Further Analysis of the Algiz Rune

Algiz

ᛉ / Z

Algiz is a rune with many meanings, names, and connotations. In Proto-Germanic, it goes by the name Elhaz or Algiz, both of which mean“elk”. This rune symbolizes the largest and most robust of the male deer, mirroring the antlers in shape and meaning. Algiz represents defense, vitality, strength, protection, health, fertility, and the entirety of the forest; that which the Elk overshadows. In reference to antlers, or horns, Algiz can be attributed to the Celtic god Cernunnos, the Horned One. In many pagan faiths, Cernunnos (Hurnaz) is the “Lord of the Forest” and the animals therein.

As with Cernunnos, Algiz can also be associated with hunting. The hunter must form a sacred relationship with these animals and their environment, studying them and meditating on them. The skilled hunter needs to not only have knowledge of these animals and their nature to be able to hunt them effectively, year after year, but also develop a deep respect and understanding of them; a dedication to observing their patterns and habits. The hunt is a sacred activity, whether for food or for sport. Algiz reminds us of this sacred relationship we must maintain with the forest and its’ beings to live in harmony amongst it; reaping rewards from it and giving back with reverence.

In Old English, this rune goes by the name eolh, meaning “elk or moose”. This is also reflected in Old Norse, with the word elgr, which also means “elk or moose”. This reverence of horned animals goes back to the root word of Algiz in the proto-Indo-European hel-, meaning “deer, elk, and elephant”. The “Old English Rune Poem” states:

“Elk sedge has a home oftest in a fen,

It waxes in water; wounds grimly,

Besmears with blood every man

Who lays anywise ahold of it.”

This is the only poem that refers to this rune as the Elk. Although here, its reference is regarding the sedge plant, which is barbed and sharp like the antlers of an elk. These sedge plants can cause one to bleed if grasped or stricken by its’ spines, as one would be by the antlers of the elk, if attacked. Sedge is commonly found amongst the “fen”, which is a type of marsh, bog, or swamp. This could be the allusion to the abundant life-force and robust natural energy associated with the elk, something our ancestors may have seen reflected in these natural environments.

It is safe to say that Algiz carries a certain masculine energy within it, separate from the other horned animal rune, Uruz. Algiz is more focused and less chaotic; fertility and health based on steady wisdom and not ancient fury. The grace of the elk or moose has long been an impressive force to behold, and they demand our respect. This beauty is inherent in the Algiz rune.

In the Younger Futhorc, this rune shifts names and sounds, being called in Old Norse, Madr, meaning “man”. This form of Algiz absorbs the Mannaz rune, taking it on as its focus and sound while retaining the core shape of Algiz. The “Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme” states:

“Man is an increase of earth;

Great is the grasp of the hawk.”

This poem invokes man as the “increase” of earth (dirt), something that refers to our transcendence over pure terrestrial matter. This points to mans divinity and difference from the rest of nature around him, as he has an “increased” awareness of his own existence. The second line alludes to the feet of the mighty hawk, who’s shape mirrors the rune in appearance.  

As with the Norwegian verse, the “Old Icelandic Rune Poem” echoes this rune as “man” as well, stating:

“Man is sport for man, and an increase of earth,

And the adorner of ships.”

This poem states man as “sport” for man, meaning competition, training, entertainment, and coaching. In short, we are pushed competitively by our fellow man towards greater heights, creating a “sport” out of life. The second part reflects the same notion as the Norwegian poem, referring to mans’ divinity. The last line, in my opinion, is a poetic reference to a fully armed ship, “adorned” with men as though decorated.

Although the name and focus shift drastically between the Old English and Scandinavian poems, they all resonate a tone of good health, virility, and power. This, we can say with confidence, embodies the “light” side of Algiz, while the “dark” side encompasses old age, degradation, and loss of health. This can be seen in the Proto-Germanic aldiz, which means “age, generation, lifetime”, and in the Gothic alþeis, meaning “old.”

There is no doubt that Algiz can also be attributed to the trees, as its shape mimics a tree (or man) with outstretched limbs. This is something that alludes to the Norse creation myth, where it is said that life was given to two posts of wood, creating the first two humans Ask (Ash) and Embla (Elm). Evidence can be found in our previously viewed proto-Indo-European root word hel-, which also refers to certain types of trees displaying a “bright” bark like alder, elm, and fir. Further evidence can be found in the Bulgarian elhá, meaning “fir, evergreen, or conifer”.

This brings us full circle in our journey through Algiz, as elk, moose and deer are all known for stripping bark from trees with their antlers. This implies a deeper connection between the hart (stag), the forest, and the trees themselves. This spirit, as stated before, can only be attributed wholly to one force: that force being Cernunnos/Hurnaz, the Horned One; the deified representation of life and the natural wilderness. Algiz, in this respect, can be viewed as a direct runic symbol for this god, as one would use Ansuz for Odin, or Thurisaz for Thor.

In conclusion, Algiz can be attributed many positive forces, such as good health, potency, vigor, and the ability to protect that which we care for. It can also take a darker form in the aspects of old age, bad health, and sterilization. Algiz takes the form of “man” in the Younger runes, representing divinity and power, something echoed in all forms of this rune, whether focused on man or elk. The majestic antlered beasts of the woods and plains have long fascinated mankind with their beauty and brilliance, and although we also hunt them, we have never forgotten that mystical energy that they carry within. A certain peace and stillness resides in these creatures, directly connected beneath their hooves to the spirit of the Earth itself, giving it expression through robust and vital presence and purpose.

New Book “Freyr’s Aett” Now Available!

This book is the first of a 3-part analysis of the deeper meanings hidden within the runes of the Elder Futhark. Through various avenues of mythology, language, and history, we will expand the scope and meanings present in each rune as it moves through time and culture. We will explore well known runic theories, as well as delve into uncharted and obscure territory that is meant to leave the reader with the sense of “vastness” present in each individual rune.

Throughout the project, we will examine common themes, philosophical musings, and an overall expansion of the deeper connotations that each rune encompasses. We will examine direct connections to the god Freyr and discuss many other deities present in this specific row of runes. Although the basics of rune theory are covered here as well, I don’t necessarily recommend this book to beginners or people new to Germanic Paganism. The reason being, is that this book may offer “too much information” and overwhelm someone without prior foundation in this esoteric system.

For beginners, I would recommend picking up my first rune book “Runes, Bindrunes and Hahalruna: European Sorcery and Divination”. That book will give you a good introduction to the runes while offering glimpses into cryptic aspects inherent in each one. It gives multiple angles one can view each rune from based on one’s experience and how one identifies with the initial word, shape, and sound of each rune. However, if dedicated and willing, this book can be approached first and may open many doors for your future research and practice.

Focus, Compassion, Development

How many cataclysms happen within the seed before it sprouts, how many obstacles before the flower blooms?

Keep your head up, focus on your goals.

Be kind to your fellow man.

We all struggle, we all experience suffering.

There’s no need to add to this Karmic weight.

The war is against ourselves, not the world.

Hailaz / Namaste

Custom Runes and Bindrunes

I make runes nearly everyday. It keeps them fresh in my mind and allows me to express divine concepts through simple symbology.

With runes (and bindrunes) one can essentially deliver ideas to a fellow initiate without words; a language of its own based on the culture of those using them. This is the premise of all symbolism; the transfer of immense amounts of knowledge through very simple forms.

Here, we have a bindrune symbolizing Odin’s sacrifice on the Great Tree, where after 9 nights, he falls “screaming,” receiving the secrets of the runes. A gift for a gift (sacrifice).

Broken down we have :

ᛇ – Eihwaz (Yggdrasil, Axis Mundi, World Tree)

ᚬ – Oss (The hanging god, Odin)

ᚼ – Hagal (Hail, transformation, change)

ᚷ – Gebo (Gift, sacrifice, exchange)

If you want this, contact me. It’s made on Norway Spruce harvested from our land. If you want something custom of your own design, I would be honored to make it a physical reality. I have access to many kinds of wood, many of which are already processed and cured.

I have many runesets available as well. These include Elder Futhark, Younger and Anglo-Saxon Futhorcs. Adalruna sets are available as well, all on various wood types.

Hailaz

Authority from Within

As the path of Odin, Shiva, Socrates, Lucifer, Buddha, and many others will reveal: authority, truth, and wisdom reside in our core, lying within us. Through the emulation and understanding of these most invulnerable and permanent forms, the essence of the Self stirring within every human incarnation, we get a glimpse into a higher, more focused, refined and crystalline sense of reason and awareness. Here is where all answers await, and where all questions of importance in time must be directed, as this is the only conveyer of truth, the eternal Self within all. This is the voice which calls the true seeker; drawing ever closer to its origin; striving to balance the earth and sky.

Irreplaceability, Mastery, and Glory

All men really want is to be irreplaceable.

Mans higher purpose is to become a master of something… a professional at X, a genius on Y, an authority on Z.

When it comes down to it, men want nothing more than to become irreplaceable. They want to know that no one can fill their shoes; that their existence has a meaning tied to their form. They want to know within that they have made a contribution and that their memory/legend will live on beyond the grave; whether or not one has heirs.

Man wants to conquer great obstacles, ascend the highest peaks, and soar into the blackness of space; each one wants his unique piece of the glory.

At a certain point, we must ask ourselves if this is really a bad or negative trait to possess. In reality, yes and no cannot answer this sufficiently, as it seems to be “natural” instinct for driven humans to behave like this.

Do we call the hunting aspects of a mountain lion negative or evil, even when they sometimes kill humans? No, it is natural for them to hunt any prey that is liable and in their territory.

The humans’ need to conquer seems to be akin to this type of instinctual, non conscious behavior; transcending a human “right” or “wrong” duality. Repressing this can be detrimental to one’s own life and the lives of those around him. But, through wisdom, it can be mastered and maneuvered with divine accuracy.

This view ties one in with the physical and metaphysical simultaneously, as one must achieve earthy victories in order to attain the metaphysical “legacy” one wants to build or acquire. In many ways, although this doesn’t seem to offer any sort of climax or end, it reinforces man’s role as the being “in the middle.” We exist within that context, as a wheel in between tracks, moving onward into eternity.

We emerge and dissolve into many forms, although, the deeper parts of our spirit continue to rise ever higher.

Walpurgisnacht

Hailaz Walpurgisnacht!

However you choose to celebrate the next couple days, do it with your full attention.

Meditate on life in its myriad forms.

Banish any fetters holding you down in the damp halls of Hel.

Personally, we will be preparing a part of the homestead for the return of our patron deity of peace, plenty, and fair weather (Freyr,Ingwaz, Fraujon).

(In our practice, Freyr departs after Samhain and returns on May Day.)

Before we do this, we wish to shield ourselves and our land from all forms of evil and misfortune with song, ritual, and fire.

Under the darkest of moons we shall embody the Sun,

Becoming the fire that licks the sky.

Filling our hearts with strength,

impregnating our minds with ferocity.

Let us transcend the depths,

On the wings of the eagle!

ᚠ : ᛉ : ᛋ

Change, Growth, and Wisdom

Changing and growing are similar but separate concepts.

Change has no positive or negative connotations. It is just the objective and constant state of existence. Growth, on the other hand, means a positive shift towards the best possible outcome of an organism; becoming larger, stronger, and more capable of survival etc.

Things will always change, but things may not always grow…

Make sure your choices and actions aid you in growth. Build the patterns choice by choice, day by day, until you are no longer conscious of them.

Building a habit of positive growth is something that will ensure your success in any aspect of life. Many sacrifices must be made, starting usually with the ones that that lead to short term pleasures. But, the hard choice will usually bring the most long term benefit and reward.

Growth can be a very painful and uncomfortable process. Learn to recognize and love these sensations.

By knowing these instances, we can actually find enjoyment and satisfaction in these painful moments, acknowledging the “need” one has for these experiences in order to reach higher levels of wisdom and growth.

This lesson can most potently be found within the Nauthiz rune; as trials, tribulations, and resistance in life can ultimately force one to become stronger in mind, body and spirit. Likewise, the rune represents a “make or break” aspect within ourselves, where we can either succeed by force of will, or fail out of weakness.

In summary, it is important to remember that the comfortable life doesn’t give one wisdom.

Life, in many ways and for all beings, is war.

Take a look at your life, choices and actions. Make sure they are aligned with your growth and not just pure change. Strive to conquer obstacles and not cowardly avoid things that are hard to do or figure out.

Wisdom must be hunted for within dark corners; wandered for with sweat and blood.

Essentially, wisdom is experienced, not learned.

Get out there and find it!