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.

Ancestral Spiritual Inheritance

It has been said that Othala contains the potential power of all the other runes. The main energy involved in this is the ancestral spiritual power, which connects us to our genetic wisdom, the unconscious and sometimes awakened unity that links us back to the first humans who began to think and seek something ‘greater’ than a simple ‘animal’ existence. This is one way in which Othala unites all of mankind, throughout time.

However, some groups hearken to a past they have no record of and cannot understand. It is common for us to romanticize the past. But, the ancients are quite clear with us that the world has sometimes been a very harsh place. Such romanticizing will not do. Although we may draw on the past, it is perhaps better to tend to our own lot in the present, honestly and with keen observation and judgement. We shall see that Othala is actually a forward-looking rune, a rune of continuation of the ancestral toward a collective destiny, not merely a reliving of the past.

The proper use for a group or community is to observe how it lives and breathes, the methods by which it functions, the social-psychology of its members, so one may gain a great understanding of families, groups and community’s in general, and to celebrate the kinship of awakening with others. A group that promote a culture of openness, fairness, honesty and freedom is a healthy group. A group (or cult, or nation) that focuses on conformity, making enemies with other groups, rigidness of thinking and mindless devotion is, in reality, quite insane.

Sacred Enclosure and Homeland

Othala is the root of why we honor the blood that was shed to take and defend a territory. That symbolic act of the warrior is representative of a deeper act, which the Greeks expounded upon in their philosophy, which is found amongst the druids and throughout mysticism the world over, which is: the expansion of the light of individual and collective human consciousness against the forces of ignorance and darkness of the old ‘chaotic’ world.

This expansion is illustrated quite profoundly in the constant battle of Asgard (consciousness) against the Giants (unconsciousness).

Seen as a sacred enclosure, Othala scales from merely a personal space and living conditions, to a home or a community such as a town or city. It scales to the level of a state or nation, and indeed, Othala rises even to the height of an entire civilization.

At it’s apex, Othala represents an allegience to all life on the planet, a global unity amongst humankind, and the potential ‘utopia’ that humankind is destined to eventually build together. Though the Nazis chose to try and do this through war, studied more deeply, Othala’s vision of a united world is inevitable because of the power of ordinary, every day, peaceful people interacting together in a mundane way, profoundly spiritual in its simplicity.


Rather than representing genetic inheritance and blood (which it of course does but only on a lower level of meaning) Othala is actually the movement of society to transcend these ideas, and embrace all humanity as kindred, all the world as a single global nation. It is the rune of a sustainable planetary civilization, a utopia, or paradise. The ‘noble’ is in fact anyone who takes up the role of a person moving his portion of the homeland/personal-communal sphere toward heaven-on-earth.

This idea of nobility is especially poignant, because it was not always the case that nobility was bestowed due to blood. It could be merit, or a spiritual inheritance of some sort. In many ways of thinking, to be noble is to act noble. If you behave as a noble, as a king or queen, the power of your hamingja will organize the world around you, slowly and surely, to reflect this inner. The outer is merely a reflection of the inner. Therefor it is essential to understand nobility as something gained through one’s own actions and behaviors, not bestowed by birth, blood, title, or any other external circumstance. Therefor, the understanding of and responsibility for one’s inner-world is absolutely paramount, for its very essence will structure the minute details of the world around you.

Relationship to Time

As may be obvious by now, Othala is a rune concerned with time, and a past-and-future based sense. Jera, as the 12th rune, half of Othala’s position, concentrates on the cyclical nature of time, whereas Othala seems to indicate the arrow of time, as seen by the human mind. Therefor it connects the past to the future, and our ancestors to our eventual progeny.

Therefor, where Jera represents nature’s own ecology, Othala represents our relationship as a species to the land, to this planet, in the form of responsibility, stewardship and the potent and real consequences of human actions on a mass scale.

The Power of the Domestic

All this above may sound grandiose, but Othala is powerfully rooted in the mundane world. I will often define Othala in terms of the personal estate, that is the family, community and business affairs. It extends outward to include the political sphere, and then the human condition. But first comes the home. There are many factors in a happy home, but the nation should be measured by the extent to which these happy homes exist, and can remain peaceful and free from oppression. That means access to adequate shelter, food and water, education, love and respect between its members, interesting work for the community and so on. The home is often the outpost from which a good life is lived — “home is where the heart is”.

One of Othala’s prime teachings may be that “One who is unable to be trusted with the little things, cannot be trusted with the big things.”  Think that over carefully before assuming authority of any sort.

Othala Reversed

The perversion of Othala is the road toward totalitarianism, the inappropriate use or waste of resources, the disruption of the peace and security of home, and the denial of freedoms, sometimes in the form of various slavery. Nationalism, contrary to what may be believed about this rune, is a negative, energy-draining phenomenon, which creates inevitable conflict and war. Nazi Germany may have been a particularly extreme version of a nation, but the underlying trend is inherent within all nation-states.

The negative consequences of a system of ownership also fall under the murkstave of this rune. Ownership requires the co-operation and agreement of the community. When ‘ownership’ becomes imbalanced, more laws, more force, and more violence are required to uphold entitlement. Citizens and members of the community must be increasingly spied upon and mistrusted when only a few control the wealth and power of the so-called ‘nation’.

There can be only one destiny for a family, community or nation that does not live in balance, uphold the common justice of the people, and strive for the freedom and prosperity of its every member, and it is grim indeed.

Further Reading:

Othala – Rune Meaning


What is the state of your home? Your community? Your nation? Now is a good time to reflect on the aspects of your life that create the place you live from day-to-day, and what you have the power to do to change it if it needs to be changed.

Your comments are most welcome!



12 Responses to Othala – Rune Meaning Analysis

  1. Helly says:

    Othala , in my vision.
    The person who stands in his place, who is devoted for his way (in the head too), such person will not have conflict with others. He will not judge, he will not desire the way of others, the choice of others…

    “home is where the heart is” – it is true *

    (sorry for my english)

  2. Mike says:

    “Rather than representing genetic inheritance and blood (which it of course does but only on a lower level of meaning) Othala is actually the movement of society to transcend these ideas, and embrace all humanity as kindred, all the world as a single global nation. It is the rune of a sustainable planetary civilization, a utopia, or paradise. The ‘noble’ is in fact anyone who takes up the role of a person moving his portion of the homeland/personal-communal sphere toward heaven-on-earth.”

    Basically you are saying that Othala in its highest meaning embodies the vision of borderless nationless one-world utopia? I disagree with that. How can the Tibetan people defend and preserve their culture, their unique peoplehood against their ethnic dispossession by the Chinese if they don’t believe in themselves as a people, as a nation?

    The Tibetan people certainly must have their own symbolic version of Othala. As such it surely signifies their deepest allegiance to their unique peoplehood and land; their own Tibetan ‘Blood and Soil’.

    Your definition of a borderless Othala is destructive to the preservation of all unique indigenous peoples unless you clearly allow these unique indigenous peoples the right to control their own boundaries and borders.

    You cannot have real diversity without borders. Any enclosure of any kind has a reason and a purpose. Any enclosure defines an area as apart from another area. Every enclosure has a door that allows access and egress. The control of that door is essential to maintenance of the enclosure.

    • Yes, Mike, you’ve told me you disagree on the ‘racial’ issue before, but you clearly still have a ways to go.

      While ancestry, estate and nation are all ideas embodied within Othala, there is an insular and conflict ridden way to use the Othala energy, and one which transcends and includes these past problems: more important than ever to understand so that hate, conflict and war can be diffused, and the “Peace of the Home” spread.

      “Peace of the Home” and “Love of the Family” is an expansive energy, and that is all ‘utopia’ really is, the human idealization of those core values. These are hardly destructive values.

      Now honestly, it was better around here when you weren’t picking an argument about race, creed and nationality. Please don’t start it again.

    • Naila says:

      > “…definition of a borderless Othala is destructive” <
      Hey, Mike, you mix natural "borders" and unnatural (mostly geographical) ones, right? So it's only your personal and still delusional perception of "bordereless" Othala, I think."Bordereless" doesn't mean chaotic at all, does it? It doesn't mean "no harmony" at all. Have you ever heard about the Golden Age? Was it utopia or real? Why then WE remember it? Don't you remember it? It's on the deepest level of our memory, not in illusional dreams at all. It's a core of our survival still.
      Have you ever heard a story about Babylon Tower? :)
      So, natural borders is everybody's noble state: "to be noble is to act noble". If "you" (see, somebody, not personally you, Mike) don't remember "your" natural borders (why?), then sure, you would try to build their prototype instinctively, by nature, still :)
      So, you tried to make it here, as I see. (So as we have all those false borders between countries and between people…) You are speaking about false borders, …just pure model of messed memory still, talking about genetical or even just historical memory, (…still, not about personal ability for remembering stories or numbers and not about new age history, which often lies about even recent past history). And I speak not about history of just 2-3 last milleniums, which are actually the last "days" of "a deep night" of people consciousness. We are all at a dawn of A-wareness without any mystical explanations of it. Everybody would understand each other without any borders. Borders of illusion, the most great power on earth, would be just understood. There are no borders for understanding. Illusion is the very border for personal misunderstanding, first, and then it is really awful, when it takes mass forms. (Sorry for my wordiness, people.) So every-one is personally responsible for what future awaits us.

      • Your english improves, and I think you have grasped something of Othala that you should pursue.

        The natural borders you speak of always blend into one another. We try so hard as humans to control space and objects — which always requires force. We desire other people’s resources, to exploit.

        At its base, in terms of estate and homeland, Othala can be seen as the wise management of resources: space, time, energy, etc.

        But we chase after scape goats. We lay blame. We think ‘if those “others” (Otha) were NOT a party to our homeland, everything would be alright.’ Give me a break :P

        A home without guests is merely a tomb.

        • Naila says:

          I absolutely agree. …Natural borders are the same as language’s rules, for example, to compare… But WHO said that today’s language rules are the very correct rules? Moreover, which part of Human Language to consider? English? Russian? Natural borders are the same as our body’s cells borders. I mean that. Think of, how many cells we consist of as one body – every-body!? :) It is clearly visional in “natural” word meaning. The other side of the issue is – to have ability to distinguish is it really origin\natural rule/border or was it stamped above origin border(s) and vice versa – to make the whole “image” volumetric, but not plain at all.

          Therefore, natural borders, as any “rule”…, they are not stiff, and they are not so flexible at all, but they are always perfect. Though, sure, for now… (by the voice of A. Banderas)… as we only started to realize – who we are and where we are…, description of perfectness might be still variable up to drastic contradictions. But here we are, all who live NOW by somebody’s curse… “Let you live in an era of changes!” Though sure, original language proposed not “let” but “may”, I know. )))))) And they say, that it’s Chinese proverb. Let us see then, those “pictures” of Chinese language instead of just usual “letters” we got used to… :)

          Trust me, not everybody understands my Russian, no matter that I have an innate literacy, speaking about my Russian Grammar (without any false humbleness) :) So, I prefer to be silent mostly. Aummmm. )))))))))))))

  3. Kristen Krascek says:

    Oh wow! This touched on the genetic aspects of Othala – something that I felt when the Runes were first awakened within me and I saw chains of Othala (rows of Othala the Rune) and I wondered if there was not only an ethnic connection for me due to my strong Anglo-Celtic background/plus Germanic but also a spiritual heritage – I am in favour of reincarnation and the possibility of living many lives and having a range of cultures in one’s many lifetimes – say, we all get to incarnate as pretty much every culture that exists. Still, reincarnation may be off topic though.

    My feeling for this Rune has always been a mixture of culture, spiritual and mundane – I feel the element of the clan or feudal system in the historical meaning of this Rune. This Rune to me could be a badge of identity if you will. Something to belong to in terms of a tribe for example or heritage of some sort. Something that is shared within a community, a common ground and system of living and beliefs.

    As for nobility, yes, I totally favour the meaning of nobility being the act of behaving in a noble way, not being born of so called “noble blood”. You can be born of “noble blood” (I am told I have royalty in my background) but this really means nothing if you do not behave in a noble manner. To be noble is to be upright and honest and I really like the Asatru idea of the nine noble values. These are great standards to base a community or society on. This is true nobility – doing right and striving to be a good person, one of conscience and decency. This is true nobility.

    If I was to assign an animal totem to this – I would most definitely choose the Wolf – a truly noble creature with a very complex and noble clan system.

  4. Darren: Check out my analysis of Kenaz — it’s much closer to what you are describing I think. Othala does have an ancestral theme to it, but more in terms of estate and heredity. Kenaz is the hearth, which would earlier have been the camp fire! :)

    • Darren Lynn says:

      True i agree with you analyses of both runes. You are doing a fine job I meant here that Othala is like the gathering around Kenaz. The fire is not Othala, but rather the fire (Kenaz) is the focal point over time this Gathering becomes a place of importance. The homeland, the estate, the township, the home all are held together by community and community is held together by culture.

      Looking at the rune shape I see Ingwaz, Gebo, two Sowilo and five Kenaz.
      Meditating out.
      In the Ingwaz we have the seed a container made of two Kenaz yet we see that the Othala is partly formed of Gebo and Gebo it self is made of four Kenaz and two Isa. Again we see two Sowilo face to face. The power of the sun embraced.

  5. Darren Lynn says:

    This rune brings us all the way back to the first camp fire. In the earliest memory is the simple fire that we all gather round, warmth, safety, comfort all these draw us to the fire, but once there the we find our selves gathered and the gathering is the beginning of shared knowledge all cultural history arises out of the gathering around the hearth, the central frer.
    The shape reveals that it is an enclosure yet it is closed with Gebo. This shows the exchange both of going and coming into the circle and the exchanges with in the circle.

    As the elders became more frail they they spent more time at the fire and there they shared there wisdom. There knowledge was the library of the day the source o wisdom. This is were the nobility was fostered. Those who left the fire went out into the world and brought back “Word” the exchange coming in and flowing out. Again we see Ing the seed as the small children would be kept close to the hearth under the eye of the elders…….”tell us a story grmpa” the story’s of fathers and mothers would in time be of storms, earthquakes, floods and epic battles. The seeds of a people planted from generation to generation.

    Othala truly is a world unifying rune the internet is like the modern fire, here the world is gathering, here the wisdom of the world can be found and here we can learn and share our collective human story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!