Free Rune Course Beginning March 1st 2012

Welcome to Rune Secrets! Many of you know me as Tyriel, the admin of Rune Secrets and the author of The Book of Rune Secrets.

The Rune Secrets Study Community at started Beta in March of last year, and has since grown a vibrant and active membership base.

Now, I am going to conduct a massive 48-week online rune course. For free! To sign up, just create an account at and you’ll always be notified when course material is posted.

Every two weeks, we will focus on one rune. The site is very active, and there’s bound to be a lot of material outside of this rune, but the idea is to thoroughly explore one rune at a time for the rest of 2012.

During this time, you are free to participate in a number of ways. Of course, if you prefer just to be a silent reader, that is your choice and you’re still welcome to do so, even though I’d love to hear from you.

Members often chose their level of involvement from a variety of features on the Community site.

You can:

  • Leave comments about the post or in response to other comments.
  • Ask or answer questions on the forum.
  • Write your own blog on a rune-related topic.
  • Contribute videos.
  • Form or join focus groups on topics like rune-linguistics, creating a beginner’s guide, Poetic Eddas study.

When you create your account, I’d love to see you upload a picture of yourself. The default picture is a grey outline of a person, which will hardly do you justice. Uploading a photo just as so many benefits, and makes everyone realize that you are a real human being, not just some text on a screen.

There’s a vibe of mutual respect and harmony on the site that I’m positive you’ll all enjoy, and those participating in discussions will tell you that they are learning a lot and having a great time. Come join us, and participate in the largest ever online rune course… all for free!

Wishing you the warmest of welcomes,


The Book of Rune Secrets & Study Community: Major Announcement!

I have two exciting announcements for you this weekend, both of which I have been working to perfect all year.

The Book of Rune Secrets is now available on and Barnes & Noble!* 

Rune Secrets has become a favourite resource, and now all new, completely fresh insights on each rune are available for your contemplation and inspiration, each page written with clarity and power. It is undoubtably a book you’ll love going back to again and again, and a prize on any bookshelf.

Also included for you in this book is a 24-rune alchemy technique designed to push the limits of self-discovery with the Elder Futhark.

My second major announcement has to do with a new resource I created just for study of the runes: a social network called “The Rune Secrets Study Community”. It has been in beta for a few months to get the kinks out, and now it is ready for you!

You can find The Rune Secrets Study Community at HTTP://RUNESECRETS.NET

Come meet others like yourself and connect to an international community composed of lovers of wisdom and the mysteries of the runes. It’s free, and much more than an average forum. Sign up now! I can’t wait to see you there.

Many thanks for all your support,


Rune Secrets

“The symbols of the ancients, in the language of today, for the people of tomorrow.”


*Shipping from the US. It will be available from UK, Europe and Australian distributors in 4-8 weeks.

Lessons of Hagalaz: Rune of Disaster and Healing

In my personal rune set, I replaced the elder futhark Hagalaz symbol with the younger futhark Hagalaz variation a while ago, a personal choice, and I should take this opportunity to explain why.

In the face of disaster, compassionate human beings discover that they do not break, but become stronger. We discover that our communities come together, even on a global scale, in face of unimaginable destruction. When the universe shows its inimical side, the side that couldn’t care less about average human affairs, it’s as if we come together to show overwhelmingly that we care for one another. When the universe demonstrates that it cannot be depended upon, that it is more than able to wreck havoc, we react by showing that we can depend upon one another.

This reactive human response to the crisis and catastrophe that Hagalaz can often represent is a strange magic, but one of great potential.

We can also point to the immense wisdom in preparing for the worst, in allowing ourselves not only to imagine catastrophe, but to incorporate it into our plans for the future.

We see from the Japanese, in the past few days, after their massive 8.9 earthquake, tsunami and the threats to their nuclear power plants, a tragic event that will have taken 10,000+ lives. But consider this: the Japanese have for a good number of years held incredible standards for their buildings and construction — everything is made to bend, to wiggle. These standards were in place to protect their cities and their people against the worst forms of earthquake… the kind they recently experienced. It likely saved millions of lives.

While it is hard to wrench our focus from the spectacular chaos and destruction of Hagalaz, we ought to keep in mind a great, untold story: that planning and foresight, that the willingness to contemplate the worst, is a powerful form of wisdom for an individual to have, and even more-so an entire people. It may not be positive thinking — but it has positive consequences. It is an example of taking the negative aspects of a rune and transmuting it for positive ends.

So today, let us contemplate the younger futhark symbol for Hagalaz — the potential for us to unite and heal in the face of unimaginable destruction, to show our strength and courage in the face of catastrophe and the wisdom of looking ahead in order to safeguard against the worst the universe can throw at us.

Don’t forget to subscribe via email,  because there’s some incredible new content on the way!


Do You Have Any Deep, Unanswered Questions?

Greetings, O Seeker of Rune Wisdom!

I am in the final stages of completing The Book of Rune Secrets, and I would like to ask you: “Do you have any deep, unanswered questions about the runes?”

So this is a kind of “Ask Me Anything” discussion.

Are there things you haven’t found answers to anywhere, in all the literature you’ve read on rune meanings? Things that are missing?

I’d like you to please think deeply and summon up these questions, and send them to me at, or through my contact form, or even the comments of this post! If you can fire a great question at me, I’ll do my best to think it over as I add to and edit my final draft and make this book even more connected to the real needs of the vast community that uses Rune Secrets.

About the Book:

This new work of mine is the culmination of over a decade of intense spiritual introspection and learning for me, and the opportunity at long last to share with you something powerful and complete. My plans are to release it as a self-published hard cover book, have it listed on Amazon and available to libraries and brick and mortar stores if they desire to order it. It should be available in some form from this website though by the end of April, at the latest.

It represents a total, coherent system of new rune knowledge. I have taken my understanding of the symbols and combined it with an understanding of contemporary science and cosmology to create a fresh and powerful work that should profoundly move readers. I’ve taken risks with it, not to cause deliberate controversy or because I think I know better than anyone else, but to show that the runes are extremely relevant to the 21st century.

I also include details not on making your own rune set, but on making your own rune system — of how to take their power into your own hands. My system seeks to turn you into your own best teacher. No esoteric, secretive gurus required. ;)

In many ways, the book departs from this blog and transcends it. It is my best work yet, I’m sure of it, and I am excited to see in what ways it empowers and illuminates the many members of this community, old and new, known and yet unknown to me, who I’ve grown to love. I can admit to you that it has already affected me greatly… I don’t know what provoked this transcendent clarity within me, but I thank the forces at work.

So, that’s the big news, and I am eager to share the fruits of my labor. I humbly request your questions so that I can edit with a vigor that incorporates your questions and curiosity into the fabric of this new narrative about the elder futhark runes.

Get in touch. Seriously!

Yours truly,


Kenaz – Rune Meaning Analysis

Photo by Frédéric BISSON

I originally wrote this article several months ago. My contemplation of Kenaz sparked a deep investigation into myself and into the ways in which we obtain knowledge of reality, determine truth and transmit wisdom to one another. I’ve since read many things by R.D. Laing, a famous psychiatrist (The Politics of Experience) and Carl G. Jung, a psychoanalyst who is considered one of the founding fathers of modern psychology. I also began to search through Greek philosophers and other Eastern spiritual texts such as the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching for parallels to the runes.

At any rate, Kenaz is a remarkably powerful rune to meditate upon and contemplate, and the journey this single rune can send the seeker upon is nothing short of life long and life changing. I apologize to the rune community for my long absence, and I cannot promise that this absence is over. But here, at least, is my current analysis of Kenaz…

It is commonly agreed that Kenaz relates to the Dutch/German ‘kennen’, and the English word ‘ken’, which means “to know”, with an alternate meaning of “to be able to” — immediately invoking the old adage “knowledge is power”. In Old English, another related word ‘cennen’ means “to beget” or “to bring forth from the mind,” and is without much doubt related to the word ‘cunning’ — skillful deceit. Prior to the 14th Century we find similar words over much of europe which link Kenaz to learning, knowledge and intellect. “Kunst”, Dutch, is said to relate as well, as it means art, or craft.

Another related word here is ‘kin’. The idea of kinship between and amongst people is particularly important – and thus Kenaz has been argued to refer to ancestry.I have suggested with Othala and Ansuz that there are many distinct ways in which the idea of ancestry plays itself out, that do not necessarily have to do with blood ancestry. Kenaz represents the knowledge handed down from generation to generation, which is built upon and honored. This sort of ancestry in turn associates the rune with a knowledge of origins and of causation, which are the chief functions of both myth and science. Both the known and the unknown meet here.

In the elder futhark, Kenaz means “Torch” or “Torchlight”, as a source of heat and light.

Kenaz also represents  the inner-fire/body heat that is passed on — as cold means death. In terms of progeny, this inner-fire is feminine: the womb, a necessary heat carried by mothers all the way back to the beginning. (Fathers contribute the seed, INGUZ).

The word “Kaun”, which means sore, is another loose interpretation of Kenaz — and due to this, we could say that the rune also refers to knowledge of medicine, particularly midwifery, traditional lore, and any feminine occult knowledge.

Kenaz does not only represent a Torch, but any controlled use of fire:

It can represent the hearth, which for many eons was a central feature of the home. Keeping the home-fire burning was of utmost importance — those who gathered about the hearth were kindred, not always exclusively family, but sharing the bond of the hearth and the activities that went on around it, such as storytelling and teaching and crafts.

Kenaz can represent the forge. Here, the male aspect of Kenaz shines. Blacksmithing is a great example, in this case, of knowledge and craft being taught in a master/apprentice fashion. It is knowledge applied to create powerful tools and weapons. The transmuting power of human-controlled fire is obvious in the symbol of the forge; as should be the nature of the relationship between teacher and learner, the tradition of knowledge that dates farther back in many cases than does human record.

Knowledge as Power

Perhaps the deepest of Kenaz occult mysteries is the pursuit of knowledge — for the sake of power. That “The Truth will set you free” is a very old idea indeed, and it is this seeking, gaining, applying and recognition of the truth that lay behind every authentic search for occult knowledge. But this knowledge — indeed ‘cunning’ — is a double-edged sword — fire may serve us, but it is not our friend. So it is that our quest for truth can be seen as a purifying fire. We are not always going to like what we discover, but we must bow to what we know as truth, and recognize that which we, in fact, do not know.

Recollection, clarity of thought, sharpness of wit, insight and intuition — these are our inner-torch, that light of consciousness so necessary if we are to begin to uncover the secrets of a universe which doesn’t give up her secrets easily.

Kenaz’ energy propels the investigation of of hidden regions, a light in the darkness. It is concerned with origins, with the underlying cause and effect of the world. It is pre-scientific, though science can be viewed as an extension of the occult underpinnings of Kenaz. The ideas of science are often generated by intuition before they are proven or disproven. It is this generative fire that is important — more an art, a craft — but very pragmatic and totally necessary for the human psyche’s health.

Knowledge gives us a decisive advantage in the world — whether braving the elements (or other people). So radical is this advantage when applied that it is easy to compare its possession to the acquisition of fire — we need but imagine how profound a difference this has made for humans. A dedication to learning and truth-seeking bestows the same profound difference to the individual and their kindred.

Kenaz allows us access to our inner-forge. With applied self-knowledge, we may deconstruct our illusions, beliefs and habits and shape ourselves anew. This is the deepest alchemy, the greatest art and craft and the ultimate knowing: the craftsmanship of our self on the forge of inner-fire. Drawing from the amazing power and teachings of Kenaz, we can become whatever we will.

Ignorance is often compared to darkness, and we stumble sightlessly through it, unable to truly understand anything but our own blind predicament (if that). Illumination comes through the use of Kenaz.

A Note On Cunning

Stories tell us that even the noblest King requires a praiseworthy, cunning mind. This change in the meaning of cunning occurs sometime after the 14th century, as we can see from etymological research: cunning (adj.) early 14c., “learned, skillful,” prp. of cunnen “to know” (see can (v.)). Sense of “skillfully deceitful” is probably late 14c. As a noun from c.1300. Related: Cunningly.

I can think of no situation, aside from the feints of chess, bluffs of poker and innocuous trickery of the illusionist where deceit is purely positive. Cunning seems to easily lead to a darker side of Kenaz, the domain of Loki; mischief, trickery, manipulation. In my view, honor, and honesty, are much more powerful traits. Needless to say, the world is not black and white, and our particular biases over a word color our ideas. My point is merely that it may be useful to contemplate situations in which cunning could create clearly positive outcomes.


Reversed, Kenaz is a symbol of willful ignorance, deceit and the use of knowledge for purely destructive or manipulative ends. It signifies the loss of knowledge, over time, the extinction of bodies of lore, collective forgetting. Kenaz reversed is such a force of ignorance that it can rival, in raw power, the force of knowledge in the world.

As a result of this dynamic, it can be useful to consider this murkstave to represent the giant/god Loki, and all his unconscious cunning and destructive mischief — as well as its manifestations in human society.

Ansuz – Rune Meaning Analysis

Ansuz is another complex rune, and its energies and manifestations are very predominant in our time. The common interpretation is that this rune signifies “a god”, that is, one of the Aesir, particularly Odin. It refers to a personal ancestry that traces back to the old gods, and therefor our divine inheritance. It is also linked to the mouth, breath and speech, persuasion and inspiration.

Photo by Marsý

The Passing of Breath

It may be very useful to examine Ansuz as meaning “the passing of breath.” This short conceptual epigram links its communication aspects to its ancestral overtone, as well as to the idea that Odin gave us the original breath or “inspiration” to live as humans. “Inspiration” is etymologically linked to the breath, and further back to the word enthusiasm by the Ancient Greeks, who would use the word to signify “god-breathed”. It is entirely possible that this is a cross-cultural idea.

In terms of the ancestral lines, not only blood and genes are passed, but something less tangible — a breath passed from parent to child since the beginning.

The Passing of Breath also links this rune to communication: language, linguisitcs and the ordering effect that symbols have on human consciousness. The transmuting effects of symbols on the mind in undeniable — and herein lay a great magic to uncover.

Underlying all this is our basic need to “pass our breath”, that is: share meaning, communicate, persuade and order the universe symbolically. It is not only the gene that needs to survive, but the meme: the memory. The Name.

Giants Versus the Aesir

The gods of the Aesir represent order and consciousness (contrasted to the prior rune, Thurisaz, which represents unconscious and proto-conscious forces, the “giants”) so Ansuz’ chief magic is that of ordering and transmuting the unconscious into the conscious through symbols. This war between the giants and the gods, is actually a very perceptive metaphor for the pre-conscious, unawakened forces that struggle against the awakening consciousness in the universe. We can see this war play itself out everywhere, within us and without.

Ansuz represents the civilizing, ordering tendency that language, oral or written, brings to the otherwise wild and chaotic semi-conscious or totally unconscious intelligence that existed prior. Properly used, its power is meant to awaken, not impede, human potential toward godhood, that is, the expansion of the Aesir’s aims in the universe.

More of this war, which culminates in the ancient idea of Ragnarok will be understood by looking into the rune prior to this in the Aett, Thurisaz. I will also include much more about this idea in my upcoming book.

The Magic of Naming

Central to this rune is the magic of “Naming” which is so fundamental to our minds that it should be explored, in depth, by any serious seeker of human mysteries.

Naming includes the use of symbols, definitions, classifications, labels and all attempts at signifying something through words. It extends into the domain of sharing such symbols in a community (communication) and attempts at transforming the understanding of Others through persuasion. That we all do this, constantly, is what makes us human. The drive to make the process powerfully conscious is the quest of the magician, and done consciously, Naming has a supreme affect on the hearts and minds of those exposed to it.

Poetry and Word-Consciousness

It is no accident that our dreams use images in a highly subjective and poetic form, where certain images that may otherwise seem concrete tend to represent entirely different ideas. Cultivating an ability to decipher the symbols your unconscious uses to communicate with you through dreams and visions will also strengthen your ability to listen more deeply to the unconscious symbols others use while speaking. Indeed, this near-psychic ability has marveled people since the dawn of human history. A careful attention to people’s choice of words, whether intuitive or practiced, has likely long come across as mind-reading, prophecy, and clairvoyance.

Listening as a word-conscious being is a large part of mastering the magic of Naming. As Odin’s particular magic often revolves around his poetry (we could also call it spellsong), it is important to emphasize the study of poetry — the ability of those who understand poetry to use it as a kind of “divine cypher” cannot be underestimated. It is essential to probing the unconscious symbol-matrix of the Self and its Society and Culture.

This representative nature is key to understanding communications from other life forms (plants, animals) and higher beings who may not have an immediately understandable form, and must communicate with you indirectly. Much of the universe is like this. Therefor, human language must transcend itself if it hopes to communicate with the non-human intelligences in the surrounding world. Such communications sometimes come with a sort of divine protection, a gift of insight directly from the gods, or perhaps the god-within. Pursue Algiz to explore such possibilities further.


Our Western society is persuasion-obsessed. Though persuasion has always played a part in human interactions, our particular epoch is riddled with the pseudo-science of changing people’s beliefs on a mass scale through the use of words. There are volumes now written on the subject, and we may explore the idea very deeply.

The verbal art of persuasion falls squarely into the realm of Ansuz magic. Though so often twisted to the task of marketing, public relations, propaganda, persuasion itself is not a negative thing. Manipulative uses of Ansuz, however, can soon lead us into a blacker realm of magic and psychology. Remember: it is rare the individual who can deceive others without sooner or later deceiving him or her self. It is indeed the Truth that shall set us free.

Contemporary Exploration

All the modern language sciences would be useful to exploring this rune at extremely great depths. Linguistics is the study of the encoding of all languages. Etymology is the study of the ancestry of words and how language evolves over time. Memetics — ‘meme’ being a buzz word of the past decade — is the study of how symbols and ideas spread through complex human communities, horizontally through space and vertically through time. Finally, Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols, divided into three branches: Sematics, which is the relation between a sign and the things to which they refer; Syntactics, which is the relation among signs in formal structures (such as sentences) and Pragmatics, which is the relation between signs and their effects on those people who use them.

In an age of massive changes to communications, the way information is transmitted and the psychology of persuasion, Ansuz becomes a very important rune in understanding and reflecting upon these changes — as well as what has NOT changed. We have unparalleled access to the related sciences involved.

Murkstave: Ansuz Reversed

There are a host of limits and reversed energies — pitfalls to watch for when using Ansuz. What follows are two major ones.


Ansuz energies are very often twisted past the point of mere persuasion into the domain of bullshit and point-blank lying. We all, invariably, invent stories and lie to ourselves to one degree or another — we must be sure to study the virtue of honesty to self and others — dishonesty is very harmful to the spirit. Breaking one’s word was considered dishonorable, to the ancients.

Repeat a lie enough, and you will come to believe it. It is a weak magic that relies on illusion. Ansuz is most powerful when aligned as close as possible to reality. But therein lay another treacherous flaw inherent in over-dependence on this rune.

Over-Conceptualization and Duality

The word “tree” can be defined in many ways: as a plant with a hard bark, a source of wood, as growing leaves and forming a canopy, either deciduous or coniferous. But neither the word tree or its definition, or its visual image in our minds — however vivid — is an actual tree.

Here we approach the limit of Ansuz, and there is a very strong, unconscious tendency in Western society to believe too heavily in the name, too heavily in the idea, or theory, while neglecting the infinitely more complex, subtle and interconnected nature of the universe.

Naming and describing does not necessitate understanding. Yet, our minds have the unconscious habit of believing that if we can name, describe, theorize, explain, then we have true understanding. We mistake this layer of symbols, this ‘psychotopography’, as the real world all too easily. We often confuse the map for the actual territory.

Labels are always reductive. Classification always fragments and divides a universe which is not, in and of itself, divided. This can trap us in a mode of thinking that is out of alignment with the truth. Beware this veil of words: it may fool us into believing that just because we have a word for something, we know what it is, and needn’t investigate further. Words can expand understanding, there’s no arguing this. But it is wise to see that they can form walls as well.

And what about a thing that is real, but no word in our language exists for it? Or no word in any language? Can we think about such things, and experience them, regardless?


A word itself makes nothing more or less real, except in our minds, though this is not to understate the power and potential of our minds! Symbols shape and order consciousness. They can increase consciousness, but they can also lower it. Words affect people, and people affect the world. Words may inspire us to action, or mold the beliefs which guide our lives and shape the attitudes in our society. Remember though, that that ‘action’ is beyond the energy of Ansuz. Ansuz only inspires it.

You may talk the talk — but that is often a far cry from walking the walk — which may actually be why the rune Raidho (Ride, or Journey) follows Ansuz.

Othala – Rune Meaning Analysis

Othala is a complex rune, infamously misused by the Nazis in their attempt to promote ‘racial purity’ and expand their nation with totalitarian fury. The power of the rune will become clear, and a closer analysis of the rune will reveal how it could be properly used to potential global effect without any mass violence whatsoever.

Photo by Tracy Misso

Othala traces back to certain words in Anglo-Saxon and Norse whose oldest meaning is ‘noble‘ or nobility, and are associatively linked to property, estate, homeland and nation-building. Othala’s core power is the wise management of resources both physical and psychic. Not the ruthless efficiency that leads to totalitarian states or monopolies, but a more harmonious give and take that leads to peace and freedom amongst the people, a state of balance between order and chaos.

We have legends in every culture about this perfect, harmonious city or place. Asgard, Atlantis, Avalon. Shangri-la, Shambala and Eden. We use the word Utopia, which was an imaginary place that Thomas Moore described in his book of the same name. All of these represent the inate human understanding that we, as a species, have the potential to create a harmonious and peaceful society.

Continue reading Othala – Rune Meaning Analysis

Thoughts on Fehu

Some More Thoughts on Fehu and Connections with Uruz and the First Aett by Mahryan

Thanks to Tyriel and the thought-provoking comments people contribute to Rune Secrets I have recently spent time pondering Fehu. The following are just some thoughts going through my mind – they are offered to you for consideration, which some of you will hopefully share back again, so we can all learn more together. Some of my thoughts likely reflect things I said in my previous Fehu article or in comments I have posted, but Tyriel encouraged me to write up these latest reflections as an article. Hopefully they are not too rambling!

Photo by Andy Allen

Fehu and Uruz – the Primal Cow and Ox
First of all, some of the commentary on Fehu has raised questions about whether the energy is male or female. I think that, just as each rune contains positive and negative polarities, so both male and female energy is present in each. Runic teachings actually seem to really underline the necessity of combining those energies in order to achieve the spiritual wholeness for which we strive. The deities most associated with Fehu are the male and female twins Freya and Freyja.
Continue reading Thoughts on Fehu

Nauthiz – Rune Meaning Analysis

Nauthiz (or Naudhiz) represents the need-fire, and in every way related to necessity, constraint and the inevitability of human suffering. The Nauthiz rune meaning has no reverse, but it is one of the runes whose positive and negative interpretations are closely intertwined. One doesn’t really seem to come without the other. As harsh a rune as this can be, Nauthiz also reveals to us the ways of transmuting our distress into greatness and success.

Photo by Blerina Berisha

Continue reading Nauthiz – Rune Meaning Analysis