The mountain, forbidding, implacable. Thrust up from the belly of the Earth. Shrouded in cloud and snow, a land impenetrable to all but the bravest, strongest and most single-minded. Its reflection in the waters is still and alluring, the dangers of the subconscious, of dreams. Difficult to separate truth from illusion – a path demanding a different sort of strength. Desire for truth, spiritual fearlessness.
Thurisaz is a rune that is often shunned by runesters, it represents the forces of chaos – that which we fear, the powerful emotions and drivers lurking beneath the surface. A giant, a thorn, a powerful, uncontrollable force. Interestingly, it is Thor (part giant himself) who wields Mjollnir, the hammer that controls the force of Thurisaz. Turned on its back, Thurisaz resembles an anvil – when the hammer and anvil come together the Smith creates his magick.
There is also an interesting connection between Thurisaz and the concept of the thorn hedge which the witch or shaman is able to cross. Juniper’s ‘Walking the Hedge’ blog gives a very intesting account of what ‘walking the hedge’ entails – note the importance of habit breaking and forming.
Traditional meaning: Thorn, giant
Old Norse Rune Poem: Þurs. A giant, demon, or wizard.
Thurs causes the sickness of women;
few are cheerful from misfortune.
Translated by Thorsson, Rune Lore
Present significance: The subconscious, anger, passion, violence, attack, aggression. When reversed, this rune tends to mean defensiveness rather than aggression. Although it is not mentioned in the rune poems, the Hammer of Thor, Mjolnir is often considered as a balancing aspect of Thurisaz – the positive manifestation of this troublesome rune, which, once mastered is unmatched in power and might.
Key terms: Power, impulse, anger, subconscious urges, vital force
Gods: Thor, Loki
Colour: Purple, red
Elements: Destructive fire is most commonly associated with Thurisaz; this includes the lightning flashing from Thor’s mighty hammer and the uncontrollable wild fire of Loki. In the northern tradition the corrosive, desctuctive power of venom also resonates with Thurisaz.
Half month: July 29th-August 13th
Plants: Blackthorn, hawthorn, bramble
Body: Genitals, libido, heart
Aroma: Frankincense, angelica
Object of power: Dagger
The hagzissa or witch, is a ‘hedgesitter’ who has learned to pass through the barrier and to connect the needs of the village (conscious mind) with the unknown world beyond (the collective sub-consciousness). That the passage can be dangerous and painful needs hardly be mentioned. (Helrunar: A Manual of Rune Magick)
Thrisaz is the third rune in the First Aett (first family) of the Elder Futhark. Visit the Resources page to download your free Journeys with the Elder Futhark – The First Aett includes the Thurisaz journey.
Magin’s articles featuring Thurisaz
What other practitioners say…
- Oswald the Runemaker’s in-depth analysis of Thurisaz
- Oswald the Runemaker’s summary analysis of Thurisaz