Monthly Archives: February 2012

Elements and Runes


The 4 (+1) elements play a very significant role in most of Western esoteric traditions and their magical experiments. Tools, directions, colors, values, correspondences are almost ubiquitous for all the elements and the numerous lists of that which goes with this, and this aligns with that. It seems almost de rigueur that people would try to make elements correspond with the runes. Much like any other system, there are also an equal number of lists which gives what elemental value to what rune (or aettir, or grouping etc…) and you could probably exhaust yourself trying to fit them all together or make them all align. Some authors have even created their own elements using the creation myths of the Norse, so you get elements like ice, venom and salt. In the end, it doesn’t seem like any of them really fit the bill for how the classic elements of earth, water, air, fire, and aether/spirit/azoth/ond really fit together with the runes. I just don’t see it being as simple as lagu equals water and kenaz equals fire and then you are left to ponder what wunjo might be or hagalaz or aethel because they don’t have a clear elemental association.

My answer to this dilemma is that the runes are not elemental in nature. They arise from that strict division. Some of them do embrace an elemental resonance, but their true nature is above that. If they are strongly aligned with any element, it would be aether/ond; the clear light of being that is beyond duality but in all dualities. That being indicated, I think all the runes can have an expression in each element. You can have the fire of kenaz, but there is also the air of kenaz, the water of kenaz and the earth of kenaz. It also applies to other runes as well. The earth of feoh, the water of sowelo, the fire of tiewaz are all areas that can be played in, played with and worked with to bring about results.

It is interesting to look at what elements get mentioned in the rune poems and to explore those runes with the strong elemental associations though. It can help to make an idea clear or how to best perform a working using those runes and what other symbolic elements need to be included.
I am going to spend the next couple entries contemplating elements and runes. Looking at the clear runic-elemental correspondences, but also exploring the not so clear ones where perhaps some runes might overlap in certain elemental affinity.