Rune 3:



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Rune Number 3: Thurisaz (THOO-ree-sahz)

Hello and welcome back to Kids' Runes! Today we're going on a scary ride to Jotunheim, the land of the Frost Giants. Our guide will be Thorr, so the giants won't be able to get us.

The frost giants, or Jotnar, are even older than the gods and goddesses. Thurs or Thurisaz is another name for giants. That's the name of our rune for today. We've already talked about Ymir, the first giant. Giants are made out of rough, chaotic stuff. Not surprisingly, they aren't very nice or polite. A giant is more likely to use a sledgehammer than a screwdriver, even when the screwdriver might work better. That's just the way they are. They can be kind of primitive. After all, they have been around pretty much since the beginning of time.

Then the gods came along. They are much more advanced and evolved than the giants. Where the giants are usually fairly dumb, the gods and goddesses are very wise. Even when the giants are smart, they are full of passionate, uncontrolled emotions. These usually get them in trouble sooner than later. Emotions are a fine gift, but we shouldn't let them do all our thinking for us.

Still, sometimes a giant would have a beautiful daughter who was much better in every way than the rest of her family. The gods married some of them. Odin's mother was a giantess. So are Skadi and Gerd.

Thurisaz has to do with enemies. The giants, for the most part, are the enemies of the gods. They are always fighting in the myths. Enemies often fight; so "negative" emotions like anger, aggression, hostility and conflict enter here. Thurisaz can mean firearms, explosions, explosives (like bombs), and fire. The injury, pain and destruction that result are also examples of Thurisaz.

There is plenty of Thurisaz in wars, especially modern ones with FIREarms, exploding bombs, etc. Wars are between peoples who want to be apart, not work together. Separation and division are part of Thurisaz. This doesn't just happen in wars. When married people have a nasty divorce (some actually manage to part in a responsible and respectful way), or good friends become enemies, Thurisaz is present.

We can see Thurisaz in nature, too. Volcanoes are a prime example. Iceland has plenty of those. Imagine how the Viking settlers of Iceland felt when they realized they had moved to a land with a Thurisaz rune at the very heart of it! They had to have been very brave to have stayed there.

The land of the frost giants is cold and stony and mountainous. Not a very good place for people. The land of the fire giants is terribly hot. It is called Muspelheim. You wouldn't want to live there either. Both are good places to get hurt. When men and women do seidhr and their spirits journey through the Nine Worlds, those are two of the nine worlds they usually stay out of. Niflheim is no place to take a vacation either, for that matter.

When the Odin and his brothers, Vili and Ve (their names can be translated as "Inspiration," "Will" - like "willpower"), and "Holiness") made our world, Midgard, they built a big wall around it out of Ymir's eyebrows to keep the giants out. Thor helps keep them out too. That's why he's sometimes called "Midgard's Warder". When you hear thunder, remember all that Thor does for us, and don't forget to thank him. A hearty "Hail Thor!" when you hear some REALLY loud thunder works great for that.

Midgard is very good, but it is not perfect. Nothing is. Perfect is like a dead bug stuck in amber. Nothing grows, or changes. Doesn't sound like much fun, does it? Remember what the gods made our world out of. Bingo! Dead giant. Big lump of raw energy. Not real organized. Chaos out the wazoo! The gods did a great job, especially considering the raw material they had available to them. And you know, that bit of chaos left in the world isn't such a bad thing. It makes for surprises, which keep life from becoming boring, and helps new things and new ways of doing things to emerge.

Remember when you were real little, and you were scared of the monsters under the bed? Well, you really don't have to be afraid of the giants, as long as you follow this simple rule: if you leave the trolls, giants, and monsters alone, they'll almost always leave you alone too! Invite them into your life, as in try to conjure them up, and they'll mess your life up in a hurry. A friend of mine once told me that once upon a time, some idiots in New Jersey decided that they wanted to see real monsters, and did a little ritual to that effect. The results were very ugly indeed. They learned their lesson the hard way!

The message of Thurisaz is difficult but very important. There are things out there that will hurt us real bad if we aren't careful. Stay away from them when you can. When you must use them or struggle against them, do so wisely and carefully. Thurisaz is a part of the way things are. The more we understand about reality, the better our choices can be. Thurisaz isn't even all "bad." It can be a breakthough. Sometimes the only way through something is to put your head down and batter your way through. Don't go looking for fights; that's what jotuns do. However, when you MUST fight, use your head and fight to win.

When you write in runes, use Thurisaz in place of "Th" whether it's the sound of the TH in "THick" or the TH in "THis." If you say those two words out loud, and listen carefully, you'll notice that they are two different sounds!

See, we're back already; and not a scratch on any of us. Hail Thor!



Created by Chandonn and Jordsvin

all works used by permission of the authors

last modified 07/21/2003