The Norse Runes are very powerful and versatile tools. Being the building blocks of creation, they can be used in any type of magick. Here we discuss how they are used in healing. This just touches upon the healing we practice on my Tethatu Shamanic Healing Course.
Rune means whisper or secret. It refers to mysterious powers, given by Odin, as he hung for nine days on the World Tree. The secret powers of the runes are recorded in the Havamal, which is a cryptic poem describing the essence of the Runes. Meditating on this poem is what reveals to one a deep understanding of the subtle powers. So let’s take a look at the poem first:
Odin’s Rune Song
I know myself hanging on the wind cold tree for nine icy nights.
Wounded by the spear, consecrated to Wodan
I consecrated to myself.
I was hanging on the mighty tree which conceals man
Where man grew out of its roots.
They offered me neither bread nor wine
So I bent down in search.
I recognized the Runes; wailing I grasped them.
Until I sank down from the tree.
Now I began to increase, to be wise,
To grow and to feel well.
From the word, word grew after word
And deed shaped to deeds with deeds.
Now I know the songs like no wise one knows
And none of the children of men.
And should these songs, o human child, be unlearnable to you for sheer endless time;
Grasp them as you get hold of them, use them as you hear of them.
Hail you if you retain them.
The Magical Poem
I know the Songs that no wise woman knows
And none of the children of men.
The first Song is HELP, and help it will
Against sorrow, hurt, and any distress.
A second I know; quite useful to the children of men
Who practice the healing hand:
It chases disease and all pain,
It cures hurts and all wounds.
T H O R N
A third Song I know: If urgency tells me
To tie the opponent with magic
Then I dull the steel of my foes
So that their swords will not cut anymore.
A fourth Song I know: If an enemy puts
A tie of pliable limbs;
Then I speak the spell, the shackles break on the feet
And the fetters break on the hands.
This I know as a fifth: If in hostile flight
An arrow shoots into the crowd;
Not matter how it threatens, I block its force
By grasping it tightly with the look of my eyes.
A sixth one is mine: Should a warrior hurt me
With the roots of soft wood;
This warrior who awakens the hate within me
Shall be struck before it gets me.
H A G A L
A seventh I know: If the hall blazes high in flames
Above all the people;
No matter how it burns, I still save them all.
The Magic I know to perform.
N O D
An eighth one is mine: quite useful to hear
For all the people in danger and need.
Where hate should arise between man and man
I settle it fast.
A ninth one I know: danger is out in the sea
To protect my dear ship
I conjure the wind on the billowing floods
An I sing into slumber the sea.
A tenth one I know: When ill wishing spirits
Fly high in the air; I cause them to turn around
Back to their homes, deprived of their covers;
Back to their roots, bewildered their minds.
S I G
This I know as eleventh: Then I Lead
Into battle the friend, the beloved;
I sing it into his shield, so he will win in battle
And luck around him everywhere.
T Y R
A twelfth one I know: If I see the hanged man
On the tree, shaking in the wind
Then I scratch and I stain Runes
The warrior can talk and descends from the tree.
A thirteenth I name: If I wet the Son
With holy water
When he is facing the foes he cannot perish
And no blade can strike him into the dust.
A fourteenth I sing to all the assembled people
When I name the Divine names;
For nobody knows the characters of Albs
And of all Asir as well as I do.
M A N
A fifteenth I count: That which Volkrast, the gnome
Sang by the gates of the day;
To strength for the Asir, and to force for the Albs,
And to clear my own senses.
A sixteenth I know:
If from wise maiden I desire joy of love
Then I change the intent of the maiden
And I turn her feeling around.
A seventeenth I know:
To join together two lives
In love through wise law;
Both are willing, and no one will lightly part after this.
G I B O R
An eighteenth I learned, but I would not let this
Know a just anyone else; for the best Everyone keeps for himself.
That which leads to the end of the songs.
The one only knows who is in my arms as my only lover.
The first stage of Runic development is to learn the postures. These postures happen to match the positions used for kinesiology muscle tests, particularly the common tests for the 14 meridians, which happen to tie in with the runes. These muscle tests give us a way of diagnosing not only the health of each organ or meridian, but also the integrity of each runic energy within the patient, which will give us understanding of the deeper causes of their problems. The runes can then be applied to bring complete healing on all levels.
Not all runes are linked to meridians, but we will indicate which meridian where appropriate.
I give empowerments to the runic energies at the beginning of practice, to ensure the power flows well in all students.
- The first rune, FA, represents connection to God. The song suggests that it is used to call help. It is the foundation of all rune magick and healing, as we need this connection to God for our prayers to be answered, and to bring divine intervention to solve our problems. Distress is released when we can trust in this kind of help. Practicing this Rune builds this connection. This can be related to other systems we have for building the connection to God, such as reiki 4, sacred sun “supreme unity” attunement, the God attunement, and marifatullah. I will add all these empowerments during empowerment of this Rune.
- The second Rune, UR, is the divine energy stepped down a level, to become life. It is prana, chi, or any other name for the life force. This rune is not linked to one meridian, but rather strengthens all meridians. It boosts the life force, and is therefore a valuable first step before balancing of meridians. Sometimes, a person’s life force can be so low that acupuncture or other balancing techniques are of little help. This initial boost makes complete recovery possible.
- The third Rune, Thorn, relates to the heart. The poem suggests that the problem comes from the hostility of enemies. The rune dulls these attacks, so they have no negative effect. The heart is linked to ones self-esteem and motivation. Constant undermining tears these down. The stronger ones heart, the more immunity one has to these undermining influences. Initially a baby gets this strength by being held by its parents. While being held, the baby’s heart is entrained by the parents heart beat. Those who were not held enough, or whose parents had weak hearts, lack strength here, and tend to addictive behaviour. They are more prone to taking on shame from others, and are easily brought into a downward spiral; the more the heart is weakened, the more they are affected by the hostility of others. Thorn can give them the strength of heart they need to throw off all the shame and build self-esteem and positive motivation.
- The fourth Rune, Os, represents the wind-swept cloak of Odin, signifying numinous wisdom, and the Odic energy that frees us from bondage to matter. The song suggests its freeing power. It can be used to free one from rigid beliefs, laws and other blockages, and awaken magickal power. It is most useful for those who have been controlled. This rune has a secondary version, Othello, which relates to the circulation-sex meridian, and to sexual energy. The sex instinct is very much related to ones freedom and individuality. This is why teenagers become rebellious at puberty. Those whose rebellious nature was crushed, or who missed out on adolescence because they had to be responsible too early, tend to be weak here.
- The fifth Rune, Raidho, relates to the kidney. The arrow in hostile flight mentioned in the poem is a metaphor for negative thoughts and programs. If ones discrimination is low, or their consciousness not fully present, negative programs get in and can spread through the psyche uncontrolled. The kidney is a filter, which filters off toxins and allows water and nutrients to be absorbed. It is linked to ones discrimination, and is weakened by fear. In fear, one tends to either block out helpful influences through mistrust, or let in harmful influences out of desperation. The Raidho Rune can clear out the negative programs, end fear and restore discrimination.
- The sixth Rune, Ken, relates to the stomach, and secondarily to the liver. It is Rune of fire, which relates to the digestive fire, and also a rune of karma. As the poem suggests, it can protect one from enemies. The stomach tends to store feelings of overwhelm. This can come from adolescence, when the awakening of new feelings and instincts, plus the extra pressure put on us at school to prepare for exams, can be too much. This is actually a good training for overwhelming influences later, if our fire grows strong enough to embrace the challenge. Usually, this fire does not get fed, since we no longer have the rites of passage to see us through important changes. The roots of soft wood in the poem suggest that the damage does not come through obvious enemies, but in more subtle ways. Pressures of work, taxes, various corrupt authorities trying to con us out of money, banks threatening to foreclose, are all attacks on our security that can overwhelm us. The Ken Rune gives us strength and protection against these hostilities. The liver is weakened when we lose and don’t have the faith to start again. Again, the Ken Rune can restore the fire.
- The seventh rune Hagal, relates to the spleen. The spleen stores hopelessness, apathy, and memories of giving up. It is closely involved with the overwhelm patterns of the stomach. One major difference is that the spleen is an energetic transformer that can unleash vast amounts of psychic energy. This is an important factor in overcoming the overwhelming problems. Under duress, these psychic energies can make a huge difference to the outcome. Because belief in metaphysical powers has been undermined, people often collapse into apathy without calling upon their hidden power. Those with no belief tend to have weak spleens. As the poem says, “no matter how it burns, I still save them all, the magick I know to perform.” Use this Rune when magickal power is needed to solve overwhelming problems, and to restore hope.
- The eighth Rune, Nod, represents the need-fire. It is the Rune of need, karma and the divine manifesting itself within the finite Universe. It contains the power to fulfil our needs. This ability is blocked by guilt, hate and concepts of bad karma. This Rune can be used to release these blocks so that we can allow our needs to be provided for. By dissolving hate, it can also be used to settle conflicts between people.
- The ninth rune, Is, is the rune of self-consciousness. It strengthens the personality (ship) by calming emotionally charged thoughts ( the wind on the billowing floods). It relates to the lung meridian. The lungs are influenced by our expression of self. They are weakened when our voices are not heard, and our expression is suppressed, or becomes unbalanced. When we are not heard, we either stop communicating, or become very loud and forceful, in which case the lungs are over stimulated, which can also lead to disease. Strengthening the true sense of self can correct these imbalances.
- The tenth Rune, Ar, relates to the large intestine. It represents the solar child returning from the darkness. It is a Rune of reframing, that brings change from within. It can release subconscious patterns by going back to their point of origin. The large intestine relates to solid, core personality issues that form very early in life. During these early years, when the child’s aura is not yet formed, if not kept within the parents aura, it is vulnerable to astral entities. Ancestral spirits that have not moved on commonly attach themselves to the child at this stage, so ancestral patterns are passed on. As the poem suggests, this Rune can turn those spirits away, which is an essential part of the healing of the large intestine.
- The eleventh Rune, Sig, is the rune of the Sun, and of victory, success and good luck. Use it to reverse bad luck, and to generally make life easier. This is also important for nervous problems, as people become stressed by constant troubles, and fall into negative expectation, constantly tense from expecting danger. It can have a healing effect on the central meridian and gallbladder meridian.
- The twelfth Rune, Tyr, is the Rune of resurrection, particularly for the warrior. It relates to the triple warmer meridian, and secondarily to the central meridian. The warrior in us can be crushed by authorities, giving us no resource to maintain our own will and integrity. When this happens we lose power, our boundaries are weakened, we become cold. Tyr can resurrect our warrior and take back our power, restoring our voices.
- The thirteenth Rune, Berk, is the Rune of the Mother, birth and spiritual rebirth. It relates to the small intestine meridian. It is dualistic in that on one hand it keeps one under the Mothers protection and provides safety, but on the other hand being tied to the Mother stops one from growing up. It fits with the time a person must venture out from the safety of the Mother and find themselves. It provides a good foundation of self-worth and discrimination, without which one becomes prey to all kinds of tricksters, loses confidence, becomes humiliated, and develops shame. These weaknesses tend to get stored in the small intestine, closely related to the tan tieng point below the navel, which is a measure of ones inner strength, and how centred one is. These weaknesses can be healed by the Rune, which will take one back to safety where they can learn anew.
- The fourteenth Rune, Laug, relates to the gallbladder meridian. It is the rune of water, the etheric body and the original laws of life. The poem suggests that it brings knowledge of the divine. This is the foundation for trust. The gallbladder meridian relates to trust issues. Without this trust, we have constant anxiety about what problems life may bring. Laug will build this trust, based on inner knowing of the divine, so even if it is not consciously recognized in any religious sense, we can go through life free from worry.
- The fifteenth rune, Man, is the rune of man as a resurrected god. It develops mans’ spiritual powers, strengthens the aura, and gives protection. It should be used whenever one is not satisfied with ones spiritual development and is becoming frustrated. This spiritual frustration can be another cause of health problems, and can affect the spleen, thyroid, pituitary and pineal.
- The sixteenth rune, Yr, represents our desire for completion and perfection, the roots of the World tree, and God descending into the World of matter. It overcomes illusions about the World, which can be a painful process, and provides protection while we wake up. It can help us to know our true position as creators in the World, and is used to strengthen our faith. This also builds protection against all kinds of manipulation and psychic influences and strengthens the aura.
- The seventeenth Rune, Eh, is the rune of cosmic union. It transcends the 16 younger Runes. It can be used to find this great union within, or to find a soul mate.
- The eighteenth Rune, Gibor, is a further state of cosmic union. It represents the union of God with the World, Creator with creation. It leads to cosmic consciousness, and the ultimate vision of God, known as the divine gnosis. It also represents a gift. Exchanging gifts is a preparation for union, and an important step in the magick of co-creation.
The Runes are formed as body postures, illustrated below. As you slowly move through the postures in a way similar to Tai Chi, the powers develop, and you feel them flowing through your body. Meditation on each rune, and its corresponding verse in the Rune Song, develops deep insight into its nature, how it interacts with the human being, and how to resolve spiritual, mental and emotional issues with it. The above descriptions are a good start, and will allow you to heal many of the problems that afflict mankind, but deeper knowledge comes with experience. There is a whole form that is practiced, going through all 18 Runes, but you can also meditate on one Rune at a time by practicing its posture. Once you have practiced the postures and felt the energies, it is easy to call up those energies at will, whenever you wish to heal or perform magick.
In the video below, I demonstrate the rune posture sequence.
Guidelines for Rune Yoga Practice
- Stand relaxed, feel your roots to the earth, and adopt an attitude of feeling open. Keep a slight space under your arms as if holding eggs in your armpits.
- Breathe in slowly as you enter the Rune posture, breathe out slowly as you come out of it.
- Imagine a slight resistance to your movements, as if you are swimming.
- Do the movements slowly enough for you to feel the energy flowing through your body.
- Imagine you are forming the Runes for the Gods to watch.
- Allow no thoughts of limitation.
Guidelines for Healing
- Adopt the same open feeling as when you practice Rune yoga.
- Think of the Rune, and repeat the appropriate verse from the Rune poem.
- Feel the power flowing through your hands, into the patient.
- This power is best applied to acupuncture points on the appropriate meridian for the Rune.
- Also use this healing during regression for solving the emotional/mental cause of the problem.
If you would like to be initiated into the runic powers and receive the empowerments, as well as master these healing methods, full training is given on my Tethatu Shamanic Healing Course, beginning 14th – 15th September, 2019. Find out more here.