Your birth runes are the caretakers of your destiny. Like a familiar chord they will sound over and over again through the course of your life. Through both blessings and trials your birth runes keep you on course to realise your full potential. The system I use identifies four Hero Maker runes and seven Soul Weavers. The Hero Makers are set by the Nornir, the keepers of doom. The Soul Weavers are set by your personal Disir.
Birth runes do not dictate fate. They are more like opportunists who seize the moment and tip the balance towards the design set in the stars at the moment of your birth. Knowing your birth runes will help you lean into those moments of opportunity for growth and self realisation. They will help you navigate your course through life through knowledge of your greatest power, hidden motivations and places of vulnerability.
The great vault of the sky over Midgard (earth) is forged from the skull of Ymir. When a child is born the Nornir and Disir stretch threads out across the land which fix in place aspects of that child’s ‘doom’ (both good and bad). Runic astrology works on the assumption that this is an analogy for the position of the stars and planets.
Of particular importance in Norse mythology are the chariots of Sunna (the sun) and Manni (the moon) which travel across the sky pursued by wolves – they will be devoured at Ragnarok, the end of the world. We do not know whether Odin found or created the runes, but the moment he brought them into the worlds their energies permeated all things. The sky vault was overlaid by the great wheel of the runes. The runic energies now sound and resonate as the celestial chase continues its near eternal dance across the sky.
I conceptualise your solar, lunar, first thread and birth hour runes as your Hero Makers. Once the sky wheel was in place what could be more logical than that Odin would work with the Sunna, Manni and the Nornir and to ensure its energies influenced the fates of men? Odin is continually seeking for heroes who will one day join him in the final battle and avert the terrible doom of Ragnarok. The Hero Makers encourage you to find and forge your own hero within.
Once your Hero Makers are set your personal Disir take up the threads. These are spirits attached to the house of Frigg. They watch the skies and draw down the energy of the constellations and planets into your soul tapestry. The runes they weave into your fate are known as the Soul Weavers.
Your ‘doom’ is not a set of fixed events set out for you from birth. Rather, it is a specific set of energies which express themselves through your character and events in your life.
Sadly, historical data does not provide a complete runic astrological system. There is no doubt, however that they held a keen interest in fate and the movement of the stars. Archaeological finds and texts offer us a tantalising glimpse of what might have been. I work with the system recreated by Nigel Pennick and Freya Aswynn which is both compelling in its construction. As with other astrological systems runic astrology uses the ecliptic. Where the Babylonian zodiac has 12 divides and others have 36, the runic system has 24.
Calculating your birth runes
The information below can be used to fairly accurately identify your solar rune and birth hour rune. To accurately identify your solar and lunar runes requires the use of an astrological chart. Your first thread rune and birth hour can only be accurately calculated with reference to the time of sunset and sunrise on the day of your birth. I offer a calculation and rune oracle package in my shop.
The runic half-months (your solar rune)
There are 24 runic half months which divide our calendar year into 24 equal parts. The dates below are from Nigel Pennick’s Runic Astrology. There are no computer generated birth rune calculators out there but you can use a zodiac calculator to more accurately identify your birth runes. I like Astro-Seek and Astrolabe. I have included the zodiac sign and degrees on a zodiac birth chart that correspond to each rune so you can look it up for yourself.
- Fehu: 29th June – 14th July. 7.5-22.5 degrees Cancer
- Uruz: 14th July – 29th July. 22.5 degrees Cancer to 7.5 degrees Leo
- Thurisaz: 29th July – 13th August. 7.5-22.5 degrees Leo.
- Ansuz: 13th August – 29th August. 22.5 degrees Leo – 7.5 degrees Virgo
- Raidho: 29th August – 13th September. 7.5-22.5 degrees Virgo.
- Kenaz: 13th September – 28th September 22.5 degrees Virgo – 7.5 degrees Libra
- Gebo: 28th September – 13th October 7.5-22.5 degrees Libra
- Wunjo: 13th October – 28th October 22.5 degrees Libra – 7.5 degrees Scorpio
- Hagalaz: 28th October – 13th November 7.5-22.5 degrees Scorpio
- Nauthiz: 13th November – 28th November 22.5 degrees Scorpio – 7.5 degrees Sagittarius
- Isa: 28th November – 13th December 7.5-22.5 degrees Sagittarius
- Jera: 13th December – 28th December 22.5 degrees Sagittarius – 7.5 degrees Capricorn
- Eihwaz: 28th December – 13th January 7.5-22.5 degrees Capricorn
- Perthro: 13th January – 28th January 22.5 degrees Capricorn – 7.5 degrees Aquarius
- Algiz: 28th January – 13th February 7.5-22.5 degrees Aquarius
- Sowilo: 13th February – 27th February 22.5 degrees Aquarius – 7.5 degrees Pisces
- Teiwaz: 27th February – 14th March 7.5-22.5 degrees Pisces
- Berkano: 14th March – 30th March 22.5 degrees Pisces – 7.5 degrees Aries
- Ehwaz: 30th March – 14th April 7.5-22.5 degrees Aries
- Mannaz: 14th April – 29th April 22.5 degrees Aries – 7.5 degrees Taurus
- Laguz: 29th April – 14th May 7.5-22.5 degrees Taurus
- Ingwaz – 14th May – 29th May 22.5 degrees Taurus – 7.5 degrees Gemini
- Othala – 29th May – 14th June 7.5-22.5 degrees Gemini
- Dagaz – 14th June – 29th June 22.5 degrees Gemini – 7.5 degrees Leo
How is the rune calendar calculated?
There are 24 runes and their transitions through the year are calculated based on the same motions of the stars as are the signs of the Zodiac. 12 of the runes reach their peak at the point that the Zodiac signs are transitioning and 12 reach their peak at the same time as the Zodiac sign. So, for example, in 2015 the Sun moves into Aries at 10.46 am on 21 March and the half-month of Berkano peaks at the same time; when Aries reaches its peak Berkano transitions to Ehwaz.
The table above provides the general dates for each rune-half month but reference to an astrological calendar for any given year is needed to ascertain exactly when the transition takes place. Each Zodiac sign has 30 degrees whilst each rune has 15 degrees. I have provided the exact number of degrees for each rune so you can look this up yourself.
The runic hours
The runic hours below are based on a neat division of the day into 24 hours of 60 minutes duration each. This is actually only the case at the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes. At all other times the hours of dark and light are out of balance so, for example, at the Winter Solstice the 12 hours of darkness are significantly longer than the 12 hours of daylight. Your solar rune hour and your standard ‘GMT clock’ rune hour can therefore be different. People born close to the Spring and Autumn Equinox will get the most accurate readings from the birth hours method below – the greater the imbalance between the days of hour and night and the more likely it is that your birth hour rune will be different.
- 23:30-00:30 – Jera
- 00:30-01:30 – Eihwaz
- 01:30-02:30 – Perthro
- 02:30-03:30 – Algiz
- 03:30-04:30 – Sowilo
- 04:30-05:30 – Teiwaz
- 05:30-06:30 – Berkano
- 06:30-07:30 – Ehwaz
- 07:30-08:30 – Mannaz
- 08:30 – 09:30 Laguz
- 09:30-10:30 – Inguz
- 10:30-11:30 – Dagaz
- 11:30-12:30 – Othala
- 12:30-13:30 – Fehu
- 13:30-14:30 – Uruz
- 14:30-15:30 – Thurisaz
- 15:30 – 16:30 – Ansuz
- 16:30-17:30 – Raidho
- 17:30-18:30 – Kenaz
- 18:30-19:30 – Gebo
- 19:30-20:30 – Wunjo
- 20:30-21:30 – Hagalaz
- 21:30-22:30 – Nauthiz
- 22:30-23:30 – Isa
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Exploring the mysteries of a rune during its half month will provide great insights and should be easier than at any other time in the year as the dance of the star’s resonates with the energies of that rune. Rune readers may find it helpful to ascertain a client’s runic birth half-month and hour.
An awareness of where you are in the runic calendar will help you to fine tune your healings, as will an awareness of the birth half month and hour of your clients. You can also use the half months to charge objects such as crystals, herbs and rune talismans with a particular rune’s energies ready for future healings.
Using the rune calendar is hugely helpful to building a strong relationship with the runes as we can work with them in turn throughout the course of the year. Meditating on the runes during their half months has been very valuable to me and has revealed deeper mysteries which I would only have connected with through working with the runes ‘in-flow’ allowing time and the order of the Elder Futhark to guide me. A two week period is not as long as you think but if you are dedicated you can gain significant insights through your meditations on the rune’s correspondences, its place in the season and its relationship to other runes.
The earliest references I can find to rune astrology is Nigel Pennick’s Runic Astrology: Starcraft and Timekeeping in the Northern Tradition. It is a very interesting book but not brilliantly referenced so needs to be taken on its own terms. One of the reasons I have been working with the rune calendar for the last seven years is so that I can test how helpful and meaningful it is. I have found much in the placement of the half-months to be valuable and the fact that there are 24 runes in the Elder Futhark is certainly convenient! My advice to northern tradition practitioners is to use it if it’s helpful and don’t if it’s not.
For the rune hours, you cannot deny that the rune clock is very pretty and neatly fits within our timekeeping framework; have a look at infinity-codes runic sundial for an example.
As has already been mentioned for healers, the runic half month will present the most powerful time for work with a particular rune. If you can create a talisman for a particular rune at the peak of its half month and during its assigned hour than you magic will resonate particularly strongly with the power of the rune.