Saturday, 20 July 2013

Thurisaz-the Axe Rune of Thunor

What I am intending to do in this article is to reconsider the Thurisaz/Thorn/Thurs Rune conceptually.
According to Edred Thorsson in his Futhark. A Handbook of Rune Magic the Thurisaz rune is likened to "the hammer, or the thorn on a branch."
I would agree with the resemblance to a thorn and indeed Thorn is the name for this Rune in the Anglo-Saxon Futhork[ASF] but it cannot by any stretch of the imagination be viewed as being a hammer.

The thorn conception is of course confirmed by the ASF Rune name and also by the Old English Rune Poem:

"[Thorn] is very sharp; for every thegn who graps it, it is harmful, and exceedingly cruel to every man who lies upon it."

We will recall from the Eddas that Thunor was often engaged in fighting the forces of chaos and disorder, visualised as being etins or giants. The Norse term is thurs and this is the name of the Rune in both the Old Norwegian Rune Poem:

"[Thurs] causes the sickness of women; few are cheerful from misfortune."

and in the Old Icelandic Rune Poem:

"[Thurs] is the torment of women and the dweller in the rocks and the husband of the giantess Vard-runa. Ruler of the legal assembly."

The Thurisaz Rune is often linked to Thunor on runic finds and I do not doubt this clear association but it is wrong to the view the Rune form as a hammer, which was generally viewed as being a double hammer. It is clearly an axe and the axe as I have discussed before is the original weapon of the original Germanic Thunder God.

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