Reprinted from "Rainbow Wind" Magazine
Ansuz, the "A" rune, is the fourth rune in the first aett of the Elder Futhark. The Proto-Germanic word "Ansuz" means a "God", that is, the Gods and Goddesses of the Aesir and Vanir. This rune is particularly connected to Odin. Therefore, the "blank", 25th, or so-called "Odin's Rune" is superfluous and should not be used. Ansuz is Odin's Rune. Under Christian influence, the name of this rune was later changed. The Old English Rune Poem gives it the meaning of "mouth" as the origin of speech. This is, however, still tied in with Odin. The Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme identifies it with an "estuary", or river mouth. The Old Icelandic Rune Poem retains the ancient meaning, attributing it specifically to Odin.
Odin is a God of poets and all inspiration. Whereas Thurisaz, last month's rune, builds a fire under you and makes you get going (sometimes necessary but usually most unpleasant), Ansuz inspires you and makes you want to get on with the work at hand. You can learn much of this rune by learning about the Norse Deities. Although etymologically unconnected, from the Heathen perspective the words "God(s)" and "good" have much in common. Our Gods are good! They give good things, things you really want and can use in the here and now. This forms an interesting contrast with the Monotheistic Deity, often (and in my opinion accurately) accused of promising "pie-in-the-sky, by-and-by" and which is usually against physical pleasures. Any time you experience anything that embodies real, down-to-earth goodness, whether it be a good meal, a good cup of coffee, a good book, or good sex, you can perceive in it something of the Norse Gods and the Ansuz Rune. Remember that Heathenism is not a dualistic religion. The physical world is also spiritual. What is practical and commonsensical is also holy. This can even apply to warfare! As in Old Japan, some Germanic warriors sought spiritual enlightenment through battle. Remember that Odin is also a God of War.
The magickal and divinatory meanings of Ansuz include such things as Odin (and the other Gods and Goddesses), inspiration (including poetic and artistic inspiration), blessings, good fortune, wisdom, (positive) magick, guidance, good influences, allies and unexpected help, mystery, teachers and other mentors, and the direction North (the holy direction, that of the Gods in the Norse tradition and that which the godhi or gythia faces when ritually invoking them). As you can see, it is in every way a particularly good and useful rune. Thurisaz, incidentally, is associated with the South (hot climate and the Fire Giants which destroy the current Universe in the Ragnarok myth). Ansuz is the antithesis of Thurisaz. Ansuz leads on to higher and better things. It is a rune of evolution and increasing knowledge. Our Gods are evolutionary forces. They started with chaotic matter and helped it organize and evolve into our Universe as well as helping it survive. Humans partake of a spark of the divine. Our job in the scheme of things is to grow, evolve and develop, and in the process help the Gods and Goddesses in this ongoing task!
Ansuz is essential to spoken spellcraft. It embodies the difference between a Wizard or Wizardess and a spellbook commando with a cheap book of half-understood spells. Ansuz makes a stick into a magickal wand. It is an essential spark of understanding and inspiration which will enable you to compose your own effective spells and rituals. Those who wish to learn Norse magick must thoroughly master this rune! It will help you uncover many secrets in the natural world, as well as old lore cleverly hidden and preserved in myths and folklore. It can be used to help you find and nourish the divine spark within you, and to contact your patron God or Goddess.
Enjoy your work with this especially inspiring and enjoyable rune! Many pleasant surprises may await you. Please feel free to share any personal questions, experiences with and insights into the runes with me c/o this publication or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again Ingeborg S. Norden for serving as linguistic consultant.
The following comment is from my friend and fellow student of Thorr and Audrey Sheil, Pam C. and is posted by permission. It is her story of how one our Goddesses revealed to her the essence of Ansuz, the Rune of Divinity:
"Thinking back, I find that the Ase rune was the first to reveal itself to me, through Sif. She is a good friend, and seems to be always nearby. I often wonder why it is that I felt so strongly about having Freyja as my Female patron instead of Sif, but I suppose it is the warrior attitude that I have which was strongest. Should you ever sit down at a sewing machine to sew something you find confusing, call to Sif. The sewing will be effortless, and it will leave you glowing (hard to explain further than that)."
Works consulted: At the Well of Wyrd: A Handbook of Runic Divination by Edred Thorsson. Samuel Weiser, Inc. and The Road to Bifrost, Volume III: The Runes and Holy Signs by Thorr and Audrey Sheil, who have several links on my main webpage and its links page.. I definitely recommend these books and all others by these two authors. Edited by Chandonn for use by Jordsvin
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