Rune Study Group: Ansuz


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Rune Study Group: Ansuz


The Rune Ansuz is interpreted as either 'A God', 'Odins' Rune', 'Mouth', 'Comunication'.... Technically, all of these are correct, because this Rune encompasses all of these meanings in the lore that surrounds it:

The Ansuz rune is instrumental in the creation of mankind. It describes two of the gifts given to Ask and Embla (the first man and woman) by the gods Odin, Vili, and Vé. These gifts were ond or anda (breath, sprit, animating life principle) and odhr (inspired mental activity, inspiration).

Because of its link with these gifts from Odin and his sons (Vili and Vé), this Rune is widely interpreted as telling us of messages, or commnications.

This is the rune of the word, song, poetry, and magical incantation (galdr- More about this later on in the Study Group!) as a container and expresser of magical force. Ansuz is a magical ancestral power, one that has been handed down from generation to generation along genetic line. Through the power of this rune the realization of the link between the ancestral gods and their people may be regained. Most of the lore and traditions of the Norse was passed down orally, so this Rune represents that communicative link, a spiritual one aswell as physical. It also has links to breath, and its importance to ife.

In a reading, it could represent good communications, and possibly teaching.

Merkstave, it represents blocked communications, or the need to communicate with people... Misunderstandings, and things being misconstrued. Possibly the misuse of knowledge.

Kiama
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Since Ansuz is the “Voice of the Gods”, expect the unexpected; transformation & enthusiasm. The power to affect others (for good or ill).

It may indicate a cleric or an intellectual.
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Ansuz can also be interpreted as the symbol of the Ash tree.
The Ash Tree Yggdrassill is, in Norse heritage, the axis of the world, the trunk that runs through all the worlds, and binds them together.
It is through Yggdrassill that communication with the gods is made, and up the trunk that the forces of Earth and Sky communicate.
Yggdrassill is also the physical embodiment of the Universe and its self conciousness. No being can be older or wiser than the great Tree, and this is the reason that it was to the highest point upon the highest branch, that Odhinn went to seek inspiration, and was enlightened with the Runes.

To gain this wisdom, Odhinn wounded himself with his own spear, seen in the shape of the rune itself, and hung upside down for nine days and nights, without food, drink or medicine.
The wisdom that Odhinn gained, and the use of it taught by Freyja, were paid for in blood and pain, seen universally as symbols of suffering and hardship.

Ansuz, to me, therefore always symbolises the willingness to sacrifice, to undergo hardship for gain, and to be prepared to give up what you hold dear to gain wisdom, to proceed.

Also, the One-eyed god Odhinn gave away his famously missing eye at the other end of the tree, where, at one of its roots, the Well of Mimir springs from the ground, guarded by a fierce Giant, and a source of water that brings incredible knowledge.
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ansuz, pronounced? on sooze or is it ann suzz or ?

one can't help but notice it's simularity in form to fehu. it seems that there would have to be a reason, that they both appear the same, but one points up and the other down. any connection?

i am a complete novice to runes, so please excuse my ignorance. does it's connection with ancestors suggest any kind of "learning from the past?"
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Well, I guess on one level, both represent growth, one in the spiritual sector, and one in the physical...

But the reason for the shape is a little more prosaic, I;m afraid...they are derived from the Ancient Etruscan alphabet, and modified for carving, hence the straight lines...and thats how they ended up...
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Quote:
Originally posted by zorya
ansuz, pronounced? on sooze or is it ann suzz or ?
I've always pronouced it 'on sooze'... I wonder what Umbrae and Malachite pronounce it as though!

Kiama
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Well Kiama, you must excuse my horrific yank accent, but I have always pronounced it as “awn-sooze” (lol).
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Notes on Yggdrassil (part I of analysis of Ansuz)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Malachite
Ansuz can also be interpreted as the symbol of the Ash tree.
The Ash Tree Yggdrassill is, in Norse heritage, the axis of the world, the trunk that runs through all the worlds, and binds them together.
It is through Yggdrassill that communication with the gods is made, and up the trunk that the forces of Earth and Sky communicate.
Yggdrassill is also the physical embodiment of the Universe and its self conciousness. No being can be older or wiser than the great Tree, and this is the reason that it was to the highest point upon the highest branch, that Odhinn went to seek inspiration, and was enlightened with the Runes.
There is another aspect of this concept too.

A careful reading of Voluspa provides an alternate interpretation of the meaning of Yggdrassil. The name means "Odhinn's Horse" but the sequence of the stories in Voluspa is important.

The description of Yggdrassil occurs immediately after the discussion of the creation of the human race from Ask and Embla (Ask is "Ash"). It is from this story that "ash" is used as a kenning for man. The description of Yggdrassil in Voluspa is indeed one which appears to use this kenning and it solves a lot of the riddles like what does it mean that this ash is evergreen? If one sees the tree as a metaphore for the human condition, any reference to Yggdrassil also provides deep insight into our minds, spirits, and lives. Indeed, the fact that this tree is mentioned as Urdh's Well (a tree is a well? Well, maybe if you understand that Urdh represents "past action").

The concept of the Person/Tree metaphore is again evident when Odhinn sacrifices himself to himself (sjelfr sjelfum mer) on the tree (in Runattals Thatr Odhinns, the forth part of the Havamal, this tree is unnamed. In Voluspa it is called Yggdrassil, and in Vafthrudhnismal, it is called Laereth).

It is worth noting that this entire post is the result of my own original research and I have never seen any book aside my own which mentions it.
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Brilliant stuff einhverfr, please keep the info coming.

With Yggdrassil as such a metaphor (“for the human condition”), a ‘Voice of the Gods’ reference makes sense, as does the aspect of ‘Urdh’s Well’.

My only concern is how does such knowledge come from Chelan? (lol).

More, I say, More!!!

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Ansuz analysis


Ansuz is one of the few rune names we actually find in elder inscriptions spelled out. It appears to refer to Odhinn (Wodhanaz in proto-Germanic). In one inscription, the magician calls himself "Ansuja" ("The Little Ansuz"). The origin and meaning of the word is obscure, but probably the most important writer on this topic was Edgar Polome (most of his writings on the subject are, however, in French). Polome seems to think that the term had quite a bit to do with sovereinty and is connected to the Sanscrit Asura. IIRC, he seemed to think the original meaning of the roots of the word was something like "Holder of the Reins." The OIRP backs up the association with Odhinn as well.

Odhinn's name itself is quite informative regarding this rune. His name means "Master of Odhr" (dh is a conventional represenation of the barred d in these posts). Odhr carried a number of meanings including: song, poetry, inspiration, frenzy, and insanity (it is derived from the PIE root *uet according to Calvert Watkins). Odhinn is therefore the Master of Frenzy/Inspiration, but also the Master of Poetry/Song. It is therefore natural that the association would be made with the mouth (as in the OERP).

The ONRR has a very different set of images associated with this rune. The first is that of the estuary (mouth or the river) which it says is the way of most journeys. The second is the sheath which it says is for swords. The image of the sword is important here because the sword was closely associated with kingship in Northern Europe, owing to the fact that they used advanced iron working techniques to forge extremely strong swords (incorporating small amounts of primitive steel), and the fact that this process was so resource intensive that the weapon was generally reserved for the king.

Note that by the Viking Age, techniques of forging homogeneous steel swords had replaced the older pattern welding traditions (originally invented by the Celts, but borrowed by the Germanic peoples and spread throughout Europe during the Gothic invasions). Although the technology meant that the average Viking could now possibly afford a sword, the symbolism remained in a number of important areas.

Note too that the Old English traditions continued to use pattern welding for much longer and Beowulf in particular has a great description of a pattern welded sword. (See more under Elhaz/Algiz later).

Anyway there is a unifying message in the ONRR stanza about this rune. It is that restraint *until otherwise necessary* is the best way. Just as one doesn't go blindly sailing out into the open ocean and better sticks near land, so too should one keep the sword in its sheath until it is necessary to draw it.

I personally see this rune as one that advocates conscious action/speach and being careful and restrained rather than reactive and speaking/acting before one is really aware of what is required.
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