The mountain, forbidding, implacable.  Thrust up from the belly of the Earth.  Shrouded in cloud and snow, a land impenetrable to all but the bravest, strongest and most single-minded.  Its reflection in the waters is still and alluring, the dangers of the subconscious, of dreams.  Difficult to separate truth from illusion – a path demanding a different sort of strength.  Desire for truth, spiritual fearlessness.

Old Norse Rune Poem: Þurs. A giant, demon, or wizard.

Thurs causes the sickness of women;
few are cheerful from misfortune.
Translated by Thorsson, Runelore


Thurisaz is a rune that is often shunned by runesters, it represents the forces of chaos – that which we fear, the powerful emotions and drivers lurking beneath the surface.  A giant, a thorn, a powerful, uncontrollable force.  Interestingly, it is Thor (part giant himself) who wields Mjollnir, the hammer that controls the force of Thurisaz.  Turned on its back, Thurisaz resembles an anvil – when the hammer and anvil come together the Smith creates his magick.

Thurisaz and the concept of the thorn hedge which the witch or shaman is able to cross.  Juniper’s ‘Walking the Hedge’ blog gives a very intesting account of what ‘walking the hedge’ entails – note the importance of habit breaking and forming.

The lore about plants with thorns, from the blackthorn to the rose is rich in magic and meaning.  Thorns protect their delicate flowers and fruits and are well known for their connections with faery.

The hagzissa or witch, is a ‘hedgesitter’ who has learned to pass through the barrier and to connect the needs of the village (conscious mind) with the unknown world beyond (the collective sub-consciousness).  That the passage can be dangerous and painful needs hardly be mentioned. (Helrunar: A Manual of Rune Magick

Thurisaz power encompasses the subconscious, anger, passion, violence, attack and aggression.  When reversed, this rune tends to refer to defensive energy rather than aggression.  Although it is not mentioned in the rune poems, the Hammer of Thor, Mjolnir is often considered as a balancing aspect of Thurisaz – the positive manifestation of this troublesome rune, which, once mastered is unmatched in power and might.

Thurisaz can make people nervous, and perhaps rightly so given its strength.  I would highly recommend working with the Hammer of Thor to support your work with this rune.

Literal meaning: Giant, thorn

Rich meaning: Power, impulse, anger, subconscious urges, vital force

Deepening your connection with Thurisaz

My Elder Futhark journeys are based on the traditional meanings of the runes.  To get the most from the journey follow these steps:

  • Make sure the room in which you are working will be free from disturbance.  Do a simple warding if you want to.  
  • Have a look at the basic correspondences for Thurisaz.  Make a note of any that stand out for you. 
  • Make sure you know the shape of Thurisaz; if you have a rune set, select the Thurisaz rune and hold it for a short while. 
  • Listen to the recording.
  • If you feel a bit light headed or not fully back from your journey, have something to eat. 

This meditation is designed to balance the energies of Thurisaz that build up around us in response to stressful and emotional events.  The energy of Thurisaz manifests in the fight or flight response, which isn’t always the way we deal with stressful events in the modern world. 

Articles about Thurisaz

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The 3 modes of power #2 Power With

This is the second article in our series exploring modes of power.  We’re digging in, in particular, to Thurisaz the 3-angled rune of Power and…

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