“Elk sedge grows in the fen, waxing in the water, grimly wounding; it burns the blood of those who would lay hands on it.” — Old English Rune Poem
Algiz literally means, “elk sedge,” which is a grass widely regarded as having properties of magical protection. This rune is like a protective charm and when Algiz appears in a reading the message is optimistic. Some say Algiz means “elk” while others insist on its meaning being “amber.” This symbol is not free from dispute; some note its outstretched arms, while others see an antler, and still others a staff. It is agreed however that this is a most favorable and beneficial rune, no matter what place it holds in the reading.
Algiz signifies that one is shielded from danger or difficulty during the time span to which any questions apply. Algiz also signifies a new and beneficial influence is about to enter one’s life. This could take the form of a new career, interest, or even a forthcoming union. It is likely that this new influence will not arrive as a result of conscious reasoning or determination. This is most definitely a rune of friendship and protection but it is through ones inner self that this friendly influence is manifested; it is what is needed and deserved.
When this rune appears reversed, it is expected that one will be duped. People in business or personal relationships have their own agenda’s and their goals will oppose those of the person for whom the runes are being consulted. Algiz reversed indicates that one needs to take great care and caution because others have only their own best interests in mind. One can expect others to do their best to make sure there will be unjust blame.
- Interpreting the Runes XIII ~ Eihwaz ~ Yew (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Interpreting the Runes XIV ~ Perth~ Question Mark ? (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
The meaning of this rune has been left a question mark because in modern times, we have no way of knowing its exact nature. It has been described variously as an apple, a chess piece, a dice cup, a tune, a hearth, and even a penis. This lack of clear meaning is proper, as Perth signifies something unresolved in life, something hidden away that is about to surface. The appearance of Perth may represent a secret; something one may feel secretive about. This can be a hint to the person doing the reading. When Perth shows up, it can signify that someone is not being entirely forthright or honest about the question being posed for the reading or runecast, and is in fact asking about something else.
As a rule, this rune has fairly positive associations, implying that the secret about to be revealed will be helpful or pleasant to the person being read in the runecast. It can signify that matters of the heart, which the person being read may have been unsure of, will be resolved to their advantage – and surprise. It can also denote an unexpected inheritance. In addition, this rune has associations with gambling, although the route by which this meaning is reached is somewhat uncertain. However, on this basis, Perth can mean that it is a good time to undertake some financial undertaking that might seem to be somewhat risky.
In reverse, Perth suggests that what is about to be revealed will be none too pleasant. If there are any dark secrets, a reversed Perth signifies that they are certain to be exposed. On the other hand, when reversed, this rune may show that someone is involved, either personally or in business, with someone who cannot be trusted and that the evidence for this will soon appear. In either case, one must be armed for disclosures of a discomforting nature.
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:
- Overview of the Situation
- Course of Action Called for
- 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 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.
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.