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
Symbolism in Nauthiz
Symbolically, it seems that NAUTHIZ refers to two sticks rubbing together to create fire. It is also invoked in the common practice of crossing one’s fingers for protection and luck. If one replaces the symbol of HAGALAZ with the Younger Futhark symbol of a six-pronged star, the first three runes of the second Aett appear to be linked as a kind of countdown, alluding perhaps to Ragnarok. Nauthiz’ position in the second Aett tells us that, like the other runes of this row, that its workings are inimical to human desires, and that its laws are set in stone, so to speak, whether we like them or not.
The Love and Hate of the Need-Fire
The need-fire is a symbol of our love-hate relationship with fire, and other advanced human technologies. In the history of our species, fire in a controlled state has been a necessary tool, perhaps among the first significant discoveries of the evolving human mind. It has led to the further ability, in our own times, to discover and harness all sorts of useful energies: electricity, light and even atomic power.
But our dependence upon these fearsome energies can often be our undoing – for fire is not ever completely tamed, and is all too able to turn on its supposed masters. As a result of this principle, conflict and struggle are inherent in Nauthiz – for better or for worse. In this sense, the rune has a lot in common with THURISAZ.
Identifying Our Needs
Our relationship with our needs is often fraught with urgency, as they can sometimes go ignored, taken for granted and forgotten, only to be suddenly all-too-apparent. For example, from moment to moment we very rarely pay attention to something so fundamental as our breathing, but if we are short of air, we notice immediately, even reacting quite violently to satisfy our need for it. Such reactive force is locked tight within the magic of Nauthiz.
Our basic needs are easy to identify: clean water, food, shelter, clothing… but our many other needs can become terribly complex. We need our family, and we need love. We need time to ourselves but also companionship. We need power over ourselves and over our estate. We need to contribute to the world, but over-sacrifice and you’ll find ruin. Sometimes our needs conflict even with one another!
Complex needs are complicated to identify and complicated to fulfill. We can lead ourselves into deep ruts and create immense problems by ignoring our more complicated needs, and find we have toiled for naught. The universe is constantly teaching us of our needs, and it has little mercy. Therefor it is wise to spend time on considering one’s own needs very deeply, so that we can learn our lessons in advance of them being forced upon us by circumstance.
In hard times and desperate situations, Nauthiz allows us to do what must be done, when there appears little choice. Too often, we must pick the lesser of two evils, and sometimes in the attempt to properly fulfil our needs we are shown a darker side of ourselves than we care to admit is real. As necessity rears its head, constraint also appears – there may not be much choice at all. For more on constraint we look to the next rune in the Elder Futhark, ISA.
Nauthiz is related to the Norns and fate, and there are various takes on this. Never the less, understanding of need is essential to manipulating Wyrd. A major way that this is so is the understanding of cause and effect, or karma. Our past actions create consequences. In other words, we are presently a pattern that has been woven together from our experiences and beliefs, and projects itself toward the future and our fates.
Our pattern will always draw to us the type of lessons that we need to learn. It will naturally shape consequences, over and over if necessary, until we change our pattern in some way. This will produce new consequences, and therefor present new lessons.
Recognizing these lessons is a particular act of awareness and meditating upon Nauthiz will assist you. If a lesson is not recognized and met consciously, we are doomed to repeat it until we can evolve past it. It is implied that for some lessons, this can take many lifetimes.