Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Herbs and Runes Part 1

Oak and ash and thorn, from the folk song, can be interpreted in many ways. Giving it a heathen interpretation, Oak is Odin's or Thor's, representing the higher worlds. Ash is Askr's. Askr was the first man, according to heathen mythology, along with the first woman Embla. Ash represents midgard, the human world, or could represent the world-tree which connects the worlds to each other. Thorn is one of the names of rune known in the Elder Futhark as Thurisaz. It can represent either the thurses, that is the giants, or Thor, but here it represents the thurses, the lower worlds or lower dimensions.

This is gnosis. Here on Gnosis Diary I post a lot of gnosis, but also stories that happened in my life, and general Asatru info, so to be clear: the following is my personal gnosis about correspondences and with different aspects of working with herbs and runes. This information may be at odds with other peoples' gnosis. When it comes to gnosis, let intuition be your guide. Some things will just feel like they flow easily, or are just right, and other things will feel unapproachable, or warm or cold. If you feel like a different thing will work better for you, or your working group or guides or gods have given you something different, then go with what works for you. When you receive gnosis of your own, you can practice discernment, ask if others have the same gnosis, check with your usual powers which help you, look for omens, etc. None of this is set in stone.

The parts of the herbs one uses correspond more or less strongly with air or earth depending on how deep they occur in the soil or how high they grow into the sky.


Starting with Air, flowing down towards Earth:


Flowers Tiwaz


Leaves Ansuz


Stems Elhaz


Bark Berkana




Rhizome Ingwaz


Root Othala


Going back up towards Air, completing a circle:


Berries Ehwaz


Pods and seeds Jera


Aboveground portion Wunjo


Whole plant or sap Eihwaz


Different systems of working with herbs may assign a hot or cold, (yang or yin) energy to different herbs. The runes have a continuum of fire and ice energy also, with some runes directly pulling one of those two elements, and others somewhere in the middle. The water element is just centerward of ice. The perfectly balanced rune is Dagaz. It goes right in the middle of the spectrum. Herbs that don't appear in this spectrum correspond with earth or sky instead of fire, water, or ice.



Fire ............................................ Warm .......... Balanced ....Water..... Ice..........................


Fehu Sowilo Raidho Naudhiz Kenaz Gebo Thurisaz Dagaz Laguz Uruz Perthro Hagalaz Isa


In part 2 I'll list some commonly used herbs and the runes that correspond with them.


Image: Aroma by Seksak Kerdkanno, creative commons via Pixabay

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


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