Uruz is the rune of the primal, powerful aurochs. Although the great aurochs are now extinct, nature has provided many other immensly powerful examples for us to work with when connecting with the energy of Uruz. Think of the blue whale, the grand canyon or any other aspect of the natural world that makes you forget yourself in the contemplation of the vastness and power of creation.
Both the elements of earth and water are associated with Uruz through the symbolism of the aurochs and the drinking horn. Although I have found no traditional connection, for me, this rune also has strong lunar qualities (Jan Fries also makes this connection in Helrunar: A Manual of Rune Magick). This may be because of associations in the Western magical tradition between the moon, horns and the bull but I think it goes deeper than that. Like Uruz, the moon speaks of purity, of peace and solitude, but also of power and of the deep currents that govern life on Earth.
Uruz is an excellent rune to experiment with when trying out voice work. The sound ‘oooooo’ can be used at a fairly low pitch that is comfortable for you. Imagine that the ‘source’ of the sound is deep down in the pit of your stomach. If it helps you can visualise the sound expanding outwards from the source as vibrant green or pure white light. You could also use use your song while meditating on the symbolism and meaning of the rune.
The Uruz rune is also a useful reminder to ground – its shape is solid and stable, resting upon the earth. I find that placing my hands and feet upon the ground – either while sitting or crouching – and singing ‘Uruz’ while visualising the excess energy flowing down into the earth, is effective.
Traditional meaning: Aurochs (a large, wild cow – now extinct), slag (a by-product of making iron), drizzle
Old English rune poem: ūr meaning aurochs, a large species of wild cattle.
Aurochs is fearless and greatly horned
a very fierce beast, it fights with its horns,
a famous roamer on the moor it is a courageous animal.
Translated by Thorsson, Rune Lore
Present significance: The most popular meaning of this rune is the aurochs (from the Old English Rune Poem). The rune will often appear as a signifier of physical strength, patience and endurance while, reversed, it can indicate physical weakness or a defensive stance (the aurochs with his horns down, ready to charge). Meditation on the other meanings (above) will yield useful insights into this rune’s power for purification and healing. At the beginning of creation the energies of ice and fire unite within the void, becoming fluid (like the drops of drizzle) and forming the elements – the Uruz rune is associated with this union and process of formation.
Key terms: Strength, well-being, endurance, healing, purification, will-power, determination
Gods: Loge (wild-fire), Kari (air), Hler (water), Erda (fruitful earth), Rinda (frozen earth), Thor, Urd, Vidar
Elements: Uruz resonates with the strength, silence and stability of the earth as well as with the cleansing, healing waters. In the northern tradition the stability of ice and iron and the creative life-giving force of yeast also chime well with Uruz.
Half month: July 14th-July 29th
Plants: Oak moss, cypress, birch
Body: Musculature, strength, stamina (primary rune for healing)
Animal: Aurochs, wild cow, bull
Mineral: Carbuncle (garnet)
Object of power: Drinking horn
Uruz is the result of a series of transformations that take place in the liminal space where opposites meet. From the chaos of creation, order emerges, personified by the Divine Cow, but it is an order that depends on the tension of opposites. Uruz is energy and sustenance that has to be fought for, and it provides the energy to defend and preserve one’s community. However, in a natural society there is a cooperative and religious relationship between hunter and prey; each takes risks for survival, and the hunt is a transformative experience for both. When the uplifted horns of the wild ox sink earthward, the wild energy is changed into available resources, and there is food for both body and soul. This is also the energy that is used in healing, a powerful flow that revitalizes the patient by strengthening the will to live. (Taking Up the Runes: A Complete Guide to Using Runes in Spells, Rituals, Divination, and Magic)
Uruz is the second 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 Uruz journey.
Magin’s articles featuring Uruz
- Half month of Uruz – the healer’s rune
- Seven realms, seven chakras – seven rune spreads
- Uruz and sustainability