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Tarot and the Runes

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Tracy Porter


Runes, which are translated as 'a secret thing, a mystery', are an ancient alphabet used by the northern Europeans as early as the 3rd century BC and as late as the middle ages. The language of the Runes has been passed down through the generations via legomonism, or sacred initiations from master to apprentice, and their messages were of an oral nature and therefore never recorded. For this reason the wisdom which the Runic masters possessed died with them, leaving nothing but the remains of sagas, or Runic lure, and the Runes themselves.

As a result of the absence of literature about these glyphs written at the time of their original use, it is up to us to use our intuitive processes to piece together their intended meanings and how they relate to our daily lives as we approach the millennium. The Runes are an ancient divinatory devise predating Christianity's New Testament, and they bring into our consciousness a more grounded value system reflective of the era in which they were developed, and therefore focus more on events occurring as elements of nature, and less on an attitude of predestination that has prevailed in the last 2,000 years.

  Runes are stones with pictorial symbols inscribed on them which are drawn at random to answer specific questions. Like the Tarot, Runes are based on Carl Gustave Jung's theory of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence, which proposes that the drawing of a rune at random, will reveal the answer to a specific question.

Mannaz represents the self, the human race and the attainment of objectives. This rune most closely correlates with The Emperor because this archetype is somewhat egocentric, and tends to have a great deal of ambition to help him to achieve his goals.

  Gebo heralds gifts and reveals that a partnership of some kind is imminent. This rune most closely represents The Lovers because a melding of two individuals to become a whole is paramount as two people are often able to accomplish more as a team than through individual efforts alone.



Ansuz is the rune of messages and indicates that the ability to communicate is an essential skill. The Magician most closely corresponds with this symbol because he is able to skilfully influence others merely by his keen intellect as well as magnificent use of the spoken and written word.

  Othila represents separation as stale habits and unhealthy relationships are discarded to make way for fresh life. This rune is most closely aligned with the Hierophant, because while the Hierophant is traditionally interpreted as a reflection of religious ceremonies, a crossroad has to be reached, and a choice between two opposing paths is immanent, if we are going to continue our development.



Uruz symbolises an inner strength that we acquire, quite often through personal hardship, which must be transcended before we can progress along our evolutionary path. This symbol is paired with Strength in the Major Arcana, because Uruz calls us to stand firm amid turbulent times in order to achieve inner stability.

  Perth represents secrets and inner knowledge developed through inner reflection and private initiation as opposed to formal education. The High Priestess correlates with this rune, because The High Priestess possesses an inborn awareness. Often much of this knowledge has been acquired through sorrow which has led to an esoteric understanding, of the deeper issues regarding our life path.



Nauthiz represents restraint and limitations which we will inevitably encounter. This rune most closely corresponds with Temperance because moderation and balance are essential qualities to help us manoeuvre through challenges, which will undoubtedly present themselves at the most inconvenient time.

  Inguz represents fertility, the completion of new beginnings and the intuitive principle within ourselves. This rune most closely aligns with The Empress, because The Empress depicts new beginnings, and the matriarchal influence which is necessary for all life.



Eihwaz represents defence through appropriate behaviour to help manoeuvre through difficult situations which will inevitably become lessons which must be transcended. This rune correlates with the 9 of Wands, because 9 of Wands indicates learning through experience, and staying on guard through life's arduous journey.

  Algiz represents protection and the control of our emotions. This rune most closely identifies with The Moon because although unseen elements are operating surreptitiously, correct action is the best protection against negative influences, which can wreck havoc if not carefully monitored.



Fehu represents the material possessions that we accumulate in this life. Fehu most closely represents The Devil which is a symbol of those things which keep us most firmly grounded to the earth.

  Wunjo represents joy and happiness as lessons have been learned and relaxation has finally been rewarded. This rune is most closely aligned with The Star, because an element of hope is instilled within this key, as we gain insight into those areas which had previously caused us concern.



Jera represents gestation where a period of waiting is necessary before the result will come to fruition. This glyph is symbolic of The Hermit, because quite often we seek external sources when all that is necessary is to simply go deep within ourselves in quiet reflection, before we realise that we possessed the answers all along.

  Kano represents illumination after a long period of darkness as clarity can be perceived through what was once veiled through illusion. This rune is most closely representative of The Sun, because happiness can be achieved once all uncertainties have been brought out into the open, and lucidity is realised.



Teiwaz has somewhat of an aggressive influence as victory through a struggle will be assured. This symbol is reflective of The Chariot, because both archetypes possess a cardinal endurance to help overcome any obstacle.

  Berkana symbolises growth and rebirth as resistance is cleared away to reveal new life. This rune is aligned with Judgement, because an intense healing is necessary so that the old can be discarded, in order to make way for the new.



Ehwaz represents an inner strength which augers progress through numerous shifts and changes. It is most closely aligned with the Wheel of Fortune, because a change will be experienced through the decisions we make.

  Laguz is a conductive influence which relates to the ebb and flow of various circumstances which surround our life scenarios. This rune is most closely associated with the Ace from any suit in the Minor Arcana, because Laguz heralds new beginnings and the initial sparks which fly when any new being, venture or idea is created.



Hagalaz is associated with disruptive influences that bring about much needed transformations through extreme changes. This symbol is most closely aligned with The Tower, because disruptive forces must inevitably come if we have become complacent and are reluctant to make necessary alterations in our lives.

  Raido is depictive of travel. Most often this journey is within ourselves as we experience parts of our psyches that have lain dormant waiting to be awakened. This symbol is most closely reflective of the 8 of Wands, because a journey leading to illumination of the self is indicated through this archetype.



Thurisaz indicates that an impasse has been encountered. A period of gestation is at hand as circumstances both internally and externally need to be looked at before progress can be made. This glyph is most closely representative of Justice, because balance will be achieved and all will soon be revealed to bring forth a fair outcome to any problems which need to be resolved.

  Dagaz indicates that a major shift or breakthrough in the process of self-change is at hand and that illumination after a long period on uncertainty has finally come. This rune is related to Death in the Major Arcana, because we often must psychologically encounter the depths commonly referred to as 'the dark night of the soul' before transformation leading to renewal is possible.



Isa represents a standstill that we have come across in our lives which makes it impossible for us to move backward, forward or in a lateral fashion. This rune is most closely aligned with The Hanged Man, because there will always be circumstances where we must simply let go and have faith.

  Sowelu represents unity and completion as we realise who we are as individuals. Sowelu relates to The World, because we all must complete a cyclic sequence of events before we gain maturity and are rewarded with a full understanding of why events unfolded in the manner that they did.



The Blank Rune, or Unknowable, illustrates that there are some things that we will encounter along our path which we are not intended to know the answer to, because awareness would hinder our soul growth in relation to the lessons we have been put on earth to undertake. This rune is aligned most closely with The Fool, because even when enlightened, we never really know the outcome of any new path we take and therefore need protection along our way.

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