Uruz is the rune of the aurochs; a great beast similar to the modern day bison that roamed Europe, Asia and North Africa. These powerful, primal creatures are now extinct but nature has provided many other immensely powerful examples for us to work with when connecting with the energy of Uruz. Think of the blue whale, the grand canyon or any other aspect of the natural world that makes you forget yourself in the contemplation of the vastness and power of creation.
Both the elements of earth and water are associated with Uruz through the symbolism of the aurochs and the drinking horn. Although I have found no traditional connection, for me, this rune also has strong lunar qualities (Jan Fries also makes this connection in Helrunar: A Manual of Rune Magick). This may be because of associations in the Western magical tradition between the shape of the crescent moon and the horns of the bull but I think it goes deeper than that. Like Uruz, the moon speaks of purity, of peace and solitude, but also of power and of the deep currents that govern life on Earth.
Carbuncles (garnet or other deep red gems) are the most common mineral associated with Uruz. They were thought to give off their own light and to protect against disease and wounding. The red of the carbuncle evokes the fiercer aspect of Uruz, the aurochs defending itself or its herd.
Uruz is often worn as an amulet to promote health and well-being. It is a truly elemental rune. Where Fehu, its predecessor represents pure force and energy, Uruz is form and structure. This is another reason why these two runes are both excellent for healing practice. At a physical level Uruz is associated with the skeleton and muscles whilst at a purely energetic level it builds strength, stamina and promotes deep physical replenishment and regeneration.
If you draw the Uruz rune its message can sometimes be as simple as reminding you to ground yourself effectively. Its shape is solid and stable, resting upon the earth. I find that placing my hands and feet upon the ground – either while sitting or crouching – and singing ‘Uruz’ while visualising the excess energy flowing down into the earth, is effective. The sound ‘oooooo’ can also be used at a fairly low pitch as is most comfortable for you. Imagine that the ‘source’ of the sound is deep down in the pit of your stomach and the energy you are drawing upon is deeper still – way down within the earth. If it helps you can visualise the sound expanding outwards from the source as vibrant green or pure white light. You could also use use your song while meditating on the symbolism and meaning of the rune.
Old English Rune Poem: ūr
meaning aurochs (a large species of wild cattle, now extinct).
Aurochs is fearless and greatly horned
a very fierce beast, it fights with its horns,
a famous roamer on the moor it is a courageous animal.
Translated by Thorsson, Runelore
At a mystical level it represents orlog (‘law’ or ‘that which is written’). I see this as runes carved upon the great world tree but also as the river beds and roots which guide the flow of Wyrd and, over time, are shaped by it. The later rune poems bring out associations with the cycles of water and the mysteries of the deep earth. Water and ice carve and shape the surface of our earth just as much as the hot fires burning beneath us.
For these reasons Uruz is not just the aurochs upon the land, it is the earth itself. It speaks to me powerfully of cause and effect. In our hunt for the aurochs we brought it to extinction. We have not yet learned how to tread more gently and respectfully upon our planet and the aurochs rage is there still, in the bones of the earth.
Literal meanings: Aurochs, ox, slag (an element in the northern tradition), drizzle
Rich meanings: Strength, purity, primal power, endurance, healing