A Rune Awakening: Elder Futhark – Thurisaz

Thurisaz – Poems

All poems, despite their origins, will only be provided in English. It’s someone else’s translation as I’m barely bilingual and that second language isn’t Indo-European in origin at all.

If you don’t have interest in the poems you can skip down the next section where we discuss the rune in a reading setting.


You’ll notice as more of these are posted that the Anglo-Saxon poems all have a pretty heavy Christian bend to them, but out of all the versions of the poems, they’re usually the most clear.

Anglo-Saxon:
Thorn is sharp, for every thane,
who grasps it, it is harmful, exceeding cruel
To every man who rests among them.

Norwegian:
Thurs causes illness in women
Few rejoice at bad luck.

Icelandic:
Thurs is the torment of women
and the dweller in the rocks/cliffs,
and the husband of Vardh-runa

Thurs is an old word used to designate a – generally monstrous – supernatural being. While a titanic Jotun, enemy and ancestor to the Aesir, is often who is being referred to by the word thurs, in the case of the Norwegian and Icelandic poems it’s more like the reference is to “trolls”, or general every day evil spirits vs the more god-like Jotnar.

(It’s also quite possible these “trolls” and evil spirits were blamed for menstrual cramps. Evil indeed!)

The Anglo-Saxon poem certainly takes on a different meaning – either referencing the shape of the rune more literally due to lost knowledge of the word Thurs at the time, or in an attempt to ease the pagan and old world connection of the runes to the supernatural.

Thorns had positive and protective uses to the Norse, and as such would likely have not been associated with something as raw and untamed as the Thurs – Jotnar or Trolls.

Thurisaz – Reading

There’s a heavy leaning toward Thor in the Thurisaz rune. I can imagine what you’re thinking as well: How did we go from the untamed “evil” things like Jotnar and TROLLS to Thor God of sexy arms and thunder?

While the Jotnar were at odds with the Aesir, they weren’t themselves necessarily evil. The Jotnar were more akin to primal forces – neither good nor evil, but certainly in need of balance, and that’s what Thor provided. He himself being a sort of primal force that dealt death to Jotnar men and women – but not all of them.

Balance, after all, is very important in Nature.

Thor’s mother was also Earth – a primal force – and it’s possible that the god of Thunder had almost as much in common with the Jotnar as he did the Aesir.

After all that explanation though, what you should take away from Thurisaz is that it’s Energy. Primal, raw, Jotnar-esque energy – and the gods – Thor in most cases – acted as a buffer between humans and the natural forces of the Jotnar.

Thurisaz in a reading can be a sign of good luck, that things are going your way (the energy’s already rolling with you). Depending on the runes with it, it can be a warning to take stock, and keep that energy internal to weather through what’s coming.

Relating to a psychological inquiry it can reference strength of will (or detrimental stubbornness.) It can be a warning of necessary conflict in a relationship. It can also be a shout out to that temper you’ve been worrying about, and any related aggression.

In Relation To…

When relating Thurisaz to other runes, look at it from a flow of energy standpoint. Is it pushing against the other runes? Is it helping move the flow along? Is it warning that you’re going to lose control of yourself if you don’t regain some semblance of inner-balance?

Thurisaz can refer to either the Jotnar or Thor, and of the two you’d rather work with Thor, trust me. Thor is a force of balance – he’s raw power and in tales he’s often brash and quick to leap into a fight. He’s maybe not the safest guy to have around, but he has your back.

A Circle of Thurisaz runes pointing outward is a powerful ward – and if you consider the rune as a redirection of energy it makes sense. It’s pushing back on things and giving you a safer, quieter space. Which is why when I see this rune I often think of protection.

But with Thurisaz it’s less armored protection and more like running into battle knowing you have the power to protect yourself. Thor’s not going to fight the fights you can fight FOR you, but he’ll be hollering encouragement and spilling mead as you charge ahead.

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