Divination Articles

Road to Runes

Nauthiz – Need and Sacrifice


As part of my ongoing journey to understand more about the runes, I’ve decided to go totally random and use a rune generator rather than my physical set of runes. I’ve fallen out with these runes for personal reasons, and I do have another set but I don’t feel like I’m attuned to them yet. As frustrating as this purgatory-like stage is for divination purposes, it’s the ideal opportunity for getting some straight up learning in without questioning my own abilities or biases.

The rune generator I’m using is ifate.com which I also chose at random after a quick Google search.

This month I’ve pulled the rune Nauthiz, which the website in question told me was inverted, so I’ll explore what this might mean in terms if divination, too.

(Screenshot taken directly from ifate.com which is in no way an endorsement of this site. This site may be useful to some but I personally found it heavy on adverts. It was useful for a single rune reading totally at random. I would always recommend getting or making your own set of runes and working with those.)

Visually, the rune usually appears as an upright stave with a diagonal line running downwards from left to right, so it’s unclear how this rune is inverted, unless on this site you simply have to rely on the text to tell you so! This rune means need-fire, indicating need or necessity, and represents something you really, really need and possibly the exchange of something vital in order to get it. The rune can indicate sacrifice, the giving up of something important in order to get something, not necessarily better, but important to you right now, in whatever situation you’re currently in.


The rune appears in several rune poems linked to desperate need:


Need gives scant choice

A naked man is chilled by frost.


This Norwegian rune poem paints a bleak picture; someone lost in the cold with no clothes has no need but warmth, shelter, clothing – and no doubt they would give anything in that moment for those things.


Need is an aching in the breast, but then

Just as the medicine with the bitter taste

Can soothe, need is comfort to the sons of men.


This modern translation of part of the Anglo Saxon Rune Poem, translated by Claire Smith and available via Rune Secrets, captures the essence of the rune well: We are momentarily defined by our need, and it can hurt when we don’t have what we yearn for, but understanding that need and, in time, finding what we actually do need (which may be different to what we think we need) is a great comfort and one of the best feelings in life.

Is this rune applicable to me right now? I cast this rune digitally, purely yearning to learn and not with any particular question in mind. Yet it does resonate.

Firstly, there is the odd coincidence that this rune had popped up in the last day on a group I’m a member of, so to pull it randomly after seeing it also fairly randomly was odd, to say the least.

Secondly, I guess I have been contemplating what it is I need out of life, lately. The pandemic has left many of us feeling discombobulated, and one of my issues is my anxiety is almost disabling, at times, and has left me with almost negative amounts of social skills and the most terrible imposter syndrome!

I’m slowly getting back to being a better friend, a better communicator, and a better witch, following through on commitments and journaling what I can, when I can. I do feel like I need something, a catalyst maybe, to set me on a more productive yet also more relaxing path. I don’t yet understand what this could be.

Basically, I work damn hard and yet feel like my forward progress is minimal. There’s a tension between wanting to throw myself into my spiritual and magical work, and needing to do mundane work to keep the roof over our head! I guess Nauthiz, inverted, perhaps indicates that my need could be different to what I think it is, and with effort, I could break that tension and move forward to a happier place. Let us know what your thoughts are on this rune on our socials!

Recommended rune resources:

The Knotty Occultist


Recommended Norse/Heathen resources:



Books and columns by Morgan Daimler and Dagulf Loptson provide a good mix of tradition, lore, and modern practice.



About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist and content creator. She’s a nature-based witch, obsessed with Irish and British Paganism and Folklore, plus she’s a massive plant nerd. She’s also a long-time Hekate devotee and a newbie Lokean. She works extensively with the UK Pagan Federation, including editing their bi-annual children’s magazine. Mabh is a passionate environmentalist and an advocate for inclusiveness and positive social transformation.

Mabh is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors,  Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways, and most recently, Practically Pagan: An Alternative Guide to Planet Friendly Living. Search “Mabh Savage” on Spotify and @Mabherick on all socials.