Giant – torture of women and cliff-dweller and husband of a giantess.
Runic and Heroic Poems, Bruce Dickins, translation
Traditional meaning – thurs, thorn
Association – Thor swinging Mjollnir
Pronunciation – thoo-ree-sahz
Galdr – thoo, thooree
Element – contested
Dates – 29 July-13 August
Verb – to quicken
Animistic Qualities – applying momentum to life force, awareness to untamed inner elements
Challenge – To wield control with compassion
Traditional lore – Thurisaz is attested as powerful non-human forces, as in Thor striking Mjollnir, rhimthursar (Jotnar), and thorn.
Animistic lore – Thurisaz represents our internal Jotun. It’s the thin primal boundary that separates layers of consciousness yet holds them together. We aren’t taught in settler culture to be so self-aware, yet without such is to engage instinct without ego, without the safety precautions of understanding taking actions in a way that is wise for us, for those around us.
“It is our choice that most defines the forces of Thurisaz. Again, we are dealing with a deep force from within acting as catalyst for change.” Runic Book of Days
Thurisaz as runes oracle – Finding personal divinity
Thurisaz is the chosen quickeningmaking us not just matter walking around, but fully aware of being kin to All Things.
I’m Kelley Harrell, author, animist, and creator of The Weekly Rune. Soul Intent Arts is my soul tending practice, and you are listening to What in the Wyrd–my podcast in which I talk about runes, animism, soul tending, and how all of those intersect through Nature on my path.
Before we start, I give thanks to the runes, they really keep me focused, thanks to my Allies, the well Ancestors, and to everyone who listens to and supports the podcast. I appreciate hearing about your experiences with the runes, and I’m happy to share this space with you.
Thank you to my Patreon supporters–the ones with me since the beginning, the ones that started just this week. They’re the folx who make the sharing of my runework through the podcast and the runecast possible with their financial support. If you have benefitted from the runecast, the podcast, or the loads of free articles on the runes, animism, energetic hygiene, and soul tending on my website, you can show your support through
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You can also subscribe to the paid version of The Weekly Rune there.
Speaking of, The Weekly Rune has been published, and if you’re not sure what it is, it’s a runecast with the spirits of place that I’ve done for years focused on Nigel Pennick’s calculation of a runic calendar and the current half-month rune, situated into place with the elements, directions, season, and bone allies.
If you’re not sure what a half-month is or what runic calendar I work with, listen to the early episodes of What in the Wyrd, or just go read The Weekly Rune. It’s explained fully at the beginning of every runecast. The full version is available only through Patreon, though you can read the highlights for free on my website – soul intent arts dot com.
So what are we doing in this episode… I’ve gotten notes from new listeners, so I want to take a moment to re-introduce what I’m doing in season 6 of What in the Wyrd for those who are just tuning in. I’m an animist, which means I approach life experiencing that I’m in relationship with everything around me, human-persons and non-human persons. Nouns, essentially. How I engage those relationships is everything. How we engage nouns is through verbs. Verbs are how we are active with nouns. This season of the podcast explores the runes as verbs–how we can find relationship with the runes to take action with them in our lives: the runes as verbs.
Now then, Thurisaz
With the Thurisaz galdr, we have though are not limited to – Thoor, Thooree
I talked about this dynamic in TWR for this week, though I want to touch on it again. There are certain runes, that when I do readings for folx, if those runes come up, they cringe. And I get it–it’s not that I don’t. Those are usually Tiwaz, Hagalaz, Nauthiz, Eihwaz, and also Thurisaz. It’s always the big change runes, or the ‘you’re stuck’ runes that freak people out. From my vantage point as an animist, when we view things through that binary, we’re missing the nuance of what they have to bring to our lives Remember, in animism, everything is alive, which means each rune is, too. It is life force with agency. Which means, if we look at certain runes only through a binary–good/bad, it’s time to re-explore how we’re in relationship with those runes.
So, let’s talk about Thurisaz. This rune has different meanings depending on which runes poems you read. It can be Thor, sort of with the caveat of his hammer, Mjollnir, striking and generating teeth-rattling change–as lightning does. It can also be thurs, as in Jotnar, troll, ogre, primal life forces. When I say primal I don’t mean they’re old, I mean they’re THE OLDEST earthly forces of Nature. They are rhimthursar of Niflheimr, and in the ON cosmology they were pretty intense beings. Because so much of our recording and translation of such beings is through a Xtian lens, I hesitate to draw on the more modern, charged understandings of thurs. What I do want to note is how they were fiercely loyal, to their word, their fellow landvaettir, their kindred. I also want to touch on the ‘thorn’ meaning of Thurisaz, as in something that pierces and irritates you.
When we cobble all of that together, we get certain traits: something within us that generates change; something that is elementally rooted in the oldest energies of All Things; something that doesn’t stop until it’s addressed.
All well and good, but what does that mean as animists? What about that conglomeration is livable runelore? What about it suggests direct personal relationship? Right? Those are the questions we’re asking as animists living through the runes.
Let’s revisit the Futhark progression up to this point: Fehu is the tradition of interdependence–tending wealth so that we’re all supported and all stay alive, and Uruz is where we realize we are soul in form, it is embodiment. Then we arrive at Thurisaz–radical change motivated from within–as a first point of self-initiation. We are all born, but we are not born initiated. Specifically, I mean we are not born understanding what it means to be soul-in-form here, or knowing what our duties as custodians of the planet are. And now, literally in this time, we aren’t born with elders who teach us any of the aforementioned.
Thurisaz – to which I attribute the verb to quicken, which means to bring life into, to return from the dead. To enliven, awaken. Given the internal nature of Thurisaz, it is the point at which we choose life. Again, born, not born initiated. We have to consciously choose to weave our most primal inner thurs life forces into form and higher consciousness. We understand that we have to tend being here, we understand that to really make use of being here we have to be embodied. But to do any of that with integrity, we have to allow ourselves to fully be here–the earthly consciousness, the transconsciousness, the primal consciousness, our shadows, our ego… and they all have to function under the singular directive of souling in form well.
The catch with all of that is, if we haven’t done the work with Uruz to know what embodiment feels like and to understand how to live out of that even with each of our unique challenges, then our experience of Thurisaz can be really fraught. If we move from Uruz without an awareness of how we are in our body, then we move into the experience of our inner thurs without the ability to ground it, which is akin to berserker energy without the focused container and outlet that’s intended for the release of such energy. Ie, it’s dangerous for us and the people around us. And the way we get that focused container is to learn grounding skills. They are not the same as embodiment skills. With Uruz, embodiment, we are coming into our body as fully as we can. With Thurisaz, grounding, we are engaging the elements in our Spirits of Place and within ourselves to root into Earth Parent and Sky parent to help us hold our wild. Subtle but big difference.
It’s also worth mentioning that we are on a broken path. We do not have elders who hold the wisdom of how to embody and ground into our elements and spirits of place, into the wisdom of our well Ancestors. So the tension you night feel coming up around finding practices that help you accomplish this self-awareness is real, and it’s a grief bigger than just you. It is absolutely cultural, and we live in a culture that actively works against you having that self-awareness.
Maybe a more modern way to put that is, when we’re not in good relationship with our inner thurs, that can also look like chasing enlightenment. It’s constantly seeking something great outside ourselves, without embracing our own sacredness and grounding it into the Nature around us, to live through it. A poor relationship to Thurisaz is acting on instinct without engaging ego to know if that’s a wise choice.
Approaching Thurisaz this way, its focus is to be whole Self, move through life fully, soulfully embracing Self. This is quickening, and in Old Norse the word was kvikna, and it meant to give life to, as in return from the dead. Again, born, not born initiated. We are only fully enlivened after we realize we are alive and assume responsibility for what living as aware as we possibly can be means.
No one is fully actualized. One more time–no human is fully actualized. To set that as a goal is chasing enlightenment, it’s to set yourself up to live in a berserker stance. I say it because I’ve done it. We all have–as is the way of settler culture.
I challenge you to take some time to sit with what it means to be fully aware of yourself, and what living that awareness in daily life looks like.
It isn’t about constantly chasing the enlightenment carrot stick, always feeling there’s a spiritual goal just beyond reach. Rather, quickening is the realization that you are sacred and that you can move through life with that sacredness at the fore, to be as present as you can to both of those things. And how present we can be at any given time changes. It has different textures and nuances, is expressed through different senses.
The initiation that Thurisaz speaks of isn’t drawing something up from within us that wasn’t already there. It’s cultivating a life that lets us live our primal soul-in-formness. It is the chosen quickening, making us not just matter walking around, but fully aware of being kin to All Things.
Thank you for listening. If you have questions or insights about working with the runes as verbs, or in season, or however you feel called to work with them, or you just want to drop me a line you can do that at Kelley, that’s k e l l e y at soulintentarts.com.
Also check out earlier episodes by downloading them from all various podcast platforms. You can learn more about me, Runic Book of Days, and my work by visiting soulntintentarts.com or on Instagram @kelleysoularts. You can also find notes on this episode on my website, under the menu option Read… Liveable Runelore.
I’m Kelley and this has been What in the Wyrd. Thank you for all that you do in the world.
Quickening with Thurisaz Introspections
- How do you recognize when your unconscious is in the driver’s seat?
- How do you respond to it?
- How do you validate it, yet check its influence?
- With what elements are you in most intimate relationship?
- How do they connect with your unconscious?
A Guide to Living the Annual Cycle of Rune Magick
2019 Nautilus Silver Award Winner
2019 National Indie Excellence Book Award Finalist
A step-by-step guide to working with the runes throughout the year through rituals and initiations to come into direct relationship with them.
S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div.
I’m an animist, author, deathwalker and death doula. For the last 25+ years, through Soul Intent Arts I’ve helped others to ethically build thriving spiritual paths as fit, embodied elders, who upon death become wise, capable Ancestors. My work is Nature-based, and focuses soul tending through the Elder Futhark runes, animism, ancestral healing, and deathwork. I’m author of Runic Book of Days, and I host the podcast, What in the Wyrd. I also write The Weekly Rune as a celebration of the Elder Futhark in season. Full bio.
#beyourcommunity ~ #youareecosystem
elder well, die well, ancestor well
We don't heal in isolationbut in community
Gift of the Dreamtime Reader's Companion
~S. Kelley Harrell