Gebo – Initial Rune Study

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 7: Gebo

Basic meaning: Gift

Further meanings: Gifts, both in the sense of sacrifice and generosity, indicating balance.  All matters in relation to exchanges, including contracts, personal relationships, and partnerships.  Integration of complimentary opposites.  Balancing opposite facets of the self.  Betrothal, sexual relationships.  Boundaries.  Hospitality, generosity, ability to give and accept gifts with honor.

Divinatory meanings: Relationships with other humans or between humans and gods.  Contracts or agreements.  Balance.  Gifts and sacrifice.  A need to pass on gifts or return a favor.  Increase in power or awareness.

Reverse meanings: Greed, loneliness, dependence, over-sacrifice.  Obligation, toll, privation, bribery.  Unbalanced behavior, dishonesty.

Magical uses:  Mystical union, increase in magical powers, harmony between brothers, sisters, and/or lovers, magical influence in human and divine worlds, acquisition of wisdom, sex magic.

Personal Thoughts On and Associations with Gebo

One of the important lessons of Gebo is to not take more than you’re willing to give.  This applies whether you are working with other human beings or asking the gods for something.  This goes back to a lot of recent discussions concerning experience.  No matter how natural an ability for spirit or deity communication may be to a person, the expectation of loyalty, service, devotion, offerings, etc. is still in place for anything given by the gods.  For those of us who lack that ease of communication, the road may feel a bit longer.  In both cases, however, one shouldn’t expect to get something for nothing.  A lot of hours, energy, and sometimes monetary or material sacrifice will have to go in to that kind of exchange.

The good news is that it is a balance.  Over-giving on your part rarely happens (or if it feels like that’s what you’re doing, you may have missed an important lesson).  At least that’s how I experienced it this week.

For the past seven weeks I’ve been extremely diligent about my rune study.  I spend a few hours studying each week and daily time reading notes, thinking about the rune I’m on, and applying it.

At the beginning of my rune study, I asked Heimdall to help me learn the runes.  As I’ve mentioned before, I do not have a very strong ability to hear.  So for weeks, I went about my rune study, made offerings to Heimdall, and despite not getting any definite feedback, made progress in my studies.  The closest I’d get to picking up any kind of signal from Heimdall was occasionally getting a major need to study out of nowhere.

Over this last weekend I got very sick.  As a result, I slipped on my formal daily devotions and meditations.  I didn’t get to study as much.

Instead of getting either no signal at all or an indication that I was slacking, instead I got a little bit of help to fill in some of the gaps.  This was the first week that some Tumblr posts really spoke to the rune I was currently studying.  Two of the people I follow started really thought-provoking conversations about sacrifices and relationships to gods, as well as energy exchanges.  It felt like I was getting a little help as if to tell me it was okay that I let go of studying a little this week to recover.

Although apparently that only went as far as I still did this Wednesday post.  I thought about putting it off till tomorrow, but then of course it was all I could think about, haha.  So here’s your rambly post for the week!

Sources for meanings:

  • Sunnyway.com/runes/index.html
  • 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
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