Laguz (#21) Jan 4, 2008 15:42:14 GMT -5
Post by Senbecc on Jan 4, 2008 15:42:14 GMT -5
This rune, the fifth rune of the third aett and twenty-first of the Elder Futhark, has two names. Kenaz/Kaunaz is the other rune with two names. Laguz is the best-known name of today’s rune. It means “lake.” Laukaz is the alternative name and means “leek,” a member of the onion family. Note that the rune-stave resembles a leek’s leaf, bent over at the tip. Plants of the onion family were and still are used medicinally, with good effect. Consult a good book on medicinal herbalism. Garlic, which is extensively used in herbal medicine today, is from the anglo-Saxon “gar-lic,” meaning “spear-leek.” In olden times, the leek was also a good-luck charm, and a love-charm as well. It was seen as an antidote to poison (see the Sigdrifumal). It could also diagnose if a wound to the abdomen were fatal or not. The wounded man was fed the leek or gar-leek, and the wound was sniffed about an hour later. If the wound smelled of the plant, death was certain, as this indicated that the digestive tract had been punctured and in the days before abdominal surgery and antibiotics, death from peritonitis was inevitable! Time to polish the hel-shoes and put the funeral ale on to brew. One more warrior would soon be Valhalla-bound.
Laguz, as the initial letter of its name would suggest, has the phonetic value of the Roman letter “L.” After Christianization, Anglo-Saxon (the ancestor of English) was written in Roman letters rather than runes. Its magickal and divinatory meanings include lake, leek, healing, mystery, sea, water, emotions, depths, waterways, flow, obscurity, uncertainty, insanity, neurosis, psychosis, ships, swimming, fishing, medicine, West, diving, and oceanography. The Norse word for bath was “laugr,” but I’m not sure if Laguz and laugr are cognates or not. Saturday was called “Lauga-dagr,” or “Bath-day” by the Vikings. Even into my own youth, country folk often bathed once a week, on Saturday! Vikings bathed weekly. Christians seldom did. Stinky Christian men in England complained that Vikings, by keeping their hair combed (archaeologists have found many Viking combs, which were made of deer antler) and bathing every week, were out-competing them for the attention of English women! Christians back then thought dirt and even lice were a sign of "mortification of the flesh," which to them was holy. "Cleanliness is next to godliness" is evidently a later, Calvinist invention.
The Old English Rune Poem refers to the danger inherent in ocean travel. The Old Norse Rune Rhyme refers to the force of falling water, and the value of gold objects. The Old Icelandic Rune Poem has a LOT to say about this rune, and does so in only three lines, mentioning “churning water,” “wide kettle,” and “land of fish.” All of these themes will be covered in this article. The oceans represent both great danger and great riches to be won (think of Norse fishermen and Vikings, both lucrative but dangerous occupations). Laguz, as the rune of bodies of water, oceans included, is no different!
As befits a rune with two names, this one has a double edge as it were. Healing at one pole, insanity at the other. While the runes are relatively “safe” in divination, when it comes to using runes for magick, especially healing magick applied to another person, heed Egil Skallagrimson’s warning and handle with care and only after careful study and training! Laguz is one of the more dangerous runes, although subtly so. You’ll notice several meaning of Laguz overlap with those of Perthro. Perthro will help you, in time, safely access the mysteries of Laguz. The same warning of potential danger that I just gave you for runic magick, by the way, goes equally well for herbalism. Aside from treating your own minor ailments, like peppermint tea for a tummyache, be aware that it requires YEARS of study to become a competent herbalist. If that be a path you choose to follow; Kenaz, Jera, and of course Laukaz will be of great help as you study!
Bodies of water played a great role in life in Heathen times. Folks traveled long distances mostly by water. Remember the Viking ships. The word “Viking” itself probably means something like “creek-men.” Vikings sailed up the estuaries into tidal creeks to attack!
Several of our Elder Kin are associated with Laguz as rune of the oceans. Njordh, Aegir, and Ran, the sea-Deities come immediately to mind. Remember Ran and Aegir’s big kettle, used to brew and cook for the Gods’ big feasts. Less obvious is Frigga. To the Sheils, she is the Goddess of the oceans’ deepest depths. Think of the halls Sokkvabek and Fensalir (Sunken Benches and Marshy Halls respectively). One of these belongs to Saga, the Goddess of History, and probable hypostatis (aspect) of Frigga. Ran and Aegir are not entirely “safe” Deities. They are full-blood Jotnar, for starters. Ran dragged sailors down to her hall in nets. Think of Kipling’s “old grey widow-maker.” Her nine daughters, ocean waves all, may have been the mothers of Heimdallr. Saxon pirates drowned a portion of their captive slaves (it is indeed fortunate that slavery has finally ended in most countries, although other forms of exploitation remain), either the first one or every ninth one, as sacrifices to the Sea Deities for a safe journey home (or to the slave-market). Water can transport. Water can yield riches. Water can kill. Folks in danger of drowning kept a bit of gold for Ran on themselves. A pile of gold lights her undersea hall in lieu of fire. Once there, though, they were feasted royally. Interestingly, intuitive cooks who can come up, on the spot, with delicious dishes made with whatever’s on hand without resorting to recipes can as a rule deal safely with Ran and Aegir. Remember their big cauldron, which forms one of several ties between Perthro and Laguz. The cauldron Odhroerir, which held the Mead of Poetic Inspiration) is another example of Perthro and Laguz in the myths. Anyway, to make along story short, carelessly poking around in your own subconscious (or someone else’s) is dangerous. You must do the inner work to prepare properly for dealing with these realms. Laguz can help prepare you! A seidhkona (very roughly speaking a Norse Heathen shamaness/shamanka) once told me of a woman who went unprepared and uninvited into Hela’s hall during a seidhr session. Now there’s another aspect of the depths of the Unconscious for you! The woman went quite mad, but eventually recovered.
This rune ties in with the realms of the Unconscious. The “Astral planes” of Neopaganism and the “Spae-realms” of Heathenism, by the way, have strong ties with the Collective Unconscious. The Jungian Collective Unconscious, its constituent group-minds formed by groups of people (nations, clubs, language groups, etc.), and each individual’s personal Unconscious are all tied into Laguz. A person can be and almost certainly is tied into more than one group-mind, by the way. I for example am part of the Jungian Collective Unconscious, the US group mind, its Southern sub-division, the (Ring of) Troth group-mind,... To tie in Ocean and Unconscious, think of the mysterious ocean depths as having a relationship to the equally mysterious depths of the Unconscious. Pretty much everything is stored in the Unconscious, but we must make great efforts to get it to “speak” to us or to understand it when it does. Frigga is the all-knowing but silent Goddess! By the way, bodies of water and the Moon are connected. The Moon’s gravitational pull causes tides in bodies of water. Don’t forget that “Lunatic” is derived from the Latin word for “Moon.” I once worked in a shelter for the homeless. When the Moon was full, things got especially interesting there.
As Laukiz, this rune is also a rune of Healing. According to Snorri, Eir is the physician Goddess of Asgard. Thus, to me at least, as Laukaz, this rune provides a path to her as well.
The Sheils mention a connection between Thorr and Laukaz. This they derive from the “house-leek,” which was planted on turf, straw, or even tile roofs to ward off lightning strikes. The house-leek is botanically speaking no leek at all, but rather a nice hardy succulent plant my grandmother used to grow. They need very little soil or humus to grow. The house-leek is a sedum or sempervivens, and looks a bit like a cactus but is not. My grandmother called it “hen-and-chickens” because it sent out little rosettes of juicy leaves, just like itself, on stems. That is how it multiplies, and it does remind one of a mother hen with a brood of chicks around her. Some, the Sheils included, identify Frigga with Jordh, an Earth Goddess (NOT the same as the Vanic Nerthus). Thorr is said to be a son of Jordh. I have noticed a tie between Frigga and Thorr. The Sheils call Thorr “Frigga’s enforcement arm” and I believe them to be right. When I called the wrath of Frigga down on my ex-sister-in-law for beating up my nephew about five years ago, two car engines blew up on her soon afterward. This positively reeks of Thorr :-), not only with cars being under Raidho, which has strong ties with Thorr, but also the explosions themselves were most Thorian!
Water was used by Heathen Scandinavians to welcome children into the family. Remember those group-minds; families have them too! A child may be more a part of one family or the other, or be equally a part of both as far as group-minds go. I believe the ausa vatni was done on the ninth night after birth. After the rite, the child was held to be a member of the family and thus, as fully human, and among other things could not be exposed to die. Thus, Laguz has ties with Mannaz, the previous rune in the futhark. The rite was called “ausa vatni,” or water-sprinkling. Aztecs did something like this too. Converts to Judaism are to this day immersed in a ritual bath. So, Christian baptism was not without antecedents. As you can see, Laguz can yield insights into group behavior,both good and bad! Remember evil, arguably insane Adolf Hitler (a disgrace to his given name, “Adal-Ulfr,” meaning “Noble Wolf”), and his incredible ability to captivate and motivate large groups of people. His ability to tap into the group-mind of the German people was uncanny. By the way, he often did this by perverted use of ancient Germanic symbols, including the runes! Remember that the SS emblem was a double Sowilo-rune. The forces of Laguz can heal mental or emotional damage or drive you into the depths of insanity. The runes, Laguz included, are part of the structure of the Universe. They are NOT “good” or “evil” in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic sense. Think of electricity, which can work both weal or woe, depending on how it is wielded. YOUR will and your skill as a wizard/ess will determine where and how they act.
The water of life flows
carving secret pathways
through the world
Names - LAGUZ - a body of water, LAGUS - water, LAGU - sea or water, LOGR - sea or water
Pronunciations - "lah gooz" "lah goos" "lah goo" "lah ghr"
Phonetic Value - "L"
Symbolism - The Water
Keywords - Intuition
Symbolically, this rune is a representation of water, the liquid of life, overflowing from a cup or well.
Since the central stave of this rune contains the pictogram for Isa or ice it is fairly easy to envision the angled stave as the bending or melting of ice. The final result of this will surely be flowing water
. Phonetically, the connection between "Laguz" and "water" may only be found in root similarities of present day words like "lake". Again, the evolution of human language makes it unlikely that there is a direct connection between "Laguz" and "lake", however it would not be too far wrong to allow this association anyway just to keep the mnemonic connection to "water"
The sea and other bodies of water, much like the earth, were considered a source of wealth and fertility and an expression of the unconscious and undiscovered mysteries of life and death.
The ship burials, and stone "boat" graves reveal the assocation of water with the journey of death, a rite of passage into the greatest of all mysteries.
Representing the Well of Wyrd, laguz holds all the secrets of the unconscious and the collective or universal knowledge. It represents psychic abilities. It is the ale which can be charged with runic knowledge.
The Aegir, the gods and goddesses of the sea, both gave and took life and offered fertility and wealth. They were the brewers and the Norse looked at the foaming vat of beer and related it to froth of the ocean.
This rune reflects ebb and flow, and dark currents. Laguz can be the water in a well, bubbling up from secret depths, or dark and still reflecting the querent but revealing nothing beneath the surface.
Laguz seeks its own level, taking the path of least resistance at times, at other times sinking into the earth to rise in a distant place.
Magically it can be invoked to develop second sight and psychic powers. It will encourage discovery of hidden mysteries and knowledge.
This rune may be worked to hide or conceal secrets just as the waters of the lake or well will conceal what may lie within their depths.
In divination it is the unknown, the primeval water of birth and creation as well as death and the abyss and can represent any of the following forces.
LAGUZ UPRIGHT: Water, sea, a fertility source, the healing power of renewal, intuition, imagination, psychic matters, dreams, fantasies, mysteries, the unknown, the hidden, the deep, the underworld.
LAGUZ MERKSTAVE: Confusion, wrong decisions, poor judgements, lack of creativity, fear, circular motion, avoidance, withering, madness, obsession, despair, perversity, sickness, suicide.