What Are Runes?
The runes form the basis of the Nordic writing system, but as with all early writing systems, they carry an element of mystery with them. This is largely due to the fact that writing is, in itself, a magical profession – a fact which many people forget in today’s literate society.
The word rune means secret or hidden, and stems from the word ru, meaning a mystery or secret, in the language of the people of ancient Northern Europe. As well as having an alphabetical value, each rune also symbolises a concept, and is inherently magical, in much the same way as the individual tarot cards are. To speak or carve a rune was believed to call up the power of the deity or spirit who commanded the rune.
The Runic Year
January – Snow Moon – Is
The key rune for January is Is, pronounced eess. This is the rune of Ice, and refers to the fifth element in the Nordic tradition. Several poems from the Nordic and Anglo-Saxon traditions see ice as a bridge between worlds – a bridge which must be negotiated carefully. This has led the rune to be associated with potential fears of moving forward.
During January, or at any time you feel a fear of going forward, use the Is rune to help you to prepare wisely for change and to use the waiting time to grow strong. If your birthday falls in January, you have inner resources of patience and wisdom and when the time is right, success and happiness will follow.
February – Horn Moon – Ur
The key rune for February is Ur, pronounced err, the rune of primordial strength. Ur represented the mighty aurochs – huge, wild, horned cattle which roamed the plains of Northern Europe until 1627. Their horns were often used as drinking vessels, and engraved with the Ur rune as a symbol of boundless strength.
Ur speaks of the strength and courage to overcome obstacles to success. If you need sheer might and single-mindedness to overcome seemingly insurmountable objects, it will give you courage of heart and mind, as well as physical endurance. If you were born during February, your path may be filled with obstacles, but you have the will and power to succeed.
March – Mother Moon – Beorc
The key rune for March is Beorc, pronounced bay-ork. Beorc, the beech tree, is the rune of rebirth and regeneration. It is associated with the Earth Mother and is an apt rune for the season of spring when new life comes forth.
If you are in need of a new beginning, particularly in family matters, the power of Beorc promises fertility and new hope for a spontaneous return of enthusiasm and feeling. Those born in March with Beorc as their rune are naturally creative and loving. They are constant optimists as they know that even if the present is unhappy, the future promises new hope.
April – Cuckoo Moon – Rad
The key rune of April is Rad, the rune of change, pronounced rard. Rad is the rune of the wheel. It stresses that it is necessary to go out into the world and make life what you want it to be by your own efforts, rather than dreaming or waiting for change to come.
If you need to make a change in direction, the rune Rad promises that even if the journey ahead may be difficult, it will be exciting. If you were born in April, you have a natural thirst for exploration and achievement and can – when you are prepared to act – make your dreams come true.
May – Merry Moon – Peorth
The key rune of May is Peorth, pronounced pay-orth. This is the rune of unique identity and destiny. It speaks of the role that only you can fill, and is the symbol of the Norns, the three Fates.
If you feel like your identity or principles are under threat, you can use Peorth to strengthen your resolve and your faith in your unique abilities. If you were born in May, you have high principles and a strong identity and should not be afraid to stand out from the crowd.
June – Sun Moon – Sigil
The key rune for June is Sigil, pronounced see-gul. This is the rune of the sun. Because the sun reaches its full potential in this month (at least in the northern hemisphere), before beginning the slow decline towards winter, Sigil represents making the most of the moment without demanding permanence. It also encourages making a supreme effort to reach any goals, whether personal or public.
If you need to make a great leap or effort to succeed, Sigil can give you energy and boundless potential. If you were born in June, you have boundless creativity and energy and you thrive on action. You should not worry about tomorrow, but take each day as it comes.
July – Hay Moon – Daeg
The key rune for July is Daeg, pronounced darg, the rune of the day, or awakening. Light is important, even today, and the ancient people lived with the certainty that the sun was absolutely essential for life. Because of this, Daeg is a symbol of spiritual, as well as physical illumination.
If you need some light to shine into your life, use Daeg to brighten up your gloomy patches. Daeg can promise that, given faith and optimism, enlightenment is not far off.
August – Harvest Moon – Ger
The key rune for August is Ger, pronounced gair. This is the rune of the harvest, and offers a reminder that man is dependent on the benevolence of the Earth and seasons to survive. Also, inherent in the meanings of this rune is the idea that ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’, a reminder that past efforts affect the present and future harvests.
If you are anxious about the success of long-term projects or relationships, Ger is a reminder that the effort you put in now will bring rewards in the future. If you were born in August, you are a natural planner and hard-worker and can be confident your efforts will be rewarded.
September – Wood Moon – Feoh
The key rune for September is Feoh, pronounced fey-och. It signifies cattle, the mobile wealth of ancient Europe. This wealth can offer both comfort and strife, and so the meaning of Feoh encompasses the price that must be paid to reach a goal, whether that goal is success, change, or keeping life as it is.
If you are counting the cost of making a change or commitment in your life, Feoh can help you to assess the true price, including the hidden costs. If you were born in September, you are rooted in the real, practical world but you use your heart as well as your head. This ensures that any success will enrich you emotionally as well as materially.
October – Hunting Moon – Eh
The key rune for October is Eh, pronounced em. Eh is the rune of the horse, especially the warhorse which carries its rider into battle. It talks of the harmony between the horse and its rider.
When you need harmony and balance in your life, Eh can assist in reconciling the demands of different aspects of your life or opposing people who each claim your loyalty. If you were born in October, you are naturally fair-minded and see both sides of any question. Your own inner harmony will protect you from the conflicts of others.
November – Fog Moon – Odal
The key rune for November is Odal, pronounced owed-al. Odal is the homestead, the rune of the practical organisation of our lives. Because Odal refers to land passed down through a family over generations rather than leased from an overlord, it represents clan and family values. It is also a reminder that effort on a practical level must be put in if the fruits of a secure lifestyle are to be enjoyed.
If you feel the need for security and the comforts of home, Odal offers you a gentle reminder of the value of stable relationships and shared experiences, however mundane they may see. If you were born in November, you are a home-maker in the most creative sense and you have the gift of putting others at ease wherever you are.
December – Wolf Moon – Haegl
The key rune for December is Haegl, pronounced hargul. Haegl is the rune of hail and is the cosmic seed or egg. Haegl carries with it the idea of creative potential waiting to come into fruition.
If you are feeling exhausted or defeated, Haegl offers you a reminder that the dark days will come to an end and our personal sun will shine again. It will not be immediate, but Haegl offers the promise of real happiness after the winter. If you were born in December, you are a creature of dreams and vision and sometimes the inner world seems richer than the outer. Trust your instincts, and bring your creations into the outside world only when they are ready.