moonvoice: (calm - a cheeky white raven)
Taking a break from art and other work-type things just to let people know that I've moved the Wildspeak Articles to my Memories - and they are categorised under keywords for your convenience.

Keywords are things like runes / gods / shamanism / journeying / ethics and responsibility, etcetera. The complete bevy of rune files are there too. Feel free to save anything onto your computer for future use.

I had them all indexed at Livejournal, but when I moved, all the links still pointed to deleted Livejournal addresses and it's only now that I've gotten around to re-indexing. I figured using the Memories function was just streamlined and easier, since each category shows you the post title, a first sentence, tags for the entry, and so on.

For people who have no idea what I'm talking about; for years I had articles on aspects of shamanism, totemism and Vilturj on - but I took it down in favour of making more totem/artwork focused. So, anyway, the articles are now easily accessible again, at any time. :)
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Just a note, you can now find the contents page of just under 60 wildspeak/shamanism articles here:

These will be removed off the website, but will be made publically available on my Livejournal, and all you need to do is check the front of my journal (three entries down, I think), and this index will be there.

Over time, I will add other articles I've written about within Livejournal to this index. :)
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Name: Ehrembi the four-winged raven

Form: A raven with four wings, these show as two sets of wings on an elongated torso. He has lightning that strikes within and from his eyes, a silver-grey beak that flashes like steel, and a forked snake's tongue. He can change his size and also the materials of which he is made, sometimes appearing as being made of steel or fire. Ehrembi often changes genders, but generally appears as 'male.' He is always smiling, laughing or chuckling to himself.

Alternative Forms: A larger than normal raven with two wings. A white or silver raven. Probably many other forms I'm not yet familiar with.

Known for: Over 6 years.

Presides Over: All worlds. He is able to move between the upper, middle and underworlds with ease, though he seems to prefer the middle and underworlds. He is diplomatic and able to negotiate his way past almost all troublesome spirits and demons. He is also able to find his way nearly anywhere.

He is connected to laughter, ceremonial rites, shamanising, shamanic techniques, jokes, wisdom, learning and solar ritual. He is constantly laughing, but it is often the laugh of someone who gets a joke that no one else gets, and he rarely explains the punchline.

He is quite 'alien.' He does not often act like a normal 'raven', and is quite different from the personality of my totem. It is difficult to read his thoughts, body language and intentions just by looking at him, but my experience of him is that he has always been supportive and a steadfast spirit helper.

Assists With: Ehrembi is my primary spirit helper because he appeared first, and also because he takes me nearly everywhere, and comes nearly everywhere. He also assists with soul-retrieval and healings, and enables me to maintain my emotional distance so that I can view situations with a stronger sense of clarity.

He introduced me to the underworlds, and does almost all the negotiations with entities in the otherworlds. I think of him as a negotiator, he seems to 'get along' with all spirits, perhaps because he himself is so neutral.

He helps me to laugh at myself, and at the world. His energy is gentle on the outside, and both as strong as steel and malleable as fire under the surface.

Chants associated with him:

On a day of blue skies,
under the blue skies
the beast with four wings,
the ever-flapping raven
clacks his beak at the skies
and holds up the skies with his beak.
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Landmarks of the Underworld

Although the underworld(s) are considered transitory - like all otherworlds - there are fixed landmarks that can be visited across time, which can act as 'starting points' depending on your culture or your practices. Here are some of the 'landmarks' found within my own practices, and the practices of others. Many of these are universal.

You may notice other landmarks in your own journeys, feel free to make a note of these places, or any rules that you learn in these places that may be specific to it - such as certain offerings you may have to leave, or certain places you might have to avoid. When I say things in this article like 'it is considered a safe place' etc. I am referring to the collective wisdom of my ancestors, and other shamans and shamanists that I have interacted with over the course of 10 years. It is all a collection of personal gnosis, but valid none-the-less. This list will be added to as I continue to gain experience and learn of the experiences of others.

The Fountain - The fountain seems to be a place that I have known a few shamanists to come to when they descend to the underworld. This fountain tends to be ornate, and 'man-made', though it seems ancient and not specific to any one religion. This fountain trickles fresh water, as though from a spring, and smells sweet and tempting. I have heard some say that the water is refreshing and helps them back to the middleworlds, but I have also heard others say that to partake of any food in the otherworlds is also dangerous and unwise.

It is considered one of the few safe places in the underworld, though I would still tread cautiously.

The Forest of Dead Trees - A forest of dead, grey, skeletal trees that never seemed to fall down. They sometimes shelter dead, grey, skeletal animals that never seem to die or disintegrate. All this happens on a dead, grey ground that never shifts and changes. This is the forest of dead trees. I have found in my own practices that this is a place I come to frequently. It stretches out what seems endlessly, and it is said many doorways to many other worlds, places, events and times happen within this forest. Strange gods and spirits, and the ancestors of lost Oraite drift there. Many are not benevolent.

The Underground Palace/s - Often made of bone, ice, sculpted rock, grey stone, these formidable palaces tend to house demons (powerful spirits) or deities that can lure you into traps, or alternatively grant favours at a high price. Many shamanists are steered clear of such places by their spirit helpers. Often, travelling near these palaces, one encounters great villages, tempting foods and material wares. In the Norse mythos, these Underground Palaces are sometimes inhabited by Duergar and other earth-based wights that can be benevolent or malevolent; but mostly just indifferent to humankind.

Great Ladder / Great Stairs - They go on forever, upwards or downwards. You can walk a great ladder for days or weeks or years in the underworld never reaching a new destination. Are they tricks? Maybe. Or are we trusting too much in the solid familiar? Maybe that too. I avoid these, unless I am directed to use them.

Ropes - Ropes are far more helpful than the great ladders / stairs, but they tend to be harder to climb! These usually lead directly to the middleworlds. They can hang directly from the sky or from ceilings / tree branches etc. As always, be careful, some ropes are just tricks! When in doubt, trust the advice of your spirit helpers.

Gates - These are usually guarded by beasts, underworld dogs, people etc. and it's not easy to get through them much of the time! Yet you will find that you need to negotiate these barriers (in all the otherworlds) if you want to get to certain destinations.

Dunes - A great desert in the underworld seems to go on eternally, it is hot, desiccated and dry (or alternatively it is a desert of ice; cold and windy). There are traps here laid by mischievous spirits and malicious ones, caves to fall into, illusions and delusion to follow. These dry places are unpleasant, but many demons who take soul fragments tend to hide here, and so traversing the deserts of the underworld is a skill required by Oraite and many other shamanists.

The Ocean of Black Water - It is said that when a deceased spirit drinks this water, they realise they are truly dead. When shepherding the dead to a place where they find peace, encouraging them to drink from this ocean can help them move on. It is further said that when they cross the ocean of black water, they reach a place where they can no longer be contacted by any except those given the training to reach 'the land of the dead.' Many Oraite and ancestral shamans choose to stay in the otherworlds, instead of moving onto the 'land of the dead,' but sometimes it is necessary to cross this ocean. This is only done by experienced shamanists.

There are different ways of doing this. Some cultures had a boatman who could be coaxed to carry a living soul over by trickery or coin, other cultures required the spiritual animist to depress their breathing, to give away their 'life' and make themselves feel and be 'dead' on the inside. This technique was dangerous, because it meant that the shaman risked losing their own life-force on what is already a dangerous journey. In our practice, we swim across the ocean ourselves. This is also a journey that carries great risk, as soon as we absorb, swallow or breathe in the spray of the black water we believe ourselves to be truly dead, and it is only through the help of our assistant spirits and spirit helpers (many who cannot cross over with us) that we are able to make the journey back.

Incidentally, looking into the lapping waters of the ocean will reveal precognitive visions.

The Land of the Dead - The place/s where many of the deceased go. The appearances of this place are many and diverse, depending on who you are visiting and how they died. It is a dangerous place where dead people can still be holding onto the soul fragments of person's living. It can also be a place of trickery, despair and longing. Anyone who has lost a loved one and has unresolved business (i.e. is still grieving) is not encouraged to go here alone, or without the assistance of another human who can intervene if necessary. This in my experience is a preliminary place before an actual paradisical land of the departed which I don't know of anyone having reached.

The Great Tree - A gigantic, gnarled tree. The Great Tree is sometimes known as the world tree, or Yggdrasl in Norse culture, and is a common fixture in many different cultures. The root system in the underworld is usually complex and enormous, containing numerous openings. Some of these openings lead back to the middleworld, and some don't. By the root system of this great tree live spirits, gods, some of the greater ancestors, and are also places that many deities frequent. The root system of the great tree is a source of wisdom. It is possible to find an opening that leads to:

The Centre of the Earth - A place I haven't myself visited. Thought to be an empty place, either filled with heat and fire (the sun within the earth), or like a limbo place without any solid matter at all, it is thought that the Void could be found here; that lack of spark that existed before this universe, and yet is a part of this universe. This is very rarely a place that any soul fragments visit - in fact I'm not sure myself of any soul fragments visiting here if lost. Therefore visits to this place are not often called for.

The Happy Village - A village which appears to be happy, prosperous and hardworking. People smile to each other, children play in the street, and you can smell bread baking and meat cooking over a fire. The longer you spend in this place, the more sinister it becomes. Some people might have animal tails, yet other children may suddenly turn into dogs and chase and kill a chicken that was once a child. You notice sleight of hand between the false smiles of merchants, everyone is ripping each other off. And the more you notice how deceptive this place is, the more they tend to notice you.

The Happy Village is a place where soul fragments can be tricked into staying, taken in by the external appearance of the place. However once the residents in the village notice you (especially if you are looking for soul fragments), they become more obviously dangerous, attempting to trick you into giving your real name, into abandoning your spirit helpers or ancestors, and decrying your own flaws and insecurities. Given the chance, they will steal fragments of your own soul. You may even notice - or have noticed - that they 'money' they steal off each other each belongs to a person who has lost a soul fragment. In this village, the souls of other people can become trapped here, turned into money that is only used for deception and the continuation of falsehood.

The Plateau/s - Grey, green, black, brown plateaus of endless soil or mud or dirt or even concrete. These are flat, dark places, often not illuminated (and certainly not be celestial beings like stars or the moon), and frequented by lost children, shadows, demons and prowling animals and beasts.

The Killing Fields / The Abbatoirs - Gigantic places of dismembered / brutalised body-parts. For me, it is a great black place underneath a giant pyramid, that Sekmet Het-hert often visits. At other times it is a series of artificially created abbatoirs designed for mass slaughter, sometimes decommissioned yet still stinking of death, decay and haunted by demons. For others it might be a battleground, or some place that is literally knee deep (or more) in body parts. None of the body parts are alive per se, but sometimes they animate, shift and seethe underneath the force of all the bugs and creatures feasting on flesh - cleaning bones that never seem to become clean.

During initiations, body pieces are sometimes scattered here to confuse the initiate.

The Homes (Tents) of Ancestors - On a winding trail, and kept well separate, is a variety of homes / tents / yurts filled with ancestor after ancestor, keeping their own home and tending their own bleak garden in the underworlds. They can be visited and offered gifts and in turn offer wisdom, but beware, not all ancestors mean well and some are outright malevolent (and some are demons, tricking you into believing they are your ancestors). I met Aka Oslo, an ancestor, on this trail, when I travelled the underworlds as a wolverine.

The Northern Plains / The Ice Fields / The Frozen Wastelands - Here you can find a woman; maybe a goddess, maybe a demon, who created all the illnesses, hardship and 'sins' that populate the middleworlds and our own earth. In Vilturj, she is often known as Ucza. She goes by many names, and many appearances, and can be hard to find. She rarely bothers herself with taking or looking after soul fragments in her 'domain,' but will visit those who visit her. I have heard (having not visited her myself) that she is polite and well-mannered, and often appears as a once-beautiful middle-aged woman, or a beautiful woman. She is more trustworthy than a deity like Lesavny, but it seems just being in her presence can transmit mysterious illnesses, bad 'luck', and other adverse conditions which most humans generally try and avoid. Some people believe the polite advice she gives is worth the 'price' of health or wellbeing.
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Name: Sch'iaskala

Other (celebratory) names: unknown

Form: True shape-shifter (no one true form.) Schi'askala presents to me as a 'she.' She presents as fast shifting mist / fog which occasionally forms into fragments of inert objects or real creatures. More recently she has been a clear voice without form in the otherworlds. She has also appeared as a lithe, 'white' woman with white hair, eyes, lips, etc.

Alternative Forms: None. As a true shape-shifter, all her forms are her true form, while none are at the same time.

Known for: Since early 2004.

Presides Over: The upperworlds, though she can move anywhere from what I can tell.

She also presides over the custodianship of lost Vilturj lore. From what I can understand, within her quiet voice and stretching forms are the secrets of many religions. She also carries within her the secrets of eudialyte, or ch'kra, the 'shaman's blood.'

Assisted With: Journeying in the otherworlds. Discovering 'lost' knowledge.

Chants associated with her: unknown.

Potential connection with deities or recorded lore: At first I thought there was a connection with the Slavic Wila/Vila, but these days I'm pretty sure she's a direct incarnation of the non-personified weather god of heavy and storm clouds: J'shiask'la, whose similarity in name cannot be denied.
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Fehu (FAY-oo) - (also known as: FEH, fee, fe, foeh, feoh, faihu)

Value - F and V

Numeric Order - 24 (sometimes 1)

Represents - Wealth. Prosperity. Fertility.

Traditionally Represents - Mobile wealth. Wealth. Fees. Mobile property. Livestock. Money. Gold. Cash. Merchants. Fertility. Power. Transference. Life force. Luck. Movement. Creation and Destruction. Expansiveness. Fertility.

That he can pay for his dinner
is a comfort to him
and his family.
That he can give dinner to others
gives him the truest wealth,
and makes him a Lord in his home.

- Vilturj Rune Poem

Fehu is linked with Uruz, as both are significantly symbolised through the presence of cattle. Uruz represents the power of cattle, and Fehu represents their value, and so cattle in Fehu can be seen to be interchangeable with the concept of wealth and money. Fehu is not just a rune of gain, it is a rune representing all aspects of wealth, including the fragility of the economy. Farmers will know how easy it is to lose that which is valuable due to the whim of the earth, and how hard it is to keep that wealth consistent. There are diseases for herds, the potential for drought, flood or general famine. Fehu can therefore represent transitory wealth, and cyclical wealth.

Fehu as a word originally meant property, or carried wealth. It came to symbolise money, mobile power and the energies of transference, trade and change. This has an additional layer of representing the traditional Norse idea of hamingja, the transference of energy and life force from one entity to another. It is where the concept of luck sprang from. So Fehu often can represent types of luck in a reading.

Fehu represents the ever-changing and fluid nature of power. People can hoard power and wealth, but power and wealth both need to be shared in order to have use. Fehu was associated with cattle, as the amount of cattle was the measure of a man's wealth. Fehu can represent tamed power and the power of domestication. It's negative is when people become too conformist in order to live 'comfortably', and privilege earned wealth over everything else in their lives. This tamed power is the opposite of Uruz' raw, primordial power.

The constantly fluid energy of Fehu also makes it insecure, wealth is always in threat of being stolen or 'given away', and Fehu in a reading (whether Merk or not) will never cast its transient powers for long.

Fehu reminds us that wisdom and forethought is vital to the transference of monies, wealth, power and energy. Fehu is at its strongest when power and wealth is circulated in a society wisely. It is at its weakest when people stifle the circulation of wealth and power. Fehu can be more easily utilised with wisdom when combined with the gift and just nature of Geafu.

The movement of Fehu can be likened to a fast flowing stream, or a moving stream. The wealth or waters of the stream eventually meet up with the ocean, and the great distributor of wealth freely gives such water back to the rivers. If these pools lack motion, they can often dry up and never reappear again, the wealth is gone. Yet the river metaphor raises an important issue. If the wealth is not returning to the giver, then the giver can literally 'dry up' and perish. The free-flowing transference of Fehu is never positive if only used one-way.

Fehu is an integral part of life itself, the fluid movements which underlie all living things and connects them to each other. This fluidity may seem unstable, but when utilised with growth in mind, is actually a very stabilising force. As Fehu is so fluid in nature, it's mysteries are diverse and sometimes seem broadly hypocritical from one rune-caster to another.

Fehu is associated with the force that flows from Muspellheimr, the source of cosmic fire which generated the world and Midgardh. It is the fire of Ragnarok that will destroy the nine worlds. Here one can gain distinctive insight into Fehu if combined or bound to Sowelu. This fire of Fehu is creative and destructive. It is the fluid power of the Phoenix, forever living and dying. Fehu is also the deep unanswered mysteries behind the fires of living and dying. Essentially Fehu represents the meaning of life, whilst being the meaning of life.

Fehu is associated with Njordh, Frigg, Freajr and Freaje, largely because of shared powers of fertility. Fehu lends its power to all of these deities. Fehu is also associated with the ability of rune-casters to read the runes, and is associated with the fluid power of divination.

Freajr and Freaje in particular are associated with Fehu because of their intimate connections with wealth. Hnoss and Gersemi - Freaje's daughters - both had names that translated to 'wealth' or 'treasure.' Indeed Freaje is known to weep tears of pure gold, and Freajr is a fruitful, fecund god.

In a reading Fehu tends to represent a period of increased good fortune, a windfall of wealth which can come in the form of money or valuable objects. It can also represent a windfall in your attitude, you may not have much, but you may begin to appreciate the value and luck of what you have. Other runes around this will often indicate forms of wealth. Algiz for example represents that the windfall will come in conjunction with a lot of communication, or from protecting what is already of value to you. Oathola can suggest an inheritance. In a reading, Fehu in conjunction with Mannaz can represent either the power and control of the ego to generate wealth, or the opposite, the use of the ego to so desperately seek power and wealth, one ends up draining both.

Merk - As a Merk rune Fehu can represent the burnout associated with being too driven for wealth and success. It represents conformity, and can represent being power hungry. It can represent a broken spirit, poor wealth or attitude relating to wealth, and wealth being taken away. It indicates discomfort rather than comfort. Fehu as a negative sometimes indicates people who never feel like they have enough wealth, regardless of how much they actually have. After all, wealth is personal, and therefore personally interpreted.

As a Merk it can also represent being outcast or alienated from the riches that are internalised within oneself. It can also represent hoarding one's talents and stagnation due to a halting of potential generosity. It can also represent break ups within relationships, particularly due to money matters.

In Ritual - Fehu is great in spells and rituals for prosperity of any kind, and to aid the transferring of energy. In conjunction with Berkana it strengthens healing. With Uruz it can raise a lot of power that won't necessarily be too chaotic.
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Dagozh (DA - goz) - Also known as Dagalaz, Dagaz, Dagal, Daeg, Daguz, Dags, Dagr, Dusgadh

Value - D

Numeric Order - 23 or 24

Traditionally Represents - Day. Dawn.

Represents - Day. Dawn. Gateway. Newness. Beginning. Birth. Broader Scale Awakening. Communal Awakening. Clarity. Break-through. Self-Started Change. Hope. Happiness. Security. Certainty. Idealism. Optimism. Opposites Reconciled. Crossroads. Heimdall. Masculinity. Day Cycle. Light. Opportunity. Gift. Spruce. Illumination. Butterfly. Metamorphosis.

'the magnificent king
triumphs over the mountain
brings sun-spear and shaft
to the birth of days'

- Vilturj Rune Poem

Daghoz is connected to the brilliant, and sometimes quite distant light of the Source, 'God', Sky Gods and Sun Gods. It is a masculine light, despite Vilturj having a female Sun deity - Karajiana. It is being touched by the golden light of the divine after a time of darkness. It is the dawn after the night. The dawn seems all the more brilliant because it reminds us that the sun will renew again and again. Daghoz is the day rune, the God rune, and the rune of birth.

This dawn also lets us know that days are precious. We may only have one precious day to live a divine life, and the God is good to us, and usually gives us multiple or hundreds of opportunities to do this. Every time we make a mistake, we may go into crisis, or we may fall into crisis anyway as is the nature of life, and everytime the conscious divine gives us the light again to wash away the shadow, and re-connect. This is a precious gift, and can represent a broad-scale awakening or enlightenment, when one realises that life isn't just unfair and full of misery, but also full of opportunity, gifts and beauty.

Daghoz is the merging of equal opposites, two triangles meeting each other at their topmost tips. These triangles, which meeting represent a cross that is bordered by two lines, show this meeting of opposites and also indicate a true four-directional crossroads. It is the night and the day meeting, and the middle ground is the dawn, where the real energy of Daghoz lies.

Much folklore is associated with the concept of going through a crisis of darkness in the underworld before meeting the dawn, and come across most clearly in the story of Vasilisa and Baba Yaga (Vasilia and Vavale), and in the rebirth stories of goddesses like Persephone, Osiris and Inanna.

Many rune-casters prefer this rune to lie last in a Uthark, as the 'dawn' after all the other runes. However in the Uthark I am familiar with, Daghoz lies second-to-last, with Fehu at the end. This makes chronological sense. Daghoz represents the day, celebrating the dawn and appreciating divine wealth. Fehu follows, as people implement this divinity and richness into their lives, and bring the light into their everyday life to create a truly inspiring wealth. Daghoz brings the means to create a comfortable and secure time of prosperity, Fehu is the solidification of that prosperity - a prosperity of the spirit and the flesh.

If the querent is having a real problem making a decision on the issue, Daghoz suggests many things, but one of them is 'go to bed and sleep on it, tomorrow is a new day.' Literally, even a small cycle of 24 hours can bring about great change.

Daghoz indicates a time where the querent is in a perfect position to embrace and celebrate the shadow in their life precisely because the dawn or 'day' is immanent. It also tells the querent that it is time to really make sure one has learnt from the crisis, so that the 'day' can be appreciated more fully. It is far more rewarding to connect with the glorious divine after one is truly aware of what one has gained and lost in the process.

Daghoz asks the querent if they actually enjoy making a division from opposites, and suggests that it's time to stop dividing everything and let opposing forces meet regardless of consequences. The energy of Daghoz suggests this meeting certainly won't be catastrophic (unless next to Haurgl, Uruz or Thurisaz). Daghoz indicates a need for balance to see through projects, and to not move to excesses. A reconciliation of opposites creates balance, but first one must recognise what the dual opposites are and then decide on how best to reconcile them so that they may actually meet and create balance. From this balance we create for ourselves a crossroads and from there can decide our path.

The querent may also be in possession of a great deal of wisdom and knowledge, Daghoz encourages the sharing of this knowledge with the community in order to bring day, enlightenment and realisation to others. Accepting the gift of teaching along with the dangers is a part of acknowledging balance and embodying the positive aspects of this rune.

If Daghoz is in a 'future' position, it indicates the breaking dawn. No matter what runes come before it, hardship is easing and a connection to the divine will be established. It is the sun that spills over a mountain, bringing a valley into light. It is a rainbow at the tail-end of a storm, when the sun refracts over the droplets of water. It is a thawing of ice and lets us see what is in front of us to be enjoyed.

This is largely a very positive and joyous rune, and lightens very serious readings. People with Daghoz in a reading will be looking forward to (or will have had) sudden illumination realisations that increase quality of life, inspire and bring not only hope, but reward. It also lightens the way for an easier journey, and an unhindered path.

Merk - Daghoz cannot be reversed but it can lie in opposition. In these instances it often indicates the end of something, sometimes before it is ready to be ended. It might be a project that is 'completed' in failure and disappointment, or reaching a limitation before achieving a goal. In this sense Daghoz is the rune of disappointment and hopelessness. People who receive this rune Merked often have lost, or are losing all hope, because of let downs and limitations. It is a falling into the night, without proper appreciation of the day. Or a falling into the night before one feels it's time.

Daghoz Merked can sometimes represent the damaging effect of being surrounded by too much light and brilliance. It is the 'blinding' sun, it overwhelms and burns, and it shocks the gentle soul that might be adapted and accustomed to living the in the night and the darkness. People who are used to hiding from their faults and the faults of others, or who aren't ready to confront personal issues, may find all of these forced under the like of a Merked Daghoz. This is perhaps where the phrase 'a rude awakening' is very appropriate.

People who embody this energy might be very afraid of bringing things into the light in general, and may also hide from opportunity because of the dangerous risk it can bring. These people need to understand that the challenge is balancing risk, with opportunity, and understanding that the two need each other to create the dynamic of power that sits in the middle of the Daghoz rune.

In Ritual - Avoid using Dagozh as a solitary rune, or wearing it on the person. There is a saying that goes 'you won't know up from down,' which is particularly appropriate when one is using this rune without the grounding influence of other runes in ritual. It is best avoided by beginners. This is ironic, because it's one of the more positive runes, but despite this, its energy can be overwhelming and 'too' much. Consider grounding it with Algiz.

Daghoz tends to work quickly in spell-work, and can sometimes be effective in a matter of days, as its cycle is traditionally only 12-24 hours. This is another reason as to why it can be incredibly overwhelming. It is especially effective when used a dawn, midday, mid-summer and in the hours before dawn.

It is a good rune for people who wish to heal others (as long as grounding runes are used) or who wish to bring a 'crisis of the soul' to a healthy end as soon as possible, ensuring that the person is not too drained that they can't appreciate the end of the dark or night cycle in their lives.
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Oathola (Wa - THOW (like 'owe') - la) - Also known as Othala, Othal, Ethel, Odal, Odel, Od

Value - O (as in 'Oh')

Numeric Order - 22

Traditionally Represents - Ancestral Property. Heritage.

Represents - Ancestral Property. Consecration. Preservation. Inheritance. Possessions. Property. Home. Community Dynamics. Heritage. Homeland. Patriotism. Experience. Spiritual and Physical Journeys. Abundance. Increase. Safety. Hawthorn. Ruby. Petrified Wood. Fence Posts. Ancestral Might. Assured Wealth. Teacher. Wanderer. Hrum. Ajckonzi. Boundary.

'The land bound by fences
is good to the family the feeds it
according to custom and ancestry;
it rewards with prosperity.'

- Vilturj Rune Poem

There is a big emphasis within many Norse practices on the importance of heritage and ancestry. It is believed that all we are, is the collected mass of our ancestors, and that each lifetime we add a new flavour to what is essentially, a life-story that never ends. Our children continue it onwards, and their children continue it onwards. It is through us that our ancestors live on, and it is through us that the heartbeats of their homeland live on. It is for this reason (among others) that we must act with humility, respect and deference, to bring honour to our ancestors and ourselves. If we can look back on our lives and be proud of our homeland, the way we have conducted ourselves, and our children, then we have honoured our ancestors and ourselves, and we have lived a full and prosperous life.

Oathola is an important rune, it emphasises all aspects of ancestry and ancestral property. It represents the homeland, the truly sacred place that our physical and spiritual bodies can retire to when we need to recharge and need a safe-haven from which to plan new, greater adventures. Oathola can be imagined as an enclosure with a gate that opens to allow guests to enter, and to bar those who wish us harm or unknowingly do us harm just be being around us.

Oathola indicates to the querent that sacred places at this time, particularly those connected with our ancestors, will become more important and crucial. Sacred places can be a home, a room, or it can be a continent or a country. It might be the pull of a distant homeland on a migrant in a country like Australia or America. It might be the pull of a suburb or estate. Or it might even be encouraging the querent to seek out new sacred places in which to honour and worship to ancestors - to find a new place to home the important memories that bleed into the physical and material realm around us.

More usually, Oathola indicates a place or homeland which is both a 'home' and a place where the querent can really grow. It is the house that gives us freedom. Many people don't tend to associate home-life with freedom, but Oathola indicates that our home and homeland are in a perfect position to give us exactly what we need to grow spiritually into well-being, wealth and prosperity - particularly if we remember to honour our ancestors and cherish our family members.

Oathola can indicate the presence of a teacher either from within or without of the querent. It can also indicate a need to wander in order to seek sacred places, homelands, or places in which to celebrate heritage. People who draw Oathola, particularly with Ehwaz or Raedjaz, may be gripped with wanderlust and a need to travel that cannot be quenched easily. These people may obsessively be looking for a 'place to call home' and a place to be proud of. However be careful, there might also be a dissatisfaction with an available homeland, in which case - depending on surrounding runes - caution must be advised.

This rune indicates the importance of boundary on all levels. It can be material boundary, the presence of adequate fencing around a house, or security screens on windows. It can be physical boundary, the ability of our immune system to fend off illness, and how well we literally look after our skin. It can be emotional boundary, whether we make ourselves available to unhelpful emotional attacks, or whether we are able to experience our emotions safety, without breaching the boundaries of others in the process. In addition, it can be spiritual boundary, the presence of energy shields and protection, or the need to place energy boundaries around ourselves to keep away that which doesn't help us. Oathola asks us to review the boundaries around us, and suggests that we are in an excellent place to renew these boundaries through our actions.

Oathola indicates a time when mysteries and ancestral knowledge will be available to the querent to learn, either from within or without. The safe place in which to learn this knowledge is available, and the presence of Oathola in a reading also suggests the ancestor's themselves are favourable to an acquisition of such philosophical knowledge. It will be a time of learning in relative safety, gently pushing forward the boundaries of our experience and knowledge to increase our ability to nourish our bodies and our spirits. This rune also provides an answer to communities that are seeking order, prosperity, nourishment and health without overly damaging the communities around them.

As well as seeking order and nourishment, Oathola indicates that it's time for the querent to expand upon natural talents. It might be in creative or more structured endeavours, but it is time to learn more about what talents we may have inherited. These may be psychic, or related to art and writing, or in building houses and plumbing. We respect these talents by putting time aside to strengthen and challenge them.

Finally, there is a connection between Oathola and the ancestry related to past lives and past-life encounters. The querent might be experiencing fears or hopes related to past-lives, and talents that are also connected to these, and might - through a careful exploration of this - find a way to control and eliminate the fears and strengthen the talents while remaining safe and protected within the boundary of Oathola.

Merk - Oathola reversed can indicate a complete lack of respect and order for home, homeland, heritage, ancestors and safe place. It can indicate an external person who is coming in and attacking these places and decreasing their spiritual value, or it can indicate an attitude of the querent which is destroying the safety and structure around them.

Oathola Merked can represent a loss of safe place literally, and might be indicated in people who have suffered from forms of abuse, or who have terribly damaged self-esteems. These people may have a poverty of the spirit, or material poverty, and lack a feeling of safety in any endeavour that they undertake. This can affect all aspects of a rune-reading, and can at worst, predict extreme situations like homelessness (watch for couplings with Merked Haurgl), financial poverty (coupled with Merked Fehu) and spiritual/physical slavery. At times this rune can also herald events like assault, theft/fraud, abuse and invasive destruction of boundary through other means like natural disaster or even death (Merked or even upright Iorija).

Oathola Merked can imply a home or community environment which is prone to extreme, unhelpful conservatism and provincialism. It might indicate a family member who is stifled by other family members and/or friends. Or a querent who is being suffocated by their community.

In Ritual - This rune is excellent for raising public awareness on all levels about environmental threats, threats to historical sites and architecture, and community awareness on global and local issues. It can be used to help all of those who wish to foster awareness. It might be a family members who wants to help a family become more aware of the issues that threaten it, or by an environmentalist who wishes to draw more public awareness and attention to threats to the environment or heritage sites.

This rune is excellent for those who wish to create a safe 'place' both physically and spiritually, and is good when coupled with protective runes like Algiz, or runes concerned with justice; like Teiwaurz. It is great for protecting homes, healing centres and places of ritual. It is also good for helping to ensure a safer, or more helpful outcome in general ritual work and spellwork. In helping to establish safe places, this rune can also be excellent for establishing and maintaining all forms of boundary, particularly when combined with Algiz.
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Ingala (ING - allah) - Also known as Ing, Ingwaz, Ingalaz, Ingvi, Ingwi

Value - ING or NG

Numeric Order - 21

Traditionally Represents - Seclusion. Seed.

Represents - Continuity. Life. Storage. Embryo. Ancestry. Memory. Gestation. Medicine. Ing. Earth. Seed. Procreation. Relaxation. 'Time out.' Phallus. The Male Energy. The Gentle Yang. Freajr. The Divine Male. King. Justice. Logic. Gentleness. Humility.

He traveled over oceans and through
sun mountains, until we named him
Jarik'ng, on his golden chariot,
with his golden sons/suns.

- Vilturj Rune Poem.

Ingala is the seed, and the orifice that stores the seed. It is the embryo, and the womb that nurtures the embryo. It is our soul, and the body that nurtures the soul. Ingala is generally presented as a diamond, if we imagine the outline of Ingala as the gate, then the potential is what is stored inside the gate. The outline is also a continuous, enclosed space, it is both safe and nurturing, and will open for us if we understand how the gate and the circular motion works.

Because this rune tends to indicate an inward focus in order to understand what is growing within (either a project, child, or the self, among other things), it is regarded as a rune of self-isolation and seclusion. The necessary withdrawal that Ingala brings is vital in understanding that there is something growing, and then valuing what is growing and understanding how best to bring it forth. It is a rune of internal growth. The act of seclusion and introversion usually allows us to store energy, as we are often no longer expending it by constantly working or socialising, or by giving our energy away to external worries like what to cook for dinner, or where the best prices for petrol are. In this sense, Ingala is a rune that helps us regenerate ourselves, and regain energy. It has quite a gentle energy, especially when contrasted with the explosive power of runes like Uruz and Thurisaz.

This rune has a strength, an implacable strength, but it is not a destructive strength, nor is it overwhelming or unable to be harnessed. Ingala is a gentle strength, excellent for people who want to stand their ground without arguing, or for those who wish to learn more about themselves without wavering away from any unpleasant truths contained in our memories or in our spirits.

If you would imagine Sowelu as a very strong and fiery masculinity, Ingala is in many respects a gentler masculinity. It is a relaxed paternal energy, or a warrior who is calm and balanced. It is a divine masculinity, and represents the fertile and just aspect of Freajr. It also, because of its enclosed space, represents the womb, and the masculine strength which is able to join with the female in order to help create an embryonic child which will one day carry the knowledge of its ancestors within it.

Ingala indicates that the querent will eventually understand that time is needed to manifest projects of any kind, and that respecting that this process of gestation takes time will in turn respect the outcome itself. This rune is also important in helping us to understand that we are also gestating, and to not be frustrated with ourselves when we inevitably let ourselves and others down. Ingala lets us have renewed faith in ourselves, because in our gut, we actually know that we are always becoming, and that we have the capacity to forgive our mistakes and not live a life steeped in regret.

This faith in ourselves, knowing that we are always becoming and changing, gives us the power to look to the future, and see its potential. This is a very positive rune for people who are constantly steeped in the past and past regrets, or in present fears. As Ingala still gives us permission to examine memories while letting us embrace what can happen in the future.

This rune indicates a time of family love and caring, and also of generosity between friends. It may indicate repaired or strengthened relationships to the querent. If coupled with upright Berkana, it can indicate repaired relationships between parent (particularly father) and child. It is a very positive rune, and its presence in a reading suggests that the querent is coming into, or has just emerged from, a particularly nourishing and healthy time in their lives.

This rune aids memory recovery and preservation of all kinds. Ancestral memory, personal memory, lost memory, etc. are all stored and kept enclosed by the energies of Ingala. Memory is generally stored in the primitive and sophisticated parts of our brain and bodies, and Ingala operates on both of these levels. We might use Ingala to help us when seeing a therapist or hypnotherapist, or we might use it to recover memories after short or long-term memory loss. We might wish to remember skills that we haven't practiced in a long time, or if spiritually aware of ancestors, we might wish to access the memory that is stored in our spirits and DNA. Ingala in a reading may indicate that the querent is feeling, or will feel, particularly nostalgic or concerned with memory for a while. They might want to write down memoirs, or reminisce, or they might be frustrated with an inability to remember their path in life.

Merk - Ingala cannot technically lie in 'reverse', but it can lie in opposition. Ingala reversed can indicate infertility, impotence, premature ejaculation and other aspects of sexual dysfunction. It can indicate intense frustration and stress with this process, and can sometimes indicate a denial of any sexual dysfunction or relationship dysfunction with disastrous results.

Ingala Merked can also represent a situation where a person is working extremely hard to produce results, only to find that all of their efforts have effected no change. This can be extremely disheartening, and can make those in this situation feel absolute despair. This despair is often self-perpetuating, meaning that people with a Merked Ingala have probably been having a run of 'bad luck', because they are unable to find the strength inside themselves to pull themselves out of the situation. An upright Ingala charm may help with this problem, though assess any 'future' runes that might help indicate any changes of fortune.

In Ritual - Ingala has a wonderfully gentle and relaxing energy which makes it good for people who want to do slow-burn spells over an extensive amount of time, especially in areas to do with ancestry, love, compassion, healing and growth.

Ingala is excellent to help those who wish to discover more about themselves, but are frightened that all they will discover is 'badness.' It makes it an especially good rune for those who wish to do self-discovery but may suffer from a damaged self-esteem, and disorders like depression or anxiety. It is quite an appropriate rune to help balance this contemporary era of rushing about and neglecting our spirits and our lives. It brings back gentleness and balance, tempers it with logic and caring, and lets us focus on ourselves without being critical, and without an inflated sense of ego.

This is a good rune for beginners to magic and spell-crafting, who are nervous that they will fail, and want a destination more than the journey itself. It is also a good stabilising rune, and can make the volatile forces of runes like Thurisaz and Haurgl far more gentle. Ingala makes a great rune to be carried on the person or to be worn as a necklace or ring.
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Laguz (LAR - gooz) - Also known as Lagu, Laukuz, Lauguz, Laugrzh, Lauk, Laug, Logr, Laghoz

Value - L

Numeric Order - 20

Traditionally Represents - Lake. Leek.

Represents - Lake. Leek. Waves. Health. Alternative Therapy. Becoming. Renewal. Life. Imagination. Psychic Strength. Psychopomping. Water. Acceptance. Conscious Decisions. Decision-Making. Empowerment. Sea. Fertility. Flow. Dreams. Mystery. The Unknowable. Underworlds. Ucza (underworld goddess).

'the rushing waters
the ocean lakes
seas of fish
over golden rocks.'

- Vilturj Rune Poem.

Laguz has a dual meaning. It is both representative of a lake and great waters, and also of the leek as a vegetable of great health. Both of these meanings generally apply to most rune-masters, and are also applicable in Vilturj.

Laguz is the rune of becoming, it is moving from being adrift on a river with no control, to finally being in possession of a boat on a still lake, and being able to move in any direction if you make the conscious choice to do so. In this sense, Laguz is also a rune of acceptance, accepting that you have choices, accepting that you have resources, and accepting that you have a brain and spirit with which to make choices that benefit you! Take control of your life! It is time to initiate yourself, and take charge of your health and become yourself.

The waters of life are rushing over you, they are under you and they run in your veins. They constantly bring nourishment and acceptance with them, and it is us who choose to turn away from both for whatever reason. Laguz reminds us that the power sits with us, we can ride the waves of our own energy meridians, or we can block them ourselves by placing rocks there and other obstacles. Sometimes we have good reasons for choosing paths of ill-health and sickness, but Laguz in a reading suggests it's time to reverse our ills and make some conscious decisions about health and quality of life!

Laguz as the water rune is a rune of generally what is thought to be gradual change. When we block ourselves, we create illnesses and dis-ease, but Laguz gently erodes all obstacles and eventually renders them indistinguishable.

In addition to the water imagery, Laguz rune poems sometimes indicate the presence of gold and/or fish in the water. It indicates in other words, the richness that lies in the waters if we are prepared to look with skill and with open-mindedness. The fish indicates the ability to find physical nourishment, and the gold indicates the ability to find prosperity through our decisions. When coupled with Fehu, this rune indicates financial security through our conscious choices.

It is time to bite the bullet and initiate yourself into a new stage of being. This of itself will make you healthier. There may be health problems in the querent's life which will benefit from taking control of a decision-making process when it comes to health. It suggests that the person will benefit from more vegetable matter in the diet, and could even commence the process with a hearty leek soup, celebrating the dual meaning of Laguz. Laguz suggests that you need to overcome your pride or traditional misgivings about health and healing and seek out alternative therapies, or perhaps a new doctor. Naturopaths, chiropractors, homeopaths etc. will help you very much. Herbalists are indicated. Working with plants at a time like this will yield very much. You need to ask yourself questions like 'how will seeking out healing practicioners help me?', 'What skills do they have, that I don't?', 'What is holding me back from healing myself?'

The presence of Laguz in a reading can also indicate a time in which the querent is in a place where they are able to employ or strengthen psychic abilities. Dreams will be important this time, and using the imagination to visualise positive outcomes will work its own magic. Laguz can indicate voluntary magical workings, and can draw querents closer to personal and external mysteries and hidden worlds in the process. The underwater world is deep, mysterious and filled with hidden knowledge. Laguz makes this accessible.

Merk - Why is it that the positive runes have such negative implications when Merked? This rune can often indicate someone who consciously chooses to stay sick and ill, or mired under by their own anxieties and depressions. They very rarely choose to heal themselves, or if they start the process, they often stop immediately when they realise they might be losing the attention of illness, or the excuses that illness and pain afford them.

Laguz merked can indicate great confusion and a complete inability to make any decisions at all. The runes that surround a merked Laguz will indicate in what areas of the querent's life the person is unable to make decisions, or decisions that are healthful. It might be a time where the person should avoid major decision-making, because they will have poor judgement. This might be because of emotional, physical (such as health) or spiritual reasons. Again the surrounding runes will influence this.

People who are unable to make decisions, and who consciously choose ill-health because of the 'benefits' they receive from it, will often experience a lack of creativity. These people - particularly if professionally creative - may be experiencing a block in the ability to imagine. They may have stopped dreaming, literally and metaphorically, and they may be unable to be creative. It can indicate an extremely stifled or suffocated person, who has created the trappings for themselves.

Merked Laguz almost certainly indicates illness on some level, the seriousness will depend on surrounding runes. It usually indicates illness at a level of madness, obsession, despair, depression, mental disorders in general, perversion (such as animal cruelty or a penchant for abuse), and can indicate a querent who might be in desperate need of some counseling. These people tend to live lives that are filled with fear and avoidance. Rune-masters must be careful not to victimise those who express a Merked Laguz personality, even though these people victimise themselves. Empowerment tends to be more possible with community support.

Warning: When coupled with a Merked Iorija, this rune can indicate suicide.

In Ritual - Can help people bump themselves out of creative ruts, particularly ruts akin to 'writer's block' and other afflictions that cause our imagination and inspirations to disappear.

This rune is excellent for all aspects of magical work, as it tends to indicate an increase in this and boosts all magical and visualisation activities. It is a good protective rune for those investigating psychism and can help one to access the third chakra and open it.

I invite you to explore the ritual potentials of Laguz, it is a highly positive rune that is also very versatile. If I were to list every single thing that I felt Laguz was appropriate or beneficial for in ritual, I'd end up with sore fingers and a whole lot of writing.
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Mannaz (Man - AS) - (Also known as Madr, marder, mardr, mader, mardr, man, mannas, mannus (as god), mann)

Value - M

Numeric Order - 19

Traditionally Represents - Deep Balance. Man and God. Bridging.

Represents - Harmony. Sharing. Cooperation. Left-Brain / Right-Brain. Intuition and Intellect Balanced. Development. Heimdall. Bridges. Mankind. Vine. Spirals.

Joyous man you're dear to your kinsmen;
Do not be grieved at your doom to fail your fellow
Since all gods and man at all times must fail
This vile carrion to the earth committed
Grows the joyous man that is dear to his kinsmen.

- Vilturj Rune Poem.

Mannaz is the personal rune of the god Heimdall, who was also known as Hvitass, Rig and Mannus (hence name of rune). Heimdall was the god who had three children that in turn were the original ancestors of the three different branches of the Germanic people. It is Heimdall who stands between the deities and the humans as the bridge between them. Heimdall is the representation of the 'truth' of the divine in man. Heimdall is the god of bridges, making them, walking them, and understanding their necessity. As such Mannaz itself is a god of connecting two opposing points, and then walking that bridge in balance and harmony, to better understand the deeper nature of ourselves and others.

This is a rune of human development, the deep human development that often leads to great wisdom, access to powers and the inner divine. It is understanding who, what, why, when and how you are, through building bridges within and without the physical body. It is the balancing of intuition with the intellect, the understanding that all wisdom needs to be tempered with joy, humour and respect. The inner understanding of the relationship between divine and man, and how we bridge the gap between is revealed to us in depth when working with Mannaz. If Ehwaz is learning the cooperation and communion between Sleipnir and Odin, Mannaz is understanding its nature and using it to improve ourselves and our surroundings.

Mannaz is the rune of perfection. Not the kind of perfection where a person wants to be foolishly flawless, for no creature alive is flawless in that they make mistakes. It is also not the kind of perfection led by ambition, or by one seeking personal gain only. It is not the rune of a musician who wishes to be the best simply to profit. It is the rune of perfection for the musician who seeks to perfect his songs simply to understand their nature, and the nature of the music, and the nature behind why he plays that music. Mannaz is the motivation to understand and balance, to improve until wisdom and maturity is gained. It is the motivation that encourages one to understand the divine within, how and why it manifests. It is also the motivation that gets the deities interacting with the humans.

Ehwaz is the attainment of trance and the ecstatic trance, Mannaz is learning how to live life in harmony with these other awarenesses. The shaman, the witch, the accomplished druid, Buddhist or Pastor is thought to live non-ordinary lives. They learn how to do this by bridging gaps within themselves that others may never bridge. Mannaz is the force that encourages this bridging. Mannaz tells you to stomp on the bridge, check how strong it is, and add reinforcements if necessary.

Mannaz also represents the human race as a whole, how well communities and countries bridge their gaps, how an 'advanced' western civilisation can connect with the third world civilisations, how the rich connect with the poor, and vice versa, how different religions bridge their gaps, or how they burn those bridges. Mannaz is the force behind seeking to understand other cultures by immersing yourself in that culture, or getting to know someone of a different ethnic background more completely to better understand yourself. This rune will help teach open-mindedness and lateral thinking.

Understandably this rune will also help family relationships. We do not pick the people we grow up with and who gave birth to us or share our blood, but Mannaz can help us to understand our differences and if they cannot be overcome, suggests ways to protect the bridge without tearing it down. I worked with Mannaz to understand my father, and my mother, and realise that though we can have profound differences, we share traits, even traits I dislike.

Mannaz also aids us in finding our own latent talents and abilities, the things which we can do which help us connect to the divine. For me, it is exploring artwork or working with animal spirits and runes, for others it is being a doctor and helping people to heal, making websites to allow for greater connection and understanding, or picking up the rubbish on the street and making the world a cleaner and healthier place for all. Once found, these abilities keep us very human, whilst allowing us to connect with a divinity which we often forget exists.

In a reading the presence of Mannaz can represent the appearance of divine aid, or human aid, and the increase of cooperation by all parties, or significant parties. This will often be influenced by the runes around. If combined with Fehu, business and trade connections will improve, if combined with Teiwaurz relationships with justice and the law will improve, if combined with Berkana, mothering and nurturing relationships will improve (this is just an example of the connections, there are many more.) Mannaz is by and large a positive rune that reminds us that we are all special, we are all divine, and we all in our individual ways can serve ourselves and others in a state of wisdom, and of perfection.

Merk - Mannaz reversed is an unpleasant rune. It represents a time when external and internal bridges are burnt, and no help is forthcoming. A time where intuition and intelligence work against man and mankind, and a time where you learn who your enemies are, and they work to bring about the downfall of an individual, a community or a nation.

Mannaz reversed tends to represent the cunning and slyness of people put to cruel and hurtful use. People are manipulated without realising, or are manipulating others. All actions are coldly calculated and contain no warmth or tolerance. It is the energy of hate crimes and of white supremacy.

Mannaz reversed or Merked can also represent depression as people forget their connections to the divine or stop working with and nurturing the abilities that help them to grow. It is an inner and outer blindness, and a constant awareness of one's mortality and the delusion that one is 'bad', 'evil', 'no good'. It can also be represented by suicidal preoccupation.

In Ritual - Mannaz is excellent for contacting and improving one's own innate abilities. Therefore it is a good rune to call upon during times where one has an art exam, or one has to do a musical recital or sing in front of a crowd, it reminds one that the talent is divine and helps the fears to dissolve. It is also a rune to call upon when bridges are being burnt or people are being surrounded by personal, communal or national intolerance. It is a good charm for those who work with others who have differing opinions (such as people who debate), and is excellent at protecting and keeping awareness of the divine spark within.
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Ehwaz (Ay-waaz) - (also, Aiwaz, aihwas, EH, ior, eor, yor)

Value - E ('eh')

Numeric Order - 18

Traditionally Represents - Horse. Twins. Holding Hands. Two Horses Facing Each Other. Ecstasy. Ivy.

Represents - Communion. Ecstasy. Trance. Shamanic Energies. Enlightenment. Sleipnir. Cohesion. Integration. Soul-Searching. Duality.

The horse is the joy of princes
Joy in the presence of warriors
A steed in the pride of its hooves
As merchants on horseback
Share the pride in their relationship with other merchants
And in this proud action, comfort the restless.

- Vilturj Rune Poem

Odin's steed, Sleipnir, willingly carried Odin between the worlds and negotiated new or dangerous worlds and energy transitions with ease. When guided by his stern by caring master, Sleipnir and Odin both experienced an ecstatic state of trance and communion as their energies became cohesive. This communion was attained through cooperation and loyalty. Ehwaz is a rune that represents partnership, but not the type of partnership that Geafu can represent, rather it is the loyal partnership between man and horse, man and dog, ant and aphid. We see productive movement and interaction, and we see both benefiting, even though they are two entirely different species.

In this sense, Ehwaz is very much the representation of duality. It is the two horses side by side, possibly indicating the eight legged horse/s Odin rode. It is two twins holding hands, different entities that share a connection that cannot be broken, and can be improved. Ehwaz is also the concept of duality itself. The idea that light can balance dark, or that the sun and the moon are two polars. In Vilturj itself, dualities were not celebrated as often as trialities, or other combinations. Ehwaz came to represent the nature of the duality.

Ehwaz can be seen as two Laguz joined (one mirrored to meet the other), many tend to interpret this as the union of male and female, and this is indeed one of its interpretations, however I tend to interpret it as the union of two different traits of water. The destructiveness, and the creative powers within the lake quality of Laguz. Again this echoes the inherent quality of duality that Ehwaz possesses. This is a rune of understanding, understanding how something can appear cruel and kind, be different and yet the same. It is the rune of understanding how one creature can be a dog, the other a man, be different…and yet ultimately be the same.

If Raedjaz is a life journey, then Ehwaz is the little everyday journeys that we make that we usually make with the help of others whether we realise it or not. When we put petrol in our car we forget that others have mined and refined the petrol, that people oversee us as we place it into our car. As we make ourselves breakfast in the morning, someone has overseen the packaging of the product, there has been quality control, and ultimately the spoon and the plates we eat off have been made by somebody else who may or may not have taken pride in their craft. Nothing we do, we do alone. We use items everyday that have been crafted by the energies of others, from the keyboard we type on, to the chair we sit on. Ehwaz honours this connection, and reminds us that we are never alone, and that we have much to be thankful for.

This rune is the equality between the deities between Freajr and Freaje. It is not the celebration of a higher mother goddess, or of a higher patriarchal father, but a truly equal relationship between two twin deities who loved each other and their domains with equal fervour.

Ehwaz, as mentioned earlier, is the rune of the shaman's trance.

Ehwaz challenges us to remain balanced, to strive for the next quality, that of Mannaz and inner harmony. It says that knowing that there is the potential for understanding isn't enough, we must ride the everyday journeys to realise that there is something much deeper for us to learn and integrate.

In a reading, Ehwaz can portend a changing of residence, and the reasons for this will largely depend on the other runes around this one. It also tends to portend an increased focus on partnerships, relationships and the concept of cooperation. The stress is less on the relationship between lovers, but between family, work colleagues and other animals or even objects. Two heads are always better than one, but Ehwaz stresses the necessity for such cooperation. If you are by nature quite happy being alone, Ehwaz will shake this up. Also keep an eye out for general everyday travel issues, a new car perhaps, or a better way of journeying from place to place.

The querent can also expect a general improvement in the quality of life in their day to day actions. Again it is best to interpret this in terms of the other runes around it. Combined with Kenaz is can suggest the end of an illness, combined with Fehu it can suggest an increase in monies.

If the querent is asking about a particular relationship, Ehwaz upright suggests that the partnership will be an excellent one, and can even portend marriage. Finally Ehwaz tends to strengthen all the other runes around it and 'confirm' any meanings. It is the extra boost of shamanic energy, crystallising the meanings within the other runes.

Merk - Watch for cruelty to animals around you at this time. There may be a dissolving of the work relationships or family relationships that you hold dear. It may be a time of changing residence due to natural disaster. Merked this rune can also represent an unbalanced ecosystem, general natural disaster, the extinction or elimination of species and the continued destruction of natural habitat.

If the querent has any particular relationships in mind they should beware, as Ehwaz reversed can indicate quite a negative relationship, or an explosion between two parties. Almost like if a horse in harness kicks at another horse, and the other horse cannot escape, because it is also harnessed. Working together at this point will NOT be beneficial to any partnership, and stay away from the persons in question. Ehwaz merked can also indicate co-dependency, mistrust and disloyalty or a feeling of restlessness within a partnership. Watch out for divorce, separation, and the ending of once-positive work relationships.

In Ritual - Ehwaz, like Algiz, is an excellent rune in Vilturj as it aids the communication process between two different species, so that one may learn from another, aid them, and be aided in the same respects. Ehwaz is an excellent talisman for vets, horse-riders, animal trainers, farmers of stock, breeders etc. It is also a good talisman for those that study animals scientifically.

In meditation it can be used for many different purposes. It can be used to help one locate their spirit guide, or discover why their spirit guide is being reticent in appearing. It can also aid inter-guide relationships, and help you to see how your guides interact with each other. It can be used to aid attainment of the trance state, and to drum or sing a good journey. Finally on vision quests it is a good rune to help you understand the ecology of nature, why it can sometimes appear cruel to us and at other times generous and bountiful, and why energies propel the spiral ecosystems that surround us.

In spells Ehwaz can be used as the final cut between relationships to sever them. It can also strengthen relationships.
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Berkana (BER-kah-naa) - (also known as: BJARKA, beorc, bjarkan, bjarken, berkano, berkane, berchta, bercha)

Value - BH or B

Numeric Order - 17 or 18

Traditionally Represents - Birch. Earth Mother's Breast. Freaje. Spring. Fertility. Birth. Children. Babies.

Represents - Birch. Freaje. Motherhood. Nurturing. Feminine Principle. Anima. Conception. Fertility. Reproduction. Children. Babies. Gentleness. Protection. Birth. Safety. Belonging. Recovery From Trauma. Healing. Liberation.

The birch tree puts its roots down
And releases crowns of leaves to the sky
It births the green fire of the forest.
She who sings softly.

- Vilturj Rune Poem.

Berkana literally translates to 'birch', a reference to the goddess Freaje (Freya) in her role as earth mother. Berkana if likened to a tarot card would be the Empress. Berkana is the mothering, feminine principle, it represents the nurturing growth of the mother. It suggests protection from being abandoned and embodies traits of safety, comfort, protection, gentleness and warmth. Berkana is the womb where Teiwaurz is the phallus.

Berkana is an aid to fertility and represents reproduction. It's fertile aspect can be seen in the birch, the first tree to turn green after a long winter. Berkana is also affiliated with Idun, the goddess of Spring, as Spring is the season of regeneration and reproduction. The natural fertility of the earth at this time is fecund.

Berkana is associated with the new buds on a twig, the first sprout from a seed and the first virginal flowers of the season, not yet plundered by bees. It is raw fertility which works cyclically season after season, year after year. Berkana is also associated with menstruation and the onset of menses, and is an excellent women's charm for problems with periods. Berkana is particularly associated with growth that does come from seed, but from suckers that run along the ground and sprout roots. It is regeneration. The mother plant may die, but its genes gave birth to, and will succeed the following plants.

Berkana represents initiation. It is the baby's first breath as it is birthed. It is the maiden's first period as the blood is birthed. It is the seed's first sprout into open air, birthed from the mother soil. As such, this rune is a place of passage, the energy that brings the life-force forward. This is a rune for birthdays, naming days, movements through spiritual initiations, particularly in the eyes of the mother goddess. Berkana represents the gentler, mothering aspects of both Karijiana and Freaje.

Berkana lives between Teiwaurz and Ehwaz. It lends it's gentle healing strength to Teiwaurz after a battle for justice, and is aided by Ehwaz' strength of communication. The two triangles, equal and side by side in the rune, can be interpreted as two partners who are equal and face forward side by side, strengthened together. This is the rune of positive relationships and working closer and closer together to achieve a common goal and aid effective communication.

In a casting Berkana represents regeneration and renewal and suggests a successful healing from injury. Berkana is also the arrival of passion either creatively, or usually in the form of a love affair, whether you learn how to love your own body, someone loves your body, or you love somebody else's. It can indicate pregnancy or an increased chance of fertility. It also indicates that you are being a mother, are asked to be a mother, or are being mothered. Berkana brings safety and soothing energies to your cast.

Merk - Berkana is a negative rune (more often than not) when reversed, it can indicate necrosis post-surgery, infertility, a loss of mothering and spiritual/emotional mal-nutrition, as well as a loss of a place of safety. At the least it tends to slow down healing and shows problems with mother figures in one's life, and can indicate that the querent is a bad mother. It can in extreme cases suggest chronic regression and escapism by a querent who wishes to re-capture their childhood through any means necessary. It can also show carelessness with loved ones and imply a blurring of personal, physical, spiritual and emotional boundaries.

Watch out for problems with infertility, particularly if drawn by a female. If the querent is asking a specific question to do with childbirth and fertility, there is a very high chance that the querent is being told they will never be a mother, and to abandon the concept of motherhood.

In Ritual - this is a great rune to be drawn upon post-surgery, particularly if there's a large chance of necrosis. It is also good post trauma and can lessen the symptoms of post traumatic stress. Use Berkana for all fertility issues, and issues relating to feminine energies and health. This rune helps with the general healing plants, animals and people.
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Teiwaurz (TAY-warz) - (also known as: tiwaz, TYR, tiews, tir, teiwaz)

Value - T

Numeric Order - 16 or 17

Traditionally Represents - Tyr. Spear. Sword.

Represents - Justice. Loyalty. Honour. Honesty. Courage. Balance. Sacrifice. War. Law and Order. Integrity.

The temple ruler stands
with sword in one-hand
and its point dances
with the fiery sun,
like a guiding star
keeping faith with kings.

- Vilturj Rune Poem

Teiwaurz is the rune of sky-god Tyr (a chief deity) who also rules over the third Aett (the Aett of transformation) in which Tyr is positioned. Runes in this Aett are concerned with human existence, and often aspects of our existence that we have control over. Teiwaurz represents war as an instrument of justice, and oversees and enforces oaths. He is also the god of contracts and courts. This is reflected in Teiwaurz.

This rune represents a spear point, the position of upright (righteous) warrior. It is often found in ancient weapons to increase effectiveness. This glyph is also said to represent the Irminsul column which holds up the heavens. Therefore it represents order.

Teiwaurz promises the coming of spring after a long winter which can be likened to the coming of life after a war.

Teiwaurz is not to be used lightly, as it represents that which should be maintained and honoured 100%. The symbolism of this can be seen in the mythology of Fenris. Fenris was the third terrible offspring of Loki, a gargantuan wolf. When young and not that much of a danger, Tyr fed Fenris, and became the only god the great wolf trusted. As Fenris grew, his size and appetite became destructive and life-threatening, and the gods decided to bind the beast to prevent further destruction. All the chains they made would not hold Fenris, so eventually the gods enlisted the Dwarves to make a magic cord which would hold the wolf.

When Fenris saw the cord he would not let any god near him, and said he would only let himself be bound if he could hold Tyr's hand in his mouth. Tyr gave his word, and as the wolf realised he would be bound he bit Tyr's hand off at the wrist. Tyr could have saved his hand through trickery if he wished, but honour was more important to him. Tyr and Teiwaurz represent sacrifice for the common good.

Teiwaurz in a reading can represent a battle for justice, impending, occurring or in the past. It suggests that victory will come when sacrifices have been made. It symbolises good leadership, and good authority.

Merk - Reversed Teiwaurz can represent a breaking of a promise and forgetting to uphold sacred oaths and honour. It can also represent fighting for the wrong reasons, or war for the wrong reasons. It can signify injustice in your life, and fighting a losing battle even if you are right. Abuse of power falls under the Merk stave of Teiwaurz. The antithesis of Tyr is a cruel totalitarian leader who has no respect for himself or the community.

In Ritual - Can be used to aid one in court proceedings, but if you have done something wrong, it will err on the side of justice and might be your 'downfall' in many respects. It can promote honesty/honour when dealing with others, and wisdom and courage in leadership.
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Sowelu (SO-wool-oo) - (also known as: SOL, sigil, saugil)

Value - S

Numeric Order - 15 or 16

Traditionally Represents - The Sun. A Half-Ray. Lightning.

Represents - Power. Will. Self-Confidence. Health. Vitality. Clarity. Hope. Optimism. Fire. Overcoming 'Cold.' Overcoming Hostility. Success. Greatness. Renewal. Lighting Up Illusion. Inner Light. Divine Beauty. Solar Personality. Karijiana.

'Karajiana lights the land with
her health light and stands on the earth
bright, willful, vital.
The brilliant Queen.'

- Vilturj Rune Poem

This lightning-shaped rune is associated with light and the sun (hence the shortened name SOL). It represents the time in Winter where days start to lengthen and Spring storms are common. Positioned in an Aett, it tends to represent things beyond human control.
This rune is associated with the sun-goddess Sunna and Baldr (Baldur). In correspondence charts, it closely attaches itself to Leo and The Sun (tarot card). In Vilturj, this rune is connected primarily with the sun deity Karajiana, who is a warrior goddess, and a goddess of the earth and the skies, concerned with all aspects of wealth, abundance, prosperity and warmth.

This is largely a positive rune, and represents good health, vitality and endurance. It is the light of understanding, clarity as well as energy, hope, optimism and confidence. It is a good rune for those with low self-esteem. It is the positive application of power and represents success.

It is also the flame that burns for a short time, and can often represent the dangers of narcissism and over-confidence. In fact to those over-confident it can represent a cruel destruction of such confidence, symbolised in Baldr's life being cut short. It can represent break down to those who overwork themselves, and burnout to those who abuse their creative powers. Sowelu in this sense can represent the cleansing, destructive effect of fire, just as a lightning strike can begin a devastating process.

Some people believe the reason that Hitler's reign was so effective for such a short time was because of the symbol, the Swastika, being two Sowelu runes bound together. Indeed, Hitler was personally interested in runes, and used symbols like Teiwaurz and other power symbols to represent different sections of his government. Before the Nazi perversion of the swastika, two Sowelu runes represented life, warmth and beauty.

Sowelu can represent our magical will, and successfully projecting it to form our world. It is for those who DO use spells and rituals on a regular basis, and believe in active mind power to change our quality of life. In a rune cast it can represent a time to shine, or to start trusting in your own abilities to create success.

Merk - Sowelu has no distinct reverse position, but if reversed tends to represent over-confidence, and the destructive aspects or cleansing aspects of fire. It can also represent opposition when reaching for a goal if in conjunction with other reversed runes.

In Ritual - Can be used for healing, strengthening of will, confidence and self esteem. It also magnifies the powers of other runes. It is quite universal, and can be signed over the body during tough times (exams, interviews etc.). It combines well with Isa, and represents Fire and Ice bonding.
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Algiz (ALL - geez) - Also known as Elhaz, Ellaz, Eohl (distinguish from Eoh), Authiz, Autherz, Ansuz

Value - Z (sometimes R, RZH or S)

Numeric Order - 14 or 15

Traditionally Represents - Elk. Protection. Communication.

Represents - Communication. Perception of Divine. Protection. Shield. Defense. Awakening. Instincts. Vilturj. Shields. Calling on Divine for Wrong Reasons. Valkyries. Lesavny. Freajr. Swan. Vasilia.

The branching head of Lesavny
Sweeps all the forest creatures
He talks to every one
And brings them under the shade
Of his bow.

- Vilturj Rune Poem

Algiz is the most important rune in Vilturj, where it is commonly known as Autherz. It is the rune of protection, fertility and defense, and the rune of communication between the shaman or person between their spirit guides. It is the fundamental shaman's rune, and the protective rune of the Turjvhecze, or the person whose function it is to communicate with guardians and spirit helpers on a regular basis on behalf of the community. It attracts great amounts of energy, and is a formidable protection rune, so much so that it is included in the famous rune talisman, the Helm of Awe. The upright form tends to represent the branches of the World Tree reaching for the upperworld. The inverted form represents the roots reaching for the underworld.

There are several Vilturj deities specifically related to Algiz. The first and foremost is the antlered god Lesavny, who in his ancient incarnation was also represented as a bear. Lesavny is a god of terrible power, he can be murderous, but he also lends all those who treat him with respect a brand of protection that only nature can gives. With Lesavny's blessing we have the favour of the forests, the paths, and the land. His reindeer antlers, or bear-like body (in older forms) represented a power which could be tapped by those who had respect and humility. It also warned of the dangers of mis-using this power and having bear-wrath rain upon you in response.

The second deity connected to Algiz, is Vasilia - the maiden goddess of the breezes, swans and spiderwebs. Vasilia is the goddess who presides over inter-communication between two different entities, human and spirit, human and animal, or animal to animal. It is her gentle hands that make sure that the powerful web that Vavale placed over the world to keep everything unified stays unified, and it is her guidance that comes to us in a reading. Vasilia gently guides us to the places where we must communicate, and overcome any communication barriers. At times, Algiz in a reading can even indicate the need to indicate a new language, or the body language of an animal we've never encountered.

Algiz is the rune of luck and generally speaking, positive divine intervention. In Vilturj it represents the presence of spirit guides with positive or healthy intentions. It can also represent guardians, spirit helpers, totems, angels, ghosts etc. depending on your worldview. In this sense Algiz is very clearly our connection to the otherworlds and the divine. Algiz, with its three upward branches, represents our spirit reaching out for the Source and making a very definite connection. Often this connection is rewarded was we notice guides coming to us, under the tenets of our specific spirituality. This connection is constant, an almost 'background hum' of cosmic protection that we can draw upon.

Algiz is a good rune for reviewing and strengthening our internal spiritual structure. It helps us to 'build', and not tear down. It also helps us to balance our spiritual and 'practical' lives, so that we're not just talking the talk, or deluding ourselves into thinking that we're spiritual individuals when - in everyday actions, we're really not. Algiz helps us walk the walk, and indicates that we can build upon our foundations and really awaken ourselves to what a spiritual lifestyle can be like.

Algiz in many non-warlike cultures has represented an outwardly stretched hand, reaching out for help, or to help. In this sense it indicates the rune's connection to protection and communication, but it also shows the very deeply healing aspect of this rune. You might be reaching your hand out to your spirituality, or it might be reaching a hand out to you. In a reading, perhaps you need to support your spirituality by being more active and practical about it, or perhaps its reaching out to support you during a tough time.

An upright Algiz does have a negative side, it tends to represent the dangers of calling upon the spirit and Source at the wrong time - for selfish reasons that might be fed by egoism, narcissism or escapism. In a reading it can caution against a querents who are clingy and needy to do the idea of spiritual support networks in the form of divination, oracles and guides. It can represent a person who wants a 'cool' spirit guide, or who contacts dangerous guardians for the purpose of gaining power and protection in situations where protection might not be called for.

Instincts are so important in determining when the appropriate times for being spiritual are, Algiz helps us to get in tune with these instincts. For those who inappropriately call upon their spirit guides or other spiritual 'crutches' regularly, Algiz can be just the wake up call they need to actually get in contact with their instincts. People will be coming into a fruitful time when it comes to turning within and locating the instincts that help us not only make decisions, but make the most appropriate and healthful decisions for us.

Algiz suggests that we really scrutinise the dangers of our spirituality and really think about it. What is the danger in using or abusing spirit guides or guardians? What is the danger in thinking that they're only there to serve us? What is the danger in using runes and tarot and other divination systems? Do we perceive any dangers? Should we? Algiz asks us to really sit down and apply wisdom and humility to our connection to the divine, and not take it for granted.

Algiz represents a time where we are connecting to our higher self and awakening. It is an excellent rune for those who are spiritual, and endeavour to find enlightenment in their lives. Through this awakening, we are connected to a desire to protect ourselves and others, and we are given the power to do so (or discover it within us). We are also given the ability to channel this energy with precision, each branch on the Algiz can represent a different staff of direction.

The presence of this rune in a reading also represents a time when it's important to protect yourself and your family and friends, and what matters to you. This is what makes it such a good rune for protecting the home, its energies instinctively lend itself to a communal protection, and not an individual protection like Sowelu.

Merk - As a merked rune, Algiz can indicate a person who is spiritually deluded. They might be telling themselves that they are a wonderful, spiritual person, but an examination of how they live their real life indicates a person who is only spiritual on the surface, and within, they are damaged, flawed people who are in desperate need of healing and a cosmic slap in the head to 'wake up' to the delusions that they've probably nurtured within themselves through their actions. It can indicate a querent who is addicted to readings and divination, or who is addicted to hearing the soothing (or not-so-soothing) words that another spiritual person can offer them. These people maybe arrogant, sycophantic, needy or clingy. They might ask for repeated readings, and can turn very sour if they don't receive them.

Algiz can indicate hidden spiritual danger when reversed. It might indicate someone who is reckless in otherworlds and doesn't ever believe they are in danger or could encounter negative, harmful spirits. It could indicate a person who chooses to believe in only the light aspects of spirituality (which can be fine) at a time where this could be to their detriment. With runes like Mannaz, Berkana and Fehu, it can indicate hidden danger to family or to wealth. It can also indicate a person prone to possession, or a person who might already be possessed who is in need of a soul extraction.

Finally, reversed Algiz can indicate a severing of the spiritual link, either because the spirits themselves are dissatisfied with the querent, or because the querent has actively turned away from the spirit world. It can indicate a lost person, who is so disconnected from themselves and the world around them, that they are vulnerable to attack in both the 'real' and spiritual worlds.

In Ritual - This is a very charismatic, and powerful rune to work with, and quite a few people I've talked to about runes say that this one is there 'favourite' rune, and I must admit it's one of mine too. There is something about Algiz which draws you in, it promises a greater connection with yourself and a greater connection to the divine, and for those spiritual people who are ever seeking a greater connection, the energy of this rune holds a fantastic appeal. Though it's worth not getting too bound up in its energy and remembering that there are another 23 fantastic runes in the Uthark too!

Algiz can be used in all grounding ceremonies, particularly when inverted. It is fantastic for protection, either alone or in a bind-rune like the Helm of Awe. It can also be used by people who want to apply their spiritual life to their practical life, and who can't see how to overcome pressures like school or work, and carry their spirituality at all times.

Algiz can also help in all aspects of building, particularly the actual building and structure of houses. When placed under the foundations of a house, it promises a strong foundation and structure that is more likely to withstand natural disaster than houses without Algiz for protection. This rune can also be placed in cars, wallets, etc. and as long as they're charged and not forgotten, the protection of the divine will be around us.
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Iorija (YAUR - ee - ah or; YAUR - ei - ah) - Also known as Eoh, Ior, Ihwaz, Ihwo, Ihwar, Yew

Value - Yo / Yau (in Vilturj) and Ei ('height'), generally uncertain, highly variable perhaps indicating the existence of different, individual runes.

Numeric Order - 13

Traditionally Represents - Yew. Death. Strength.

Represents - Yew. Strength. Endurance. Reliability. Stability. Protection. Defense. Acquisition. Determination. Purpose. Reasonable Targets. Honesty. Fox. Bear. Coyote. Initiation. Fire. Masculinity. The Spear. The Bow. Weapons. Ull. Immortality. Permanence. Roots. Underworld. Passion. True Love. Fortitude. Death. Wolf. Wolf's Hook.

Iorija, the great burnt tree
over many skies, under many oceans
The fire in the leaf
and the weakest finger.

- Vilturj Rune Poem.

Iorija in Vilturj was the 'strength in the weakest finger.' It was a way of finding a light in the darkness by using strength and resourcefulness. An analogy is made that Iorija is like the winter tree that is used by a man to make a bow. Without the foresight and confidence to assess the resources around us, we may starve physically, emotionally and spiritually in the desolate times of our lives. But Iorija reminds us that sometimes it is our choices that make us starve. A winter tree might just be a reminder of barrenness to some, but to others it is a resource and an asset.

Historically, Iorija was masculine and feminine depending on the culture which was using it. I personally feel that this rune is masculine, but it is up to you to determine which gender works best for you; if you gender your runes. Iorija can also represent a person coming into your life with the qualities of this rune. It tends to be a person with great strength and loyalty, but who may lack imagination and may also be overly stubborn. It can also represent the querent, particularly if falling into the inner circle on the Vilturj rune-mat.

It is sometimes seen as a rune of justice. It represents the natural order of things, and a natural justice that is sometimes difficult for humans to comprehend. It is not the sword of Teiwaurz, and it is not the justice meted out by humans. It can in some worldviews represent karmic justice, that which is out of our hands.

Sometimes Iorija comes into our lives to ask us what kind of legacy we're leaving for the world around us. Everything we put into this world, if we back it with strength and endurance, has the potential to last over generations, for thousands of years. Iorija asks us to examine whether we are proud of what we have put into this world, whether we would want our essence to last in others and in the world for thousands of years. Are we petty, selfish, ethically unstable and cruel? Are we maybe overly proud of our legacy? Are we ever humble? It is not only our children and our children's children that are affected by our actions, but everyone in the web around us. Iorija is a rune of indescribable potential and power, in a reading it suggests that we are now coming into a time where the power to change our whole lives using inner strength and resourcefulness is available.

The yew tree is of particular symbolic importance when we talk of Iorija. This lends much symbolism to this rune. Yew is a poison and also a strength. It can weaken us to the point of death if we consume it unthinkingly, yet it can also be used to make weapons. The yew was the most popular tree for bow-making because it was flexible and strong. It could be bent without breaking. It has been very popular in the making of runic talismans, and also rune sets. It has also been made into rune wands.

Iorija tends to symbolise the roots that stretch down and ground us in our lives. If we were to imagine ourselves as a tree, what would our roots look like? Do they tap adequate amounts of sustenance and water? Do they go deep enough? Do they spread wide enough to support what we present externally? And importantly, do we need to dig out the dead and diseased roots that might threaten the whole foundation itself? Iorija can additionally represent journeys to the underworld for positive self-empowerment and re-building. It is an excellent rune for soul-retrieval, and the banishing of unwanted spirits in the body. It is our roots which make us stable after all, what is our relationship to them?

Iorija is a wonderful rune of passion and emotion, and how these can be incredible strengths when we are defending ourselves and making our foundations stable. It is with the strength of our convictions that we make ourselves a life we can be proud of, filled with power and gentleness, love and determination, honour and humility. Iorija therefore is also the rune of true emotions, true love, true anger, true grief. That which is not hindered by deception or melodrama, but that which lurks beneath the surface. In a reading, depending on the runes around it, it symbolises the addition of real, persevering love in someone's life. With Berkana it can indicate the true bond between a mother and/or father and child.

Iorija is the rune of fire. Not the fire of creativity like Kenaz, or the flame of justice like Teiwaurz, but the solemn burning of ritual fires at all times of year. It can represent the flames on a funeral pyre, and the bonfire at fertility rituals. Its presence in our life often asks us to remember our connection to ritual and religion/spirituality. It is thought that if you don't listen to the lessons of Iorija, the spirit of the Yew will come and absorb your urt and hold it prisoner until you have died, or until you decide to make a difference in your life. This is why shamanising with this rune can be so successful.

There is a more unpleasant aspect to Iorija depending on your perspective, as this rune represents death - physically, spiritually and emotionally. It can be something as practical as cutting away the dead wood in our lives, or it can be the passing on of friends and family. Also watch out for messages that are being transmitted from the dead to the querent, reinforcing the strength and endurance aspect of the rune as our ancestors and those who have passed on live on within us. Despite its definite connection with death, it also teaches us that death is not something to be feared to a point where we never grow and embrace our lives. We must - as the rather clichéd adage goes - 'feel the fear and do it anyway.'

Iorija can also herald new contact from old friends and enemies, a recurrence of old problems until they are resolved (including health and emotional problems), and a false nostalgia and melodrama for the past. Iorija in its positive aspects tells us to make a great foundation, but it can also indicate people whose foundations are based in melodrama, regret and living in the past and neglecting the present. These people are in great need of a healing, and analyse surrounding runes to determine how appropriate an immediate healing or retrieval may be.

Merk - Iorija reversed can symbolise opposing negative traits of dissatisfaction and the opposite of stability. It can lead to destruction of foundations (sometimes literally, when coupled with runes like a Merked Haurgl) or of financial securities (Merked Fehu). It can also represent a confusion in everyday life which leads to a lack of determination and decision-making skills which leaves the querent or aspects of the querent's life vulnerable.

Merked Iorija can also represent a liar, or someone who is being deliberately deceptive. In some instances it can represent the querent themselves, who may be deceiving themselves and others. This can betray a weakness of character and can be an asset in a reading that prompts the querent to actually change their own lives, rather than looking constantly without for the answers to their problems.

Iorija merked can represent a lack of true emotions, a harmful need to live in the past, and phobias which completely destabilise one's life and unable someone from living at all. It can also represent situations where the querent themselves ends positive situations, and causes themselves to constantly live in situations which are negative or poorly nourishing. It can represent people who simply refuse to grow, and clients who become dependent on the reassurance of others. It can represent codependence in relationships of all kinds, and is particularly dangerous when coupled with a merked Berkana where it can represent highly damaging relationships between parents and children ranging from disorders like Munchausen's-by-proxy or child abuse and neglect, or parental abuse by the child.

In Ritual - In ritual, this rune is excellent for many magical aspects. It is essentially symbolic of the 'dark night of the soul' process. It is good for easing transitions from one stage in life for another, and is great for initiations which can represent the death of the old and the rebirth of a new and stronger self. It is excellent for facilitating self-help, self-improvement, self-love and inner truth. It can also help us examine our inner-selves and re-empower ourselves, or start the way to this journey. It is particularly good for those who are obsessed with the past, or who fear death too much to enjoy the present.

This rune benefits shamans and healers who specialise in the more difficult aspects of soul retrieval, including journeys to the underworld which can lead to confrontation with demons, and spirits which wish nothing but harm on the psychopomp. This rune allows us to find our inner strength and be a great and ancient yew tree, evergreen and unable to be pushed over. It also teaches us to find resources when we feel there are none. We are the person who makes the winter tree into a bow, if we choose to acknowledge this power within ourselves.

This rune is good for people who are unstable mentally and physically, or who have problems making decisions and committing to anything. It lends a firm foundation to decision-making and can be relied upon in a time of need. It can also help you to be a reliable person in times of need, if you worry that your personal strength may fail. It's also especially good for dreamers and those of flighty thoughts who might need more sensibility and thoughtfulness. This is a fantastic rune that protects against self-destructive behaviour, and is especially good for those who are transitioning through adolescence.
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Pertho (PER-tho) - (also known as PERTRA, Peortho, Perth, Peorth, Peorh)

Value - P

Numeric Order - 12

Traditionally Represents - Cup. Lot. Vagina.

Represents - Aspen. Family. Hope. Shields. Whispers. Soft Communication. Secrets. Mysteries. Runes. Wyrd. Initiation. Orifice. Cauldron. Norns. Midgard. Vavale. Vasilia. Womb.

The warriors in the hall
the warrior's ancestors in the hall
under the vaulted ceiling.
A child of trees
that were children of forests.
All joyous, all joyous

- Vilturj Rune Poem

Pertho is an 'original' Rune that also represented a gaming piece. One of its major meanings is that of Wyrd. It also encompasses luck, chance, secrets and mystery. It represents places of mystery. It is one of the more difficult Runes to read or understand because no one can agree on what it means. This is one of the reasons why Ralph Blum perhaps did not see Wyrd within this Rune and created the 'blank rune' to replace it.

Pertho is the rune of mystery religions. It is not easily defined, and is designed to largely be interpreted by the one who meditates long and hard on this rune. However I will share with you my definition as guidance, should you choose to accept these words.

Pertho, when it symbolises the vagina, represents the dark place from which all life pours forth, but also the place from which death can return. It is the darkness within the black cauldron, the gaping orifice of Sheila na Gig, and the sweet succulence of Freaje when she offers herself to Thor. The womb is often considered a place of mystery and secrets, and meditation upon the womb, its symbolism and its nature will often reveal much about this rune. Consider the vagina of a brood mare as compared to a virgin, or a raped wound as compared to something cherished. This is deep, graphic and sometimes repellent to imagine for many, but within all these messages lurks the meaning of the persistent Pertho, the container for Wyrd.

Pertho is another initiation rune, though it is worth noting that almost any rune to do with feminine mysteries will also be about initiation. Pertho specifically represents initiation that allows the imparting of secrets, or initiation into menstruation, and into menopause.

Meditating on Pertho will often lead to the understanding of one's own personal destiny. Not so much the 'I was born to be a doctor' type of destiny, but where your path will take you over the years and lifetimes, not what career you will have, but what your many wondrous functions are. Healer? Shaman? Leader? Mother? Pertho will reveal how Wyrd has also travelled through the ancestral line to you, and how it is likely to flow onto your own children and so forth. Make no mistake, this is a powerful and often overlooked rune.

Pertho is the rune of the future (and if one looks deeply enough, of the past in the future). Meditation on this rune can lead to flashes of insight of your own path, and sometimes of the paths of others, or simply the many paths that the earth is currently moving across. Pertho as a path-working rune contains immense potential.

Pertho, with its emphasis on ancestry and Wyrd, is also the rune of fellowship and family. This is a rune that tends to portend happy times within the family, and the joy that comes from family occasions and events.

Pertho is oddly enough the rune of runes. The rune bag is symbolic of mystery and contains within it wisdom of both the ancestors and of Wyrd. To understand the simplistic staves is to understand the mystery of the runes and the layers and layers of meaning behind a handful of syllables and numbers. In a casting Pertho will often represent a potential within the querent to read the runes, or that the reading in particular will be clear and straightforward. It also suggests that there are many layers to the reading, and that the ancestral function, or function of Wyrd will be significant.

Finally Pertho in a reading is significant of the riches and fertilities of the womb and the place of creation. It is often a time of great richness in one's life when cast, perhaps not in the form of tangible money, but certainly in the form of creativity or new life. This is another reason why Pertho can be associated with joy. It is one of the runes which is by and large positive, though it will likely be difficult to understand. It is also not worth accepting the face value of this rune. Pertho asks that you look deeper at its symbolism, and deeper within yourself.

Merk - Can represent a reading that will be difficult to understand, comprehend or work with. Also a bad time to work with runes, you may not be receptive to the mysteries at hand, or they simply may be hiding their meanings from you. Additionally a Merked Pertho can be representative of stagnancy, the kind of stagnancy that comes when one is not willing to look at secrets, reveal inner mysteries (no matter how unpleasant) or refuses to move forward. Preventing the metaphorical maiden from bleeding will not make the eventual bleeding any easier. Merked, Pertho can represent addiction, particularly to drugs which increase creative urges, from LSD, to Ecstasy, to chocolate.

A Merked Pertho also represents familial loneliness and a feeling of being cut off from one's ancestors. It may also suggest that the reason for this loneliness is self-imposed, and will only be understood with much soul searching. It can also mean that you will be unable to find who 'you' are, and feel the loneliness of being disconnected from yourself and your purpose.

In Ritual - This rune is particularly good when used by psychics who wish more clarity upon what they see, particularly if they are prone to getting random and chaotic images, or if they 'flood' easily. It is also an excellent rune for meditation, whether on the specific symbol, or on the actual theme, or simply as a guiding talisman during a visualization. It will help in rituals that are based in divination.
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Jara (YAH - rah) - Also known as Jera, Jarazh (alternative Vilturr pron.), Jer, Ger, Ar

Value - Y (sometimes J)

Numeric Order - 11

Traditionally represents - Harvest. Cycles. Year.

Represents - Time. Harvest. Cycles. Year. Good Harvest. Fire. Summer. Spring. Yellow. Fruit. Flowers. Success. Change. The Norns. Fate. Beginnings Circles. Major Change. Reversal. Fruition. Freajr (Freyr).

'From Winter, Summer's harvest comes
a bounteous world of fruit and flower
for all the people of all the land.'

- Vilturj rune poem.

The word Jara means 'harvest', or 'good harvest.' It is generally simplified in mainstream culture to mean cycles or culmination.

Jara is the Summer after Winter, when the plants and trees fruit and flower. It breaks through the frozen nature of Isa and reminds us that good times as well as the bad, are decreed by the Norns. Jara tells us that our lives are not just the low points that Haurgl can bring, but the happiness, joy and peace of a fruitful season. This rune breaks through all stagnancy, in the same way the power of sunlight and warming seas breaks up the sea ice.

Jara broadly represents important cycles of change. There are so many ways change can manifest. It can be a change in job. A change in luck. A cycle of life ending and then beginning. It could be the cycles of the moon, sun, plants and trees, the cycle of seasons. It's most specific cycle is that from Winter to Summer, and this change from barrenness to fruit can be applied to other cycles. In other words, Jara is a positive change. A cycle that leads to more positive and enjoyable times.

Jara also represents a vortex, or whirling energy, and sometimes the changes in our lives, even the good ones, can feel a bit like this. Jara can be a bit of an out of control time, everything seems to be fruiting at once, and it can all seem a bit overwhelming. Sometimes this energy takes control of our lives, and for those who are perfectionists, or like control for themselves, this can be very hard to take even if all the changes are positive. It's important to take a step back and look at what's changing, what's good, and what's getting better, and focus on one thing at a time even if multiple things are changing.

Jara is a rune of regeneration, it regenerates what has been lost, and brings back what we felt we'd never feel again. New love. New laughter. Maybe new tears. And certainly new joys and much new happiness. It builds onto our spirits, and it can help us - importantly - to find the lost parts of our soul and bring them back to us in a fruitfulness that will lead to wholeness and better fortify ourselves for the tough times.

Some people can interpret Jara as an inversion of anything, like a high point into a low point, or a low point into a high point. In my experience, this isn't the case, but please keep this in mind when reading and/or interpreting the runes as it is something that other rune-readers have canvassed. However, combined with Haurgl or Isa, it can represent energy retribution (karma, if you will) from bad deeds, and signify a time of 'return' which is not pleasant, but positive in that it may evoke a sense of closure and ending.

Jara and Freajr go hand in hand. Regeneration, rebirth and growth are all the domain of Freajr, god of fertility and brother of Freaje. Freajr's festival was celebrated at the end of Summer with the gathering of the harvest. The act of bringing in food to nourish was a metaphor for bringing in new life to nourish the soul. Jara in a reading can also suggest the presence and energy of Freajr around you, and an emphasis on benevolent masculinity both from within and without. This can also suggest things like empowerment, and strength.

Jara in a reading can indicate an expectation or presence of reward and emotional, spiritual or material prosperity. It suggests that everything changes in its own time, to the positive, to the negative. At this stage in the querent's life, everything is moving towards (or is at) a positive and healthful stage.

Merk - Jara technically does not 'reverse', but can lie in opposition. In this instance it represents a sudden setback when the querent has been moving towards something positive. It's adjacency to other runes will determine the nature of the setback or the reversal.

Jara reversed can also represent a repetition in the lessons the querent is learning and suggests that there is a stagnancy in the cycle itself. Rather than spiraling up or down, there is only a spherical movement that travels no where. Also, Jara can warn against judging others, lest you be judged - it can also signal an exchange of harsh words which ends any kind of positive relationship, friendship or partnership.

This rune can also represent the bad-timing of the positive. It is difficult to celebrate joy, peace and positivity when the people around us may be suffering. Jara can teach us how to celebrate without feeling guilty, but reversed it may caution us that celebration is inappropriate, despite a positive turning of the seasons yet again.

At worst, this rune Merked can represent emotional, spiritual or material poverty, and its adjacency to reversed runes like Fehu and Haurgl will emphasise this particular meaning.

In Ritual - Jara is excellent when used to break old, unhealthy patterns of behaviour and lifestyle, as it represents breaking into positive and healthier cycles. Those who are stuck in negative thinking patterns, who feel messed around because they consistently miss good jobs, or any jobs, people who might want or need a pay-rise, people who want to simply work something better into their lives can really do with creating a Jara based bind-rune, or working with Jara magically on a long-term basis. This rune is also excellent for people undergoing therapy, rehabilitation and who are recovering from 'hard times.' It can help them to see that there is a new Summer really coming into their lives, and it's going to be good. Jara can also bring old cycles into 'completion', it's a good rune for mothers who have just given birth, houses that have just been completed, etc.

Jara is exceptionally good for aiding shamans in soul-retrieval, particularly when it means retrieving lost pieces of soul - as opposed to extracting unwelcome fragments of soul in the body - because Jara helps with regeneration and new life, and will help 'seal' the soul back in and promote positive healing and a positive environment. This is a good rune for healers in general, as it will promote the changes needed to effect healing in the first place.

Jara also assists shamans and energy workers with working directly with manipulating or understanding cycles and time. Those who need to understand how time works in otherworlds, or who wish to view the cycles in their lives more objectively (or the cycles in other's lives), will be greatly assisted by the use of this rune. Jara is a luminous, iridescent rune in otherworlds, and can appear fiery.
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Isa (EES - ah) - Also known as Iss, Iza, Issa, Isse, Is, Eis

Value - EE however, phonetically Isa my represent EE, Y, J or I and even R (though the use of Isa in this form has largely been abandoned).

Numeric Order - 10

Traditionally Represents - Stillness

Represents - Hardness. Ice. Pursuit. Repentance. Skadi. Guilt. Arctic Fox. Polar Bear. Ptarmigan. Snow Hare. Yew. Juniper. Mugwort. The Middle Earth. Scandinavia. R'skjana (snow goddess in Vilturj). D'miezak'r and Karijiana (Moon and Sun).

'The bark of the rivers,
Sharp rain thorn
Destroys the doomed
But flat and fair
Is but a sweet view of life.'

- Vilturj Rune Poem.

This rune is very close to the gods. In Scandinavia, where the sun is represented by woman and the moon by man, ice is seen as the partnership between the two. Ice is the primordial partnering of the female, who was hidden, and provided light only a small amount of the year. Mani, the moon, lit the ice boldly at night-time, and provided more light than his female counterpart. Ice represented the Thurses, the sexless ice giants who were destructive, asexual and bloody dangerous.

The easiest to carve, but perhaps one of the most complex runes in the traditional Uthark (aren't they all?). Isa, or the ice rune, most easily identifies with the word that it represents, the cold hardness of frozen water, and it's ability to stay frozen for a long time. Isa represents frustration, challenges, psychological blocks, grievances, forced or voluntary stillness, and of course a chance to turn inward if we take it. Isa teaches us not to rail against the stillness which must make itself present from time to time.

On this planet we live in constant threat of ice age, and even now as glaciers move ever closer we skirt a smaller age of increased ice. Ice never truly leaves our planets, or our ice caps. It is crucial to our survival, yet can be detrimental in the form of hail stones, and frost. Even winter and the larger threat of an ice age to Europe and Russia is frightening and of course - very real. Ice moves for us and against us. It is an implacable force, and we both rail against it, and see its beauty in a frozen river or lake - when it is convenient for us to do so.

Isa can be seen as a stave of repentance from guilt and from guilt imagined. It is therefore also the stave of pursuit. This stave will bring events from your past to haunt you, and lets those skeletons in the closet give you all the nightmares that you can bear, fringing your mind like sharp icicles. This stave therefore not only teaches one to see the past, but to look closer and understand the reasons for events and for personal feelings.

Isa encourages you not only to see the snow, but to 'feel' for the deep drifts which are potentially dangerous. It encourages you to pay attention to the icicles of negative memory, and hold the warming light of scrutiny to them. However should you fail, Isa represents enough of stagnancy to keep following you around. Cast Isa once, and there is a high chance that you may cast it again for years to come.

The texture of Isa, and even the sharp shape of the rune are quite important. Ice is more than capable of drawing blood, and causing slips, breaks and dislocations. It may be a time of physical injury, or recovery from physical injury. If Isa has fallen in conjunction with a thought rune or memory rune, you may find that it is your mind that has fallen, or is injured.

Isa is coldly seductive. It forms quietly upon surfaces, rendering them thralled by its chill. It is the traits of seduction in a person who has no intention of starting a long-term relationship, or who seduces for the physical pleasure of sex, and nothing more. This 'seductive' nature of Isa is well reflected in its Merk or negative qualities.

Isa is quite famously known for representing the frozen or static nature of ice. I have always found this interesting, for though ice may appear still, it is never truly static. Glaciers three kilometers thick have been known to move at one hundred and twenty metres a year. Icicles melt. Ice sheets grow and break apart. Icebergs melt, merge, grow and crumble. There is actually no such thing as a truly static state. Isa then, is the slowness and frustration you feel when you know that you may be going forward, but far too slowly for it to be recognisable.

When casting Isa, you are drawing the glacier and the icicle into your life. Sure, they will move and change, but you can't control the weather in your life, and it's the weather which causes ice in the first place. The helplessness your personality feels at the presence of Isa, is also a helplessness which will free your inner soul, and get you back on the right path. Isa may be frustrating, it may be frozen and cold, but it knows what it's doing.

Oh, on a less wonderful note (because it's Isa after all) Isa in a casting can represent the cooling off of a relationship and the cooling off of friendship.

In a casting this rune will strengthen the runes around it. For me it imparts the message 'railing against any of these meanings is useless, they are all glaciers falling upon you when I am near them.'

Merk - Isa doesn't really lie reversed (unless you personally paint or carve it so that you can tell the difference) but does lie in opposition. This is the closest Isa becomes to a Merk-stave.

Isa, being a seductive rune, is the rune of poison, betrayal, lies and deception. Oh what fun! Not only that, but the rune can imply this at any point, because it can never truly lie 'right way up.' Therefore whilst you are being cautioned against physical injury, you are also asked to watch out for deception and betrayal, watch out for the poisons of others, and watch out for the poisons within yourself. Isa freezes your intuition and can leave you open for others to 'get' you. Isa however also freezes your ego, leaving you free to find the source of the poisons within you, and to expel them.

Isa can also represent great egotism, either around you (therefore preventing your realization of your inner voice), or more likely, within you. Ice warns that it is more than happy to trip you up, injure you or make you slip on your ass to get your ego to sit down, shut up and pay attention.

In Ritual - In ritual, Isa can impart a lot of power to those who would seek to understand it, but not manipulate it. It gives you the power to freeze the forces in your life that are moving too quickly, or to even 'freeze' memories and thoughts so that you may objectively review them (if that's what the situation at hand calls for).

Isa, as it freezes the ego, represents hypnosis. All methods where one 'quietens' the noisy mind to access a hidden mind relate back to Isa. Isa is also the magic involved when a hunter inspires a startle effect in its prey, freezing it rather than inspiring flight. This startle is the power in the lion's roar, which if heard closely enough, literally freezes an animal and renders it momentarily powerless. Isa's power may be hard to comprehend or utilise, but if you learn it, you will learn fast, and you will learn patience and strength.

Isa also allows you to focus your soul's will. Thorsson, suggested that it was personal will that was focused with Isa, but I personally believe and feel that Isa often frustrates the ego, allowing you direct access to the deeper you, the subconscious you Here you can examine your 'frozen' thoughts, and focus your intentions into the straight line, the cutting edge, that Isa truly is. Colours for Isa that help with focusing are white, blue and transparent. Its colour on the astral plane is red-violet and white-blue.


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