Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Crafting the Runes: Thorn

The thorn is exceedingly sharp,
an evil thing for any knight to touch,
uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.

Well, my rune crafting and studies are not turning out to be as 'every day' as I intended.  Still, I am plugging away on them, and today I write about the rune Thorn (or Thurisaz, or any number of Germanic variations; I tend to use the Old English names).  As you might expect, the translation is rather simple - Thorn.  The poem above comes from a stanza of the Anglo-Saxon rune poem, which warns of the dangers of this rune.  The third rune in the sequence of the Norwegian and Icelandic rune poems is Giant; it has been speculated (though I cannot find a source for the original speculator) that the Thorn was a metaphor for a Giant.  The Norwegian poem states: "Giant causes anguish to women // misfortune makes few men cheerful", while the Icelandic poem elaborates further: "torturer of women // and cliff-dweller // and husband of a giantess".

I am currently reading Kveldulf Gundarsson's Elves, Wights and Trolls; which is a fantastic study on various supernatural beings from a Germanic perspective; and he noted the definition of giant as "husband of a giantess".  He speculates, with more supporting evidence that I can't recall at the moment (just go read the book, it's fantastic!) that giantesses were viewed as more wild, more primal than even their male counterparts.  This gives rise to an interesting idea: if Thorn is a metaphor for a male giant specifically, than it represents a dangerous warning that may yet lead to an even greater, more chaotic danger.

Altogether, it is fairly obvious that this is a rune of danger, and a bad omen.  Not a rune I'd like to pull very often!

1 comment:

  1. I like this rune because it reminds me of the thorn and allows me to force energy forward into the future. And I'm also a fan of the Giants.