The Mannaz rune is a double Wunjo rune, the rune that brings joy in family and kin becomes the rune of one who blesses clan and society through the strength of self. Mannaz means ‘man’ (in the sense of ‘human’ rather than a male), and to me it acts as a reminder that exploration of the inner world does little unless we bring the gifts we receive into our every day lives.
I have often wrestled with this rune’s meaning as, when used for mundane purposes, it is often cited in relation to personal success and power. There are, for me, uncomfortable connotations of conquest, capitalism, imperialism, egotism and selfishness attached to this rune and I have to remind myself that all runes have negative aspects and it is perhaps simply that Mannaz is of particular importance to humanity at this time. In the last one hundred years we have changed the face of our planet beyond imagining; we might say that humanity has become intoxicated by its own power. To quote from Jurassic Park ‘your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should’. As I have developed on my own soul journey I have come to a point where I believe the role of spiritual explorers and adventurers such as ourselves is to seek for knowledge and experience beyond that which humanity currently has so that we are able to answer that important question ‘should we’? The Mannaz rune helps us to tap into the Well of Wyrd (Urðarbrunnr) and Mimir’s Well (Mimisbrunnr) which hold the individual and collective memories of the past, not just from Midgard (our world) but also from the other worlds on the tree.
A common image for Mannaz is that of Odin sitting on his throne with his ravens Huggin (thought) and Munnin (memory) on either side of him. Within Odin’s consciousness collective thought and memory combine and inform his actions. Odin is the archetypal ‘shamanic practitioner’ of the north. Perhaps the bane of humanity at this point is that we champion thought over memory; we seem to believe that because our ancestors had not made the discoveries we had – that their wisdom and experience is flawed. We do not stop to consider the possibility that our age of ‘enlightenment’ has left us closed to those things which cannot be seen in the light nor experienced through conscious thought alone.
When you work with Mannaz I would urge you not simply to channel this rune’s energies towards personal ‘success’ but rather to consider what it has to tell us about what ‘success’ might actually look like. Over and over again I am reminded by my own experience, and that of the awesome array of people I have been privileged to work with, that our experiences are often leading us on a path quite different to the one we thought we were on. Somewhere inside us, there is a core self (which I refer to as the soul seed but others might dub the valkyria) which seeks to gently guide us on our true path – even when the rest of our being doesn’t know what that is and has become fixated with possessions, or health, or fame, or a particular relationship. Mannaz can help us move beyond those things to a connection with our soul journey which extends far beyond our current imaginings and aspirations.
Traditional meaning: Man
Colour: Red, orange, blue
Half month: April 14th – April 29th
Plants: Holly, madder
Body: Feet and ankles
Animal: Man, hawk, Huggin and Munnin – the ravens of Thought and Memory
Aroma: Ylang-ylang, Orange
Object of power: Unknown
Journeys with the Elder Futhark – Mannaz
On its way!