In this video, I will demonstrate a quick exercise for those who are beginning their intermediate training with the runes. This practice should be undertaken once a person has learned the correct names, translations, and order of their chosen runes of study. This will help you quickly broaden the scope of each rune, leaving endless room for further philosophical development and growth. May all beings benefit from the power of the runes.
Artwork for the next rune book is finished and things are roaring ahead towards release.
This particular edition will be part 1 of the next full-length rune work, infinitely more expansive than the last, covering the first 8 runes of the Elder Futhark.
Many thanks to Ioan Eofor for the great work, speedy delivery and excellent communication; its’ an honor to add another productive titan to the team.
In this video, I will give a brief rundown of the meanings and basic interpretations of the first 8 runes of the Elder Futhark.
For more information about the esoteric and practical side of runes, you can pick up a copy of my book “Runes, Bindrunes and Hahalruna: European Sorcery and Divination” on Amazon.
*I have no academic credentials regarding any of these topics. I am a private researcher and practitioner of this school of traditional Germanic occultism and share information regarding my experience along the way.
Gebo / Giba / Gyfu
Gebo is the rune of exchange and generosity; of gifts both given and received. Gebo represents the most important qualities in heathen ethics; balance, appreciation, and respect. Gebo, in this way, represents the sacrifice; a gift for a gift, a sacrifice for a sacrifice. This is a very foreign concept to the religions and institutions that have instilled in the modern man that he must only give, without expectation of reward or gift in return. This is the way to ensure defeat and destruction of ones limited energy, as it will be directed always towards “lesser” ends. In other words, generosity can be seen as a type of insurance, as usually, if one has been generous and finds themselves in need of assistance, they should have no issue acquiring it. Because they were generous in the past, they have fulfilled the appreciative and exchanging qualities that the Gebo rune requires in the present. This system enables the “wheel” to move onward in balance.
However, this does not mean the heathen society did not value charity, as this rune also represents the very concept of charity, as ones “gift” to society. We see this reflected in the Old Saxon/Faroese word geva which means “gift” and also “favor.” Throughout the Germanic linguistic timeline, it seems as though this concept, all the way down to its’ proto-Indo-European root gʰebʰ-, are consistent with the concept of giving, gifts, and goodwill. It is difficult to penetrate the Gebo runes deeper layers, but with these “outer” layers peeled away, we can begin to look a little closer at this rune and concept.
When looking for cognate words and connections with Gebo, I started to gain insight into the way in which the Germanic people (especially the Goths) viewed not only giving, but wealth and “richness” in general. In Gothic, we have the word gabigs meaning “rich, wealthy” which relates to the proto-Germanic word gabigaz which means “rich” but also “to give.” This implies the ancient Germanic person viewed “richness” in regard to how much one gives; further implicating a society based on mutual fulfillment of “favors” rather than purely financial movement. Although, monetary exchange would later replace much of this concept, as instead of doing “favors” for others to ensure you would receive favors in return (much like the Amish), people would now simply pay others to do things for them; the societies sense of appreciation, respect, and community suffer poorly because of this.
We see evidence for these theories in the “Old English Rune Poem” where it is said:
“Gift to men is adornment and approval,
A help and an honor, and for every exile,
Who lacks aught else, it is respect and sustenance.”
The poem alludes to many ways this rune can be applied. From the gift, to approval, to just the simple show of respect to others. Without a doubt, we can see this rune played a major role in how people interacted with each other. We perhaps find the best evidence for this theory in verses 40 and 41 of the “Hovamal”, where the High One says:
“40. None so free with gifts,
or food have I found,
That gladly he took not a gift,
Nor one who so widely,
Scattered his wealth,
That of recompense hatred he had.
41. Friends shall gladden each other,
With arms and garments,
As each for himself can see,
Are longest found,
If far their fates may be.”
Here we see this concept in concrete form, and straight from the “horse’s mouth.” We are told that gifts and generosity deter “recompense hatred,” meaning something like “the prize of hatred,” referring to what someone is rewarded or compensated. In short, one who “scatters” his wealth will “win” the opposite prize of hatred, meaning respect, love, and renown. Verse 41 alludes to long friendships being held intact by the giving of gifts.
There is the theory of “Odin’s 9 Runes” within the Elder Futhark. These runes are those of which remain the same whether upside down or right side up, generally conceding that there is no “reverse” or negative aspect of the rune. Gebo would be the first one we encounter in this system, symbolizing complete balance, unity, and exchange. In reference to Odin, this rune symbolizes his sacrifice on the tree, where he was given (X) the secret of the runes. This sacrifice (or gift) is the shedding of the lesser self in order to bring forward the higher Self, represented by Odin. Gebo is also reminiscent of the original gifts that Odin, Vili/Hoenir, and Ve/Lothur (arguably 3 forms of Odin), give to mankind. In “Voluspo” verses 17 and 18 it is said:
17. “Then from the throng, did three come forth,
From the home of the gods, the mighty and gracious;
Two without fate, on the land they found,
Ask (Ash) and Embla (Elm), empty of might.”
18. “Soul they had not, sense they had not,
Heat nor motion, nor goodly hue;
Soul gave Othin, sense gave Hoenir,
Heat gave Lothur, and goodly hue.”
Another esoteric journey through this rune leads us to a further connection with this type of “Odinic” system. The related Sanskrit word gábhasti reveals other avenues of interpretation, having an array of meanings such as “arm, hand, ray of light, sunbeam, the sun” and, “shining.” When I read this, I immediately pictured the “sun wheel” as symbolized by ⨁, which clearly resembles the X rune on its’ side, as the “spokes” of the wheel. With this avenue in focus, we can with full confidence attribute aspects of the sun with this rune, as the sun can be seen as the ultimate bestower of “gifts” upon man, which throughout the ages we have done our best, until recently, to show our respect, admiration, and appreciation to.
Another obscure connection can be seen in the Gothic word gibla, which means “pinnacle or apex of a building.” This word resembles the Gothic cognate of Gebo (giba) and alludes to this sun-like, or rather, “Odin” like apex; as the building could represent the human and Odin the apex of that expression. This could also be a reference to the part of the building that is closest to the sun. Strangely, we have another cognate word in the ancient Greek kephalḗ which means “the head, most important part, risking of one’s “head” (life).” This word is where we get our modern English cephalo, which in biological terms means “relating to the head or brain.” Yet another example of the strange journey language takes as it moves through different peoples and different times.
In conclusion, it is clear that when speaking about ancient Germanic Pagan ethics and morals, Gebo was the law. Gebo drives our interpersonal relationships, applying to both the physical and divine. All relationships revolve around a giving and receiving mechanism of some form, and this balance of nature was represented by the ancient Germans in the form of the equal armed, crossing X. Always the same, always in balance, and ever present… no pun intended.
Lords of wealth,
And Earthly stride,
Pave the way,
Where wagons ride.
Those robust horns,
Protect from foe.
In the chest,
There lies a flame,
Calls the name.
While in motion,
On land or ship.
On the wall,
The iron holds,
Of the soul.
And roads to cross,
When one sits,
In total silence,
And setting sun.
A sudden change,
To rouse the soul,
The lesson learned,
The wisdom gained,
From times of strife,
From times of strain.
That which blocks,
Can also shine,
And also binds.
Round and round,
The wheel turns,
And wood to burn.
High and low,
Our arms in each,
Up and down,
Is all in reach.
Roll the dice,
By the well,
There sits a crone.
Alert to all,
Wind or squall,
Sword of light,
Bolt on high,
Shine your rays,
From cloudless skies.
And painful trades,
Wars to win,
And debts to pay.
Black and white,
To gaze upon,
In pure delight.
Trust in friend,
And never foe,
Ones we move with,
Bonds that grow.
Bridge of gaps,
All things connect,
The higher world,
And darkest depths.
A hidden space,
Seeds were sown,
Now taking shape.
Within the blood,
From fire or flood.
At the end,
There shines a light,
Of the night.
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.
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.
For those that don’t know, my better half and I run a small Pagan oddities shop called Algiz Maenon.
We carry animal bones, handmade runes, raw materials, books, music and more.
Check us out via the “Bones and Craft” link in the menu.
ᚠ: Fehu is resource, wealth, and abundance.
ᚢ: Uruz is oxen, pride of the marshes.
ᚦ: Thurisaz builds it, and also destroys.
ᚫ: Ansuz is wisdom, wind of the body.
ᚱ: Raido is wagons, rhythm of seasons.
ᚲ: Kenaz the torch-light, fire of knowledge.
ᚷ: Gebo the crossing, of gifts between friends.
ᚹ: Wunjo is wishes, and joy in the heart.
ᚺ: Hagalaz changes, liquid to solid.
ᚾ: Nauthiz the trial, building the fire.
ᛁ: Isa the focus, crystalline patience.
ᛃ: Jera is turning, wheat into flour.
ᛇ: Eihwaz the greenest, spine of the forest.
ᛈ: Perthro is chances, the womb of the fates.
ᛉ: Algiz the antlers, guardian of groves.
ᛋ: Sowilo the fire, that burns in the sky.
ᛏ: Tiwaz the arrow, celestial light.
ᛒ: Berkano is thin, the bones of the woods.
ᛖ: Ehwaz is trusted, moving with partner.
ᛗ: Mannaz the flesh-bridge, between Earth and Sky.
ᛚ: Laguz the water, to heal and to quell.
ᛜ: Ingwaz the homestead, gestation and growth.
ᛟ: Othala in sight, home of the fathers.
ᛞ: Dagaz the light-source, breaking the cycle.
Pleased to announce that edition two of “Runes, Bindrunes and Hahalruna: European Sorcery and Divination” has been published and is now available worldwide via Amazon.
Personal copies have been ordered and should arrive in the next couple weeks.
This version includes a new cover, new chapter covering the Younger Futhorc runes, new bindrunes, and various additions to the previous content.
The book runs for 154 pages and is an intermediate read for those at any stage of rune work, research, and development.
If you have the first edition, leave a comment with something you were able to take away from the book. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.
Help spread the word by sharing and feel free to leave a review, they help a lot.