The rune pages are designed to help you explore the runes and form deep and meaningful connections with them based on your own interests and practices. There are lots of resources, which I continue to build on, and suggestions for ways in which Mystics, Magicians, Seers, Sages, and Healers might choose to work with them.
A little introduction to Teiwaz…
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 usurp him as leader of the Aesir, 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 the wolf realised the Aesir 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 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 Pronunciation: tey-wahz Number: 17 Gods: Tyr Colour: Red, yellow, blue Hour: 04:30-05:30 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 Animal: Wolf Mineral: Coral Aroma: Thyme, lemongrass Object of power: Sword
As discussed above Teiwaz may not be a traditionally recognised healing rune but for me it is a powerful rune not just for healing but also as a personal rune for the healer and, in particular, the ‘wounded healer’. The wounded healer is an archetypal concept used by Jung to describe a person who becomes a healer after being wounded themselves. The calling to become a shaman, faith healer or spiritual elder often required some form of wounding or a spirit journey initiated through illness via which the practitioner would learn his or her craft. The shape of the Teiwaz rune can be interpreted as being a spear, arrow or sword and in this sense it becomes the sacred weapon of initiatory wounding for the shaman (note Odin’s initiation upon the world tree required him to wound himself with his spear). Conversely a number of ancient cultures stripped individuals of rank and position because of wounding or illness. In these traditions warriors and, in particular, sovereigns, were expected to embody wholeness and vitality. The good fortune of the people was bound into the physical wholeness of the monarch, a wounded king was an unlucky king. As discussed above I believe that Tyr’s wounding by the Fenris wolf may hearken back to older myths explaining his fall from sovereignty. Tyr, and through him Teiwaz can be used to access visions of what ‘wholeness’ means for the healer or their client and I have found it particularly helpful for contacting the valkyria or higher self who guides us in our quest for wholeness. Ironically, Tyr’s successor to the throne, Odin was renowned for giving up eyes, being burned, stabbing himself and generally undergoing wounding in his quest for wisdom. Odin is also a healer and he embodies a very different type of kingship to Tyr. Both these deities are, in my opinion, excellent patrons for healers and have different things to offer. Healers should note that I am not advocating initiatory wounding but rather work with the Teiwaz rune to understand the gifts that illness and wounding have to offer both to healers and those seeking healing. Teiwaz can also be combined with Wunjo to promote a deeper understanding of what ‘wholeness’ might mean in the context of your own spiritual path and quest for healing. Don’t overlook the handy arrow shape of Teiwaz which will happily point out where healing is required if you ask it.
Teiwaz is well known as a ‘victory rune’ and is commonly used in spells to bring about victory relating to legal matters. It is thought to be one of the runes used by warriors (note its shape which can be interpreted as a sword, spear or arrow); it is therefore excellent for people in the military or those participating in combative sport and can be worn or inscribed on equipment. For me Teiwaz is the rune of divine truth. The rune can therefore be combined effectively with the Dagaz rune to reveal the truth of a situation when the way forward is unclear. Put on your Dagaz spectacles (i.e create an energetic Dagaz rune in front of your eyes and wear it like a pair of glasses) and ask the Teiwaz rune for guidance and revelation. You may find that you receive a simple vision of the rune pointing at the source of the problem but while many practitioners report that the pleasure of working with the runes is how direct and straightforward the information they give is, you will sometimes get more complex or confusing visions which require time and interpretation – divine truth is after all not always straight forward. Please make sure you take the Dagaz spectacles off afterwards as they alter your perception, you will not feel good or operate effectively if you forget to take them off.
Rune readers love the Teiwaz rune because, as well as having its own meaning it provides direction and guidance as to the right course of action through the direction it is pointing in. For example, a little grouping of the Raidho, Othala and Wunjo runes with the Teiwaz rune pointing straight at it would suggest it is a great time to be looking to relocate the family home or to hold a family reunion at the main homestead (particularly if it’s a bit of a journey to get there). For rune casters the direction of the Teiwaz rune can often indicate the way up the reading is and so provide insights into whether other runes should be read as bright staves or murk staves.
For ‘yes/no’ readings drawing Teiwaz provides a pretty straight forward thumbs up or thumbs down in response to your question.
A less well known aspect of the Teiwaz rune is its symbolism as Irminsul which means ‘pillar’ or ‘column’. These were pillars commonly made of wood used in Germanic pagan worship, although their exact purpose is unknown. The Irminsul is often depicted as a straight pillar with a pair of wings or furls at the top and it is from this shape that the association with the Teiwaz rune is likely to come. For me the Irminsul is a form of the World Tree and its form represents the union of earth and sky (the Teiwaz ‘hat’ forming the sky), Midgard and Asgard, conscious and subconscious, mundane and divine. The Irminsul pillar represents both our desire for the union of dualities and the successful achievement of this state. Mystics from other fields will note the similarities with practices such as kundalini rising and qabalistic rites. You can journey to the Irminsul and experience it as ans an actual pillar reaching from earth to the sky, or meditate upon it as the pillar of the spine uniting the consciousness of the individual with divine consciousness (as the wings unfurl at the top of the pillar). As the priest to the Gods Tyr will be of great help to mystics in coming to an understanding of the mysteries of the Irminsul pillar and divine truth. Work with Odin around his initiatory rite upon the World Tree will also be enhanced through an understanding of the mysteries of Teiwaz and the Irminsul; Teiwaz is here both the World Tree upon which Odin hangs and the spear he uses to wound himself.
My free Journey with the Elder Futhark for Teiwaz (see below) explores Teiwaz as the embodiment of truth, diligence, right action and the Irminsul Pillar.
For me Teiwaz is a particularly helpful rune when it comes to resolving conflicts that arise between my Sage self and my Mystic. The Sage seeks for historically accurate, evidence based practices and teachings whilst the Mystic journeys forth to discover its own, subjective and context-based truth. Teiwaz embodies ‘divine truth’ which, for me, represents the union of many different types of truth which I may not understand on a conscious level but which allow my Sage and Mystic to respect and support each other.
Let’s take as an example the mysteries of the Irminsul pillar and the relationship between Odin and Tyr. If you look up Irminsul on Wikepedia you will see that we know hardly anything about Irminsul and that the latest scholarship undermines previous theories about the succession of kingship from Tyr to Odin. My Sage allows me to remain open to alternative theories which, I believe, enrich my understanding of the myths I work with and ensure I don’t become trapped within one particular perspective. My Mystic has confirmed for me over and over that my intuitions about the link between Tyr and Irminsul are correct – but these are part of my own belief system and kenning hoard and I don’t need them to be confirmed in historical artefacts for them to remain valuable to me. Odin himself teaches us a valuable lesson about truth.
The beginning of the Prose Edda recounts how the current Aesir became powerful by claiming to be the Aesir (who were already part of myth at the time). We can read this as being a Christianised account seeking to undermine the Norse deities and make the human rather than divine; however, we might also taken from this an important point about true power being the ability to shape reality. In this sense we act as if we can do, or be, something until we actually can. If reality is constantly being created and re-shaped then truth itself will change over time. This might make you uncomfortable (for what then is the nature of reality), or it might make you feel immensely empowered and able to do anything you set your will to.