A Rune Awakening: Elder Futhark – Hagalaz

Hagalaz – Poems

As we look more closely at Hagalaz we get back into our old routine of three poems again. Though Hagalaz looks much different in its Younger Futhark form.

Instead of the more N-shaped picture on the left it has an appearance more akin to a snow-flake or hail-stone, which – as we look at the poems – will make sense.

Hagalaz is indeed a Cold Rune.

Anglo-Saxon:
Hail is the whitest of grain;
it is whirled from heaven’s loft
tossed about by wind gusts
then melts into water.

Norwegian:
Hail is the coldest of grains:
Christ created the primeval world.

Icelandic:
Hail is cold grain
and driving sleet
and sickness of serpents

Chances are the Christ being referred to in the Norwegian poem isn’t the Christian Christ, but rather Hroptr – the hidden one – or possible another title of Odin’s. Regardless, it is referring to a creator bringing about life for the world from ice.

Which reminds me of a story from the Eddas about Auðumbla – a primeval cow who licked ice and accidentally created the grandfather of the gods.

Hagalaz – Reading

Hail storms suck. Hagalaz in a reading is not going to portend good news – or at least not right away. Hail does eventually melt and turn into the life giving water we all love and rely on.

I take Hagalaz in a reading as a warning to batten down the hatches – board the windows, make sure you’ve got bread and milk and firewood. It’s going to be a bad storm and you need to be prepared.

Hagalaz shouts out to chaos and possibly even things you’re just not going to be able to control or possibly prepare for. You might very well get knocked for a loop no matter how well you think you’ve got your ducks in a row.

But, much like the Death card in Tarot, Hagalaz can also mean change – specifically changing into a new beginning (like destructive hail melting into the same water that helps crops grow).

In Relation To…

Paired with other runes Hagalaz can just be a layer of unpleasantness. Even a sunny day is slightly sour if you have to spend time scraping frost off your car windshield. You may have to try your hand at tomatoes a second time if a surprise chill of bitter cold kills your plants.

It can also be more along the lines of finding a hole in your sock after the heating goes out and the news is talking about another arctic blast and you just put new snow tires on so yeah – you can get the heater fixed, but it’s going to be rice for a couple weeks and your soda money is going toward new socks, but when you got into work the next day you learn you got a raise.

Raises are nice, but I’m still never thrilled to see Hagalaz appear in a reading.

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