Saturday, May 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Hagalaz – The rune of hail

Norse mythology

Updated 16 May 2024 Published 24 April 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Illustration of Himinbjörg, Heimdall's celestial castle in Asgard.

ᚺ – Hagalaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the h-rune with the IPA sound value of [h]. It is the ninth rune of the Futhark, the eighth of the Uthark.

Its literal meaning is “hail”, referring to icy precipitation. It is considered the rune of the god Heimdall.

This article is part of our exclusive series on the origins and secrets of the Nordic runes in the Elder Futhark and the merits of the intriguing Uthark theory proposed by the Swedish philologist Sigurd Agrell, professor at Lund University, Sweden.

The Uthark is a secret cipher, based on positioning the Fehu rune at the end of the rune row, like an ace in a deck of cards, revealing esoteric philosophy reaching deep into the heart of Norse culture and religious beliefs.

Meaning and interpretation

Hail is a highly sacred symbol in many ancient cultures, and was seen as small materialized pieces of the celestial firmament that surrounded the worlds of both humans and gods. For example, the ancient Persians and the later Mithraists shared the belief that the heavenly sky was made of crystalline stone. The Persian-Avestan word for “stone” – asman – appears in several places in the sacred writings also in the sense of “heaven”.

The hypothesis of the Uthark’s esoteric numerology also seems to resonate very well with the Hagalaz rune, both with the god Heimdall, the celestial connotations as well as the number eight. In Grímnismál, one of the mythological poems of the Poetic Edda, Heimdall’s celestial castle Himinbjörg is described as the eighth of the gods’ estates. The celestial symbolism of the eight also appears in Norse mythology with the eight-footed magic horse Sleipner, which travels between the different worlds of the world tree. Finally, the visible celestial bodies were seven in number and the firmament was considered the eighth celestial body.

The Hagalaz ᚼ-rune appears in the younger Futhark in the form of a crystal-shaped hexagon, in the older Futhark as a more contemporary H-like symbol – ᚺ. The crystal-like ᚼ-version of Hagalaz is generally assumed to relate directly to an ice crystal, while ᚺ has been speculated to possibly relate to Bifrost, the magical bridge that Heimdall guards and which connects Himinbjörg and the heavenly realms to the human world of Middle-earth.

Classic illustration of the world tree – Yggrasil.

Symbolism and magical use

The Scandinavian languages’ name of “eight” – åtta/otte/åtte/átta is further closely related to the word for “clan” – ætt – being a man, his mother, father, son, daughter, paternal uncle (farbror-fathersbrother), paternal grandfather (farfar – fathersfather) and possibly paternal grandmother (farmor – fathersmother).

It is widely accepted that the elder futhark is divided into three male ættir; Fehu/Frey’s ætt, Hagalaz (Heimdall) and Tyr (Tiwaz).

The official aettir

The esoteric-magical Uthark row reveals the three secret female ættir; Uruz (Audhumbla), Nauthiz (The Norns) and Berkano (Bjarka/Frigg), representing creation, time/death and finally resurrection.

The secret aettir

Further clues to these secret ættir can also be found on artifacts which we will cover later in the series.


Based on the Uthark, Hagalaz in a runic reading would symbolize the highest expression of the unified whole and the interconnectedness of everything. The core message of Hagalaz is thus to try to see everything from a greater perspective.

The basics of rune divination

According to Norse belief, the runes represent aspects of the web of destiny, called the web of Urd (Wyrd). This web is intimately connected to time and the three Norns; Urd, Verdandi and Skuld. The Norns are weaving the threads of the web and represent what was, what is and what is to come.

The Roman historian Tacitus, among others, noted that rune divination was a widespread practice among the Norse. One of the most basic forms of such divination is to pray and draw three runes on twigs or cards which will signify the three Norns. By reading the web of Urd one may understand the present of Verdandi as well as the past, and also lift the veil of Skuld and see what lies hidden in the future.

On a personal level, try not to make small-minded decisions, and instead to seek the truly essential and important in life based on the fullest possible view. Hagalaz also denotes a bridge between states, worlds and times. It thus denotes a channel, or a means, for the higher and subtler forms to crystallize and manifest in the material world.


Read about the following rune Nauthiz – the rune of fate


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