Nauthiz is a bit of a serial offender when it comes to spelling out doom in intuitive readings. Like Hagalaz it can be one of the runes we really dread seeing in a spread. The rune of the need-fire can certainly indicate that loss, hardship, suffering, loneliness, self-hatred and emptiness are in your life or at hand. But never fear, it is certainly not all gloom. As with all the runes, there is an up side. The more I come to work with the runes the more I see how multi-faceted they truly are. Nauthiz is simply a rune that exposes its harshest face, without apology, on first encounter. I’m going to discuss some of its less well-known facets today.
If you’re waiting for information about your Nauthiz sun rune it will be made available in the coming weeks and, in the meantime, there is a short piece on this in the Nauthiz rune page.
Need, desire and instinct
When our needs are not met we try to fill the void with things we desire.
This is a teaching from One of Many which is an amazing suite of programmes empowering women in leadership. One of their developmental tools is the ‘Needs Creed’ which I just happened to discover for the first time during the half month of Nauthiz this year. You can imagine my horror when I finally internalise that chocolate cannot, in fact, compensate for a lack of sleep or water or nourishing food. In the place I was in I couldn’t even countenance the thought of giving up chocolate; but in the week that followed I prioritised my actual basic needs and, low and behold, my sugar cravings went down. Now, this may seem like a frivolous example but the point is that, whatever your bad habit of choice, when you feed it you are not meeting your real needs and can often be contributing to your own disempowerment through feeding unhealthy desires instead. Remember that real magic takes place in the small acts through which big dreams come into being. Instead of reading Nauthiz as on-coming doom, try reading it as ‘My needs are not being met’. Nauthiz can act magically as a very powerful ally helping you to identify what your actual needs are. If Nauthiz comes up for you with Jera (successful harvest) and/ or Hagalaz (change) it may well be whispering that you need to introduce change into your life.
There is a sweet spot where desire and need overlap and Nauthiz locates a big part of its power centre in the ‘desire’ spectrum. People with Nauthiz in their Hero Makers are often very sensual beings who experience great fulfilment through physical intimacy and sensual pleasure. You know when you meet someone and you feel that physical aching when they touch you? That’s Nauthiz. If you watch a candle, or a naked flame for a while you will feel the seductive quality of fire. The ‘need’ fire in this sense is enticing, thrilling, restless. As a rune, Nauthiz often shows up during the teenage years and let us not forget that these are the years when our bodies and minds are changing. The desiring self is sometimes feared, sometimes misunderstood and sometimes celebrated. Embracing the power of Nauthiz is an essential component of coming in to adulthood. Complementary runes indicating/ activating the sensual, desiring aspect of Nauthiz are Fehu (treasure/ life force) and Wunjo (ecstasy). A word of warning here not to impose your own desires on others – you don’t always need two to tango and no one but you is ultimately responsible for fulfilling your desires.
Nauthiz is also a rune of instinct. It brings us back into our physical bodies and reminds us that, however much we might want to float off on the astral, we chose to incarnate as human beings. In the northern tradition the soul includes the lyke aka your physical body. It is, in fact, your first line of defence when it comes to psychic work. Those hairs on the back of your neck telling you something is off – that’s instinct. Nauthiz is the rune of Skuld, the Norn of that which ‘must be’ and she will tell you that what must be is written in you, housed in your body, held in your skull and in your heart and in every cell. Change and transformation occur in the body just as much as they do in the mind. When you are feeling totally ungrounded try tracing Nauthiz on your feet to bring you back to the wisdom of your instinctive self. If Nauthiz comes up for you with Thurisaz (threat/ power) or Uruz (strength/ physicality) you would be wise to consider whether you are ignoring what your instincts are telling you.
Necessity, promises and Wyrd
So now let’s talk a little bit more about soul weaving and fate. I have already said that Nauthiz is the rune of Skuld – that which must be. In that sense it is quite literally ‘tied’ into the tapestry of being. It is a knot, tied fast and seemingly unbreakable, a promise of what is to come.
To understand this aspect of Nauthiz I’m going to take you back down the rune row to the seventh rune Gebo. Gebo is the rune of gifts, exchange and promise. In other words – it is the rune via which human society creates itself. We give gifts to show gratitude, reinforce connection and relationship, and build trust. Following gift-giving we build reciprocity and notions of exchange, fairness, respect and mutual support. We become co-dependent and allow ourselves to rely on others to fulfil our needs. Now we are in the territory of promises. We have entered into reciprocal relationship and can therefore invest in an imagined reality called ‘the future’ where we continue to support and be grateful for each other. We have, in some sense, become symbiotic, or mutually reliant.
At this point the rune row moves to the eighth rune, Wunjo. The family and clan unit is established and we rest in the joyful fulfilment of each other. Hurrah! Wunjo is the last of the first family of runes; it completes the first cycle of being which we might call ‘formation’. The second rune row opens with Hagalaz and with it comes the testing of those bonds forged under Gebo. One day I’m happily crafting a fine dish for my neighbour, the farmer, safe in the knowledge that she will supply me with grain in return. Next thing I know the hail storm of Hagalaz has destroyed most of her crops leaving both she, and I, without food. All her promises and intentions are rendered as nothing in the face of mother nature.
So the rune cycle moves from Hagalaz to Nauthiz – necessity. Notice that the Gebo rune is made up of two crossed lines operating in perfect symmetry. Under the Gebo rune a promise is made which becomes a weaving of two threads within the Tapestry of Being. Nauthiz is also made of two crossed lines, but now one is held in tension with the other. The weight of the Tapestry is pulling and creating friction in the bond which was previously a perfect exchange.
Hagalaz can strike in many ways but for the person directly experiencing the hardship of Nauthiz it is easy to get caught up in overwhelm and, in particular, guilt that you can no longer fulfil all the promises made in better times. For the indirect victim it is easy to move into blame or to at least lose respect and trust in the person we entered into a bond of trust with. This is the face of Nauthiz we feel keenly in the dark times and why we resent its presence in our readings.
Nauthiz reminds you that, whatever Hagalaz brings, you are responsible for weaving your own fate. Put guilt and blame aside and, instead, focus on the needs of all concerned. Reaffirm your commitment to each other and remember that the knot in the Tapestry was created in trust (Gebo) and friendship (Wunjo). My top tip for dealing with a Nauthiz situation where needs are no longer being met is to resist blame and resist guilt. Do whatever you need to get those negative reactions out of your system. Move into communication and care once more. The runes, and particularly Nauthiz, give us options for creating our own future and working in flow with Wyrd. Remember the old adage, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ – if we can move beyond guilt and blame there is very little we can’t resolve together.
Respite, repair and hope
I believe in the power of human beings to overcome adversity, evolve beyond the limitations of current consciousness and become wonderful care takers for each other and the planet. I also recognise that I am just one person and everyone has their part to play. I choose to believe that there are enough people doing the inner and outer work necessary to keep us on track for survival as a species. I choose this every day, but it’s hard work!
Recently I have begun to sense that, behind our physical reality, things are shifting. Until recently many of my friends and kindred spirits have, like me, reported feeling like they are in a very traditional ‘Nauthiz’ place. Things seem empty, bleak, hopeless, unmoving. Over the past few weeks I have felt more motivated to take care of my needs again, it has seemed less hopeless. I have dreamt over and over again of the very fabric of reality tearing under the strain. As the tear occurs tension eases and I see stars tumbling through. They ignite something in me. Dare I call it hope?
Nauthiz is the light in the darkness. The call (and the will) to survive. Whatever rest and re-charging you need to do, do it now. Look to the stars or your runes or your tarot cards. Journey to forgotten places and re-kindle your need fire. Grow your strength through the power of Isa, the slow growth of Jera and the defensive strength of Eihwaz. Wait to be filled by the magic of Perthro and the guidance of Algiz. The guiding stars of Sowilo and Teiwaz await us in the Spring and the half-month of rebirth in Berkano holds much promise in 2020.
You can read more about this traditional aspect of Nauthiz on its rune page.