We’ve dealt with the Tarot quite a bit. Different Tarot decks, oracle decks, even a Tarot app. (Which is, by the way, fantastic.) There are, however, methods of divination other than cards. Casting runes is one of my own personal favorites. The Elder Futhark is the oldest version of these symbols. We know that the people who used this language also used divination, but unfortunately historical accounts don’t tell us enough to know if the symbols they were using were the same as the runic language we cast now. We do, however, know they used these exact symbols for magic and spell-casting. Rings with magical runic inscriptions and tablets with runic curses have been found. There is even an old story in Egil’s Saga of someone avoiding the effects of poison by carving runes into a drinking horn, then smearing those runes with his own blood.
The legend goes that the Norse god Odin brought us these powerful symbols. One of Odin’s main characteristics is a willingness to sacrifice everything for knowledge and the pursuit of his higher self. In these myths, Odin and the other Aesir (or gods and goddesses) lived in the highest branches of an ash tree at the center of the universe; Yggdrasil the world tree. This tree grew from a bottomless well, and this well was inhabited by magical beings known as Norns. The Norns were women who carved runes into the base of Yggdrasil, deciding the fate of everyone who existed. They were among the most powerful beings in Nordic myth, especially in regard to destiny.
Odin watched, and wished to learn the secret of the runes himself. He knew the runes only revealed themselves to those who proved themselves worthy, so he hung himself from a branch of the great ash, stabbed himself with his spear, and refused all aid from the other gods and goddesses. He peered into the deep waters of the Well of Urd, and at the end of the ninth night, his sacrifice was accepted. The runes were revealed to him.
Unlike our alphabet, the Nordic runes aren’t just used for writing. Each symbol represents powerful underlying forces in the universe and our lives. With these new symbols, Odin’s power grew. He was able to heal, protect friends in battle, detect evil magic, or bind his enemies with his new knowledge. The message behind the story is one of sacrificing a lesser version of yourself to attain new heights of knowledge, power, and contentment.
Does this power seem like something you’d like to harness for yourself? We thought so. This magical alphabet is separated into three groups, or Aettir. Each has its own corresponding god or goddess. Today we will be giving you a brief glimpse into Freya’s Aett, and showing you which Birds N Bones piece best compliments the energy of these powerful symbols. This Aett is all about nurturing, love, and creativity.
The first rune in the Elder Futhark is Fehu. This rune is about beginnings and endings. It’s literal meaning is “livestock.” This is a rune about wealth; but not easy, inherited wealth. Hard earned wealth that is as steady as the turn of the seasons. For this reason, I think Fehu energies go well with our Double Sided Eclipse Studs. This rune, like the studs, reminds me of the Wheel of Fortune tarot card. Fehu tells you that you can achieve your dreams, as long as you avoid arrogance at your success. This rune is also a good charm for fertility and artistic inspiration.
Uruz, or the bull, is the next rune on our journey. You may notice, each group of two runes will seem to have somewhat similar themes. This is intentional. They’re not meant to be seen as opposites, as much as different sides of the same universal forces. Like Fehu, this is also a rune that is strongly associated with the material, but Uruz is far more rapid and impulsive. Just like its namesake bull, this rune is all tenacity, explosive strength, and courage. No fear will stand in your way with Uruz on your side. A natural way to channel Uruz would be our Pincher Pendant. It’s imposing “horns” will help you charge boldly into whatever life throws your way.
Next, we’ll get away from material concerns for a bit. Thurisaz, meaning “thorn,” is about consciousness. Thurisaz wants us to take what we learned with Fehu and Uruz on the outside world, and process it. For this reason, it often helps in situations of great ambiguity. This rune uses our mental energies and intelligence to dispel the falsehoods and deception that may surround us. It also sends a message that pain can often lead to growth, and is a normal part of life. I think our Taxidea Studs, which have always reminded me of thorns, pair wonderfully with this force.
Ansuz is another rune that deals with information, but this time in a more outward manner. It actually means “mouth.” This energy is related to how we communicate with the outside world. It also has strong associations with oral traditions, and the magic in knowledge passed down through the generations. It helps you to lend clarity to your ideas, especially when you’re working closely with others. The next time you need to make a team effort, channel your Ansuz energy with our Equus Tooth Pendant.
Raidho is a rune related to journeys. It is an excellent talisman for travelers, but the energy goes a bit deeper than that. Raidho has strong associations with the Sun and its journey across the sky. It represents a progression, an evolution. A journey not just through space, but through different incarnations of ourselves. This rune is full of vitality, and will help you get closer to your full potential. It is literally translated as, “chariot of the sun.” Our Vertical Twig Pendant is an excellent amulet to take with you on your journey. Use it like a little walking stick for your spirit if you get tired on the way.
Fire energies come heavily into play with Kenaz, the next rune in this Aett. Every aspect of fire, physical or metaphorical, is encompassed by the energies of this rune. The union between heart and mind, passion, intensity, a moment of intense change. This is what Kenaz brings. Just like fire, Kenaz forces can also burn you when they get out of control. They also, however, teach us to accept that we can’t always control everything and to learn from our own mistakes. To try and keep these fiery energies contained, wear our Darking Beetle Studs with labradorites. This stone’s visible fire will give you just enough Kenaz power, but its calm energies will make sure you don’t get singed.
Nearing the end of the first Aett, we come to Gebo, also known as the gift. This rune centers themes of generosity, not just with the material world, but with what you’re willing to give of yourself. Its lessons are that giving of yourself, without fear, can in turn allow you to access universal love and community. I love the idea of pairing this with our Basilisk Incisor Bracelet. The dragon that gave this bracelet its name is not a creature I imagine to have fear of showing the world its talents.
Wunjo, or “joy” is the end of this Aett. Wunjo represents domestic bliss. All the lessons of this first, nurturing Aett are perfected in Wunjo. Wunjo is about our families, our roots, where we have come from and to where we will return. This power is one of remembering and learning from the past, and having a calm soul. This rune will give you a sense that you have a place where you belong. For a sweet, cozy energy like this, what could be better than our Darkling Beetles Kissing Necklace? It definitely seems like those two have achieved a state of domestic bliss.
You can use these energies separately, or layer them to create what is called a “bind rune.” This is a symbol made of two or more runes combined in an artistic way. There are nearly endless combinations and possibilities when you work with bind runes.
Would you like to hear more stories about Odin’s sacrifice for knowledge? How about jewelry pairings with the other Aettir? Let us know down in the comments, and thank you once again for joining us on this journey down the trunk of the world tree.