Wunjo embodies that sense of joy, belonging and well-being that comes from the people who you count as your kin. It is found in a welcome hug, in the shared memories you laugh over, in the affectionate names only your partner and family call you by. It promotes harmony of body and mind and can support healing work. Sometimes Wunjo is interpreted as gentle, a caress or a smile; other times it is closer to ecstasy, bliss and the fulfilment of personal will. It is also related to wish making, and the realisation of wishes. Its role in both personal ecstasy and communal joy is important, emphasising the need for happiness on the part of both the individual and the clan – Wunjo enables this difficult balance.
Where Gebo harnesses the power of the wind to our direction, Wunjo is the weather vane showing us how to let the will of the Gods fill our sails. It is the bliss of simply feeling that everything is as it should be, all is right in the world and harmony will always, ultimately, prevail.
Work with Wunjo through rituals, big and small, that promote togetherness and communion. Toast at the end of a family meal, play together, make each other laugh, hug often, show you care. In your own work practice self-care and make time to connect with the divine within and without.
There is another kind of joy in the search for wisdom, especially when one can share the quest with companions found upon the way. There is the joy that comes upon one unawares, the gift of the gods, and there is the joy that is willed: to find beauty in a world that sometimes seems determined to deny it, to love whether or not love is returned, and to go into battle laughing with joy in your ability to face the challenge whether you win or lose. Taking Up The Runes: A Complete Guide To Using Runes In Spells, Rituals, Divination, And Magic, Diana Paxson
Wunjo is the last rune in the first Aett or rune family. It brings to a close the primal runes that I personally associate with formation, youth and family. Like Sowilo and Dagaz that terminate the second two Aettir there is something present in Wunjo that speaks of forces beyond the control of the individual. There is a bitter sweet quality about Wunjo which becomes clearer to me as my own children grow up and I recognise that they will one day fly the nest to discover their own destiny both good and bad. I cannot protect them from the hardships of the second Aett, or the deep and sometimes painful wisdom of the third Aett.
My deepest mystical experiences of Wunjo tell me that it is the rune of wounding. Its influence carves deep and inscribes into our souls who we are and what our lives mean. At its heart it is not a gentle rune. It is not a shiver, it is an orgasm. Its depths are found on the edge between ecstasy and despair. It is the high before the hangover, the bliss of the orgasm and the pang of loss that inevitably follows the moment of wholeness. It reminds me of the Carolyn Hillier’s work on The Northern Sisterhood of Drums ; of a deeper wisdom that is written within the land and within our own bodies. The deepest truths combine both pleasure and pain.
Literal meanings: Joy, pleasure
Rich meanings: Ecstasy, belonging, family, friendship, clan kindred