Runic Opposites - the Elder Futhark in the Round

- Intro -

First and for most, this is not the first blog about runic opposites and the correlation of each individual rune meaning to it's seemingly polarized other. Vethorr has written a nice blog called Runes From a Numerological and Polar Opposites Perspective which is well written and informed. Though I couldn't resist and touch on the subject myself, giving my own perspective and creating a few visual aids that seem to help me when I remember the runes in the round - Enjoy!

- Runic Circular Opposites -

There are many ways to cut up, as well as sew together, the Futhark to get all kinds of combinations that can be seen as meaningful in both a divinatory and a mundane application. Once you start on the road of trying to find meaning in the runes beyond just a simple individual word association it seem that things can really go wild. My advice? Go wild! Take the connections that you find meaningful and run with them. Just remember - it's very likely that they are just that, your own personal connections. Here are some sequences that I have heard of, other than circular opposites, that I've tried to name and list for you.

- Pairs or Sisters - runes that appear next to each other in sequence: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 , etc,.


- Opposing Sequential Order - which pairs the runes in the order of opposing ends meeting in the middle: 1<=>24, 2<=>23, 3<=>22, 4<=>21, etc,.


- AEttr Sequence - the sequential relation of a rune to all the others within it's AEttr.


Vertical Triplets - the three rune sequence that is found vertically across the three AEttr: 1-9-17, 2-10-18, 3-11-19, etc,.  

My own journey in this kind of thinking about the Futhark started when I had seen the runes in a circular patter back in july of 2011. Since that's the pattern I currently have the most experience looking at and meditating on, my interpretation of each runes circular opposite is what I'll be focusing on today. So let's get started!

When the Elder Futhark is written out in a circle one will find that given the even number of runes, opposites can be found by drawing a line across the circle from one rune to another.

Here is a picture I made of the EF around an alchemical symbol of transmutation to help illustrate what the runes look like in a circular -  

- As a side note I used Dagaz as the last rune but Othala is just as, if not more, popular. 

The first time I ever saw the runes in this order was when I picked up a copy of Mountfort's work on the runes, titled Nordic Runes. I started to wonder if there was a meaning to the way the Futhark was ordered in more than just what I had learned from Aswynn's book, Northern Mysteries & Magick, where she theorizes - successfully in my opinion - that each of the three AEttr sequences have mythological meaning. After developing some thing of an opinion on the matter I decided to write a small section about the opposite of each rune in my own Galdrbok - which is more of a note book on the runes rather than a book of incantations. 

Now, just as Vethorr stated in his blog - there is no right way to see the relationships between opposite runes so please feel free to discard mine completely and create your own. 

Fehu & Ihwaz 

These two show the flow of cosmic energy. The cyclical movement that Fehu creates with a spark & vertically across spiritual & dimensional space with Ihwaz. Fehu can be seen as the fluctuating pull of a great attractor on history, Ihwaz. 


Uruz & Perthro

What could be called 'platonic forms', these two show growth and creation. Uruz forms that which is seen while Perthro generates that which is not seen - chaos. Male and female we encounter these two as the gift giving 'mead horn', Uruz, and the life giving 'cauldron', Perthro.


Thurisaz & Algiz

Thurisaz is the active & moving protector while Algiz is the rooting and immovable defender. Perhaps we can see them as being used for inner and outer action through the way they point. Left right - up down.


Ansuz & Sowilo

In Ansuz we see the triple god Odin, Vili and Ve while in Sowilo there shines the divine goddess and mother of all life on earth who gives and takes as she wills. 


Ridho & Tiwaz

Highest of all wills, Ridho moves us while showing us what we actually want and expect to take place. Tiwaz is the way in which to walk - fixed on the way of the warrior. 


Kenaz & Berkano

To a baby yet to be birthed the mother is the inner light towards which it grows, while the Mother sees the child as that which brings with it's birth joy and life to the outer world. Kenaz is the creator and laborer of ideas - Berkano the mother and she who gives birth to humanity. 


Gebo & Ehwaz

Gebo is the relationship of giving needed to understand the gift of union between the rider and the ridden. One gives, the other is the gift. Two movers - two staves.


Wunjo & Mannaz

Wunjo is what is needed to create society. Those who find joy will often look to find the divine looking right back at them - some time through those who have come before. In Mannaz we have the day being lifted up - this is impossible to do unless one is mature and able to find thanks giving. 


Hagalaz & Laguz

Both fall - Laguz nourishes and Hagalaz devours and some times it's the opposite. One impedes us while the other moves us along.


Nauthiz & Inguz

Inguz is the mother of invention while Nauthiz is that which needs inventing. One is pregnant with the future and the other is that which fertilizes - so often these two forces are at play with one another, causing one another. 


Isa & Othala

In the isolation and stillness of the cold winter night there is a song drifting through the air from the long house. Othala is the very definition of comfort, community, hearth & home. Isa is the cold biting stillness which can isolate as well as bring us together. 


Jera & Dagaz

One day at a time we count the seasons till Jól tide - burning the hearth every day in anticipation when Sowilo will come back to us. Microcosmic and Macrocosmic. 


- and as for those that see Othala in the last rune position please come up and share your own description for Isa & Dagaz as well as Jera & Othala! Thanks!

Next, I have a really easy trick to help you remember the runic circular opposites - just divide the EF in to two sets of twelve and pair up the same number. Just like this!

Well that's all I have for you today, but I would love to hear the different ideas you all have come up with or thought of while reading. So please! Leave your comments!!!

Study well & be well!

- Ent

PS - As a side note I didn't notice that my picture of the Elder Futhark in a circle around a triangle infused alchemical symbol corresponded so well with the nature of the three AEttr till I was half way through writing this - a triangle that points to the three runes which align vertically with one another. AMAZING!

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Comment by Sigha on March 7, 2012 at 1:48pm

awesome you have illustrated this work the way you did. it is very accessible and easy to understand. thank you for this work ♥

Comment by Tyriel [Rune Secrets Admin] on March 7, 2012 at 8:02pm

Try the counting up to 12, then counting down from 12. This makes Ihwaz and Jera both 12, and Fehu and Othala 1. 


The reason to contrast Ihwaz and Jera is that Jera represents time/horizontal, while Ihwaz represents the timeless/vertical. The debate on Dagaz being last so that it has some opposing presence to Jera (Year/Day) is an interesting one, but we soon come to the realization that at their core, both runes deal with cyclical time and therefor aren't very solid opposites. 

But then, are Fehu and Othala? Mobile property vs. estate and homeland? Beginnings vs. inheritence/legacy or what we leave behind.

The argument for contrasing Uruz to Dagaz rests in the contrast between the physical aspects of the one, and the enlightened or invisible aspects of the other.

In my book, I think that it becomes clear as a narrative why I think Othala is a logical final rune. But I don't want to derail Brynte's ideas here with too many of my own, they are just as valid and may provoke insight for many people!

Comment by Loclynn on March 8, 2012 at 7:07pm

Here are a few ideas to work with.

Comment by Loclynn on March 8, 2012 at 7:36pm

This is a great way to learn about Platonic tilings of Riemann surfaces. By doing so your mind will have the spacial mapping capacities for understanding relationships. Without working with grometry the human mind lacks spacial structure and thus you will miss so much more that is hidden in plane sigh.  

Even the smallest act of studding cubism such as the works of M.C. Escher has the biological affect of altering mental imaging structure's in the brain. In this site is a explanation of holistic systems.

Again geometry changes the way your mind works. Working with runes in this way will also transform your understanding of relationships 

Comment by Brynte Westlund on March 9, 2012 at 5:35pm

Thanks for the math Loclynn!

You and what you posted reminds me a bit of this man I met while I was on Pagan Space.

Cheers - Ent

Comment by Francis on March 9, 2012 at 11:12pm

NOTE 1: I cannot accept SOWILO as a goddess. For me, the interpretation of the Moon as male and the Sun as female do not work. It is the way this pair is assigned gender in Latin that resonates with me: Sun as male and Moon as female. After all, "Moon" is a word with the same root as in "mo(o)n-th"; and the FEMININE cycle is of 28 days (on average, that is) - and 28 is bascially one MO(O)N(TH). In other words, you count the feminine cycle by the phases of the Moon, do you not now?

Latin Sol (masculine), not Icelandic Sol(feminine) is what makes sense to me, what resonates with my inners. Latin Luna (feminine), not Icelandic Mani (masculine) are what resonate thus with me. I may be departing from the Germanic spirit here, but not my spirit, hahaha...

Could not the ancient Germanic myth-makers have been mistaken about the Sun and Moon's genders?

Comment by Loclynn on March 9, 2012 at 11:18pm
Comment by Francis on March 9, 2012 at 11:18pm

NOTE 2: I do not see how or why INGUZ/INGWAZ could be the "mother of invention," as you said. INGWAZ is the name of the fertility god, Lord INGWAZ - i.e, Freyr, or the same archetype. Archetypes are what is important here. Outward forms simply point; the forms themselves are but forms... INGWAZ creates (invents?) because he is SACRIFICED by his followers - just like Dionysos was sacrificed in the form of beingripped to shreds by his followers in a frenzied wine- and music-induced drunkenness; just like Jesus was sacrificed in the form of being tortured to death, i.e, being CRUCIFIED. They are all of the same deity, the same archetype - and this is a POWERFUL archetype that goes back way before the dawn of history, and exists in many cultures, including the Egyption myth of Isus/Osirus/Set. That is what the rune INGWAZ stands for.

Comment by Francis on March 9, 2012 at 11:20pm

NOTE 3: NAUTHIZ is not that which needs inventing because NAUTHIZ, meaning emergency or crisis, is that which needs to be overcome. NAUTHIZ is the "mother of invention," as it were.

Comment by Francis on March 9, 2012 at 11:21pm

NOTE 4: I simply LOVE your pairing of JERA and DAGAZ!!! I have never thought about it that way before, and I felt for it instantly.

Indeed, you interpret your runes differently from how I do; and I do learn so much from this. Please take me up on all the "points" I make!

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