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Rune Number 2: Uruz (OO-rooz)
Welcome back to Kids' Runes! Today's rune is Uruz, which means wild ox or cow. They were called "aurochs" way back when. Tame cattle are Fehu. The two animals were very different in nature. Imagine a stampeding herd of buffalo. Large, fierce wild cattle with big horns. Think Texas longhorns on steroids!
While tame cattle are good friends of humans, the aurochs makes a better role model for a human being! Our Heathen religion, Asatru, values strength. If we are strong, we can both care for ourselves and help those who are not, whether that means helping an elderly or sick person with daily tasks, or helping a weak person to grow strong. A willing slave is unworthy of respect. In most countries, actual slavery has ended, but unfortunately, other ways to exploit people remain. Some people are actually willing to be used! This is no good.
We help each other, are loyal to our families and friends, and seek to be good neighbors, but believe that men and women should show some independence; that they shouldn't be afraid to think for themselves and stand up for what they believe! We believe in freedom, both for ourselves and for others. Try to tame a wild bull! You get the point.
Uruz can be raw materials too. A tree becomes a table. Iron ore becomes a car. Wild animals become tame ones. People take objects and things and modify or refine them to help us.
Uruz is stability, not in the sense of something that cannot move or is too lazy to be moved, but rather things or people that are so strong, so self-assured, that they can't be pushed around. Many things in life we can change, or turn from obstacles or blockages to things that help us. Others have to be overcome or conquered. If we can't do either of these things, we have to accept the circumstances, and seek to live well and freely anyway! A bit of boldness comes in handy here; contrary to what you may have heard; the meek will inherit nothing!
Unpredictable things have a lot of Uruz in them. We need stability and routine in our lives. It's good to know where your next meal is coming from! Still, a surprise every now and then is good for us. We need challenges to make us stronger, and a bit of chaos to keep us growing and moving forward. An aurochs was a lot smarter than a tame cow. It had to be.
Uruz is wildness and wild things. While we must plow and plant crops, raise and slaughter animals in order to eat, cut down trees to have houses and books, mine for metals, and dam rivers for electricity, we must also leave room in the world for wild places and wild things. The world of people, crops and tame animals was called Innangarth back in the old days. The world of Utgarth was "where the wild things are." Both are necessary for balance.
We cannot destroy nature and expect to survive ourselves! We destroy nature when we cut down trees without planting more, when we wipe out entire species of living things, and when we have so many children that there is no room left for the children of "the wild things." People have been doing this for a long time, but these days it has gotten a lot worse. Some human beings will probably survive come what may because we can live nearly anywhere and eat nearly anything. However, whether people who will live hundreds of years from now live in a beautiful world and a have chance to live free and enjoyable lives or live in a polluted world and have few choices and few good things may well depend on decisions we make in our own lifetimes. Those folks yet to be born will be part of the human race, and even of our own families. Many of us Heathens believe that after dying and spending some time resting and learning in the halls of our gods and goddesses, that we will be reborn as those future people. Many Native Americans believe that they should look at the consequences that their actions will have for the next seven generations. Not a bad idea.
Earth herself is a Goddess called Jord, or Erde, or Nerthus. She takes care of us, so we should take care of her and her wild children. We can't control Mother Earth, she has too much Uruz in her.
To kill an aurochs was a mark of great strength. They were over six feet tall. To have a drinking horn made of an aurochs horn showed you were an important person, or at least a strong and clever one. There were no guns back then. Sometimes the aurochs killed the hunter!
Sadly, the mighty aurochs is no more. The last one died in 1627. A buffalo is the closest wild animal to an aurochs that you are likely to see. Still, animal breeders have managed to breed look-alikes that have many of the characteristics of the aurochs. You can go to this site on the Internet and then click on the word "oxen" to see one of these great beasts!
Remember the lessons of Uruz. Be a strong person, for life is often hard. Use your strength wisely and with compassion. Live free and help others to do the same. Choose your battles carefully, but given them all you've got. Take care of "the wild things." Midgard, our world, is their world too!
When you write in runes, write Uruz in place of the letter "U."
Talk to you soon!
last modified 07/21/2003