Mannaz – Rune of Humanity

Mannaz is the rune of humanity. It represents the vessel in which the spirit is carried and the critical analysis we can apply to the world around us. Mannaz is the ability to articulate and grasp esoteric knowledge, become aware of natures’ patterns, and form practical responses to those patterns. It is a rune of magical abilities and superior memory; associated with knowledge, thinking, and interdependence with the forces of nature.

Mannaz represents the unique conductivity, receptiveness and intellectual capacity within us. It also symbolizes the importance of finding control over that heavenly conductivity. Some say this means to equalize the “male” and “female” aspects of the self, but  I think this control is more concentrated within that category in which we fit. Both energies (male/female) are valuable as separate entities in their own right; each having their own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and requirements. The Mannaz rune represents those energies coming together in the creation and preservation of the divine spark.

Overlooking, renouncing or ignoring the powers of the sexes in magic (or spirituality) is to miss the divinity held within both individually. In this respect, we should celebrate our physical incarnation and hold our biological strengths in high regard; recognizing the powers held within them both. Nature has suggested separate requirements for the sexes, and these are all necessary for the manifestation, cultivation and propulsion of Humanity. Mannaz signifies our journeys coming together equally to manifest creation and ascension.

Mannaz is the rune of intellect, logic and reason. Mannaz represents the sacred structure of mankind; symbolizing the intelligence, awareness and technical abilities we possess. These abilities distinguish humanity from the rest of the animal kingdom, who we are closely associated with in many ways, shapes, and forms. In the order of the Futhark, the Mannaz rune appears right after the () rune Ehwaz, which symbolizes animals. This close proximity (and similar shape) suggest a similar origin or purpose,  but distinct separation.

Nauthiz – Rune of Resistance

Nauthiz is the rune of need; a fairly vague and unclear rune when approached for the first time. However, this “need” has a clear, yet deep and esoteric connotation associated with it. Nauthiz is above all, a force of resistance and resilience. It symbolizes obstacles within our lives, and the deep inherent “need” for these obstacles in order for us to grow. This is a required force of resistance, causing ones inner fire to be cultivated and  strengthened.

Nauthiz can be applied to conflicts of the material or spiritual, symbolizing the changes happening during these conflicts. The conquering of these forces provides the “need-fire” creation within us; the unlocked power and function of Nauthiz. With this fire within us, we can keep climbing the ladder of defeated obstacles, eventually freeing ourselves of the need to incarnate; riding forever on the Eternal Winds of Wotan. Nauthiz symbolizes the hardships required for us to grow and reach further stages of development.

Without moments of darkness and uncertainty we would be robbed of our ability to grow and appreciate that growth. The only way to truly understand and strive for feelings of power and accomplishment is to be at odds with the possibility of failure; and perhaps even humiliation and shame. Nauthiz represents those moments in our lives when we have the opportunity to truly prove our worth to ourselves, and to the Gods. Nauthiz supplies us with moments to shine, as well as moments to fall.

Nauthiz is a rune of effort, or lack thereof. Nauthiz can be visualized with the saying “to light a fire under ones ass;”  something that’s meant to combat stagnation and laziness. Obstacles can crush ones morality and inner fire, so we must be strong and keen to recognize these moments to show our strength and power of will. With persistence and consistency in action, we can achieve great feats and feelings of power.

By consistently conquering obstacles, we ensure our inner fire stays strong and bright, providing us with powerful and creative energies for the future. Nauthiz is a reminder of what must be done in order to achieve our goals, and a reminder of the hard work that lies ahead of us in our journey toward the Ultimate Truth.  By constantly destroying the obstacles in front of us, we can remove any feelings of restraint and uncertainty in life; curbing all feelings of anxiety.

Nauthiz represents the development of your magical ability; meaning your ability to change and alter the circumstances in your life and surroundings. True ascension and spiritual cultivation is a warlike process on many levels, with your greatest enemy being yourself and your human condition. We battle the hindering aspects of ourselves in order to achieve victory and personal mastery; a state of ecstasy that is crystalline and unchangeable. Do not fear Nauthiz, for it is one of the greatest teachers and conduits of growth.  

Fehu – Rune of Wealth

Fehu is the rune of wealth, reward and prosperity. It represents hard work, strength, and determination; meaning something like “cattle/money/property” in Proto-Germanic. Cows were the primary symbol of wealth during this time period, signifying a persons riches and material resource. Fehu signifies what a person has earned with their sweat and blood, and how well they maintain it. Fehu is a sign of good luck and success in business, work, and the cultivation of land.

Fehu is a rune of peaceful, domesticated and blissful living. It can be associated with the god Ingwaz (Frey) because it is associated with abundance, good luck and fertility. Fehu, like Ingwaz, is a rune closely connected with the Earth, and it can be used to draw energy from within it. Fehu is a rune of harmony and balance upon the Earth and its’ forces.

 Fehu is a valuable rune to visualize when concerned with pecuniary subjects. It can bring immense insight into business affairs and also guide you through times of financial difficulty. Fehu can bring blessings of tangible advice, ideas and tools for you to apply to the material world. Meditate on this rune for strength, luck and financial success.

Fehu can also be a protective rune, as your wealth is a form of protection and security. Monetary security and abundance in resources is a key component to relaxed, blissful living; knowing all that is needed for survival can be provided easily and quickly. Fehu brings comfort and stability to an otherwise unpredictable and wild world. Fehu is calm, collected, and confident consistency.

Fehu is a rune of the physical world; a moveable and material concept based on earthly forces. It symbolizes the great prosperity, fertility and abundance of the Earth itself. Like Gebo (), Fehu brings gifts of nourishment and encourages vitality. Meditate on this rune for good health, happy living, and fruitful harvests.

If you are following the Uthark method, Fehu is the last and final rune; meaning it is the final achievement of existence. If you are following the more common Futhark method, then Fehu will be the first rune you encounter, symbolizing the immediate obstacles we must overcome on our journey towards the Throne () of Enlightenment (). With both of these concepts in mind, we can see that Fehu holds a very important place in the  order of the runes; and it deserves especially close attention when approaching them in their entirety.

Perthro – Rune of Fate

Perthro represents mysteries, the unknown, and forces at work beyond our understanding. It represents innate powers that we are unconscious of; unlocked over time by the workings of fate. The secrets of our destinies lie within this rune, and it can be seen as the rune of the Norns; the rulers of the past, present, and future of man. Perthro is the key to altering this destiny if applied correctly.

Perthro represents the secrets of existence we have yet to understand; the depths of the mind and soul which we have not yet deciphered. These mysteries are things we can unlock with right action and right application of Will; tests and trials for discovering the powers within oneself. Within Perthro rests the fathoms of our being, and through practice with the runes we will see every secret illuminated, and every mystery unclouded.

Perthro, in my opinion, is related to the Laguz () rune, and can show us to be patient and “go with the flow” of time. We cannot control everything and much has already been predetermined before we were born; don’t try and force unreasonable situations upon the world or yourself. Make sure your energy is used and cultivated in a critical and calculated way.

Perthro can be viewed as the “game” of life. When we are born (potentially from the womb of Perthro) we enter into a game of chance and risk; a game of probabilities. This game is played out upon the web of fate; the Web of Urd. Perthro can be used as a tool to change the courses of fate and probability, potentially altering the web in our favor.

Perthro should be meditated on when we have to leave the results of a situation for chance to decide. It is associated with the forces of luck, probability, and gambling. With the aspect of gambling in mind, it is wise to consult this rune when we count on the forces of luck or fate to be in our utmost favor.

Perthro is the rune of runes, meaning the rune of secrets. It can be related to the Well of Mimir; the well that Odin sacrifices his eye into. In this well, all secrets and answers are kept and all mystery is illuminated. With Perthro, we can clearly see the things that have come to pass and the things that will potentially come to pass if the Web remains in its’ current state; that state being unaltered further by sorcery or other interference.

Isaz – Rune of Ice

Isaz is the rune of ice, frost, and timeless stillness. It emits cold and frigid energies, glistening with beauty and gem-like radiance. This serene state of being,  symbolized by ice, is a metaphor for mastery over focus and concentration; concrete and locked in place. Isaz is a great rune to enhance clarity, composure, and focus.

Isaz can also mean to kill or “make cold.” Like the motionless ice, the corpse also lays still and frozen. Isaz is a powerful addition to runespells of destruction or death; for it not only focuses the energy directly on the target, but it enhances any runes near it with this clear and focused intent. When paired with runes like Thurisaz (), it can create an intense spell of either defense or destruction.

Isaz is a direct communication with the frozen underworld, Niflheim. This realm of mist, fog, darkness, and ice is a place that exists within all of us; within our blood and spirit. This primordial darkness and cold is deep within our subconscious and DNA, locked deep within our memory. Our species experience of the desolate Ice Ages still haunt us to this day; recalling that sunless existence upon fields of ice. That experience has been imprinted on our genes, and our memories of that ancient darkness give us our appreciation for the light. For the light means nothing without the dark.

Isaz is akin to the very slow and  destructive movements of the ice upon the Earth. Ice appears still and calm, but it holds a ruinous power within. Ice is a slow and silent destructive force; one that sneaks up on you over years and years of steady, consistent movement. This consistency of movement shapes and carves the landscape around it, creating the vast arrays of mountains, valleys, and formations upon the land.

Isaz is a catalyst for memories; for it changes, locks, and transports them through time. States of physical being can be trapped within this force and carried through the ages, making them discoverable and tangible; almost unchanged by hundreds or thousands of years of stagnation. With this aspect in mind, we can feel confident in using Isaz to contact other ages and eras; using it as a conductor to access the frozen layers of the past. Meditation with Isaz can be powerful and enlightening, and it must be done to remember, access, and decipher the cold and desolate parts of the psyche.

Applying Cernunnos to Germanic Spirituality

Hurnaz idol protecting the spirits of the land.

Hurnaz is the Germanic form of the god Cernunnos, Lord of the Wild. There is some speculation as to the form and function of this god throughout history, ranging from being a simple god of commerce to being the leader of the Wild Hunt. However, from my understanding and experience with Him, I’m convinced of His role as a wild protector and progenitor of nature; a spirit of freedom and vitality. Some related concepts, ideas and gods would include Pan, Herne the Hunter, Mercury, Satan, Freyr and even Odin.

Hurnaz is a wild and masculine deity. He is indifferent to human affairs, unless His domain is in jeopardy. His domain includes the forest and all of its’ inhabitants; everything from the roots and leaves to the soil and blood. The animals, trees, and all the fruits of the forest belong to Him, bending at His will. The more respect we show His domain, the more freedom and bounty we attain within it.

Post Wild Hunt ritual,Waldgang/Cascadia, November 2019

Offerings to Hurnaz are reciprocated with protection, abundance, and rejuvenated spirit. Venerating this force directly combats stagnation and sloth; igniting the wild and robust nature within. His energy is of wild and chthonic quality, causing an Odinic like frenzy within the inhabitant; a hunter’s awareness and focus. In this hyper-aware state we are able to achieve things we might not be able to otherwise, such as enhanced vision, speed, strength, clarity and focus. These enhancements are all fruits of this power, hence His veneration as a shaman and hunting god.

Offerings to Hurnaz and the forest spirits may include: 

Blood – to activate the spirit and open a medium of communication.

Animal remains – to return the fallen spirit to Hurnaz in exchange for future abundance in hunts and foraging. 

Wood/Stone/Fungus – to offer organic material to the soil and animals; also to enable more objects to be inhabited by the spirit of Hurnaz.

Meat – to honor the carnivorous spirits of the forest, the natural hunting spirits.

Seeds – to honor the vital and fertile forest; to appease the spirits within His realm. 

Nuts – to please the spirits of the land and encourage new growth.

Fruit/Herbs – to appease the land spirits and promote future fruit to flourish. 

Feathers – to promote movement and motion of the spirits; allowing flight and a wider perception.

Present your offerings where you believe Hurnaz to be existing. This location can be a stone, tree, idol, grove, or simply the forest region in its’ entirety. State your business in His realm, and what your intentions are with His woods. Once you have been granted access to your desires, recite your prayers or galdr to enhance connection and protection, then carry about your forest business without worry.

Offerings from all over the USA.

Once you have established your sacred space to Hurnaz, and once you have connected your spirit with that of His and the forest gods, the woods will become your church. Here you can easily slip between the veil of worlds and into other layers of reality. The more often you visit this place, the deeper you can explore the boundaries of the spirit; for it is in our true nature to dwell within the woods. These sacred grounds will heal your ailments in this claustrophobic and chaotic world; guiding you to a place of wisdom, peace, and strength.

Experiencing and deciphering the language of nature is the most divine act, and as we learn its’ language we in turn unlock the secrets to our very own existence. The functions of nature mimic the functions of the body, mind and soul. The more balance we achieve in this Triskelion of realms, the quicker we can achieve a state of Eternal Awareness. May Hurnaz and the spirits of the forest bless you on your journeys.

Hurnaz, Lord of the Wild Woods.

Wunjo – Rune of Joy

Wunjo is a rune of joy, ecstasy, serenity and pleasure. This rune radiates blissful happiness and uplifting feelings of goodness. Wunjo is  smiles, laughter, fun, entertainment, amusement, and enjoyment.  Meditate on this rune to balance any detrimental energies of unhappiness within.

Wunjo is prosperity, good fortune and a protective omen of well being. When present, you can almost always associate it with good luck and good news. Wunjo radiates positivity in all ways, representing delight and gratification in life. Wunjo is the clear, calm, bliss of the soul.

Wunjo is a spell against anxiety, depression, and fear. Good health, meditation, and sleep will encourage its’ energies; allowing it to radiate from you in all directions. When we can achieve this constant flow of energy, we can begin to heal any habits that have led us astray. Wunjo is the hope (and rope) we use to climb out of the dark and uninhabitable places of the mind.

Wunjo represents the right choices and right paths chosen. The more right choices we make, the more we experience Wunjo. It is our reward for correct behavior and application of Will; the fruit of alchemical harmony within. Wunjo is fulfillment and satisfaction; the feeling of achievement. When we are victorious in life, we are reminded of this blissful phenomenon present in Wunjo.

Wunjo also represents love and its’ reciprocation. In instances of unconditional affection, we are transported beyond the reaches of our bodies; entering a timeless sphere of ecstasy. This is the metaphysical creation of Wunjo and a direct means of communication with its’ energies. The more habitual work you do with Wunjo, the more enjoyment you will see in your life. This is a holy act of self preservation.

Wunjo keeps us optimistic and enthusiastic, acting as a compass for us in hard times. Just like short whims of true joy, we are destined to feel equally crippling moments of sorrow and anguish. Wunjo is the promise of better days to come and the  beautiful reminder that emotions are impermanent; all things shall pass. All hope is never lost if you hold-fast in your efforts.

Celtic Shamanism: Druidic Systems of Magic, Part 1.

Modern Druid ritual, Stonehenge 1983

Celtic Shamanism and Druidry were practiced by the Celtic tribes until the late Roman period, and even until modern day in the far western reaches of Ireland. At the very core of these spiritual practices are 3 main principles to conceive of and practice; 3 systematic perceptions of the way the Shaman should interact with himself and the world around him/her. These concepts are called by their Old Irish names Eolas, Imbas, and Dán, which I’ll be covering in detail throughout this piece. This trifold system of practices will give you new tools to venture into other worlds with; and to use to master the vessel you inhabit.

The first concept is that of “Eolas,” the Celtic word for “knowledge.” This type of learning would be to indulge in studying the Lore, the written wisdom and experience of those before you, and the analyzing of the myths of your people. The Druid, or Shaman, must be well versed in the history of the people and the traditions of his/her blood; he/she is a spiritual anchor for the surrounding community.

The second concept is called “Imbas,” which in Celtic means something like “inspiration/intuition.” This is practiced through the study of dreams, vigorous meditation, communication and offerings to spirits. This is where our intuitions, personal insights, and innate wisdom are given meaning; and we must master our internal dialogues and systems before attempting to master any external forces. The last principle is that of “Dán,” the Celtic word for something like “Gift/Poem/Skill.” This would represent how you apply your Imbas and Eolas to create yourself, your talents, and your destiny. This is represented by art, music, writing, magic, teaching, and the mastery of yourself and the universe in which you inhabit.

Small diagram of the 3 part system.

An easy way to visualize this system is to think of it as a metaphysical cauldron. The cauldron bubbles over a healthy and robust flame, and inside of it is a world that absorbs and radiates whatever is coming into it simultaneously. Out of this union spews forth creation and magic; all the while absorbing the energies of the surroundings and ancestral spirits. Through this trifold union we become true sorcerers of the Will; entering a permanent world of ascension and creation.  

When visualizing this cauldron, imagine the Eolas as the Cauldron itself; the foundation of tradition and the anchor of the spirit. Underneath the cauldron of Eolas would be the Imbas, the energy and vitality that boils the Eolas. The Imbas represents the internal fire that transforms the contents within the Eolas or cauldron; the force we use to build off of our Eolas foundation of knowledge. Once the inner fire of the Imbas mixes and brews the contents of Eolas, an internal synthesis is created, which is unique to each person.

Out of this synthesis rises the Dán, the fruits and magic of our union of Lore and Revelation. This is the product of our magic; of our creation. Dán represents the skills or gifts we possess; the vessels and tools we use to make our will and purpose known in this life. Dán also represents the actions and outcomes that arise from the union of Eolas and Imbas, the creations of the inner fire.

Druid by Aylett Sammes, 1676

Tree Runes and the “Hahalruna” system.

The “Tree” runes are a variant form of the Elder Futhark that I created using the “Hahal” rune system. Based on this system, any variation can be formed based on what’s important to the one using them. Many different kinds are out there, but none that I’ve seen have been tree or forest oriented. Due to my internal synthesis of Germanic and Celtic spirituality, I figured I would take the ancient Germanic Futhark and give it an Ogham or Hibernian twist; thus the creation of these “Tree” runes. 

The 3 “Groups of 8”

To read and write these runes, you would use the “Groups of 8” method; separating the 24 Elder Futhark runes into 3 sets of 8. These 3 sets are the following; Freyr’s group of 8, Hagal’s group of 8, and Tyr’s group of 8. Freyr’s would be the 3rd group, Hagal’s would be the 2nd, and Tyr’s would be the 1st. To decipher this particular set of runes, you would use the notches on the left side to determine which group it’s from, and the notches on the right side would determine which rune in the set it is.

The Algiz rune and its’ Tree rune variant, represented by the 2 straight lines on the left side and the number 7 shown on the right; thus being the 7th rune in the 2nd row.

Each straight line represents the number 1 and each hooked line represents the number 5. Therefor, if the rune had two notches on the left , and a hooked notch with 2 straight notches on the right, you’d be looking at the Algiz rune. After seeing this pattern, you’ll be able to easily see how this can be used and applied in all forms of art, writing and magic. Not only can these runes be added to your “rune bank,” but you can create your own versions using the same system, based on anything you want. 

Runic magicians have always intentionally made their rune systems as cryptic, esoteric, and “alien” looking as possible. The reason for this, was to confuse and bewilder the average eye, cloaking the writer’s message in mystery; making it harder to decipher their messages and crack their codes. Runic Magicians would constantly push the limits of competing sorcerers, thus stimulating this environment to constantly create, alter, and articulate new runes and systems of Runic Magic. Within this competitive sphere comes a deep and esoteric knowledge of the runes; one that dissects their inner workings and variations, broadening their artistic and aesthetic diversity within the magicians mind. The more Runic Alphabets you know, and the more runes you create in your own personal system, the more difficult it will be for anyone to crack your messages; giving you endless control over your magical workings.

Gebo – Rune of Exchange

Gebo represents the mutual exchange of gifts between individuals. It shows a connection and reciprocated respect between people who have accepted each other as extensions of themselves. True friends and allies become extra dimensions of our own personality and greater image; teammates and kinsfolk in the grand experience of life.

Gebo has no negative connotations. It symbolizes the construction of alliances and bonds between individuals. Through mutual actions, respect, and trust, these bonds of brotherhood and partnership are formed and upheld. Gebo is the exchange shared between those who these partnerships are made; an ebb and flow of giving and receiving. However, always make sure your sacrifice or exchange is being reciprocated; otherwise the powers of Gebo will vanish between you and the other party, and your energy will be drained from you.

Gebo represents the trading of skills, powers, and ideas. If you desire to know something an ally does, it is best to find out what you can offer in exchange for their knowledge. Learning something takes a lot of time and energy; the many hours one person spends learning a subject another person has spent on others, so why not share this hard work for the mutual benefit of both parties?

 If your circle grows collectively, vigorously, and engages in different skill-sets, then your tribe will be infinitely more powerful, effective, and self sufficient. Every member should be a master of something, and every member should be putting in the hours everyday to excel in his or her own areas of expertise. Sharing ideas between members will keep everyone intelligent, skeptical, and thirsty for knowledge. Gebo is equal sacrifice between individuals for the progression of the tribe or group.

Mutual sacrifice is one of the most powerful forms of Gebo next to the passing of cherished objects from one person to another. Gebo is that feeling we have when we must give someone we love something that we care most about. Anytime someone goes out of their way to give us something they’ve made or  means something to them, it creates a special bond that cannot be bought; only cherished and reciprocated. Gebo is love, gratification, and appreciation for those you care about; it should be honored and always held in high esteem.