Road to Runes: Ehwaz – A Journey in Trust
I finally got a new set of runes. In fact, it’s one I’ve had for a long time that I was going to sell, years ago, but for some reason have clung onto. Now I know why! It’s a set of carnelian tumble stones (rocks shaken in a tumbling machine until they are smooth) each inscribed with one of the Elder Futhark. I don’t go in for a whole lot of crystal magic as mining crystals has a lot of negative impacts on the Earth and the people involved. However, I also don’t waste what I have, and these are awesome! They’re so smooth to hold, and according to crystal experts (of which I’m not one!) associated with memory and courage, two things I’m constantly working on.
Out of three runes that I drew in a single reading, one was a rune I’ve not worked with before: Ehwaz. Ehwaz looks very much like a capital “M” from our Latin alphabet, and means “Horse”. It appears in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem, where the rune itself is referred to simply as “Eh”.
There are several different translations of all the rune poems, but I found this translation of the Anglo-Saxon rune poem via the Old English Poetry Project. For “Eh”, the stanza is:
Horses are for earls the joy of noblemen,
a steed proud in its hooves, where the heroes about him,
prosperous on horseback, weave their speech,
and ever a comfort to those on the move.
Other sources translate the final line to “a source of comfort to the restless,” perhaps indicating a more esoteric meaning of finding peace in a turbulent time. Horses and humans have a long history of partnership and a good rider needs to trust their steed – and vice versa. Because of this, Ehwaz is associated strongly with trust, partnerships, teamwork, and even love. It can also mean a journey, travelling between two points in your life, not necessarily a physical trip but the path you’re on towards something brighter in the future.
This rune also indicates a trust between someone who inherently has a position of power and someone who does not – and that trust indicates that neither person will abuse their position, particularly the person who currently holds the power. This could be a child and a parent or carer; a pet and an owner; a boss and an employee. It’s not about reinforcing that hierarchical structure, more like a way of stating that despite the imbalance of power, trust can be found here. A child knows their parent is the one who sets boundaries, but they can trust that the parent will be fair in this and loving – but the parent has a responsibility to follow through on this trust and to be the fair one, the kind one, and the gentle one.
I drew this rune in a period of grieving for myself and others, wondering how to help others without losing myself in the grief as my mental health had not been great at this time. These are the three runes I drew:
For me, as a rune newbie, the messages I get from this are that Ansuz is reminding me to use my words, communicate, not isolate, and also to be grateful for my connection to the otherworldly things I hold dear. Hagalaz confirms this is a tough time, a swirling storm, but that there are seeds of hope and creation within, even though it may be hard to see that right now. Finally, Ehwaz indicates that I have to trust in my loved ones and to reassure them that they can trust in me, and that there is a path through the hail, through the storm to the other side, via trust in each other and our guides.
More experienced runesters, feel free to leave your own interpretations in the comments! This column is an exploration of runes and a learning journey, so it’s great to share each other’s interpretations and uses of the runes. You can also come chat to us on our Twitter or Facebook.
Thanks for reading!
Recommended rune resources:
Recommended Norse/Heathen resources:
Books and columns by Morgan Daimler and Dagulf Loptson provide a good mix of tradition, lore, and modern practice.
*Always be mindful when reading rune interpretations online or even in popular books. Many runes and other Norse symbols have been co-opted by the alt-right and far-right, so use discernment and avoid sources based on fascist ideals.
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.