upcoming blogs.  The interpretations I am sharing are not meant to be definitive in any way. Please consider the information as guidelines.

Fehu ~ Feoh ~ Possessions ~ Nourishment ~ Cattle

Fehu ~ Feoh ~ Possessions ~ Nourishment ~ Cattle

The first letter of the Germanic alphabet and is concerned with worldly wealth and possessions.  In ancient times, the main measure of one’s worth was determined by the number of livestock one owned.  Livestock was far more important in ancient times, as the Germanic peoples were nomadic.

Fehu is a Rune of fulfillment: ambition satisfied, love shared, rewards received.  It promises nourishment from the most worldly to the sacred and the Divine.  For if the ancient principle “As above so below” holds true, then we are also here to nourish God.

This Rune calls for a deep probing of the meaning of profit and gain in life.  Look with care to know whether it is wealth and possessions you require for your well-being, or rather self-rule and the growth of a will.

Another concern of Fehu is to conserve what has already been gained.  This Rune urges vigilance and continual mindfulness, especially in times of good fortune, for it is then that one will likely collapse oneself into success on the one hand, or behave recklessly on the other.  Enjoy good fortune and remember to share it, for the mark of the well-nourished self is the ability and willingness to nourish others.

Reversed: There may be considerable frustration in your life if you draw Fehu Reversed, a wide range of dispossessions ranging from trivial to severe.  You fall short in your efforts, you reach out and miss; you are compelled to stand by and watch helplessly while what you’ve gained dwindles away.  Observe what is happening.  Examine these events from an open perspective and ask, “What do I need to learn from this in my life?”

Even if there is occasion for joy, do not be seduced into mindless joyousness.  Reversed, the Rune indicates that doubtful situations are abundant and come in many forms and guises.  Here you are being put in touch with the shadow side of possessions.  Yet all this is part of coming to e and passing away, and not that which abides.  In dealing with the shadow side of Fehu, you have an opportunity to recognize where your true nourishment lies.

Understanding the Runes

Understanding the Runes

Above all, the runes are steeped in nature and symbolize the power exhibited by different elements of nature—the wind, the sun, ice and rain for example. Therefore it is impossible to understand the runes by adopting an intellectual approach. The peoples of northern Europe led lives that were extremely close to nature and dominated by these elemental forces. As in many other ancient cultures, nature and the gods were considered to be one and the same thing. Each god symbolized a different element of the natural world and was believed to be responsible for the creation and continuation of his or her natural phenomenon. For example, to the Germanic peoples, thunder was believed to be an action of the god Thor.

This can be quite a hard concept for the modern mind that is trained in logical, empirical thing to grasp, but it is essential for understanding and using the runes effectively. In ancient times, the runes, by symbolizing these elemental forces, allowed the user to make direct contact with the forces of nature, and thus perhaps to gain some insight into how the patterns of life were unfolding, so that they could take the necessary steps to ensure survival. Life at that time was an extremely tenuous affair, and natural forces could cause death and disaster to those who were unprepared. To a certain extent, this still holds true today, witness the large scale destruction caused by hurricane Katrina, but we have such a sophisticated social system that, to a great extent we are protected from the real chaos that nature can cause. Early peasant cultures were not; they were at nature’s mercy.

One of the most important things to remember about the runes is that the wisdom which the tradition contained was handed down from one generation to another orally – largely in the form of poetry to make it easier to remember. In ancient times, this sort of knowledge was not considered to be for everyone’s eyes so it was never committed to writing.

The Shaman

The shaman, who had been initiated into the knowledge of the runes, played a hugely important role in those times. He or she was the spiritual member of the community who gave each rune character its symbolic meaning and thereby it’s mystical power. The shaman was the most powerful figure in the tribal community as it was he, or she, who could determine and cure illness, foster fertility, ensure a good harvest, and solve many other concerns that were essential to everyday life, perhaps and most notably protecting the tribe from its enemies – both the human and the animal kind.

For many cultures and many thousands of years, the shaman was the person who could bridge the gap between the world of the gods and that of ordinary humans and use their psychic ability to communicate with the sprit world. In that sense, they were conduits for nature itself, considering the gods and the elemental forces of nature as one and the same thing. In many parts of the world, shamans made a connection with the other world when they were in a trancelike state induced by drugs – especially those with hallucinogenic powers – or by dancing, fasting or conducting rituals.

Shamans were an integral part of the culture of the runes, yet they were especially selected, trained, and set apart from other people in the community. Both physical and mental powers had to be well above average in order to perform many of the rites and ceremonies involved. Although revered for their knowledge, shamans also inspired considerable awe through their apparently supernatural powers. In many parts of the world shamanism still exists, and shamans still live in self-imposed isolation living on a separate plane, wrapped in their magical universe.

It was not uncommon for shamans to be in some way physically impaired at a time when it was almost impossible for anyone else to be crippled or survive. For ordinary people, disability was socially unacceptable. On a practical level, it was almost certain to lead to an early death and there was no form of social welfare in existence to make life more manageable. If you could not hunt or gather crops for the community, you were an outcast. The only possible existence for a disabled person was to become a shaman – if he or she had the strength for such a demanding position. Even so, they would never be accepted into the day-to-day affairs of the community, regardless of their hugely influential role in community life.

The role of shaman was kept in the family, passed down from generation to generation – from mother to daughter and from father to son.

Natural Forces

The runes are derived from natural forces, which the observant can see everywhere they look: in the shape of a stream as it flows through a field, at the point where the branch of a tree forks, or the random shape of stones on a beach. It is as if nature talks to us directly in the shapes of the runes. The knowledge they impart is also all around us, as long as we have the eyes to see and the mind to understand.

The runes have no history of being used in fantastic or magical enterprises; their powers are grounded firmly in the natural world. They do not give political dominance or unearthly powers on the battlefield. Like nature itself, they are pragmatic and down to earth.

To this day, our language has a number of little sayings that express the underlying philosophy of the runes – such as “nothing comes for free” and “what goes around comes around”. If a king wished to win a battle and gain more territory, this desire would bring greatly increased responsibilities; if a peasant wished for more cattle he would know that this would create considerably more work for him. The people who used runes realized that there is always a price to pay for any gain in life. Because of this they took a less demanding approach to life than many people do in today’s world.