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 (ᛖ) rune Ehwaz, which symbolizes animals. This close proximity (and similar shape) suggest a similar origin or purpose, but distinct separation.
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.
Uruz is the rune of the Aurochs; a strong, wild and ox-like creature that is now extinct. This rune, like the animal, represents strength, endurance and vitality; and it was necessary for young men to venture out and vanquish one of these animals on their own if they hoped to join the warrior class. Uruz should be applied when you need that extra boost of wild energy; that flare of frenzied strength to push through the perimeters of your limits and obstacles. Uruz represents fortitude and the ability to work long, hard hours; giving sweat and blood to the Earth.
Uruz teaches us to be sturdy, head strong, and not to waver in the face of threats. It encourages us to make ourselves strong in all ways; to become untamed forces of self actualization and creation. Uruz should be applied to the body, mind and spirit; for if one of these elements is weak, they all shall suffer. Let Uruz be a beacon of strength and solidarity for you to meditate on, acting as an anchor for your soul in rough and unsure times.
Uruz is a rune of superior vitality and stone like endurance. You can never be broken if you have unlocked the powers of Uruz within; and it will always act as a force of resilience against weakness and illness. Use this rune to acquire deeper levels of strength and power in all aspects of life, for it will guide you to a place of confidence and quell any insecure feelings that hinder your growth. Uruz should be used to invoke divine strength, rage and vigor; a useful ingredient to any spell of confidence and solidarity. Meditate on this rune often for iron-like qualities.
Uruz is a rune steeped in chaos, for it still holds the wild and raw energies of creation. The Aurochs, Cow, and Bull are all very important symbols to the Indo-European consciousness; symbolizing the initial nourishing elements and building blocks of creation. From most angles of Indo-European spirituality we encounter a primeval creature similar to the Aurochs; this being usually symbolizing the first organic creation of existence, or the source being who is slain and brings about the creation of the world as we know it. Whether you follow Germanic, Celtic, or Vedic sources, you can trace these myths back to an original bovine-like creature who is associated with (or responsible for) the construction and cultivation of the world. Uruz represents this key component of creation.
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 (ᚷ), 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 (ᛟ) of Enlightenment (ᛞ). 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.
An altar should always be in use; if one is to be created at all. It should move, breath, and be in constant motion. Fires should burn on it more often than not, and offerings should be in constant flux and flow to and from the altar space. This space should be viewed as sacred, and nothing should be placed upon it that doesn’t belong there. The more seriously you interact with you altar space, the more benefits you will gain from it.
Energy taken away from the altar space needs to be put back in, and there are many ways to “charge” a sacred space. Meditation, prayers, and offerings are easy ways to charge your sacred space, and these activities should be done multiple times a day; or as often as your lifestyle permits. Practicing these activities will ensure your sacred place holds power and meaning in your life; giving you a foundation for workings of magic and sorcery. More complex charging methods would include sacrifice, ritual and elaborate ceremonies.
Sacrifice can mean a variety of actions; and sometimes only includes yourself as the medium of sacrifice. Personal sacrifices could range from the giving of blood to the taking or declaring of vows, and all methods have their time, use and function. Sacrifice can also take the form of an animal or object; the destruction of life-force (or perceived life-force) in order to create something from it. Sacrifice can transfer power and also directly connect us to the Veil; the divine world.
Meditation, chanting (Galdraz) and drumming are excellent ways to charge a sacred space. These activities should make up a majority of your time with your altar; each being a way to directly flirt with the Veil and other realms. Through this practice, you can create a balance within yourself; disrupting and healing impeding feelings of depression, restlessness, and anxiety. Your altar should be your center in space and time.
Meditation guides us away from the constant onslaught of the mind, and we are given vision into the deeper layers of truth and existence with its’ application. Meditation brings us closer to that part of us which is immortal; that which exists beyond the flesh. Meditation allows us to see the parts of us that are as old as time; the true essence of our being. Through this practice, we attain insight into ancient and archaic wisdom.
Patience is a virtue when practicing meditation, and we must try to discard all expectations when entering this state. The key is to allow things to flux and flow within and around us; becoming mere vessels for the Earth and Cosmos to interact and mix within us. Do not attach your mind to anything that appears in this state, you will do this when you are finished. Instead, allow all thoughts and emotions to enter and pass through without attachment.
Offerings usually differ from person to person based on the intent and purpose of the altar or ritual. Some offerings might include stone, wood, metal, bone, fire, ash, smoke, incense, feathers, various food items, seeds and beverages. Some things are left for good to age with the altar itself, others are left for a certain amount of time to accumulate or disperse power. Items taken away may be used for magical purposes or be turned into amulets or talismans. If offerings are meant to be taken by others, such as animals, it is best to leave them be after placing them.
Galdraz, Galdr, or Galdor is a means of accessing, communicating, or commanding the forces of the Divine, based on the use of the voice. This can be done by chanting, singing, screaming, yelling, growling, hissing or any other manifestation of rhythmic vocal activity that will form the spell or incantation you are trying to send forth. Rune names are most commonly used in this practice; emphasizing their vowel sounds and calling them out with full and uninhabited intent. This is probably the most common and practical form of Northern magic, and can be utilized anytime and anywhere.
Some will argue that the volume of your Galdraz is not important, but personally, I disagree. Unless you have no other option (due to circumstances) but to Galdr quietly, you must practice this with a belly and chest full of air; exhibiting full power behind it when released. The reason for this, is because sound, like all matter, is based on vibration. With this in mind, it would seem logical that the stronger and more powerful the vibrations that your Galdr create are, then the more they will affect the world around you by altering its’ vibrations; like a ripple in a pool of water, expanding outward from the source.
Having this relationship with a sacred space keeps your mind, body, and soul balanced and in unison. When you can anchor your soul to a physical place, you can more easily travel the realms of existence. Like Yggdrasil, Irminsul, or the Axis Mundi, this place gives you a pillar into the heavens; and a portal down to the underworld. With this space, we can create an atmosphere dense with power and become more tactful with our energy use.
Spiritual energy is vital to us. Without the fire within the soul we cannot thrive and flourish, and in turn deteriorate and lose momentum. The more momentum we lose, the harder it is to regain; for it is much harder to build strong habits than to break them. This is where spiritual discipline comes into the equation, and we must be disciplined in order to achieve any sort of ascension beyond our current state. This is why having a living altar, practicing meditation, and carrying out sacrifice are all so important to our well being.
Having a connection to the divine gives us purpose and strength. We can pull anything we need from the Veil at any time; whether it be for the purpose of creation, healing or destruction. We can manipulate our world in endless ways, simply by the application of our Will, and the belief in our own power. Your spirituality should give you confidence, strength, and protection from fear.
Building your altar is a personal and ever evolving process. It will develop organically with your experience, research, and changing circumstances; so don’t expect it to stay the same always. You may venerate one God or many Gods; one force or many forces. Whatever forces you choose (or encourage) to inhabit the altar will do so, and the more you interact with these forces, the more they will do for you.
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 (ᛚ) 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 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 (ᚦ), 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jera represents the harvesting of your previously cultivated endeavors and energies. Whether that be physical, mental, or spiritual energy, it is the reaping of what you have sown. Jera shows you that your hard work has paid off; a feeling of accomplishment that should bring celebration and confidence. Jera represents patience and allowing things to come into fruition in due time; paired with hard work and determination.
Jera is a symbol of happiness and peace, a beacon of prosperity and success. It allows us to bask in the rewards of our efforts and feel hopeful for the future. We are given confidence and hope each time we complete a cycle upon the Earth; reaping rewards as we carefully master its’ patterns and habits. This act of harvesting provides the strength and will to trudge through the rough winter months of the year, which closely follow the final harvests.
Jera (and the harvest cycle) is shown by the sowing of crops, the maintaining of their growth and health, and the reaping of their benefits. It represents the breaking open of germinated space that has been cultivated to fruition. Jera is a rune of natures patterns, symbolizing a pivotal moment in the year when we make our last stand with the sun against the draconian winter. Jera is our final chance to prepare ourselves for the season of darkness.
Jera represents a release of internalized energy. When we’ve carefully maneuvered our ideas internally (with scrutiny and confidence), we can finally allow them to come forward and be released. Jera is the breaking of that closed internal space; a release from the internal realm. Jera is an external propulsion of force towards your goals and the harvesting of your mental, physical, and spiritual labor.
The Earth is alive, and its’ cycles of death and rebirth are also mimicked within us. As much as we harvest physical bounty in the fall, we also harvest metaphysical and spiritual bounty along with it. Like the falling leaves, we must also fall and wither. We must “die” with the sun and maneuver the realms of darkness; awaiting our triumphant rebirth in the spring!