Six months ago I started a thorough initial study of the Elder Futhark. Each week I would focus on a new rune, reading the rune poems and a number of published interpretations. While these posts are old (originally posted to my Tumblr), I want to move them over here for easy reference.
Week 3: Thurisaz
Basic meaning: Thorn, a giant
Further meanings: Reactive force, destruction, defense, cleansing fire, male sexuality. Can destroy as well as protect. Battle rune – Conflict, war.
Divinatory meanings: Directed force of destruction or defense, relating to or having aspects of Thor and Mjollnir (aggression, defense of one’s kin, hallowing, meeting destructive forces with equivalent or greater strength), war and conflict, elemental fury and destructiveness, forces of chaos at play, a cleansing and purifying, fertility, vitality on the field, self-empowerment, assertiveness, explosive violence, instinctual will, suggestion of boundaries.
Reverse meanings: Danger, defenselessness, compulsion, betrayal, dullness. Evil, malice, hatred, torment, spite, lies. A bad person.
Magical uses: Thurisaz can act as a carrier or binding agent for two other runes to bring them into realization. It is arguably the most dangerous rune to work with due to its destructive capabilities. Use for an active defense, destruction or neutralization of enemies (be aware of possible backfire – again, it is very destructive), awakening of the will to action, preparedness, love (passion) magic, and knowledge of division and unity.
Personal Thoughts on and Associations with Thurisaz
Thurisaz was difficult for me to get to know. I don’t have a lot of direct associations with war beyond movies and news, so while I could understand that aspect of Thurisaz intellectually, I couldn’t personally relate to it.
And being a lesbian, the male sexuality overtones of the rune were less than accessible to me as well.
The one thing I did connect with instantly: Defending your kin. Had a slight run in with this one this week, actually, which was funny because I was reading and reading on Thurisaz, thinking about Thurisaz, and getting extremely frustrated over not really being able to GET this rune like I had the first two. Then someone tried to rip off my partner on a trade she’d done, and when I found out I was like OH HELL NO. It was late at night but we stayed up till we’d managed to put together a VERY good argument on the matter, and she ended up getting what she had asked for. While this is extremely minor compared to, say, defending your family from someone trying to kill them, it brought that call to action which helped me understand Thurisaz a little better.
The Thor and Mjollnir associations of this rune also helped me. I’m reading the Prose Edda right now, and enjoy how every time Thor faces a problem, the solution is hit it with a hammer. If it doesn’t work, hit it harder at a different angle. Thor also doesn’t ever stand down from a challenge. He is constantly active. While he typically acts before he thinks, he does not allow a situation to overtake him. In my little mundane mortal life, it’s so easy to find a road block to something you’re trying to do, throw up your hands and quit. Instead, using that frustration to create energy to break through barriers can help further your interest (though certainly with consequences depending on the situation).
Because my knowledge is currently limited to three runes, I haven’t been able to put Thurisaz’s binding abilities into practice. However, I can completely see how that energy could work. Thurisaz alone is, honestly, intimidating to me. It feels like working with something that one wrong move could have it blow up in your face. As such, I’m more likely to use it in its defensive form.
Needless to say, I have more work ahead of me to figure out Thurisaz. If anyone has any insights to this rune that they’d like to share, drop me a message!
Sources for meanings:
- Runelore by Edred Thorsson
- Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson
- Principles of Runes by Freya Aswynn
- Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn