There is a huge amount of untapped potential for healers within the northern tradition. You can work exclusively as a rune healer or build on your existing healing practice through channelling rune energies, chanting, creating bespoke bind runes and enhancing the energies of associated crystals and herbs.
Runes for Healing
The runes can be used singularly or in combination during energy healing work to great effect. The green bind rune features on this page combines the Uruz and Laguz runes. This can be used for general healing or as a personal talisman for a healer.
Fehu is a wonderful energising rune. It can be used to improve the circulation, speed up digestion and produce a warming effect on the body. Breastfeeding mothers may also find it helpful in conjunction with Berkano in improving milk supply. Its nurturing qualities make it an excellent rune to use when you are feeling a little run down and in need of a gentle boost – I had a cat who absolutely adored the energy of Fehu when she was feeling a little low.
Uruz is a very powerul rune for healing; it is very grounding and it imparts strength and stability. It is a good all-rounder for healing and is particularly good for the skeleton and muscles. Its primary energy is very earthy with a secondary current of water; it is excellent for purification.
Kenaz is traditionally a rune of illness associated with fever, bruising, discolouration (lividity, pallor, rashes), ulcers and the heat that the body generates at sites of wounding and inflammation. As a rune of transformation it is also linked to the transitions the body makes through death. As such, you might th9nk it wise to steer clear of Kenaz for the purposes of healing, but this would be a mistake. Many of the symptoms associated with Kenaz are also the signs of the body’s attempts to heal itself and, as such, Kenaz might be used to prompt the body into a healing crisis during a lingering malaise or to draw out an illness or wounding from deep inside the body to its surface so it may be released. The mysteries of Kenaz are perhaps uncomfortable to the modern sensibility which prizes youth, ultra-fitness and perfection over experience and the natural processes of time and nature.
You might liken Kenaz to the flames of the forge which heat metal so that it tkes on many varied hues and can be transformed into objects of beauty, usefulness and power. Kenaz is also linked to the arts of the alchemist or chemist who is able to make one substance act upon another.
For people with strong links to the elves or dwarves of the World Tree Kenaz may be a powerful tool. Both elves and dwarves can use magic to bring on illness (there are long traditions of humans believing illness to be brought on by ‘other-worldly beings’). If I have learned one thing about the runes it is that each has negative and positive aspects and it stands to reason, therefore, that those who can effectively wield Kenaz for malicious purposes can also do so for good. Use Kenaz to find the source of illness (it may be detected as heat by the hands) and to bring controlled, healing heat to the body.
Laguz is the rune of water and can be used for purification and cleansing of both body and mind. It is helpful to use this rune in combination with Uruz as the more earthy rune will help stabilise and contain the Laguz energy. Used with care Laguz can help release blockages within the unconscious and long held patterns within the body. Laguz is also the rune of leech-craft, the Anglo-Saxon healing tradition of herb lore; as such it is excellent for empowering herbs.
For me, the Perthro rune has a feminine energy although its links to Mimir suggest its healing properties might also stretch to work to improve memory and, more generally, the connections within the brain. I have found Perthro to be very effective for work with the hips (note the shape) as well as with the womb and for assistance with birthing. Perthro is a rune of transitions and it will help with the crossing over of a new soul into the world, as well as with the transition from life into death. My work with this rune suggests it can be used to very powerful effect when sung to ease the transition of a soul. In society today we tend to place oversight for birth and death into the hands of ‘professionals’ and forget that we have an essential role to play. A new born baby can have the best medical care in the world but nothing can replace the touch, voice and tender care of its mother. Work with Perthro to help you tune into your own instincts and intuition about what you and your loved ones need from you during times of difficulty, illness, transformation, initiation, death, birth and rebirth.
Use Algiz to protect your space before a healing rite and to call on the guardian spirits of those in need of healing. Algiz connects with the rainbow bridge and can help build connections between the different aspects of the soul including the Fetch (similar to a personal power animal) and the Valkyria (soul seed). The swan and the elk are both connected to Algiz; chant ‘Al-geez’ to connect with swan energy and the rune’s alternative form ‘El-arz’ to connect with elk. Feel the powerful wings of the swan opening over you or see the great horns of the elk lifting to the sky and connecting heaven and earth.
Sowilo has come to be associated with healing through the second Mersburg Charm (the horse charm). In the poem the Goddess Sunna (commonly associated with Sowilo) is one of a number of deities to help heal a horse. In modern healing Sowilo is often used as the first rune the healer will channel; it is seen above the head slowly spinning and energy is then passed to the client via the healer (similar to reiki healing). I have personally found Sowilo to be a very healing rune; it gives of warmth and vitality and can guide us towards the healthy, strong, self we strive for. You will see that many practitioners now associate Sowilo with ‘wholeness’ and life force – these are quite modern associations but do work well with the rune. Whilst I don’t personally start all healings by channeling Sowilo it is a very effective method and I would certainly recommend that healers seek to work with Sowilo on a regular basis. Sowilo resonates with the solar plexus and building a Sowilo ‘shield’ (see Mystics below) can also be useful for a healer seeking to not take on negative energies from clients.
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 his eye, 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.
Deepening your practice
The northern tradition also has its own elements and important healing guides such as the goddess Eir and personal Disir. Shamanic practitioners will also find the northern soul lore framework offers a hugely powerful set of techniques. I offer 1-2-1 mentoring for healers wishing to add rune work to their practice.