Hagalaz – 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 9: Hagalaz

Basic meaning: Hail

Further meanings: Wrath of nature, destructive, uncontrolled forces, especially the weather, or within the unconscious.  Controlled crisis, leading to completion, inner harmony.  Potential energy of neutral power in the multivers.

Divinatory meanings:  Encounter with uncontrolled or destructive forces either in your world or within your own mind.  Tempering, testing, trial.  Unavoidable unpleasantness outside of individual control.  Something inevitable.  Accepting that which can’t be changed and preparing for it.  Possible outcome of growth, harmony, completeness.  Ongoing evolution within fixed framework.

Reverse meanings:  Natural disaster, catastrophe.  Stagnation, loss of power.  Pain, loss, suffering, hardship, sickness, crisis.  Victim consciousness, blaming others, obsession with the past.

Magical uses:  As the rune of hidden realms of the past and the dead, this rune can be used to communicate with the dead or break down barriers in your own unconscious.  Gives you the ability to learn from the past.  It helps you accept past mistakes of self and others and let go.  Completeness and balance of power.  Mystical and numinous experience and knowledge.  Evolutionary, becoming operations.  Can also be used in very harmful magic.

Hagalaz also has a protective form (see below).  It’s a stave of protection and banishment.  Its complete and harmonious nature promotes special security and prevents intrusion of disharmonious elements.  Protects against weather and uncontrolled forces.  Thorsson describes it as the rune mother from which all runes are drived from.


(Protective form)

Personal thoughts on and associations with Hagalaz

So, the moment I read what Hagalaz meant, I cringed.

Every week something happens that really makes me recognize the rune I’m studying.

I live in Oklahoma.  It’s Spring.  Hagalaz means hail.

Hail pelting our windows and rooftop kept me awake most of last night.  As a homeowner, I can’t help but sit there and worry about potential damage.  It’s worse with possible tornado-producing storms.  I don’t sleep much in spring.

Even so, along with the damaging winds and hail, we often get our only few months of real rain for the majority of the year when we often have drought conditions.  So the blessing of weather is just as real to us as its potential for destruction.

I guess that’s what I get for starting off the week saying that I didn’t understand the completely opposite interpretations of Aswynn and Thorsson in the books I’m studying from.  But really, it’s more like they just focused on two different aspects.  Aswynn focused more on the destructive, Thorsson on the creative.

It was also interesting because I reread the Skadi and Njord myth this week.  Skadi isn’t a deity that’s really ever called to me, but again reading about her helped me connect to this rune.  Thiazi and other giants are often associated with untamed elemental power.  And Skadi’s love of her snow-covered, hail-pelted, storm-torn home put her so much in Hagalaz’s element to me.

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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