This month we are looking at the seventh rune of the first aett, called Gebo or Gifu. To someone familiar with the English alphabet it looks nearly identical to a capital letter X, but makes a hard “G” sound. Gebo is found in both the elder and younger Futhark.
The only surviving rune poem we have for Gebo comes from the Anglo-Saxon and it speaks to us of the dual nature of giving: "Generosity brings credit and honour, which support one's dignity;
The first half refers to the honor earned by men who give generously, while the second part discusses how essential such giving is to those in need who have nothing. In this way we can see the core meaning of the rune established - the balance between giving and receiving which is essential to our ability to function and progress. This rune is associated by some with the Norse god Odin, goddess Gefjon, and the Vanir. It is represented by the heathen maxim “a gift for a gift”, and can symbolize reciprocity, an exchange, sharing, joining, and sometimes marriage or sexual union. Some runesters also interpret it to represent prosperity, abundance and good luck, although others see it as a rune of balance which may symbolize contracts and agreements. In the negative it can remind us that all things have a price and that we must give in order to receive.
When Gebo appears in divination, depending on the surrounding runes it can represent a partnership of equals - if for example mannaz was nearby - or else the need to seek or be open to help or guidance - if Ansuz was next to it. It can also remind us to seek a balance of opposites and to review areas of our lives to be sure we are both giving and receiving in a healthy manner. It can sometimes appear simply as a sign of good luck and abundance. The message of Gebo always carries a reminder that giving and receiving creates an energetic bond between the two parties which inevitably effects both of them.
In magic Gebo can be combined with other runes to good effect. To increase wealth draw Gebo and Fehu together on a green candle, or trace on a dollar and keep in your wallet. This combination can also be used to increase luck. For good luck draw three or nine Gebo runes in a row or grid pattern. To aid in spiritual enlightenment during ritual or meditation combine Gebo and Ansuz in a single bind rune and trace on your forehead, and to add speed to any spell trace three Gebo runes combined with three Ansuz runes onto the candle or charm.
This is a fun rune to experiment with, and that can be a very effective way to get to know it’s energy. Try adding it to your spells, either as mentioned above, or in your own way, and observe the effects. One easy way to start is to draw it on a dollar bill, possibly with a good money drawing oil, and carry with you. It is also useful to meditate on the rune, visualizing I and seeing the rune’s shape growing larger and opening up until you move inside it’s shape. Spend time within the energy this way and allow the energy itself to shape the images you see. When you feel you are done see yourself moving out of the rune’s shape and watching it shrink back down. Write down your experiences in a journal.
Next month we will look at Wunjo.
Taking Up The Runes by Diana Paxson,
Northern Mysteries and Magic by Freya Aswynn,
Runes by R I Page