Gebo – Rune Meaning

“For every gift a curse.”

– “Gay-boo” – Literally: “Gift” – Esoteric: Fair Exchange, Sacrifice, Sacred Marriage

Key Concepts: gifts, giving, taking, trade, sacrifice, process of exchange, balance, compensation, equilibrium, law of reciprocation, altruism, the gravity of equals and opposites, generosity, hospitality, honor

gratitude, forgiveness, appreciation

Exchanged powers, sacrifice, dissolution of barriers through gifting

Divinations: Generosity, gift, magical exchange, honor, sacrifice, divine vision; or influence buying, greed, loneliness, dependence, over-sacrifice, unbalanced behavior, dishonesty

material gifts, thankfulness, trade

Sex magic
Mystical union and ‘Sacred Marriage’ between partners
Understanding of the true meaning of gifting and binding
Giving of oneself from within
Harmony between brothers and sisters and lovers
Favours, contracts, obligations, debt and oath-taking

My Notes:

Gebo is perhaps one of the runes which has the most lore. When we say X-mas, the X is unconsciously representative of this rune. In the Havamal, the Cosmic Law of Compensation is written as ‘Better not to over-pledge as a gift demands a gift’, and ‘No man is so generous he will jib at accepting a gift in return for a gift’.

The exchange of gifts, whether physical or otherwise, is a highly meaningful act, as is the idea of trade. It is associated with magical rings, which give kings the ability to share powers with their followers, as is expected of leaders. The need for exchanged energies and powers to remain equal in amounts is at the heart of the rune Gebo. In the Havamal it also says ‘A man should be loyal through life to friends, and return gift for gift; Laugh when they laugh, but with lies repay a flase foe who lies.’ Though this might conflict with the New Age morality, it was the ancient way of expressing ‘what goes around, comes around’.

Elsewhere in Northern lore we find, that there is always a price to pay. Every decision you make requires the acceptance of one thing and simultaneous sacrifice or release of another. For more on that sacrifice, see INGUZ. Self-sacrifice (for honor in battle or for the greater good) is a common theme with the death of warriors. Odin on the tree sacrifices ‘himself to Himself’ in his shamanic initiation to discover the knowledge and wisdom of the runes.

Gebo is also tied deeply to the exchange of sexual energies between male and female, and so it deeply governs mystical union, sacred oaths of marriage and sex magic. For more on sacred marriage, one must uncover the mysteries of EHWAZ.

14 thoughts on “Gebo – Rune Meaning”

  1. Why “for every gift a curse”?
    To me Gebo is the symbol of what is to me an article of faith: “you’ll get what you give (not necessarily from those to whom you give)” (and excuse my today’s poor english).

    That implies you need before all to give, without asking if you’ll be rewarded for it. If you like, you can call this way of acting a “sacrifice” (but I’m not sure I agree). But the key, in my point of view, is that I’m sure that, some time, some way, by somebody or simply by circumstancies, I’ll get something back for what I gave.
    In this sense, yes, it’s creating karma, or the seeds for what will happen in the future: but “a curse”?

    When I draw Gebo for me, I take it as a warning to remenber this “natural law”, and a guarantee that on that day or circumstancies I’ll get back for what I give. When related to another person, as an hint that he/she wants something back.

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