ALGIZ (also called Elhaz) is a powerful rune, because it represents the divine might of the universe. The white elk was a symbol to the Norse of divine blessing and protection to those it graced with sight of itself.
Algiz is the rune of higher vibrations, the divine plan and higher spiritual awareness. The energy of Algiz is what makes something feel sacred as opposed to mundane. It represents the worlds of Asgard (gods of the Aesir), Ljusalfheim (The Light Elves) and Vanaheim (gods of the Vanir), all connecting and sharing energies with our world, Midgard.
Image by H. Koppdelaney
The Symbolism of Algiz
The symbol itself could represent the upper branches of Yggdrasil, a flower opening to receive the sun (SOWILO is the next rune in the futhark after all,) the antlers of the elk, the Valkyrie and her wings, or the invoker stance common to many of the world’s priests and shamans. In a very contemporary context, the symbol could be powerfully equated to a satellite dish reaching toward the heavens and communicating with the gods and other entities throughout this and other worlds. I find this metaphor particularly useful, due to my embrace of technology, but if it doesn’t work for you, use the older interpretations.
Aligning with the Divine Plan
As a part of the second Aett, whose inimical nature is primary to the interpretations of the symbols, Algiz represents the divine plan as set apart from individual affairs, even in spite of human concerns entirely. Understanding the divine plan is ultimately beyond us while we live as human beings, save that it is for the greater good.
Algiz requires faith to work with. Like DAGAZ, it can be seen as the continual unfoldment of universal intelligence, particularly consciousness in all its forms. This puts the denizens of Midgard in a central role.
Activating the Higher Self
When Odin sacrifices himself to Himself to receive the runes, it can be interpreted that Odin was setting an example for us: to sacrifice the things that make us small or petty, to give up our fetters, addictions and vice to seek something much greater within ourselves. Algiz lifts us away from the limiting egocentricity which comes part and parcel with ISA‘s rune vibrations.
Alignment with the divine plan activates our Higher Self, pushes us from within toward the self-actualization of MANNAZ. In doing so, Odin invites us to seek godhood, just as he once did, and give ourselves over the the pursuit of wisdom, higher awareness and service to the heavens.
In exchange for such a sacrifice (which you may eventually see as no ‘real’ sacrifice at all as you explore TIWAZ and GEBO), a number of specific magical and psychological benefits are bestowed upon us.
The first of these is protection, as is to be expected because of the rune’s esoteric meaning. Alignment with the divine makes a person sacred — set apart from the mundane and therefor blessed by divine protection. The courageous garner favor with the gods. This can be in the form of increased luck, stronger Hamingja, and this protection is renewed by passing certain ‘tests’ of one’s courage and honor, often administered by Odin in one of his various forms.
Communication with Divine Entities
The second is the ability to communicate with gods and entities of the Higher Realms, particularly Heimdall and the Valkyries, who are the guardians of Valhalla and watch over their favored warriors. The symbol, reversed, might be used to access the realm of the dead, giants, and the unconscious. Tread carefully!
The Protective Teaching Force
Thirdly, Algiz is a channel for the protective teaching force, that power which great teachers and mentors transfer to students or seekers, a relationship also touching on KENAZ. Its intensity ranges from divine guidance to sitting in a classroom during a lecture from a favorite teacher, but it is the same energy, and can manifest in countless ways.
Teachers and mentors come in many forms and often test our humility and our readiness, requiring our attention, our service and our unique ability to think for ourselves and integrate knowledge into the mix of our own associations and life experience.
Beware the so-called ‘guru’ who acts in order to convert you to his views, opinions and thoughts. How to think, and why to think for yourself, should always be more important than what to think. Avoid accepting as mentors those who do not truly wish to assist in awakening you to your own, unique powers — they’d rather an ornament to their own ego.
Facing Fear with Courage
Finally, Algiz is the rune of Fear, and the proper use of fear.
Where PERTHRO represents the unknown, ALGIZ represents the courage we must exercise in order to face our fear of the unknown. Algiz gives us the counter-phobic urge to move toward our fears and conquer them rather than be ruled by them.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the will to right action in spite of it. It is important to move toward fear rather than avoid it, because it is in the dark areas obscured by your fears that you can truly grow and learn to live fully.
Wisdom and courage are the two things you can take to the very doors of death, and up into Valhalla, accumulating Hamingja which will carry on into your next life. Therefor, they are both divine pursuits and invaluable qualities.
Important Psychiatric Warning on the Dangers of Algiz
The divine power of Algiz is intoxicating and dangerous to the untrained.
Communication with other worlds can be intense and hazardous to the unprepared, resulting in psychiatric conditions like mania or schizophrenia — in other times such patience may have been shamen, sorcerers or oracles, but our culture has largely lost the knowledge and methods by which a person is prepared for these roles.
If you are experiencing an overload of Algiz, you may be hearing voices, feeling paranoid and ‘receiving’ new ideas and awareness that is not normal for you. You may feel invulnerable or filled with energy. Some of these experiences are quite authentic. However, it is extremely important that you are able to cope with the necessities of your life and care for yourself in the mundane world!
If you cannot eat or sleep, and are experiencing symptoms of psychosis, or uncontrollable emotional outbursts, seek help from a psychiatric expert. They are here to help you. I speak from experience, and I promise that coping with your powers and attaining self-mastery are much more essential to the right path.
It is much more powerful and courageous to find a stable center within yourself, be in control of your emotions and mind, and be able to eat, sleep and speak clearly in a way others can understand, even relate to. If you need the help of medication while you learn to cope, it may sting your pride at first, but in the long run, it will help!
If you cannot cope with the day to day mundane aspects of your life, you cannot cope with the divine — their seeming duality is an illusion! At the level of the Higher Self, they are one and the same. You will find this paradox at the root of the DAGAZ rune meaning.
Good luck, and be wary.
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