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, memory 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 and long, harsh winters still haunt us to this day; subconsciously 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. It 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. It radiates blissful happiness and uplifting feelings of goodness. Wunjo is smiles, laughter, fun, entertainment, amusement, and enjoyment. Like Ansuz, Wunjo is associated with Shamanic trance, as this “ecstasy” is what takes hold of the sorcerer’s spirit on their journey.

Wunjo is prosperity, good fortune, and wellbeing. When present, you can almost always associate it with good luck and good news. Wunjo radiates positivity and wisdom, representing delight and gratification in life. Wunjo is the clear, calm, bliss of the soul. Meditate on this rune to balance any detrimental energies of unhappiness within.

Wunjo is a basic spell against weaknesses like 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 healthier 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

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. They are our 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 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 every day to excel in his or her own areas of expertise. Sharing ideas between members will keep everyone intelligent, engaged, 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.

Sowilo – Rune of the Sun

Sowilo represents the victorious and glorious powers of the sun; that which brings light and creation to life. Sowilo represents strength and solar power; a bolt of lightning striking your soul with the golden light of triumph. Sowilo illuminates the darkest places in our souls, making them known and conquerable. It is a rune of great confidence, like the ever-powerful sun above.

Sowilo is a sharp and potent energy source. Almost any act of overcoming or ascending reflects this source-energy. It radiates through the driven and focused, through the powerful and enlightened. This golden energy source is wrought with strength and power of Will, radiating clarity and focus unto us. With full confidence in our path and vision, we can move forward towards the Throne of Enlightenment and reap the bounties of our ascension.

Sowilo is triumph over darkness and the destruction of shadows. It beams through all spaces and illuminates all things. This cosmic light has been worshiped across all cultures worldwide and we are its’ eternal children. Mankind is a solar species, unable to survive without the suns’ golden rays of beauty. We thrive in the suns presence and await its’ return eagerly, year after year.

Sowilo is a rune of great spiritual vitality. Where Uruz is the rune of physical strength, Sowilo gives our spirit the same intense qualities of strength and endurance, soaking our being in eternal light-strength. Sowilo acts as a link between the sun and the soul, connecting us internally to the burning God in the sky; the ever-spinning solar wheel. Mankind has always depended on this force and would surely fall into extinction without it.

Sowilo is a rune of thriving and superior health. Sunlight has endless healing abilities and provides us with UVB (Ultra-Violet B Rays). Our bodies turn this into valuable Vitamin D, something we cannot live without. Sunlight also provides us with Serotonin, something we need to feel focused, calm, and accomplished. Sunlight provides us with a healthy body and mind; we must never forget to use this source-energy when available to us.

Sowilo guides us in all directions as we journey across the Earth, and it deserves our praise often. As long as our species walks the Earth, we will require this force and continue to bask in its’ glory. We are children of the sun and Sowilo calls us home. Hail the Sun, the ever-spinning wheel!

Ehwaz – Rune of Transport

Ehwaz is the rune of transportation and the transport, in whatever form it takes. In the time this rune was used, it was a symbol of the horse, the most common vessel of transportation. Because of this connection, it’s also a symbol of trust. Our modes of transport have always been things we’ve had to trust and place faith in to deliver us from one place to another, and we take extra care to make sure they are always working properly. This bond took on a sacred context with regards to one’s friendship with the horse, as man trusted his horse sometimes more than himself.

Ehwaz is a rune of companionship and teamwork. It shows us that we can operate more practically and potently if we have partners and friends with common goals to work with, in all aspects of life. If we can “share the load” with other like-minded individuals, we can ascend faster and project our vision forward with more clarity and focus. This phenomenon of trust that is built and cultivated between partners is one of the secrets of Ehwaz. It emphasizes the connection we feel towards those who we put our unconditional trust and love into.

Ehwaz is a rune of movement and motion. We ride this transport through all realms of life, whether it be physical or metaphysical, and we are always in motion toward something. This rune should help propel you forward towards your goals and should be meditated on before any long journeys are undertaken. In that respect, always make sure your transport is prepared for the journey, and don’t be ignorant when it comes to the safety of yourself and those you travel with. Remember the lessons of the Raido rune.

Ehwaz can also be reflected by the migrations of humans. It represents how the tribe and offspring transport the blood and spirit of the ancestors into the future and into new realms, carrying the torch forward into new ages. In this respect, Ehwaz can also be applied to sex, as it promotes the movements of the genes and blood, solidifying the survival of the tribe through continual motion. Constant movement and trust with a sexual partner radiate the powers of Ehwaz.

Ehwaz reminds us that steady, forward motion will bring us to our destination, the Throne of Enlightenment. It reminds us to trust in our movements and in those who move with us; never doubting the success of the journey. Ehwaz radiates through vessels we encounter, whether that be man, material, or beast. It sings through everything that moves and therefore exists in all things; the external force that pulls our chariot forward. Meditate on Ehwaz for clarity and mobility.

Tiwaz – Rune of Order

Tiwaz is the rune of the great and ancient Sky God. This force governs victory, justice, and order among mankind. Tiwaz brings purpose and reason to us, offering a balance to the opposing powers of chaos and confusion. Tiwaz is a celestial power that neutralizes and combats the earthy, primitive, and chaotic forces governing the animal kingdom. It grants us our status as a different type of sentient being; one that isn’t driven by mere instinct but can analyze and impose its’ will upon the surrounding environment. Tiwaz is an ancient god of War, typically associated with the Roman god Mars or the ancient Indo-European god of the Day and Heaven, Deywós.

Tiwaz invokes and governs justice among men. When instinct drives us to be chaotic man-apes, we are returned to balance and reason by Tiwaz. Without this crucial force within us, we would be incomplete creatures without the capability to analyze or interpret; one of our most prominent and important features as a species. If you lie, cheat, and steal to get by, Tiwaz will bring you agony and leave you with an internal void, a lack of real accomplishment. In this respect, Tiwaz, like Algiz, can be associated with acts that increase one’s Hamingja, attracting more good fortune into one’s life.

Tiwaz represents leadership, honor, and duty to a specific cause. He is dedicated and focused, unwavering in his faithfulness and zeal. Honor guides him and he absorbs good fortune, radiating the powers of justice and willpower wherever he goes. He is graceful and gallant, as any great warrior must be.

Tiwaz is the spirit of honor and goodness, chivalry and grace. He is the archetype of the Warrior or Knight within the European soul. Bravery, courage, honor, and loyalty to what you believe in are his powers. This emulation is crucial and pivotal in our ascension of body, mind, and spirit. It is important to never turn your back on the realms of Tiwaz. If you do, you will surely lead a life of deception, bad luck, and treachery.

Raido – Rune of Travel

Raido is the rune of travel, journey, and exploration. This rune should accompany you on all major trips across the land or sea, spirit or mind; for it will keep you safe and help you stay your course. Raido represents a change of space and environment, a time of growth and excitement when perception is expanded and unknown territory becomes tangible. Use Raido when you embark on all journeys in this life.

Raido represents the right path being chosen. If you are traveling and Raido is present, you can assure yourself that your choices are righteous, just, and that you’re in control of your momentum towards achieving your goals. Meditate on this rune to find your true path and always remember to do what feels right(eous). More times than not, if you have shaped yourself like steel from iron, your higher self should know the way, acting in congruence with the desires of the “charioteer” and the “Great Work.”

Raido represents being smart and calculated on your journeys. Don’t expect this rune to work for you if you don’t put any work into staying safe and coherent while traveling. Remember to retain control of your propulsion toward your destinations and do not become careless. We must be tactical and precise in our journey if we want the powers of this rune to work. Don’t forget to apply this rune to your overall lifestyle and always use caution when traveling into new places.

Raido is the rhythm of time, life, and represents the tempo of the universe. To connect to this, we must be rhythmic in our own lives as well. We must form habits with equal intervals to establish tradition, thus mirroring the patterns of nature. The rhythm of the natural order exists like the very air we breathe, and it must be recognized in order to find balance and control within this life. Raido is control over our momentum and propulsion, the reins of the chariot of our soul.

Raido can be viewed as the journeys we must embark on to become what/who we are supposed to be. Through these journeys, we find our true selves and begin to recognize the Ancient Truth in everything around us. Our perspective grows with every new territory conquered, physical or metaphysical, and we must conquer certain aspects of our lives to find truth and strength within ourselves. Use Raido to find these truths, they await you on your journeys!

Ansuz – Rune of the Breath

Ansuz is the rune of Odin, the rune of the ancestral spirit. This rune can be used to invoke divine knowledge, wisdom, and messages directly from the Gods or ancestors. Ansuz acts as a compass by guiding you to the wisdom of your bloodline. Focus on insight and communication with the past when meditating with this rune. Listen to your innate wisdom. Remember that the answers to most, if not all the things you need or want to know, already exist inside of you and are waiting to be unlocked.

Ansuz is the rune of words, speech, and communication. It represents the development of language, sound, and the raw mechanics of verbal communication. Clarity and potency of thought are things to always consider and strive for, and effective application of speech when communicating thoughts should be valued and practiced. Our use and knowledge of language is a divine gift, and we must honor it to the fullest potential. The ability to understand and manipulate sound is one of the main aspects of rune magic, as they contain ancient “seed-sounds” that must be vocalized to be fully understood.

Ansuz teaches us to be intelligent and sagacious, to be open to council and seek advice from those who are wiser. Consider all advice given to you from those who are older and/or more learned. Consider it a gift that they are willing to pass their knowledge and experience on to you. We must remember that learning anything is hard work and takes time; therefor, knowledge is a form of infinite wealth and abundance. Accept new ideas into your life and consider it a blessing; sometimes words and ideas can be worth their weight in gold (physically and metaphysically). Never disrespect the Elders and always hold their wisdom in high regard.

Ansuz represents the passing of the breath of life along the ancestral line. It is the gift from your ancestors (Odin) to you, and through you to the next. Ansuz symbolizes our direct ancestry to the Gods themselves and is a pathway to the endless memory of the Blood Well. We are directly descended from these Gods of old; men and woman who immortalized themselves as the archetypes of humanities expression. Ansuz is our means of communication with them and their story, the history of our blood and immortal soul.