The Road to Runes

March 1st, 2019

The Road to Runes: Tiwaz

Tiwaz, Elder Futhark Rune of Norse God Tyr, Sacrifice and Law.

Last month I pulled the rune Dagaz, a rune all about breakthroughs and new beginnings. This coincided with a major life change for me and certainly reinforced my confidence in the runes and my journey with them.

The next rune I pulled was Tiwaz, the rune of the god Tyr. Tyr is a god of war, but also of law and justice. Tyr was invoked when victory was needed in battle. He gives the day ‘Tuesday’ its name, and has been conflated with the Roman god Mars.

Tyr’s primary myth is the story of the Binding of Fenrir, the great wolf who inspired fear, even in the Gods. Fenrir did not trust the Norse Gods, so when they wanted to place fetters upon him, he wanted a guarantee he would be released again. He asked one of the gods to place their arm within his jaws. Only Tyr would do this, knowing full well Fenrir would bite once they refused to release him. Sure enough, the fetters securely bound the wolf, and Fenrir bit down as promised, severing Tyr’s arm from his body.


This willing sacrifice for the greater good is a key aspect of Tiwaz. Giving up something which is important to us for the benefit of others is noble, but often extremely difficult to do. We don’t need to lose an arm, like Tyr; Tiwaz can indicate that we need to give up our time, by volunteering, perhaps, or spending more time with the kids. Tiwaz could also mean we need to give up something physical. Maybe you’re in financial difficulties, and selling your beloved collection of [insert favourite obsession here] could give you the money you need to see you through to the next pay-cheque.

Tiwaz can also mean sacrificing something we feel is important about ourselves. Maybe you see yourself as entirely self-reliant but are struggling on your own with a particular situation. It’s hard to ask for help when your ego demands that you stand on your own two feet. Tiwaz dares you to put the arm of your ego in the jaws of the wolf, and not to flinch as it bites down. You will not be harmed by the change in your perception of yourself. You might feel too proud to ask for help, but in this situation, you would learn to have pride in your friends and family and eventually in yourself for being willing to change and adapt.

My Situation

In my situation, just having become freelance and working to build a new schedule and routine, it’s not immediately evident what Tiwaz represents for me. I have sacrificed my day job in order to support my family better, but that was a sacrifice I was happy to make- delighted, in fact! What I have struggled with since the change is being my own boss. I’ve been so used to having someone else dictate my schedule, doing it for myself is tricky and slightly alien to me.

Maybe Tiwaz is telling me I need to sacrifice my self-image as a routine-hating rebel. I’ve always seen myself this way; not chained or fettered to the clock, except when I have to be, due to the demands of others. Well, now those demands need to come from within. There’s no boss breathing down my neck, only clients and my own sense of drive and ambition.

Tiwaz also represents the reign of law and order over chaos, and I hope that this aspect of the rune is telling me that peace will soon descend. Chaos has started to blur the edges of my life lately, with some deep loss and grief, and severe mental health difficulties. Perhaps, by remaining confident in my decisions and having faith in my own abilities, order will resume some claim over events, and life will start to settle back into the routine I so desperately don’t want, but clearly need.

Tiwaz is a complex rune, and I have no doubt I will find it again in a future reading. For now, I feel like the rune is telling me not to grip so strongly to ideas of self-image, and be willing to change myself for my own benefit, the benefit of others, and for some peace and calm within my life. Don’t forget, you can tweet me @Mabherick if you want me to focus on a particular rune for this column. Until next time!


About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestorsand Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

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