Historical Magic, Runic Divination

The Ūruz Rune: A Runic Divination Resource

Disclaimer: Runic divination as we know it now is an esoteric practice with not many historical attestations to point to (though it is described briefly in Tacitus’ Germania), which essentially means that the section on divinatory meanings can be changed as you see fit.


Here it is: the second rune post in the Elder Fuþark (Futhark) series I promised. Today’s rune is ūruz, which was equated with the Latin letter U in the original heathen era.

Ūruz is:

  • The second rune in the first ætt (Freyr’s ætt),
  • represented numerically as “1:2,”
  • pronounced like OO-rooz,
  • and translates to “aurochs,” which is a type of (now extinct) wild cattle, or possibly “storm” or “slag.”

In my experience, though ūruz is defined by specific divinatory meanings, what those defining characteristics are actually saying depends entirely on the question you ask. Unlike fehu, whose appearance in a rune cast almost always tells of an excellent outcome to the task you’re asking about because its overarching theme is “good luck,” ūruz is about overwhelming power. It could be another person’s power directed towards you or your own power directed towards another, or it could even be one person’s power directed at themself, for better or worse.

The way to tell which outcome is the most likely is by getting clarification from the other runes in your cast, or by casting again. In my post about the Fehu rune, I warned that it’s probably that not every divinatory meaning listed above is going to be relevant to the best interpretation you can make. A rune cast is a three-way conversation; the runes that turn up complement and inform each other, which should, in turn, make the more specific meanings of your rune cast clearer to you. You may find it helpful to create a linear, forward-moving thought process by writing down your gut feelings on the cast and refining that interpretation as you get those educated guesses down on paper.

And now, without further ado, here is what my notes on ūruz’s divinatory meanings look like:

  • Brute strength, physical power
  • Domination
  • Sexuality, virility
  • A warning against abuse or overuse of one’s own physical power, for the sake of health
  • A warning to practice restraint
  • A warning to look out for emotional strength-sapping

Like with fehu, I’ve written a short poem to aid memorization of these meanings, as well as a “memory chain link” to help you connect the rune to the poem. My ūruz rune poem references the events that take place in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and it looks like this:

When in Uruk I was the king,
Countless foes I fought to rend.
But grief upon me I did bring
When to the bull I lost my friend.

(The king in Uruk that’s referenced here is Gilgamesh himself, the friend that he lost is Enkidu, and the bull is the bull of heaven which the Sumerian goddess Inanna (Akkadian “Ishtar”) sent to fight Gilgamesh in retaliation for his rejection of her sexual/romantic advances.)

Once again, there are specific concepts that the poem should bring to mind, and so the poem should look something like this in your mental landscape:

  • When in Uruk (ūruz)
  • I was the king, (domination, sexuality, an abuse of one’s own physical power, a Gilgamesh-esque reign)
  • Countless foes I fought to rend. (victory won through brute strength)
  • But grief upon me I did bring (a warning to not overuse that power)
  • When to the bull (the ox that the rune refers to)
  • I lost my friend. (becoming drained of emotional strength)

Lastly, here is the memory chain link to help you connect the ūruz rune to its poem:

The Mesopotamian bull of heaven has come to destroy Uruk as in The Epic of Gilgamesh, and I’ve wrestled it onto its back so that its horns point downward as I tear off its hindquarters to hurl them at Inanna/Ishtar.

I’ll leave the topic of ūruz with this for now. If you’d like to find this post again more easily, it will be on my Learning Resources page under the “Cultural Magic” section. As always, I wish you good luck in all your runic divination, and I hope that this helps!

© Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com, 2018. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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