Thorn/Thurisaz

Original Meaning: Thor’s Hammer
Protection, defence. Patience is recommended. Fortunes may be changing. Re-evaluate your thinking – you may not be looking at a situation objectively.

In Old Norse this rune’s name is thurs or giant. The thurses were known for their brute strength and often were in opposition to the Norse gods, though sometimes they were helpful. The Anglo-Saxon name refers to the thorn of the rose or any other plant. However, it must be remembered that while the thorn may draw blood, it often defends something of great beauty like the rose. The Old Norse and Old Icelandic rune poems portray this rune as harmful to women, and it is also the rune with which Skirnir threatens Gerdhr when seeking her hand in marriage on behalf of the god Freyr. This is probably the dark side of the rune. Its ability to draw blood and do harm. It has for this reason been seen as a phallic symbol, the phallus that takes away the maiden’s virginity.

It is also linked to the god Thor however, a god who is linked to many plants that have thorns or thorn like structures like nettle and thistle. This is the good side of thorn, its ability to use its power to defend man and beast. Thor with his hammer and powerful arms protected both god and man from the giants. He was also responsible for sending the thunderstorms that brought water to the crops. Thorn in either aspect is a rune of silent strength waiting to be unleashed. Thorn is similar to Eolh-secg in its defensive aspects.

In divination, thorn can mean “look before you leap,” or proceed with caution. It is a dangerous rune to be used in magic but can be used for defensive spells although it is commonly seen used in mythology and folklore in curses.

To learn more about other runes, select from the list below:

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