Wednesday, June 20, 2012
This month we are studying the fourth rune of the first aett, called Ansuz, Ás, Áss, or Os. It is cognate with the letter “A” in English. Just as the first two runes, Fehu and Uruz, represented opposite principles, so do Thurisaz and Ansuz. Where Thurisaz is a wild and chaotic energy symbolizing thorns, Ansuz represents wisdom, civilization, and communication. Where Thurisaz often stands for the Thurses, most destructive of the Norse giants, Ansuz is the rune of the Allfather Odin, ruler of the Norse gods who strive to impose order on the choas. By studying the dichotomy between the rune pairs in these cases we can learn much about their energy.
In the Anglo-Saxon rune poem Ansuz is compared to the mouth, giver of language, which dispenses wisdom and comfort and is a source of happiness and hope. The Norwegian poem is more vague saying “River mouth is the way of most journeys; but a scabbard of swords” however when we look closely at this couplet we can discern that it is saying that speech guides action as it “is the way of journeys”, and brings about peaceful resolutions by keeping swords sheathed in their scabbards. The Icelandic is very blunt saying simply that Ansuz is Odin, leader of the Aesir, lord of Valhalla. Since Odin is the god of speech, wisdom, and giver of the runes <written language> all of these things are implied in this poem. From the rune poems we can perceive the modern meanings of the rune, which first and foremost is communication. Inherent in this are the concepts of language, negotiation, speech, song and poetry - any craft involving words. It is a rune of order which also represents wisdom, knowledge, and advice, any and all mental or creative activities, as well as the transmission of ideas. To some modern rune readers it also symbolizes occult mystery, the divine power in our lives, and magic, especially that which is spoken. It is divine ecstacy of spirit, the wisdom which we gain through actively doing.
When Ansuz appears in divination there are a variety of meanings that can be appropriate. In order to interpret you can either go with your first instinct or look at the surrounding runes for a clue to which meaning is most applicable. In a reading it can represent negotiations and the need to find a peaceful solution through discussion. It tells us to use our creative gifts to express ourselves and as a way to honor deity. It speaks of the need for wisdom, to embrace the lessons that come to us as well as a call to teach what we have learned. It signifies that communication is key to finding the answer to the question being asked. It can also indicate the divine presence in our lives, to get our attention and ask us to be aware of the messages divinity is sending us, on occassion representing the god Odin inparticular. In some cases it may indicate the need for a magical solution to a problem.
Ansuz can be used in any spell involving communication, which could include love, confidence, and employment spells, to name a few. Writing Ansuz on or in a charm bag, or on a candle adds the energy of the rune into the spell, and drawing the rune on the mouth helps us to speak up if we are shy. In cases of public speaking - whether giving a report in school, for work, teaching a class or conducting a ritual - the rune can be traced three times over the forehead, mouth, and throat to give us more eloquence. This is a fun one to experiment with as it’s energy is fairly gentle and easy to work with, so feel free to use it as much as you’d like until you are comfortable with it, making sure to write everything down in your rune journal.
Next month: Raido