A little introduction to Berkano…

The birch tree is one the fastest spreading trees and Berkano speaks of fast, eager growth.  This is a rune of spring, the green shoots rising, flowers exploding in a riot of colour upon the woodland floor, the crying of baby animals calling for food so they may grow strong.  The full breasts and belly of a pregnant woman can also be seen in the shape of this rune.

Berkano is helpful for female cycles, pregnancy and birthing and can be used very effectively with Perthro and Fehu.  It is a gentle, sensual rune and has a protective element which makes it a good talisman for children (especially girls).  It can also be helpful and healing for those who had negative sexual experiences resulting in repression, anxiety or fear.

My rune staff is made of silver birch and I find that the protective, expansive nature of Berkano complements the energies of Isa, Eihwaz, Teiwaz, Algiz and Laguz which I often work with in conjunction with the staff.  All of these runes evoke powerful energies cascading vertically up and down the practitioner and the birch wood is very helpful to me in staying grounded.  I would be interested to know whether it was as effective for a male practitioner as this is a very ‘female’ rune.

Traditional meaning:  Birch tree

Pronunciation: ber-carn-o

Number: 18

Gods: Urd, Holda, Berchta

Colour: Green, yellow

Hour: 05:30-06:30

Half month: 14th March – 30th March

Plants: Birch, Lady’s Mantle

Body: Ovaries, womb, breasts, fertility

Animal: Bear, swan

Mineral: Moonstone

Aroma: Geranium, Dill

Object of power: Unknown


Although Berkano is often associated with vigorous growth and an explosion of life, for me its most powerful mysteries occur before this phase in the unseen quickening before Spring is truly underway.  By the time the trees are in blossom, the world is carpeted in green, and the pegnant belly is visible in all its glory the mystery has already been in process for some time.  Where Inguz signifies gestation, the seed, and the store of energy Berkano is the transition point from inertia into life.  Its greatest mysteries are shrouded beneath the earth and within the belly.

Berkano is associated with that which is hidden not just in terms of the life hidden within the darkness but also in the mysteries of shape-shifting and acts of subterfuge and secrecy.

Work with Berkano to find the stillness within so that you may uncover the hidden mysteries which come not in the blinding flash of Dagaz but slowly and gradually in solitude and contemplation.  Early springtime is the perfect time to seek the mysteries of Berkano as the catkins sway in the trees, snowdrops and crocuses peek out of the cold earth and the first buds begin to appear – beneath the surface Berkano is working hard.

Discover Berkano for yourself: Journeys with the Elder Futhark – The Third Aett

Berkano is the second rune in the Third Aett (third family) of the Elder Futhark.  Visit the Resources page to download your free Journeys with the Elder Futhark – The Third Aett includes the Berkano journey.

Magin’s articles featuring Berkano

What other practitioners say…