Nobility of character could not be better exemplified than through the great Sky-God Tyr, patron of the Teiwaz rune. He sacrificed sovereignty, wholeness, power and the strength of his sword-arm for the greater good. Although Odin was to take on his role as leader of the Gods, Tyr’s sacrifice is acknowledged in his role as priest and keeper of divine truth. Teiwaz is the first rune of the third and final Aett (group of eight runes) in the Elder Futhark. Tyr is the patron of Teiwaz, and of the Aett; he sacrificed his right hand to ensure that the Fenris wolf ( a fearsome beast who it is foretold will kill Odin) could be tethered – none of the other Gods were brave enough to do this. This myth hints at a connection between Teiwaz and Gebo, for Tyr places his hand in the mouth of Fenris as a sign of trust (which is why Fenris allows himself to be bound). Tyr knew that Fenris would bite off his hand when he realised the Gods did not mean to release him, the loss of his hand is both a price paid for binding the wolf and a penalty for breaking his word. Tyr is a God of Justice and the sacrifice of his hand demonstrates the strength of his character and his understanding of divine justice – the rune Teiwaz can be used for aid in legal matters (as long as you have right on your side!) and was also worn by warriors to ensure victory.
It is believed that Tyr was a later manifestation of the God Twisto, an hermaphrodite sky god. My work with Tyr has led me to wonder whether the sacrifice of his right hand was in some ways reminiscent of an earlier mythic sacrifice of a balanced male-female being. Although Teiwaz is a ‘warrior’ rune, it has often been of great assistance to me in healing work – particularly for clients who have suffered injury rather than illness. Teiwaz promotes balance within the body and Tyr has taken great interest in these healings – his understanding of loss and the consequences of ‘wounding’ seem to draw him to these types of healings and, I believe, he has much yet to teach us.
Following the formation of the individual through the First Aett and the testing of the second Aett, I see the third Aett as a coming into maturity – at this point the individual is able to act upon the world in profound ways and so participate in the creation of, not just their own Wyrd, but the Fate of all the Worlds.
Traditional meaning: The God Tyr, guidance, victory, judgement
Colour: Red, yellow, blue
Half month: February 27th-March 14th
Plants: Hazel, oak, aconite
Body: Wrists, hands, used to treat trauma to the limbs causing asymmetry in the body
Aroma: Thyme, lemongrass
Object of power: Sword
Teiwaz is the first rune in the Third Aett (third and final family) of the Elder Futhark. I have developed a series of recorded journeys to help you experience the energies of the runes in an accessible way. There are three downloads available for purchase covering the first, second and third Aetts. Each download comes with a PDF guide explaining what to do and giving the rune correspondences; a track to open sacred space and a track to close it; and eight rune journeys. Take a journey to encounter the rune Teiwaz for yourself, the guided meditation provides an accessible way for you to encounter the rune. Journeys with the Elder Futhark – The Third Aett costs £9.00, you will be sent the download autmoatically by DigitalDelivery following payment by Paypal.
- Oswald the Runemaker’s summary analysis of Teiwaz
- Magin’s discussion of the half-month of Teiwaz 2011