Runes – ALGIZ

(Z or -R: Elk, protection.)

Pronunciation: “all-yeese” or Elhaz “ale-hawz”

DIVINATORY MEANINGS: Protection, a shield. The protective urge to shelter oneself or others. Defense, warding off of evil, shield, guardian. Connection with the gods, awakening, higher life. It can be used to channel energies appropriately. Follow your instincts. Keep hold of success or maintain a position won or earned. Assistance, defence, warning, support, a mentor, an ethical dilemma

MAGICAL USES: for protection, hunting

ASSOCIATED MYTHS & DEITIES: Heimdall, Gjallerhorn

ANALYSIS: Heimdall is an interesting and mysterious figure in Norse mythology, and the rune algiz is associated with him because of his role as protector and guardian.  He is the watcher at the gate who guards the boundaries between the worlds and who charges all entering and leaving with caution.  He is best known for his famous horn, but his sword is also important in the consideration of rune.  Snorri mentions that the poetic name for a sword is ‘Heimdall’s head’, and the poetic name for a head is ‘Heimdall’s sword’.  This is particularly significant if we consider that one form of his name was ‘Heimdali’, meaning ‘ram’.   Through the image of the ram, Heimdall’s sword and his horn can be seen as two different sides of the same image.  Both the sword and the horns (or the elk’s antlers) are symbols of power which may be used for either offence or defence, depending on the situation.

In terms of the journey, we have passed through death and rebirth, and must now face the Guardian before returning to our world.  It is he who charges us to use our new-found power wisely.  The person can no longer be simply concerned with their own personal development, but must now consider the effect that their actions may have on others.  This is a crucial turning point, and the person will either choose to adopt a system of ethics or ignore the effect on others and only work to serve their own ends.  Again, the sword is in their hands, but they must decide whether to use it for defence or offence.

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