Nauthiz – 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 10: Nauthiz

Basic meaning: Need

Further meanings: Need-fire (self-reliance).  Distress causing the realization of need, leading to growth and fulfillment of the need.  Embodies power by which friction and resistance generate creative energy.  Generates action.  Deliverance from distress.  Stepping forth into manifestation.

Divinatory meanings:  Delays, restriction.  Resistance leading to strength, innovation, need-fire.  Distress, confusion, conflict, and the power of will to overcome them.  Endurance, survival, determination.  A time to exercize patience.  Recognition of one’s fate.  Major self-initiated change. Face your fears.

Reverse meanings: Constraint of freedom, distress, toil, drudgery, laxity.  Necessity, extremity, want, deprivation, starvation, need, poverty, emotional hunger.

Magical uses:  Overcoming distress or negative fate, development of magical will (manifesting will through magic), development of spiritual powers, use of the force of resistance under will toward magical goals, sudden inspiration, eliminates hate and strife, creates a need for order, recognition of personal need, protection, love magic (obtaining a lover), divination (associations with Skuld, “necessity”).

Personal thoughts on and associations with Nauthiz

One of the first things I noticed about this rune was that the upright and reverse or merkstave meanings are very similar.  They both mean need, but upright there seems to be more of a promise of finding the strength to meet that need, where as merkstave or reversed it seems like there’s more hopelessness.

Story time!  So about five years ago when we’d just bought the house we’re living in now, my partner and I were really quite terrible housekeepers.  We were badly organized, had bad habits, and generally cleaning to us meant a 10-hour marathon before we had guests.

The state of the house nagged at my already-present depression, which, if you struggle with depression, you know that this is a vicious cycle.  House causes depression, depression causes me to hate the house and myself but not find the drive to fix it, house gets worse, continue getting more depressed about house, etc.

And then one lovely February morning after a a multiple day freeze, I walk downstairs to hear running water.  I’m thinking that’s odd and keep walking, and suddenly feel squish-squish beneath my feet.  The carpet was soaked, and as I got the lights on I saw that about 70% of the downstairs floor was covered in water.  A pipe had burst.

At that point, it became deal with all of this NOW or you are going to lose your ability to live here.  So I called insurance, got stuff arranged, and spent the next couple of weeks getting the house ripped up further to deal with the leak and its aftermath.

Another bout of depression hit after that.  While the major things had been taken care of, we were left with a pile of stuff and a lot of things to fix.

With the help of my partner, we took it one step at a time.  Put new carpet down in the altar room.  Reorganized.  Trashed or donated a ton of things we didn’t need anymore.  Got the concrete stained in our living room.  About that time we also decided the greyish-pink color of our walls had been there far too long, and went to GREEN.  Yes, it must be in all caps, because it’s GREEN.  Kind of a lime green, if you’re wondering.  We love it.

Once it had all been rearranged, I got my ass in gear with a maintenance schedule thanks to the lovely help of Unfuck Your Habitat on Tumblr.  Seriously, if you are in a similar boat where you need to clean your house but really hate doing it or stress over the effort or time it takes, check out UFYH.  The same principles apply to study schedules and, really, just about anything you need to make yourself do.

This entire scenario was going through my head as I studied Nauthiz.  It was a moment in my life that I think I’ll always reference, because in a lot of ways it really messed up my life for awhile.  I am a homebody.  I like being at home, in my own space.  To have that much of an upheaval in my own space was extremely difficult to go through.  But I found the power to face it and grow from it.

Now every day I see Nauthiz in little ways.  Stress at work?  It’ll go away faster if you deal with it now.  Things like that.

I haven’t worked with its more magical properties yet, but I look forward to doing so.

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

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