The Road to Runes

June, 2018

The Road to Runes: Ansuz, Woden’s Rune

For this stage in my journey with runes, I decided to do a little divination for myself. I’m wanting to begin working from home within the next year, hopefully within a few months. I’m at home with the six-month-old baby at the moment, but will have to return to the ‘day job’ by October, and everything in me rails against it. I want to be at home with my family, and I already write all the time anyway, so why not make a career out of it? Having already made steps in this direction, I was interested to know what the runes would make of this decision.

I pulled out a single rune for this particular piece of divination. This rune (pictured) was Ansuz, which literally means ‘God’. It’s normally associated with either Odin or Woden, the runes having come from Norse and Germanic origins. Esoterically, this rune is complex but tends to mean ‘inspiration’, which as a writer, is definitely one of my favourite words. Ansuz is also linked to communication and answers, something I was definitely hoping to get, so how does this rune translate into an answer to my query?

Ansuz is the rune of air, specifically breath. It is the breath of the universe, and the first breath that takes the spirit into the body, and the last breath that allows the spirit to escape. It is intrinsically linked to words and the power of words, particularly names. Words develop from and into concepts and creativity, and are often the focus of communication. As a writer wanting to make a career from my words, this rune tells me to listen to my inner voice, to embrace my creativity and use the talents I have to make this step.

Ansuz is also a rune of order. It indicates that even when the path is unclear, or times are difficult, that the universe has a plan and that ultimately, order will prevail. Ansuz encourages us to find patterns within chaos, and to trust that all will be as it is supposed to be. To me, this encourages me to take a leap of faith. Even if I have doubts, if I trust in the divine energies of the universe (and work hard!), I will find myself in a place that is good for me and my family.

Ansuz also reminds us to listen. Breath comes from the universe, from Odin, from ourselves but also from others. We must acknowledge that their breath, words and ideas are as potent and important as ours. We should take care with our words and not use them for manipulation or menace.

I’m a bit taken aback that for a question about writing and a big change in my life, I’m given a rune that focuses intensely on words, inspiration and creativity. I’m also reminded of the power of my own voice, and that words can do great harm, as well as great good. At the very least, this has inspired me to take the step I was tempted to take anyway, and see where the path takes me. The best interpretation is that this is definitely the right choice for me, and that if I trust the universe and my own inner voice, I will end up on the path that is truly best for me.


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 Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.


Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.


November, 2016

Meet the Gods: Odin

Merry meet.


You teach best what you most need to learn.”

Reading that in Richard Bach’s 1977 book, “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah,” made me realize a long time ago we are all teachers and we are all students. The women I’ve circled with for nine years honor only the Goddess, so my work with gods has fallen by the wayside. That’s precisely why I volunteered to begin writing a column about gods. Each month I plan to research another one and present a small biography, hopefully leaving some links to additional information.

I am partially of German descent, so the first god I chose is Wodan, Woden or Wotan. He is known by many other names. In Norse mythology he is Odin, and it is from here that most information about him is known.

Odin was always a war god and he’s protected heroes. He is also associated with healing, death, royalty, knowledge, battle, poetry, sorcery and the runic alphabet. He is the husband of the goddess Frigg, with whom he wagering the outcome of exploits.

He is mentioned throughout recorded history. The Germanic peoples referred to him as a founding figure. He created the world by slaying Ymir, a primordial being; and he gives the gift of life to Ask and Embla, the first two humans.

At the end of the pre-Christian period, Odin was Scandinavia’s principal god.

As told in Old Norse texts, Odin ruled Midgard. He was a tall, old man with a long beard and one eye – the other he gave to receive wisdom. He wears a cloak and a broad hat, and carries a spear named Gungnir. He rides the eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, who can gallop through the air and over the sea. Traveling with him are the wolves Geri and Freki, and the ravens Huginn and Muninn who bring him information.

A relentless seeker of knowledge and wisdom, Odin was the great magician among the gods and sometimes traveled in disguise. The runes and poetry are both attributed to him.

The runes are more than letters, they are powerful symbols with which cosmic forces can be harnessed. Odin sought them not for language, but for their potent magic. To get them, he sacrificed himself, hanging himself from a branch of Yggdrasil, the great tree that grows out of the Well of Urd in the center of the Norse cosmos. In its upper branches is Asgard, one of the Nine Worlds. In Asgard is Valhalla, which is ruled by Odin.

Odin proceeded to pierce himself with his spear and then peered down into the well where, among the powerful beings, were the Norns who had shaped destiny by carving runes into Yggdrasil’s trunk. Forbidding any of the other gods to help him, he hung day and night as he sought the runes. On the ninth night, he saw the shapes and they revealed their secrets to him.

It is stated on the Norse Mythology for Smart People website, that according to the ancient poem “Hávamál,” “Equipped with the knowledge of how to wield the runes, he became one of the mightiest and most accomplished beings in the cosmos. He learned chants that enabled him to heal emotional and bodily wounds, to bind his enemies and render their weapons worthless, to free himself from constraints, to put out fires, to expose and banish practitioners of malevolent magic, to protect his friends in battle, to wake the dead, to win and keep a lover, and to perform many other feats like these.”

He masters the art of communicating with the dead to gain their knowledge and to have as many warriors as possible on his side when he must face the wolf Fenrir, even though he knows he is doomed to die in that battle. Odin appears after his death as a leader of the wild hunt, a procession of ghosts across the winter sky.

Places are named after him; so is Wednesday (“Woden’s day”).

For more information about Odin online, you might consider beginning here:

Merry part. And merry meet again.