Rune Study Group: Uruz

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Umbrae  Umbrae is offline
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Cool Rune Study Group: Uruz

"ooo-rooze" Looks like an inverted U, or the downward pointing horns of a bull (Auroch, was a type of wild ox, where Fehu referred to domestic, Uruz refers to the wild.) This rune refers to the shaping and reshaping…the act of producing, or giving form to energies (may take surrounding runes and actuate them). Potent, untapped wild (male) energy.

Vital strength and speed, untamed potential. Protection (of home), rules the lands around you. Tenacity, freedom, luck, leadership. Strive towards inner goals and gain strength.

This is a rune of healing, drawing life-force from the all of the realms, and brings it into being; health and strength are necessary to sustain magic. Subconscious awareness comes to light.

(Wild untamed energy) will be used to overcome sudden powerful change.
Can serve as advanced warning since strength will be needed.

Merkstave (reversed)
Weakness, obsession, misdirected force, domination by others. Sickness, inconsistency, ignorance. Lust, brutality, rashness, callousness, violence.

May refer to a:
Craftsperson or Physician
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Kiama  Kiama is offline
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I have always referred to this Rune as something like Spiritual Strength, and the perseverence to get through things... Like the Auroch, which had to withstand some rather nasty weather...

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Umbrae  Umbrae is offline
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Spiritual Strength...I like that a lot!
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Malachite  Malachite is offline
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Like the Wild Oxen, Uruz shows a thing that, once begun, cannot be stopped. THe charge of the Aurochs is an event full of energy that cannot be turned or held back.

I read this rune as showing that this kind of perseverance and energy is needed, or will come to the querent, once they take the first step on their path.
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zorya  zorya is offline
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i have read in tony willis's 'discover runes', that to prove their manhood and join the men in battle, the boys of the germanic tribes had to kill an auroch. so my question is, if uruz is merkstave, can it mean, immaturity, or that something needs to be grown into?
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Umbrae  Umbrae is offline
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I think of it in more the protective beasts viewpoint.

A merkstave represents over-protectiveness, or strength used in an in appropriate manner or time (in the case of a child, look toward parental over-bearing). Strength used to have power over others. Mania.
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einhverfr  einhverfr is offline
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More analysis

Again, abreviations here include: Old English Rune Poem (OERP), Old Norbegian Rune Rhyme (ONRR), Old Icelandic Rune Poem (OIRP), Old English (OE), Modern English (Mod. Eng), Latin (L), Gothic (G). Asterisks before words (like *uruz) indicate words reconstructed using linguistic ways and ones which we have no inscriptions containing.

The term *uruz originally referred to the Aurochs. This animal was a wild bovine standing seven feet tall to the shoulder and hunted to extinction a few hundred years ago. I suspect the Latin "urus" is a borrowing of the Protogermanic *uruz rather than an independant evolution. In Germanic languages, the word eventually shortened to ur- meaning primordial. The Mod. Eng. word "Aurochs" derives from the roots ur- (primordial) and ochs (-> Mod. Eng. Ox).

In the ONRR, the animal mentioned is the raindeer. And both the ONRR and the OIRP associate Uruz with precipitation: drizzle (OIRP) and snow (ONRR). The ONRR also associates it with slag.

There are a couple of important patterns to notice here. The first is the association with a wild animal. The second is the association with drizzle and snow. In Edda by Snorri Sterlusson, the story is told of the formation of the universe from fire and water. The fire emits sparks which fly into the central void (air?) and the water gives off mist which condenses into frost. The sparks and ice mix together until they are the shape of a man. This being was named Ymir ("Roarer") and is the ancestor of all giants. While Uruz doesn't really represent the primordial water, it does seem to represent Ymir and hence the primordial world (the world was formed by Odhinn and his brothers out of the body of the sacrificed Ymir. Ymir's blood became the oceans, his brow became the clouds, his bones and teeth became the rocks and mountians, and his skull became the sky). The Ymir association appears to satisfy both the slag and drizzle/snow references in the OIRP and ONRR.

To most Indo-European peoples, the primordial was *destructive.* It might take the form of winter storms, or the famous north sea storms. We see similar awed fear of the primordial from the Celts, the Greeks, and the Vedic Aryans. At the same time, the primordial is the source of energy (though it may not be the energy itself). While Fehu tends to represent the energy, Uruz tends to represent the primordial in a larger sense.
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Penthasilia  Penthasilia is offline
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Intensive rune study- Uruz

Continuing on the journey through the runes:

Anglo Saxon rune poem:
The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of

Dross comes from bad iron;
the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.

lamentation of the clouds
and ruin of the hay-harvest
and abomination of the shepherd.

Again we see two very different view points on the rune from the Icelandic/Norse variant to the Anglo Saxon. When we look at Uruz- it can have two meanings in it's primary sense: one is of strength and vitality which is balanced within us, the other is as a metaphysical balance of the strength of the world tree Yggdrasil. Slag and drizzle refer to endless processes of patterning, cleansing and reshaping- which is the work of Uruz. I like the way that Gundarsson put it- if you think of Yggdrasil being fed and cared for- the Well of Urdhr (Perthro) is from where the water (Laguz) arises and the path of the water, both rising through the tree and falling over the tree to heal and replenish the well is the work of Uruz. The upward stroke is the water rising, the downward stroke is the magical shaping of will- the slag/drizzle that falls slowly down the tree, repairing it from the damage of wights/Nidhogg with the condensation arriving back at the well to begin the process anew.

Now- looking at this rune in it's woeful variant... first take the Norse poem, which refers to dross. Dross is solidified slag- which means that it is unable to come down and nourish the tree and has hence become solid waste which harms the tree, rather than feeding it. The Icelandic poem similarly takes the idea of a shower/storm- which flows too quickly but again, does not nourish the tree as a gentle shower would. So, again- we have the primary and woe-bearing characteristics of this powerful rune that brings the concept of vitality, health and cleansing/transformation by water.

Aett triad associations:

Uruz- cleansing and transformation by water; Nauthiz- cleansing and transformation by fire; Berkano- vessel of cleansing and transformation (athanor)


The galdr faded away and I opened my eyes in a beautiful meadow- with the smell of grass and the feel of the sun and light breeze on my skin. I walk slowly up a hill, the feel of the soft grass and rich dirt beneath my feet. I find a great tree at the top of the mound, and lie underneath it, closing my eyes and feeling the earth below me. And, the current starts working within me- an old technique I learned many years ago of pulling the fire from the earth up through me, then pulling the fire from the sky down, the two blending perfectly within my center, cleansing me- grounding me and making me whole. I lie there, in that perfect balance of time and space, the energy moving and my vitality growing stronger. When it reached its zenith- I smiled and spoke softly "So, this is what it means for me, and I guess a small piece of this is what is felt by the great tree. But what about the dross, the shower- show me all of your workings so that I may know you in all your parts."

And the energy from the earth began to fade- and the sky energy was unbalanced- creating a feeling of energy that was too sharp, almost frantic. The earth energy returned as the sky energy retreated, leaving me feeling sluggish, tired and apathetic. Then both returned as before, gently healing the marks that had been left behind. And a whispered voice came in, "And you know, little witch, that you can create this in others. And you can use it, use it to form their will to yours, or use it to heal. Be mindful of how you work."

And then the energy returned, and I felt the echo of the energy of the great Tree itself, churning and replenishing its life force and healing the daily decay from the wights and dragons that feed on it. And I realized many things- but most importantly how I would work to keep my balance and help others do so as well. I cannot say for sure, but I felt as if our collective practice is part of what can keep the tree healthy. So, Uruz, you will remain strong with me, and I will practice your lessons, and keep myself healthy and strong.
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poopsie  poopsie is offline
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A few more added insights

To my mind, if Fehu represented the domesticated cattle - that which we have worked hard for and earned, Uruz is about the renewal of energy, vital force which the aurochs had - ensuring that we renew and reinforce this energy for good.

If Fehu is hinged on the principle of Abundance, Uruz emphasizes the principle of Balance. This will involve taking care of oneself as a resource. If Fehu is taking care of financial wealth, Uruz implies taking care of one's physical, mental and social-emotional health.

Uruz involves strength of will or WILLPOWER - the energy and desire to get things done no matter what, as well as overcome changes which may get in the way.

Achievements can be in the form of protecting the family and loved ones, caring for one's health, the discipline to work in a strategic manner or work smart so that not too much energy is expended, or at least energy is used wisely, and most of all, knowing when to pause and stop so that one can rejuvenate.

Three forces are called upon and built in Uruz -- resistance to obstacles (having the strength and will to overcome obstacles, not give up), resilience - the power to bounce back in case of deterrents, and renewal - the capacity to take time to rebuild resources and energies to keep going.

Within Uruz is the cycle of change which is therefore why URUZ is important. Since changes can be externally driven (coming from forces outside of us) or internally driven (we are the initiators of the change), URUZ in a positive sense will help us deal with and manage the changes well.

Historically, I am deeply saddened that the auroch which is the symbol used in this rune has become extinct. It's like killing the life force within that has helped us survive. Supposedly, it was exterminated in Britain in the 1200s and in 1627, the last auroch who was a female was shot in Poland.

There have been efforts to re-create it: (from - "In 1920, the Heck brothers, who were German biologists, attempted to recreate aurochs. The resulting cattle are known as Heck cattle or Reconstructed Aurochs, and number in the thousands in Europe today. However, they are genetically and physiologically distinct from aurochs. The Heck brothers' aurochs also have a pale yellow dorsal stripe, instead of white." Polish scientists are also attempting to re-create the auroch.
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ghost271  ghost271 is offline
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This is a great thread and I had no idea Umbrae was so versed on the topic of Runes. I found this an interesting read as I had never heard of an Auroch. A quick google search turned up this little piece of info I thought you'd all be interested in reading if you havent already.
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