You may notice that there are two runes at the top of the page, which is different from the last three posts on this blog. Ansuz is the first rune of the Futhark which changed dramatically from the Elder Futhark to the Younger Futhark. This rune has had at least a half-dozen shapes that I can think of across centuries of Northern Europe.
The rune at the top is Ansuz from the Elder Futhark. There are also some Younger Futharks which use this version of the rune, though it is less common than the one below.
All the runes changed in names over the years, but Ansuz is one of the runes which also changed in pronunciation. It started with a sound like “ah,” and evolved into more of an “aw” or “oh” sound depending on the location and time period. The Anglo-Saxon rune ᚩ (Oss) is more of an “oh” sound, for instance.
This Rune is, like one of the Page cards of the Minor Arcana, a rune of communication. It represents poetry, speaking, and even the runes themselves as a system of writing.
Ansuz is also a rune of Odin, the King of the Gods. Odin is the entire fool’s journey in one character: He is a fool, a magus, an emperor, a hanged man, and he dips into the Well of Wisdom like the woman on The Star. There are even interpretations of Odin by which he is The Empress, because in Germanic societies it is the women who perform divination, and Odin is skilled in the divinatory art of Seithr.
When you see this rune in a reading, look at the other runes around it to determine which of the Pages it is. If it is the Page of Cups, you will see a ᛈ (Perthro) nearby. If it is the Page of Pentacles, look for ᛊ (Sowilo) or ᚠ (Fehu). If you see ᛞ (Dagaz) or ᚦ (Thurisaz), it is likely the Page of Swords. If you see ᛗ (Mannaz), it is the Page of Wands.
Because runes are frequently carved into circles and cast willy-nilly upon a sheet (Tacitus says a white sheet, but I really like my black one), you don’t see inversions in the same way that you do with Tarot. When you look at this rune, keep in mind both successful communication and breakdowns in communication. Frequently, it refers to a situation in which you need to communicate with someone.
Although poetry, the runes themselves, and magick are all aspects of this rune, most people for whom I read don’t need a rune to help to talk to me about those things. The advice they need, and the reason that they pull this rune, is to talk to someone about something that shows up in another rune in the reading. Call your mother. Ask your boyfriend what is bothering him. Tell your son that you love him.
Uses in Magick
The two ways I use this rune are:
1.) To improve communication in a situation (Especially if, as I described last week, I need to unwind a Thurisaz rune. So many conflicts come from breakdowns in communication.)
2.) To call on Odin, king of the Aesir, master of The Runes, practitioner of Seithr, communicator with the dead, father of Baldr and Thor, one-eyed wanderer, and so much more. Odin is one of the more complex figures in mythology, and sometimes I ask him for advice. The Elder Futhark Rune Ansuz* is almost always a part of my practice when I do so.
*While either the Elder or the Younger version of Ansuz would work, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc rune ᚩ (Oss) is a rune of communication, but is not a rune of Odin. That meaning shifts to another rune in the Anglo-Saxon Futhorcs.
That said, there are other ways that I have seen people use this rune in magick.
3.) I know musicians and poets who meditate on this rune at the start of a writing session. Ansuz is the rune of poetry, writing, and music, and is highly appropriate for this use.
4.) I have spoken to an American sorcerer who uses this rune to amplify all of his magick, similar to how some Tarot lovers I know will use The Magician.