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 8: Wunjo
Basic meanings: Joy, pasture
Further meanings: Joy, comfort, pleasure. Happiness, optimism. Fellowship, harmony, prosperity. Ecstasy, glory. Associations with words meaning “perfection” and “wish”. Unison of will, complete harmony with everything. Relationship of beings descended from the same source.
Divinatory meanings: Spiritual reward, but also the possibility of going “over the top”. If restrained, the meaning is general success and the recognition of worth. Rune of joy & fulfillment of desires. Contentment. Realization of a wish or desire.
Reverse meanings: Stultification, sorrow, strife, alienation. Delirium, intoxication, possession by higher forces, impractical enthusiasm. Raging frenzy, berzerker. Failure, misery, loneliness.
Magical uses: In many ways, this is the rune of magical intent. It embodies the power of the will. Wishing wisely with applied intent can bring about a desired result. Binds different fields of force together, so is invaluable to rune magic. Strengthens links and bonds. Invocates fellowship and harmony. Banishes alienation. Promotes happiness and well-being. Brings about realization of links of relationships of all things. Binds runes towards specific purposes.
Personal Thoughts On and Associations with Wunjo
I did not find it terribly difficult to connect with this rune. One of Wunjo’s main messages is to find joy in what you have and feel blessed that you have anything at all. It doesn’t mean that you can’t want more or strive to better yourself and your life, but it doesn’t want you to lose sight of the pleasures already in your life, whether they are from location, items, or people.
Right when I got out of college, I felt like I needed to apply myself and be successful. I’d always been an excellent student, a perfectionist in all things, and BY THE GODS I was going to make something of myself and not disappoint people.
This attitude did not take into account my social anxieties and general introverted nature. I’d dealt with that always, but I’d never realized how amazingly draining a full stretch of 8 hours around people was to me, let alone jobs where you could easily work 10-12 hour stretches at a time. It wasn’t the work that left me tired, it was just the interaction. And of course it didn’t help that I hated the first job I could despite it paying pretty decently for someone fresh out of college.
One day, with absolutely no planning, I went up to my boss and gave my two weeks notice. This is completely against what I usually do. I am a planner. I don’t get out of something unless I know I have something else to go to. But I would come home with scratches all over my neck and chest from where I’d be raking my nails across my skin for hours every day out of anxiety. I didn’t want to live that way.
So I gave up what could have been a very successful career, and after some temp jobs, got the job I have now – I work at a book store. Yep, retail. And I love it. Am I ever going to be hugely successful? Nah. But I make enough to support my home and family, with enough left to have some fun. It’s simple, but it works. All it took was letting go of the expectation that monetary success & material wealth = happiness.
As an added side story, I enjoy a few simple hobbies as well. I play mountain dulcimer for one. And recently I’ve been trying to learn how to spin wool.
This week a friend of mine and I got together to spin for awhile. Well, it was more like we were going to figure out how to card wool (ahaha that was funny), but we did end up spinning for awhile.
I’ve always wanted to get into spinning not just for the tactile enjoyment of it, but because that energy seems very magical to me. I use a top whorl drop spindle. And the funny thing is, the shape the yarn makes against the spindle as you draw it up through the hook is the basic outline of Wunjo.
So I thought a little more about that.
My idea of fellowship is kind of different from most people’s I know. They like to go out after work, get a few drinks, whatever. I much prefer to do something quiet with one or two of my close friends. This particular friend is very similar. We both have a difficult time initiating conversations, but really like to just hang out and do something. Trying to learn how to spin was a very good example of this.
Spinning itself also brought me some happy Wunjo feels. You have a raw material, you apply intent, and you make something useful out of it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was something, and I enjoyed doing it.
Overall, I see why Wunjo is the final rune of this Aett. It seems like the final step in the flow which started from Fehu’s initial spark. I’m looking forward to magical workings with Wunjo.
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