Nauthiz, the need-fire, is a rune with a dual nature.  In one sense it is the hard hollow of lack, it is the cold earth, the dark days, the emptiness of loss, of starvation, the dark night of the soul.  But it is also the hands that kindle the fire in that darkness and it is the spark of hope that won’t let you role over and die.  That spark is the tenacity of human nature that keeps on trying – even when you are at your lowest ebb.  The shape of the rune suggests two twigs being rubbed together; they are dry and brittle, lacking in life, but ideal for creating that spark you need.

Nauthiz connects with the trickster, the one who cheats death, who finds the way out of the hopeless situation – however questionable the method.  This rune is about survival, not just of the body but of the soul.  There is a school of thought that says ‘value’ is determined by context – if you are starving the only thing of value is survival.  The premise here is that you can’t reach self-actualisation until all your other needs are fulfilled.  I am not convinced.  The child who has everything does not understand need, they cannot emphathise with the suffering of others or kindle the need-fire, for they do not know what they need to become.  The dark night of the soul brings an experience of suffering and need which is essential for an understanding of value.  In this sense Nauthiz is a liberator that frees you from valuing things because you should and teaches you what is actually essential to you.

Drawing Nauthiz can feel like heartless laughter on the part of the universe “You are suffering” the rune says – no kidding, tell me something I didn’t know!  But experience has taught me that the Nauthiz rune has a hidden message for you:  “Somewhere inside you there is faith, the light will come.”

Traditional meaning: Need, distress

Pronunciation: north-eez

Number: 10

Gods: Skuld

Colour: Black

Hour: 21:30-22:30

Half month (Sunna’s chariot in Nauthiz): November 13th-November 28th

Individuals born with Sunna’s chariot in Nauthiz are determined, practical, gutsy, loyal and true survivors.  They will not suffer fools gladly and are unlikely to be comfortable until they have found their real niche in life.  They want to live authentically, in a way that is true to themselves and they may be prone to taking on challenges simply because that is what they do.  If life is too easy they are liable to think that something is wrong.  With the sun in Nauthiz you may have difficulty expressing yourself in words, but you do so amply through your actions.

Learn more about birth runes

Plants: Beech, rowan, snake root

World: Nifelheim

Body: Sacral chakra, arms

Animal: Unknown

Mineral: Lapis lazuli

Aroma: Eucalyptus, black pepper

Object of power: Need fire

Nauthiz meditation

Discover Nauthiz for yourself: Journeys with the Elder Futhark

Nauthiz is the second rune in the Second Aett (second family) of the Elder Futhark.

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