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Interpreting the Runes ~ Berkana ~ Beorch ~ Birch Tree

“The Birch, though fruitless sends out countless shoots; leafy branches, high-crowned, reach to the sky.” — Old English Rune Poem

This rune is a fertility symbol, drawn to resemble a woman’s breasts.  In ancient Viking times, the birch was regarded as the tree of fertility and the act of being lightly whipped with birch twigs was supposed to promulgate vigor and vitality!  The people of Scandinavia still hold this belief; after a sauna people are encouraged to roll around in the snow and then made to endure a lashing with a bundle of birch twigs. The Phallic maypole that was traditionally danced around, heralding in Spring and new life, was usually made from birch. The appearance of Berkana in a reading clearly points toward inception; whether of a child, a project or perhaps a new idea.

Berkana is rather auspicious. Yet  because it represents the mother, and by implication the child, there is an element of “nourishment” associated with it.  Even if the rune is essentially beneficial the new project will need the same kind of feeding or succour as an infant would. Success will not come on its own without some nurturing; effort and attention will be required.  This may explain the duality associated with the birch tree, the “fruitless tree,” implying that all is not as it seems and that success will be achieved only through authentic and genuine application.

Berkana Reversed

Reversed, Berkana becomes a symbol of sterility, implying difficulties and miscommunication, especially on the domestic front. Perhaps a desired pregnancy will prove impossible, or a current pregnancy be terminated. Alternatively, Berkana can point to worries over children, especially in terms of health. The surrounding runes always point to a clearer picture. A reversed Berkana is not particularly malign of itself and requires more ruthless runes to imply any real trouble, while helpful runes definitely reduce the situation.

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Interpreting the Runes ~ Tiwaz ~ Tir ~ Creator

 

The god Tir is the original creator god who became replaced by Odin in Norse mythology. Tir, or Tiw (in Anglo-Saxon, hence Tiw’s day) was not the benevolent creator of the Christian church, but a warrior god akin to Mars. The appearance of Tiwaz in any reading points to battles, competition and dynamic energy. In ancient times, the appearance of this rune would almost certainly have signified actual physical battle and the preparation associated with it – sharpening of swords and axes, making bows and arrows, stocking up on food and seeing to the animals. This is unlikely today, but the analogy can be stretched.

Tiwaz shows that the person being read is about to embark on an enterprise that with need a great deal of energy – moral, physical or both. The enterprise will be competitive in some way, whether in business, the courts of law, or in the form of moral argument one needs to win. If the person is involved in business dealings then Tiwaz implies that there are likely boardroom battles ahead and that it will be necessary to be well prepared. “Winning” is the clue to understanding this rune: blood may have to be spilled but victory must be assured.

Tiwaz Reversed

When Tiwaz is drawn reversed, it signifies that the person is in a rather weak frame of mind, lacking any real will power or motivation. It implies a certain expectant laziness, as if the world owed them a living and everything would simply turn up through no effort of their own. If the question concerns business, then things will not get better until the person gets a grip on themselves. In affairs of love it indicates difficulties ahead and a possible breakdown of communications, while in health it shows that the person may be in a poor physical state.