The Elder Futhark: Eihwaz
The thirteenth rune in the Elder Futhark, and fifth rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Eihwaz, which corresponds to the “eo” sound, which has no English equivalent in the alphabet. Probably the closest is the pronunciation of the name “Theo.” This is powerful rune that is protection, and oddly enough, death. It is the rune Yggdrasil and the Yew tree.
In Anglo-Saxon, Eihwaz is spelled Eoh, and in Old Norse it is Eihwas. Eihwaz is the rune of protection and defense. Self bows were often constructed of yew. If the wood was chosen correctly, it would have two different properties in the wood, itself. One part would be rigid; the other would be flexible.
Eihwaz is a powerful rune of protection. Like the self bow or yew staff, it can be both hard and flexible. The rune is even shaped somewhat like a bow, or a staff, if you use enough imagination. The reason why this rune can be a portent of death is because the yew, itself, is poisonous.
Divination with Eihwaz
When you get this rune in a casting, it suggests a strong defense of some kind. It can be your defender, depending on where it is in the reading, or it can defend against you if you are the aggressor. It is the rune of defense and protection, similar to the rune, Algiz. Then again, it can signal death in a very real way. It can mean death of an old way that can make way for something else. Or it could mean a literal death, but this is rare, in my experience.
When I’ve had Eihwaz appear in my castings, I’ve never interpreted it as death. It always seems to say that something bad is usually coming to an end, making way for something else, usually good. Eihwaz is my bow that keeps my enemies at an arrow shot away. It offers me the tools to protect myself.
Should you get this rune in your castings, it is a powerful sign that something is protecting and defending you. Like Yggdrasil, the protection is powerful enough to withstand damage even at the roots. It can help give you strength when times are tough.
Some Final Thoughts on Eihwaz
When Eihwaz appears in a spread, you may find that Eihwaz signals that you are protected, and that a difficult time will soon be over. As always, the position where Eihwaz appears as well as the runes around it will dictate how it should be read, because they can affect its meaning.
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