There’s a river that separates the realm of the gods from the land of the giants. Ifing the river is called. Ifing, the River of Doubt. It runs so swiftly that ice never forms on it. It runs so swiftly it’s difficult to cross.
Why does there need to be a separation between the gods and the giants? Why would this separation be called Doubt? And how is it that Thor crosses over so easily? He’s most definitely giant through his mother’s line. She is Jord, giantess of earth and soil, land and crops, and the daughter of Nott, the giantess of Night.
Thor most often gets placed in the Aesir pantheon along side Odin but rarely does anyone remember that he is more than half giant. So is Odin for that matter. And they both cross over the river into other realms.
Thor is a storm god much loved and honored by the people. He is roaring thunder and flashes of lightning that strike the earth and fertilize the soil. His hammer is used in the blessing rituals of new brides, imparting fertility. His hammer is hung on the plow as it turns the soil in spring thus assuring abundant crops for the coming year.
When Thor arrives in the storm, in his chariot drawn by goats, does he use his hammer to impregnate his mother? Is this yet another story of the mother who gives birth to a son who becomes her lover?
The frost giants are called Thurs so perhaps Thurisaz is the rune of these giants. If so, they appeared at the very beginning out of the chaos of fire and ice. Does Thurisaz carry with it some of the chaos that exists at the moment of emerging? When it shows itself randomly in your life or in a reading it might do well to ponder.
What is my river of doubt? Which side of the river am I on? Where am I the most comfortable? How easy is it for me to cross over? What impregnates me and when I give birth, who claims my firstborn? Do I deny or ignore the parts of me that carry the lineage of the giants of chaos? Do I favor instead only the parts that the high gods approve?
There’s a difference between knowing things we’ve studied or learned and knowing things because we were born knowing them. This knowing is more than intuition. It’s the wisdom of the ancestors that lives inside each and every one of us, in our blood and in our bones and in our cells. If we’re willing and allow it, Kenaz will split us open so we can see and understand things we did not learn and remember the wisdom we were born with. Kenaz shows us how to see in the dark without using our literal eyes and how to see in the dark without the need of light. There are some who say the rune is attached to the concept of light and illumination and refer to it as the pine torch but the use of the words light and illumination might limit our thinking. Light is only needed to see when we’re using our literal eyes. Kenaz opens things up we can see without eyes and see without light. When you form a relationship with Kenaz you will begin to have a sense that you’re remembering things that you knew long ago. This is the power of the rune.
Kenaz activates the inborn, hereditary knowledge that comes to us from our ancestors. So whenever the rune appears I know that the ancestors are using it to open us up so we can connect with them. But we have to be willing. It can be like an initiation into a sacred place. Kenaz initiates you so you can access the wisdom that you carry inside yourself.
The shape of the rune is a wedge. Using a wedge makes it easier to split things open. It magnifies the force of the axe. You can use Kenaz to split things open so you can more quickly and easily understand. It can open up the way for you to go into the dark, hidden, and unseen places and see without needing light.
Are you caught somehow in the belief that you always need light to see or know something? Have you forgotten how to use Kenaz to see in the dark?
There are two ancient rune poems that connect Kenaz to ulcers and rotting flesh. If I sense that the rune’s appearance has something to do with health then I ask the question, does this illness come from being disconnected from your inner knowing or your inner wisdom?
Do you resist resistance?
If you’re trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together or using what's called a bow drill, then you can’t oil the sticks. Not everything in life is about flow and ease and the law of attraction. Sometimes there has to be friction, resistance and persistent, determined effort.
This is the story I often tell when Nauthiz appears.
It’s cold, damp, dark and you’re hungry. You need to build a fire and all you have is the bow drill, a primitive wooden tool used to create the spark that’s needed to start the fire.
You have a need. You have an intention. You have a tool. You are determined to persist. But what you also need is friction and resistance. Without them the wood will never heat up enough to create the spark. This is not the time to oil the wood. You would oil the hub of a wagon wheel to keep it from catching on fire but never the wood of a bow drill. This is not the time for frictionless movement or ease. Rather, it’s a situation that calls for effort and resistance. If you resist the resistance or stop too soon your need will not be satisfied.
There’s something else you must remember. Once the fire starts, you don’t need to keep using the tool.
Fire is alive and each individual fire that comes into being is an offspring of Surt, the great Fire Jotun of Muspelheim. In your efforts to make fire of any sort do you ever think to call upon the gods or do you just take for things for granted and assume fire will always be there for you?
Many of us in this so-called modern world have lost our connection with the sacredness of fire. All we need to do is strike a match, flick a lighter or flip a switch, turn a knob or press a button.
Your very life depends upon fire and imagine that the only way to start one is to know how to do it yourself. How different would your relationship with fire be if that was the case? Would you call upon the great fire giants to support you? Would you take for granted that you could do it alone, without their help? Would you show appreciation? The Nauthiz rune holds all of these questions.
Nauthiz is a hungry rune. It can only be satisfied when the need is met and the solution exists in the need.
It’s a sexual rune. The desire, the friction, the passion, the necessity to reproduce. Sex is part of the hunger for life.
It’s a creative rune. The urge, the longing, the effort, the potential. Creativity is the need to make something new.
Nauthiz binds us to our ancestors and their need to have fire in order to live. It binds us to giants of fire, to Muspelheim and hence to creation. It reminds us that our spirituality cannot be only in the mind. We cannot transcend the physical or material but rather we use our bodies to participate in the necessity of life.
I have a particular fondness for this rune because of its connection to my name Ingrid which means the beauty or loveliness of Ing. My name was given to me by my mother Sigrid so it connects me to my Swedish heritage as well as to the rune Ingwaz and the god Ing. He's one of the many gods of my pre-Christian, European ancestors.
When Ing rides into your life on his chariot pulled by wild boars he’s quite impressive. He can arouse and awaken feelings virility and potency, fecundity and fertility, male and female sexual and creative energies.
He's the fully erect phallus aroused by the fully engorged female.
He'll look around and demand to know where in your home and in your life you've made a place for him, a place of honor, a sacred space, an altar.
At the homes of so many people of European ancestry he is met by Tibetan prayer flags, statues of Buddha, pictures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus and images of Shiva and Shakti, two Hindu gods. But rarely, if ever, does he find a place where he's honored or represented.
What's happened to us that we've lost connection with the gods and goddesses of our own European ancestry?
Ingvi Freyr is the mystery of stored seed that bursts forth blessing the mother.
He and his twin sister Freya are the lovers whose union keeps alive the unbroken bloodlines of the ancestors.
The Ingwaz rune carries the sacred gifts of the household gods.
It insures the blessings of the home, the health and fertility of the family and livestock, as well as peace.
We all suffer from the absence and dishonoring of Ingwaz.
The god Ing and the rune Ingwaz both carry the energies of creative fire, full arousal, and sexual passion. In times past they kept in a special nook or alcove near the hearth. This may well be the origin of the word Inglenook. They were often represented by the bones or mummified remains of the family’s ancestors. The family carried these sacred objects with them when they moved, not unlike the Romans who carried their household gods, the Lares and Penantes or the Semetic people who traveled with their teraphim.
The god, the rune and the sacred objects held a special place of honor because they blessed the crops, the livestock and the family.
Where in your home and life do you honor this ancestral god?
When working with this rune I have also been shown that there are times when the Ingwaz can be twisted together and pulled so tight. the center, container shape is closed down. This actually prevents the energy from being used for fertility, orgasm, birth and other related things. If that happens you need to work with it to untwist it. This is similar to untangling separate balls of yarn that twist together into knots.