This is an excerpt from "The Book of Rune Secrets" which I will be using as the basis of our Free Rune Course's study of rune meanings. You are encouraged to add your perspectives and feedback, write your own blog about the subject, or do any other creative things you like! Don't forget to upload a photo of yourself to your profile so we can get to know you better. Now, without delay, I present: Uruz, from the Book of Rune Secrets.

Uruz - from The Book of Rune Secrets

KEY CONCEPTS: manifestation, self- preservation, persistence, raw primal power, survival, physical growth, archetypal patterning, organic structure, formative life force, immediate action, permanence

The Auroch was a beast that symbolizes the principle of Uruz at work in our lives. It is a relative of the cattle, but wild and primal. To pass from the unconsciousness and dependence of childhood into the independence of adulthood, the individual must confront and best Uruz, the Auroch. Once upon a time, this was done as an actual test of might and courage against a living breathing Auroch. In our times, the Auroch is extinct, and it is we who are the beast.

Uruz is the rune of becoming. It is the rune of immediate action, in the physical and organic world. When a thought becomes a physical thing, it is being manifested through some means, into a reality. Through the secrets of Uruz we can shape our body, our environment, our habits and the structure of our brain.

This is our primitive, animal self. There is much of us that is not human. It is the messy, primal truth. The shit, sweat, sex, and hunger. The blood and guts and violence. No one is always above these things, nor is it necessarily wise to be. The messy organic reality of things is never quite as 'perfect' as we would like it to be.

Uruz is part self-preservation. It is the force that prevents you from jumping off a bridge or stepping in front of a car. It is the force that prevents you from stabbing your hand with a knife. It is a strong force, a heavy force. Doing strange things was not good for survival, so as life evolved, so did the routines that embed habit, conditioning, tradition and conformity. Uruz is like a center of gravity that stubbornly holds us to our accumulated patterns.

Uruz is the force that makes us grow from children to adults. It takes food and transmutes it into useful material for our body's essential structure. Uruz is also behind our habits and the basic mechanisms that allow us to copy the behavior of others, learn or invent new behaviors, and train ourselves athletically. We are usually conditioned unconsciously, but we can condition ourselves consciously, once we know how.

Uruz represents our genetic inheritance. It is the blueprint upon which our life force is based. Although there is a huge amount of wiggle room, we will constantly be confronted by the power of Uruz, as it acts to physically bind us to our old patterns, our physical blueprint, our habits and conditioning. Uruz is the pressure of conformity, of habit, of automation, reflex, and instinct. This is a sticky, stubborn force. It is territorial. It does not respond gently to being challenged.

Strangely, the conformity found on the surface of Uruz, which often contributes to territorial disputes and feuds between individuals and groups, is contrasted by the opposing reality that we are nearly genetically uniform as a species, despite the flourishes that make us unique.

You will notice that both Fehu in its focus on wealth and Uruz in its focus on health and bodily wellness both point toward extremely basic concerns that most of us spend an incredible amount of our time occupied with. When they are neglected, we soon come to ruin. They, like the other runes of this Aett, are fundamental human concerns, always at work in our mind -- important mysteries to be experienced and unlocked.

Uruz is a rune that can be understood, and harnessed. It represents the Auroch, which is to be overcome and mastered as a rite of passage into adulthood. The Auroch is a metaphor for grabbing the beast by the horns and taking control. Therefore, Uruz represents the indomitable human will, strength, courage and backbone, but also its blind, two-sided nature. We have all allowed, in some way, our own unconscious conditioning, our disempowering beliefs to grow into powerful and intimidating beasts.

Yet once harnessed, the secret of Uruz can make dreams into physical reality in the same way it slowly and surely persisted in making your body. But it takes work and perseverance to master because it is the embodiment of work and perseverance.

The energy of Uruz flows around the self, binding us to our biological form, fixing our patterns, and giving us permanence, but the cost is that we form habits and conditioning that can be difficult to shed.

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I m reminded of two things upon reading this. One: the chapter in Nietzsche's "Thus Spake Zarathustra" entitled "On the Three Metamorphosis" - the first form being a camel that receives the burden and does what it is told, and the second is the lion that roars "No!", and the third is the innocent child with the creativity/individuality of the lion but in a way that is innocent through a synthesis of the camel and lion. Somehow in the ideas you have here I was thinking of URUZ as that lion, and FEHU being the camel.

Second thought: Towards the end of your write-up I began to think of URUZ/the Aurochs as the lion in the Tarot deck - the Strength card where a gentle lady delicately holds open the ferocious mouth of lion. Which one truly represents strength? - the brute force of the lion (=URUZ?) or the ability to control this force?

You say: "[...] once harnessed, the secret of Uruz can make dreams into physical reality in the same way it slowly and surely persisted in making your body."

On the runic path of initiation the first task was to become fully conscious of my power, and claiming it (Fehu). The next step being the slaying of the Auroch (my fears). Clearing the blocks that stand in the way of expressing this power, and sharing this empowerment with my fellow humans.

Just a minor point. The name of the animal is Aurochs, not Auroch. In Dutch it is Oeros (primal oxen). It is the wild ancestor of our bovine cattle. It features on the walls of the Lascaux caves, our preglacial ancestors used to hunt it. In the 20th century the Heck brothers have attempted to breed back the original type, with a large input of Spanish fighting bulls. They got the general appearance quite good, but for the size of the bull. The Aurochs bull stood substantially higher that the cow. Heck cattle is often used in European nature reserves to maintain the landscape.


I'm glad you don't repeat the silly story that young Teutonic warriors were required to kill an aurochs as a rite of passage. I find it highly improbable, as the aurochs was already a threatened animal species when the first Teutonic tribes came to Europe. The caves of Lascaux and Altamira show beautiful rock paintings of aurochs bulls and cows, possibly because our oldest hunter/ gatherer ancestors revered the aurochs for its power. They date from 14000 to 17000 BC. Cattle was domesticated much later in the region encompassing present day Turkey and parts of Iran and Irak. Following the spread of agriculture from 11000 BC, domesticated cattle found their way into Europe, where oxen were used to plow the soil. .

Plow agriculture and permanent settlement, followed by population expansion lead to the downfall of the old hunter/ gatherer society nomadic way of life and the clearing of widespread woods where the aurochs had its habitat. When the megalith builders built their stone circles and dolmen, this transition was more or less completed. That was well before the migration of Indoeuropean tribes into Europe. In England there have been found no more recent remains of the aurochs than 1300 BC, and it never was indigenous in Iceland.

Cows and bulls were widely revered in the old lands. In addition to cow goddesses of fertility and plenty, there was the sacred Apis in Egypt, sacred winged bulls in Babylonia, bull-jumping in Minoan Crete and up till today the bull fights survive in Spain and Southern France. Mithras, the Persian Sun hero killed the bull and the Minotaur stands for the monster inside yourself (the Lower Self) that you have to bring to heel in order find your way out of the Labyrinth of your own making. By the way, who needs an aurochs, when our domesticated bulls are ferocious enough? Farmers know how dangerous bulls are, the older they get, the more dangerous they are.

So, I can agree with the symbol of the aurochs as our inner monsters. If you embark on an inner journey, be prepared to meet them. Don't let them scare you though, because it is only yourself. It is very much like the Tibetan Book of the Dead. In order to gain power, you need to go to the source within and confront your worst fears. But to me it's more than a rite of passage, more like an initiation.


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