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: WUNJO, from the Book of Rune Secrets.

Wunjo - "Joy"

KEY CONCEPTS: Fellowship, harmonious groups, leadership, connection, understanding, celebration of life, play

Wunjo is a rune that recognizes joy as our most powerful human desire. We all want happiness, we feel that everyone deserves happiness. If we find that someone is unhappy, we instinctively know that they deserve the hope of a better life. We are genuinely concerned for the well-being of others. Despite what some people think, most people are caring, and wish they understood the roots of suffering so that they could alleviate it all around them.

Connecting with people we love is something that really brings joy into our hearts, and we are saddened whenever there is a falling out, or death. Wunjo is commonly interpreted as the joy that emerges from meaningful face to face connections with family, friends and community; in other words, the tribe. It is also the movement of energy into the realm of the unknown: the excitement and freshness of meeting new friends, and experiencing different ways of life. It is strangers able to smile freely at one another. Its energy can sometimes be felt as a 'click' when two people meet and suddenly see eye to eye.

It is also something more fundamental: the joy of just being. To be alive is enough. In our age, we are each leaders of tribes. We manage contacts and a variety of relationships. When we choose our friends carefully, we are consciously shaping ourselves. No one is able to remain unchanged by deep connections with other people, so cultivating positive connections with positive people is a great task in life. It seems unfair to select some over others, but our happiness depends on it.

Wunjo as a murk-stave represents the manifestation of aggressive tribalism, pressures of conformity, group insecurity, hostility toward other groups or outsiders, gossip -- and the whole host of human issues that lead away from the joyful celebration of one another’s diversity, forever enjoyed by free people. It can represent personal and national depression, a lack of joy in life, often as a consequence of these other symptoms of social degradation.

Creating or mending the relationships between people is an important task. This is the great art of a healthy community. The nurturance of a more stable state of universal content is the hallmark of Wunjo's secret power, and provides the base state for joy to most easily emerge from.

Wunjo is also the domain of shared identity, conveyed in culture, traditions and art. When art and tradition fall too heavily under neglect, the culture unravels and stagnates, the communities become joyless and our work seems mundane and pointless. We toil for future promises of safety while our communities and culture fall apart. Fun is replaced by work. There are less uplifting experiences to be had, fewer positive states to be shared. So Wunjo is a very social energy, and affects the texture of our every day relationships.

The secret of this rune is that joy and freedom go hand in hand. To realize this, we need to have "free time" as a focus in our lives. The reversal of Wunjo’s power often comes with isolation and a conspicuous lack of time and flexibility in one’s work. Wunjo is an excess of energy that spends itself living life as a celebration, every day as your first and your last, and adopting as family any friend who enters your life. Spontaneous creativity emerges from such play. We see it among children, or in the friendly battles of wits between young adults, or the wise teaching of our elders. Life is good. Wunjo is to know and feel this above and despite everything. It is the lightness of being, which children tend to have. It is a powerful form of freedom.


Source: "The Book of Rune Secrets"

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Hey, are you all depressed or very serious and busy? Wunjo is about Joy, pleasure, kinship, celebrating friends, social energy... and there isn't a single comment yet about this rune! You know it's not even in the younger futhark... the Norse lost some of their sense of humour as a result, I'm sure.

Read the above lesson, and tell me what you think! Ask questions, too, if you have any, and I'll write you a detailed answer.

Thanks for the nudge :-)!

Wunjo was my introduction to runes and remains something to latch onto when I need to be reminded of joy. Its tribal energy definitely resonates. I broke my little personal symbol of Wunjo, which arrived out of the sea and carried with it sunshine and peace .... But the broken symbol did not erase the memory of the day of discovery nor the days of joy with my family and close ones .... Still, to be consciously joyful requires focus ... As you say, we get busy, we get tired, we get stressed and we get depressed ... Perhaps a newly wrought symbolic reminder of Wunjo would help the focus.

For me, joy starts with the realization that I exist, I am alive. For many years I took this for granted, or for a problem to be solved (for example by trying to escape through transcendence, or following the white rabbit). But if you stop to think about it for a moment, this is already a miracle in and of itself. I could also not have been here (could I?). Or my situation could be much worse. That I exist, sitting here, being aware, typing these words, the gentle sound of rain in the background, you reading these words... Wow! How is this possible? I do not know, this mystery is too big to comprehend.

From this realisation joy and gratitude begin to flow naturally, just for being here.

When I relax into simply being here, just for this moment there is no need, nowhere to go, nothing to achieve. All this may come back later, which is ok. Just for this moment, happiness is here.

And since it is, I do not need to chase intense sensations in the future because the subtle bliss of just being here is enough. I am able to open up to the sensual experience called life. The world becomes my beloved. The wind caresses me softly. The sun is a warm embrace. The sound of the rain is the intimate whispering in my ear, a love song by the Goddess of life herself. I dance in this tantric embrace. Life becomes my karezza partner where there are no goals, no peaks to chase after, just this moment, fully embraced as it is.

Bliss, or joy, comes from the realisation that these simple things, like seeing, hearing, touching, tasting are not for granted. These are miracles of existence. You are life itself, possibly and hopefully (!) amazed that it can experience itself.

Here we are. If we believe the story of the Big Bang it took Life about 13.75 billion years to become conscious of itself. So lets take this timeless moment and enjoy the fact that we do.

Wunjoy and love to you!

It has already been mentioned on this site that Wunjo is Freyja's Rune - by Loclynn I believe. I fully agree with this, especially that Vanadis is Her second well-known name. After all, with both Fehu and Wunjo there is often little else left to be desired! Unfortunately the way many people attempt to  grasp the energy of Wunjo today has more to do with Bacchus than with Freyja!

Not a single post in 5 days! It can be a proof of the impression I have: the majority of people studying runes appear to overlook this particular one. The possible reason for this is that it is often misjudged to be "the weakest" one of the 24 - no dramatic positive change promised and no possible dangerous applications either! It is difficult to think of a way to weaponize Wunjo or apply it for self-defense. But then even in everyday life real joy and happiness are often underestimated as a mighty source of inspiration doubling one's strength for any task at hand! People tend to think that getting certain things - becoming rich, winning fights, being in command etc. - will automatically make them happy so there is no need even to mention the fact. But what use is to get things that don't make you happy in the end? And why so many extremely successful and well-off people spend so much time and money on their psychotherapists with no apparent result? I think Wunjo has to always be included among the resulting runes in any runescript and even on its own it can work miracles, especially in combination with Sowilo.

In my mind, definitely a rune associated with contentedness, peace, joy, fellowship, stability and building toward these aims. Underestimated because they seem like small things but are actually the some of the must powerful in the 'mundane' sphere.

Ways to weaponize (or murkstave as we call it) Wunjo? Of course. War and misery, tribal feuds, loss of friendships and family.

Gebo and Wunjo are often overlooked though, yes. They are not part of the younger futhark (norse) runes.

Overlooking Wunjo and Gebo in Futharc as well as in life is pretty much like doing long hours of hard work and never collecting your payment! In other words - voluntary slave labour (not to be confused with working as a volunteer since it is Wunjo and Gebo that often motivate people to take up such an occupation) When I spoke of weaponizing I meant modifying a normally peaceful tool or object to adapt it for causing harm and injury. I think that even at its murstave Wunjo only postpones joy and happiness till later times, but never cancels them altogether, let alone turns them into their opposites - after all what opposites can possibly be found to Wunjo except for its total absense? Bad enough of course, but in my opinion pain and suffering are separate phenomena that have ways of their own. The only malevolent use of Wunjo I can think of is causing joy and happiness in someone thus distracting him/her from issues demanding immediate attention. Eg: two students fall for each other head over heels, stop attending lectures and end up flanking their exams. 

Work-wise, I had the worst year ever. More & more responsibility was placed on me and I continued to accept it. I was even thinking of leaving my career. I lost my self, & my compassionate nature. I wasn't even making time to make eye contact with people. Things are already looking up. I've changed some things and given up some positions (I don't care about the money & I usually have no problem saying "no"). I will never allow myself to be put in that position again & Wunjo seems like the perfect rune to help me stay resolute. I must do what I enjoy in order to be happy. I can't enjoy myself or my life when im working 16 hours a day. I do love what I do and I wish Wunjo for all of you.

"...thus distracting him/her from issues demanding immediate attention."


Interesting. I wonder if Wunjo could then be used to counter addictive behavior? To realize that you can be happy as you are rather than by dependence on ___?

Alternatively, one murkstave interpretation of Wunjo could be procrastination - to do something that makes you happy instead of doing what you need to.

I posit that there could be fewer posts on Wunjo because joy is something that is so hard to describe; it's much easier to just experience it.

Hmm.  The rune of joy.  Felt it's embrace for awhile among those I care about, cherish, and love who I missed so much this month.  Have been enjoying the post and the comments on this rune, and will come back to this rune again as I read each rune starting from the first Att(sp?) to the next.


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