Runes – HAGALAZ

(H: Hail.)

Pronunciation: “haw-gaw-laws”

DIVINATORY MEANINGS:  Wrath of nature, destructive, uncontrolled forces, especially the weather, or within the unconscious. Tempering, testing, trial. Controlled crisis, leading to completion, inner harmony. Sudden loss, ordeal, destruction, disaster, clearance, testing, karmic lesson, drastic change.

MAGICAL USES: removing unwanted influences, breaking destructive patterns

ASSOCIATED MYTHS & DEITIES: Ragnarok, Loki, Frost Giants

ANALYSIS: The idea of the destruction of the old being necessary to the growth of the new, as contained in the Norse myth of Ragnarok, is essential to our understanding of this rune.  Interestingly enough, hagalaz lies between sowulo (fire) and isa (ice), reminding us of the Norse creation myth and the creative potential that lies between these two opposites, even though their meeting may seem first to be destructive.  Like the Tower in the Tarot, hagalaz is only a negative rune if we choose to view it in that way, and refuse to learn its lessons.  Appearing as it does at the beginning of the second aett, it marks both a beginning and an end, and knocks us out of the safety and complacency of wunjo.  It represents what a friend of mine used to refer to as the ‘flying ladle Fates, syndrome’ – that whenever things appear to be going too well, you can expect a good, healthy whack in the head from the Fates, just to make sure you’re paying attention.

These sorts of ‘wake-up calls’ from the Gods will happen frequently throughout a person’s life, but are often misinterpreted as divine punishment for some imagined wrong when in fact they are merely a way of drawing your attention to a recurrent pattern in your life.  Unfortunately, these types of events have a tendency to repeat themselves with greater and greater severity until the lesson is learned and the pattern is broken.  For example, someone who needs to break their dependency on a certain type of person will find themselves in relationships with such people over and over again with more and more disastrous results until they recognize the pattern as emanating from themselves and break it willingly.

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