Search This Blog

Friday, September 7, 2012


Rune of the Month: Kenaz

   This month we will be looking at Kenaz, Kaun, or Cen. It is represented by the letter “K” in English, although it is also sometimes compared to the letter “C”, which its shape resembles. Like many ancient alphabets the Futhark has a K which would be equivelant to a hard C, or an S which would be used for a soft C, but no single letter C. Kenaz is the sixth rune of the first aett and dovetails nicely with the last rune we discussed, which in many ways is it’s opposite.
    The rune poems take a wide veiw of the meaning of this rune. In the Anglo-Saxon Kenaz is compared to a torch whose bright light illuminates indoors where noble people rest.
Anglo-Saxon: "The torch is known to every living man by its pale, bright flame;
it always burns where princes sit within"
In contrast the Norwegian and Icelandic both compare it to illnesses <possibly interpreted as fevers> which are fatal to children.
Icelandic: "disease fatal to children; and painful spot; and abode of mortification"
Norwegian: "Ulcer is fatal to children; death makes a corpse pale"
Almost all of the modern meanings for Kenaz are derived from the Anglo-Saxon with little emphasis put on the other two. It is generally agreed that the meaning for this rune is strongly connected to the torch lighting the way. It can be seen as divine guidance or inspiration, hope in any situation as well as the ability to see the source of a problem. At it’s most basic it is fire, the fire of initiation, transformation, transmutation, but also the forest fire and fire as it consumes and destroys. It is the fire of the forge which allows us to shape and change our reality. Some runesters connect this rune to sexuality as well.  On the negative side it can represent illness as well as a fear of moving forward or leaving the safety of the present situation.
   When Kenaz comes up in divination it can represent the need to trust in the guiding light of spirit. It tells us that we are in a position to be lead through our present darkness if we follow the light within us. It can also be an indication that we need to express ourselves creatively, to release the fire within us. It appears to tell us that we are in a position of transformation and renewal. Sometimes it will show up to indicate a need for control, or as a warning of impending illness. I have had it come up in readings as a warning to be careful around health issues and to prepare for possible health challenges.
   Kenaz can be used in spells to help call on the divine light for guidance as well as in charms for inspiration or to enhance creativity. As a fire rune it works especailly well when carved on candles for candle spell, or for adding the intense energy of fire to a spell. For healing purposes it could be used for someone who is hypothermic or severely chilled, but should be carefully monitored and removed as soon as it has accomplished the goal, lest it go too far and create the opposite problem for the person. It can also be used in cursing, as can thurisaz, when its destructive side is unleashed on a person. This rune more than most requires care when used; like any fire it must be controlled and directed or it can easily assume a life of its own.
   As with the previous runes, doing a meditation technique were you travel into the rune is a good way to learn the energy of Kenaz. The addition of a candle during meditation can also help get you in tune with this energy. As always its a good idea to write down your expereinces in a journal.
  Next month’s rune: Gebo

rune poem translations from
Paxson, D, Taking Up the Runes
Aswynn, F., Northern Mysteries and Magic


  1. Have you read Kari Tauring's book on the runes? She relates kenaz to Brigid's fires of healing, smithcraft, and inspiration. Nice little tie-in for us Celto-Germanic types. :-)

    1. No I haven't read that one, but I will definitely have to find a copy.