Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Jotunheim is the "home of the Jotun" is the realm of the giants, the Jotun, who are a kind of primal giant. It is the counter balance to the realm of Vanaheim, the home of the Vanir - the ancestral home of the Vanir gods, the ancient gods and goddesses of the natural world, of fertility and of human sexuality and is the realm of of evolutive power and organic growth, where there is no decay or death. All is fertile, prosperous and abundant. In Jotunheim there is constant change. The vital power of Jotunheim is that of dissolution or of break down of form to its base elements and the inhabitants of this realm seek to change anything that they come across.

The realm of Jotunheim should not be viewed from a moralistic perspective; it is a necessary force within the natural realm. It is only when the force of dissolution is placed out of its natural bounds that it becomes a danger to life. In its balanced form it is an intrinsic quality of physical existence, without this force nothing would ever change or evolve to more advanced and intricate forms.

Raw untamed primal forces of nature, steep rocky valleys, high mountain ranges, snow covered land, unstable extremes of climate, barren fields of rock and stone, impenetrable rocky faces and wild turbulent seas are all typical of the appearance of Jotunheim.

We heathens believe that it is the interplay of the energy from Jotunheim with that of Vanaheim upon the physical reality of Midgard (the world upon which we live) that creates the constant cycle of evolution, of birth, life death and rebirth.  All coming together brings the balance of the elements and also the clash of the elements when needed.


This is cheating a bit as I work with the Anglo Saxon runes, so I use Ger instead of Jera but Jera is how this rune is commonly known, the twelfth in the runic alphabet.  It means a good year, Season, Harvest.  <

The Anglo Saxon rune poem states "Year is the hope of men when god lets the holy kingdom let go of its fruits."

Harvest time is the most important time for our ancestors. They have tilled the soil and allowed nature to unfold. The crops are strong and ripe. The year was calculated on a seasonal or yearly basis and embodies the mysteries of the cyclical nature of life and wyrd.

Jera charts how we change and transform through different periods of our life. It is the spiral journey of self knowledge, like the journey of the rune, our learning goes on for ever. Jera shows us the holistic  nature of the universe.

Jera shows us the importance of our actions. You shall reap what you sow. Our actions along the web will shape wyrd and change how things flow. It is also the rune of optimism looking to the future, where the god allows the earth mother to give up her bounty.

Magical Uses of Jera:
- Help bring a project to a positive outcome;
- Achievement and enthusiasm;
- Plan forward towards final outcome;
- Can help in learning other runes;
- Understanding what we want to achieve;
- Instil patience;
- Help see larger picture;
- Help in divination;
- See underlying structure of a situation and know when to act.

- Write a list of projects or plans you'd like to accomplish;
- Become aware of the seasons around you;
- Take a walk in the full moon;
- Go through your wardrobe or music collection and see how your tastes have changed;
- Create a harvest harrow (altar) or harrow of the cycles, possibly to the god Frey.
- Try and go naturally through the day without clocks.

Friday, 4 May 2012


As I'm a week behind with my blogging I thought I'd do two together to bring me up to date and I thought if I chose two runes beginning with 'I' that might make it flow better. Isa and Inguz are both powerful runes for me and I often wear a bindrune of the two symbols.


ISA was the inevitable rune to be chosen as it's also shaped like the letter I. In Anglo Saxon it is IS, in the Younger Futhark it is ISS. All meaning Ice, the time of severe cold and darkness. It is one of two runes of creation. It is containment, introspection, introversion, stillness and preservation.

In the Anglo Saxon rune poem is says "Ice is very cold and exceedingly slippy. The Icelandic power reads "Ice is the rind of the river... danger for fey men."

Isa is a particularly powerful rune in the northern hemisphere. We have had Hagalaz for disruption and Nyd for need. ISA is the instinctive response to the the arrival of wintertime, of hibernation. We go from focussing on the outside to focus on thing inside. This leads to transformation

It is the preserving of the old ways and traditions - even in Christian teachings the old ways are preserved.  Art, Photography etc area also a visual preservation for the future and thus an expression of ISA.

ISA stops. It stops evolutive and dissolutive forces equally evolving and disintegrating. It is the power of the law to keep things in its place, the ability to hold society together, the power to maintain order. 

It is the I in I AM, the sense of personality and self, what constitutes the self. It can help us maintain our sense of stability when all around is disintegrating into chaos. It brings the power to enable clarity of though (like the Hermit in the Tarot).

When we are stuck in a rut and there is the inability to see any other viewpoint than our own, ISA helps us out of that rut.

ISA also is for slowing down the pace, chilling out, destressing at work.

Magical uses of Isa

- Freezes all forms of magic instantly;
- Stills the mind;
- Binds others;
- Controls actions of others;
- Refocusses mind when journeying;
- Halts unwanted actions;
- Curse others;
- Strengthen self esteem;
- Stop relationships falling apart;
- Control bad weather.

Healing Uses of Isa

- Halt progress of illness;
- Calm down, hyperactivity;
- Reduce fever;
- Strengthen muscles in body;
- Reduce high blood pressure;

Some possible tasks to do with ISA

- Write down everything that makes you a unique individual. Put a rune against each one and make a bind rune.
- Take up a winter sport.
- Holiday in a cold country (come to England!).
- Take part in an archaeology event.
- Write a short essay on your life.
- Create a timeline of your life with pictures of yourself or make a short video about yourself;
- Take more photos.


The shape of Inguz is two X's, one on top of each other.   Key concepts are replication, creation, inner-child, wholeness, symmetry, isolation, incubation, gestation, seed.

INGUZ represents a simple, but complex idea, that of the seed. Inguz points to the cosmic law that governs the essential creativity inherent to the fabric of existence.

INGUZ is in our language today. We use 'ing' when we speak of 'doing', 'sitting', 'running' , active processes. Adopting the secrets of INGUZ allows us to focus on the process. With regards the generation of ideas it helps us in the doing following the thinking.

INGUZ is the very process by which creation occurs, including the incubation and gestation of the seed, its germination and subsequent development and growth. When the process has come to a peak, the being generated by the seed in turn actively produces new seeds. In time this could change the shape of the world around us and the universe.

Harnassing the energies of INGUZ for our purposes requires that we become conscious of the ways in which a small seed can be planted in the right environment, or nurtured into a powerful new mode of being. We open up room for INGUZ energy through the deliberate act of creating time and space for ourselves and for th people and events we wish to effect.

So INGUZ unlocks the energy of continuation and generation but also the magic of discovering the very essence of a thing, the simple algorithm that will most ensure its spread and growth into the universe. It is the cosmic law of the minutely small and its symmetry with the infinitely large.

In this way INGUZ is a rune of wholeness. When we summon up INGUZ as energy and understand its teachings, it signals the integration of the physical, emotionsl, mental and spiritual into one centred being, that of our inner child self, the being most aligned with rampant creativity and originality.

So go play and go create!


Friday, 27 April 2012

H is for the rune Haegl, Hagalaz or Hagall

I mentioned a bit about the rune Haegl or Hagalaz (meaning 'hail' in my last H post, saying it was one of the more ancient symbols, predating the runic system as it has been found carved in older archaeological locations, in the shape of a snowflake - and so, I believe being connected to the ancient winter goddess, Holda.

In the Anglo Saxon rune poem:
"Hail is the whitest of grains,
it comes from heigh in heaven,
showers of wind hurl it
then it turns to water."

Haegl is the ninth rune and so is the first of the second Aettir, the second lot of runes in the system.  It translates as "hail", the unexpected hailstorm arising from nowhere and shattering the joy and harmony we had just established with the previous rune, Wynn or Wynjo.  It is out of control, it has no prelude. It comes from nowhere and goes back to nowhere, bringing chaos, misery and upset.

Haegl is a rune of disruption and it throws us off route, like many episodes in our lives. It overshaddows all aspects of our life with intense power. In the full force of the storm it feels like it will go on for ever. But what is interesting is that in reality it is over rapidly. However, its implications can last a lifetime. It signifies the sudden disruptive, often devastating, things that happen unexpectedly in your life.

In ancient times, it could be even more devastating as the hail could smash crops and ruin a harvest, often kill livestock and could be fatal in the community. Haegl is at its core is that which we cannot change. It is us who change.  It is the past that haunts us and the present that locks us into this moment. It could even represent nuclear war or catastrophic global cliimate change brought about by human actions.

The events that are the hallmark of Haegl are always dramatic, even if only just to us personally. A breakup with a loved one, a death in the family, a turn of luck that brings radical change for good or bad. These events give us tremendous pause and sometimes we must begin again from the beginning, embracing the opportunity to have a clean slate, no matter how painful

Gaining power over this energy lies in accepting that which we cannot change, adapting where we can and surrendering where we cannot. It means courage and defiance in the face of the impossible.

Haegl is a reminder to us that certain things, as catastrophic and devastating as they may be, are not worth worrying about. Let go, forgive, forgive yourself. You can do nothing about what happened, only what will happen now. The forgiving of the unalterable is the secret that Haegl reveals to us. When we stop repressing the dark site, the negative, stop living according to our past and fearing the future we then actually become whole and face the future through new, changed eyes.

Friday, 20 April 2012

H is for the goddess HOLDA - Ancient Lady of the Sacred Land, Queen of the 'other folk'

Thrilling wild-haired Goddess of
        sexual love
Bringer of generative power to our
Hag Goddess of Winter whom we know
        as Mother Goose and Dame Holle -
Riding high through leaden December
        skies, scattering white feathers
                across the land.
Dark Goddess of the Underworld and
        spectral rider in the Wild Hunt
Galloping beside Odin through the
Goddess of the wild creatures
Roaming snow-clad mountain tops and
        dwelling deep in crystal caverns,
                forever surounded by your beloved
                        animals -
Be with us.
                                                    HAIL HOLDA!
(Courtesy of Jack Gale)

Many pagans have heard of Diana, Cerridwen, Brighid etc. Relatively few are familiar with with the ancient goddess Holda, if they have ever heard of her at all. But after centuries of obscurity,  Holda seems to be returning to the land and with it her power and magic.

Identified witht he fairy godmother of the original Cinderella story by the Brothers Grimm, with the nursery rhyme figure of Mother Goods, and with the sexy Venus in the Tannhauser story popularised by Wagner, the ancient Germanice Goddess Holda (or Hulda) was once honoured across Northern and Eastern Europe.  ("The Goddess Holda" - Jack Gale, 1995, self-published).

Of great antiquity, Holda predates the Northern tradition deities Hella and Freya, who both inherited some of her characteristics. Holda passed on her dynamic sexuality to Freya, a Goddess who traditionally takes mortal men as her lovers and who may be found at the ancient burial grounds of the Northern people. Freya also inherited the role of the witch's goddess from Holda; the prototype of the dark Lady riding a broomstick through the night sky accompanied by her cat. Cats are sacred to Freya and to Holda, along with other animals.

Holda passed on the the role of Underworld goddess to Hella, collector of the souls of the newly-dead. Hella is seen as a half-beautiful and half rotting and hideous woman - half-maiden and half-crone. Holda also appears to have these aspects. Neither Holda nor Hella fit the triple-aspected Goddess embraced by many wiccan traditions.  Holda is both a Hag Goddess of winter, an underworld goddess, and a queen of sexuality who is bestower of gifts, sexual and othewise.

In her book, "Leaves of Yggdrasil", Freya Aswynn attributes to Holda the Hagalaz rune. This ancient symbol is thought by some to predate the runic system and its snowflake structure would link well to a Winter goddess..

Some linguists studying Old German, Norse and Icelandic (and old Welsh)  have claimed that the roots of the word huldu, such as in huldu-folk meaning  'the good people' and is often linked to the elves and dwarves. Holda or Huldra is queen of the huldrefolk, so queen of the otherworldy beings, a fairy queen.  I intend to carry out further research into this aspect of Holda.

To contact Holda is to begin a relationship.  It is a commitment you need to really decide whether you want to make. You could start by offering her some music or visiting one of her holy places. Then bit by bit build up a picture of her in your mind, visualise a journey to meet her and start to communicate with this very special, very ancient, very powerful goddess.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

G is for Galdr- Heathen Magic

Galdr is an Old Norse term meaning 'sung spell' or 'magic chant' which employ sound vibrations or 'sonics', said to derive from ancient Sanskrit mantra and before that probably Indo-European language groups. The word may derive from the term 'gala', to crow and 'gala', mad or obsessed.

Galdrs are sung and chanted, often crafted poetically or simply repetition of runes sing over and over again to create a trance-like state, in order to create magic. They are used to set in motion the magical powers which the person in question wants to bring into reality on this plane either fir his/her own use or for the service of someone else.

Underlying these is the concept of shamanism (Seidr) being used to in OKE the presence of the gods, ancestors or other spirit beings or animals. Some Seidr workers actually assume a god form, as by 'becoming' the god/spirit they can avail themselves of the power.

Whence comes the galdr? In the Ynglinga Saga Snorri writes that Odin brought the magical power with him when he came to the north lands.

"When Odin/Asa came to the north lands, and with him Lady Diar, it was truly said that they practised and taught arts which human beings have used since. Odin was the noblest of them all and from him they learned all arts, as he first knew them all and the most... he could change shape and appearance as he willed... He always spoke in verse, as is done today and this is called the Art of the Skalds. He and his priests are often called 'song-smiths', as from them the art spread through the north lands.

Odin could make that in battle his enemies became blind, deaf and terrified and that their weapons cut no more than twigs....Odin could change his shape; his body would rest as in sleep or death but he became bird or beast, fish or worm, to travel instantly to far countries ,in his own or other people's interest.

With simple words he could do this: extinguish fire, calm the sea, and turn the wind however he willed... Through these things he became very knowing. He taught all these arts through runes and songs, which are called 'Galdrar', and this is why the Aesir are called 'Galdrar-Smidir' (sorcery-smiths)."

The great Ginnungagap ( the eternal yawning void from the beginning of time) is the place or space into which the Galdr are pushed.

You can carry out galdr or your own or in a group. When our group gathers for galdr we often use them as part of or a culmination of a shamanic journey, where we journey to one of the nine worlds for a specific purpose. We draw the runes in the other world and bring them back to manifest in this world. We then chant the runes, usually in groups of three, creating harmonies (or just spoken for those who don't want to sing!).

For example, to manifest some abundance into your life we would use Fehu for the material abundance, Isa to fix it onto the earth plane and Uruz to ground it here, each one chanted or sung three times. You might even want to draw them into the air or the space around you onto the walls. You can draw them over a person you are doing the magic or healing for
(Runic Reiki!).

There is also Stadr Galdr where you make the shapes of the runes with your body, so you become the rune on the outside while bringing it inside yourself through the chanting.

Galdr is very very powerful spell working and magic. Try it. It won't let you down!

Monday, 2 April 2012

G is for Gebo, Gif, Gyfu - the Rune of giving and receiving

X X. X

Gebo, Gif, Gifu,(from now on) Gyfu is the rune of gifting, giving, receiving, positive bonds, balance, unspoken debt, inborn talents and sacred marriage, among other attributes. It often appears in prosperity charms.

The Anglo Saxon rune poem states:
"Gyfu is for every man a pride and a praise, help and worthiness. State and subset acne for those who have nothing."

Gyfu is the rune of the goddess, Gefion or Gefn. Gefion was the name of the goddess worshipped at the royal centre of Leire in Denmark (Diana Paxson "Taking Up the Runes, 2005)who may have been a goddess of agriculture.

Gyfu is not all about giving. It's also about receiving, exchange and reciprocity, bringing the act of giving into consciousness, gifts becoming creations freely accessible to all, to improve the world. It raises the higher self, like Odin sacrificing his eye to gain the knowledge of the runes.

In the Norse and Germanic cultures exchange was important at all levels to maintain a balance in society. The Poetic Edda tells that the two tribes of gods, the Aesir and the Vanir, fought a great war. When peace was (sort of) agreed there were hostages, an exchange of families to create balance.

Gyfu is concerned with the sacrifices we must incur in order to give something valuable to the world. So it also has a sacrificial aspect - such as giving the self completely to one another in a relationship.

Gyfu rules over all forms of sacrifices. It is a rune of swearing allegiances, like blood brothers.

Gyfu teaches us we have a mysterious gift, a part of ourselves that must be discovered, a talent that must be turned into a skill before we can effectively take control of our destiny. If we neglect or reject this gift we ignore the debt we have to the gods for giving us the talent.It governs the more esoteric exchanges, especially exchanges of energy or magical power, whether between individuals or between humans and the gods.

We need to focus on the positive rather than the negative to draw the gifts towards us.

Gyfu is also used in many bindrunes.

Magical Uses of Gyfu:

- Binding people to tasks, to their word;
- Strengthening bonds and maintaining relationships;
- Finding a new house, getting a job;
- Sealing oaths;
- Buying and selling;
- To counter selfish behaviour;
- Instilling loyalty in others;
- Sex magic;
- Spells for prosperity,integration or balance

Healing Uses of Gyfu:

- Counsellin;
- Releasing tension and stress;
- Balancing the flow of energies;
- Breathing difficulties, asthma;
- Liver conditions;
- Digestive and circulation problems


- Create something to give as a gift to the god. Bury, burn or cast it.
- Hold a meal in honour of the gods and goddesses or ancestors. Lay a place for therm.
Perform a ceremony, open the door and welcome them in
- Write a list of people influential in your life. Write them a letter or invite them for
a meal.
- Leave food outside for small animals.
- Read the Havamal, the Sayings of Odin, the High One, which has lots of advice on
generosity in it.
- Go through your clothes and books to give away.
- Meditate on the concept of giving.
- Carve or paint the Gyfu rune. Wear it or put iton your altar/Harrow.
- Make runic good wish cards.
- Give something to the homeless.
- Contact a friend you've lost contact with.
- Donate to a charity.
- Give yourself a day off.
- Do some magic for a friend.
- Make some Gyfu runes as jewellery and give them to friends.

The XXX at the end of a letter indicates love and kisses, invoking the luck of the Aesir and Vanir. So ......................