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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hagalaz

  Having completed the first aett we move on to the second, which begins with Hagalaz.
 Hagalaz looks like an English upper case "H" with the crossbar slanted downwards, and indeed it represents  an "h" sound as well. This makes Hagalaz one of the easier runes to remember on sight and to write with. This rune appears in this form in the Elder Futhark, but may have a different form in other Futharks.
    The Anglo-saxon rune poem says this about Hagalaz:
   "Hail is the whitest of grain;
it is whirled from the vault of heaven
and is tossed about by gusts of wind
and then it melts into water." 
 The Norwegian says:
   "Hail is the coldest of grain;
     Christ created the world of old."
 And the Icelandic:
   "Hail - cold grain
and shower of sleet
and sickness of serpents." (http://www.ragweedforge.com/poems.html)
  From this we can easily grasp the basic meaning of this rune: hail. Each rune poem references it, although the Anglo-saxon gives it the least harsh feel. Both the Icelandic and Norwegian call it the coldest of grain, while the Anglo-saxon says it is the whitest. The Icelandic also relates it to sleet while the Anglo-saxon says that it turns into water. Anyone who has experienced hail knows that it stings when it hits you and can cause great damage to the environment. Hail can destroy an entire harvest and may also be associated with, or even the harbinger of, a worse storm. Sleet makes the ground slippery and treacherous and is truly miserable to travel in; it may also create flooding or freeze into ice depending on the temperature. Looking at all of this we can understand this rune as representing unexpected destruction or loss, particularly of what we have worked for. It may also symbolize a disruptive event or the sudden end to a situation. Some people see Hagalaz as a loss that opens the way for new beginnings or in some sense wipes the slate clean. Others view this rune as a sign of disaster, destruction, and disruption in general, although it may also be seen as transformation (as ice melts to water) and the potential for new growth from the old.
   In divination Hagalaz can appear as a warning of potential disaster to offer the opportunity to change course, or a sign that what is being worked for will soon be lost. In some cases it represents losing what exists now in favor of what is potentially better, while in others it may be a sign of the futility of fighting to keep what is doomed. It represents an ending or loss however the runes around it may amplify or mitigate it's message.
  Magically Hagalaz should be used with great caution. It may be used to unbind something but with the understanding that it will tear down to provide an opportunity to build back up rather than simply loosen. Its the difference between untying a cord (gently unbinding) and setting the cord on fire (using Hagalaz). This rune can also be used to hex or curse if the goal is to utterly tear down or destroy. I would not recommend using it on yourself to release the old and get a fresh start, as it's energy is likely to have extreme effects, unless you believe there is no other option to free yourself from a situation.

References:
Taking Up the Runes by Diana Paxson
 the Rune Poems http://www.ragweedforge.com/poems.html

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