Laguz – Rune Meaning Analysis

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The Laguz rune meaning is “Water”.

Image by Cristian Bortes
Image by Cristian Bortes

Water is the ancient mirror — the first surface that the evolving ego had to identify itself was the calm surface of a body of water.

We all have this surface identity of conceptual associations, this “I” or “Me” experience. While ISA is concerned with the totality of that ego experience, Laguz is concerned with transcending the ego in order to experience the unity of all Life and the collective unconscious.

Laguz -  WaterIn exploring LAGUZ, the intellectual, mind level of MANNAZ is but the very surface of things. In order to pierce the veil and see past our thoughts of ourselves, we must delve deeper.

Ego is an academic term that obfuscates what Freud was getting at. He himself never used the abstract term “ego”, it was added in translations. Freud said ‘the I’ and ‘the it’ (id), a duality which the principles of Laguz suggest we can transcend.

Laguz teaches us to look into the darkness of our unconscious, at what the reflection — our constructed identity — is leaving out. Jung calls this evasive body of self-ignorance the “Shadow”: what we fail to see about ourselves, baggage we often refuse to claim as ours and often project onto the world and those around us. The occult process of embracing our dark side as well as our light and thereby growing in wholeness and power, is very natural part of Laguz.

The reflection is also an apt metaphor, because “reflection” can be interpreted as thinking or analysing, the domain of Mannaz. As the next rune in the Ordering, Laguz suggests that the unconscious is much vaster, that beyond thought is depth, and that our ideas and thoughts of reality are mirror images. The reflection is not so much a property of the water as the observer — it does not actually exist on the surface of the water at all. In this way it is ultimately an illusion.

The true nature of water is that it is the great unifier of all Life. Laguz represents life “as it is” and the challenges of transcending our ideas about living so that we may truly live. I would argue that this rune is less about survival and all about life’s overwhelming cry to be lived. Laguz magic is not merely a ward against physical poison, but can free us from our toxic psychic fetters that hold us back from fully living. One of these fetters is our fear of Death.

In Norse mythology, those who fail to fully live, consistently over many lives, become sleepy and remove their weary spirits from the cycles of rebirth. They are ferried across the river to the shores of Hel, (which is largely agreed to be associated most strongly with the HAGALAZ rune meaning,) there to wait until Ragnorak, when the unconscious forces (Loki, Fenris and the “giants”) bring a final battle upon the gods (ie. the evolution of consciousness). Hel is not the burning torturous place that the Catholics threaten us with. Laguz’ place in the Ordering suggests that it represents Hel, as it is beneath IHWAZ (the cosmic axis of Yggdrassil, the world tree). Therefor by association, Laguz could refer to the unconscious, the collective unconscious, sleep, dreams and certain aspects of the Death experience.

However, because water is the essential unifier of all Life, Laguz teaches us that Death is an illusion created by our fearful ego, that our fear of death is ultimately just a pathological fear of losing our ego identity. This begs elaboration.

Most of our bodies are composed of water, which upon physical death will return to the great cycle of the world’s waters once again. It has passed through and been recycled by our atmosphere and all other life, since the very beginning, and will continue to do this until the very end. Even as we live, our fluids are only with us a short time before being traded anew, and rejuvenated.

Our mineral composition, too, follows the same principles, as does our energy (as energy cannot be created from nothing nor ever cease to exist). It follows that aspects of our consciousness too are borrowed from the universe for the sake of this temporary ego, and are permanent, eternal components of the cosmos.

So what is there to lose upon death save that very self-reflection that prevents us from seeing into the depth and unity of all things? Laguz holds the key to unlocking such secrets, if we dare to reach into its well to seek our true selves. We have tale that Odin magically did just this when he removed one of his eyes to plunge it into Mimir’s Well, thus revealing all things past and present to him. The psychic powers of clairvoyance and clairaudience are thus clearly governed by Laguz.

The 5th axis of the Ordering tells us of Life’s Journey (RAIDHO), the initiation into the runic mysteries and knowledge of the mysteries of Life and Death (IHWAZ) and finally of the ultimate illusion of death as the ego is surrendered (to begin a new journey). The three runes represent a closed cycle of life, death and reincarnation, particularly the experiences of such as a journey into our eternal selves.

Related Material:

Basic rune meaning of Laguz

Did you like this analysis? Please leave some comments, below, so that I can refine it, and learn what kinds of investigations to take into the other 23 runes that I intend to analyse. Thank you for visiting!

6 thoughts on “Laguz – Rune Meaning Analysis”

  1. This just set off a lightbulb …. I’m still all tingly from reaction to comment more fully …. but I will meditate upon Laguz for a while with this analysis ringing through my soul …


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