Sunday, May 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Jera – The rune of the Year

Norse mythology

Published 4 May 2024
- By Editorial Staff

ᛃ – Jera (also Jeran, Jeraz) is the name of the j-rune, with the IPA sound value [j].

Its name is taken from the reconstructed common Germanic stem *jēra, meaning “year” or “harvest” – originally specifically “a year’s growth”.

This is reflected in many Germanic languages’ words for “Year” – like the German “Jahr”, Dutch “Jaar” and Scandinavian “År”.


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.


According to the Uthark, Jera is the eleventh rune and it is particularly associated with the fertility gods Frey and Freya.

Meaning and interpretation

The Jera rune differs from all other runes in that it is divided into two parts. Its shape has been attributed to two opposing shards, but also to a particular balance between the sun and the moon. Both of these theories can be traced back to a certain symbolism surrounding the number eleven.

Professor Sigurd Agrell argues that eleven can be linked to clear symbolism around the annual harvest and fertility magic. The background is the fact that the 365 days of the solar year exceed the 354 days of the lunar year by just 11 days, and that these differing days were attributed a particularly mysterious influence on the year’s growth.

The importance of eleven for fertility is evident in the magical customs of many communities in the North.

Symbolism and magical use

The Swedish ethnologist Gunnar Hyltén-Cavallius testifies a custom around the number eleven which occured in Småland, Sweden.

When the woman places the hen to lay eggs, she puts a horseshoe stitch among the eggs and says: “I lay my hen on eleven eggs; I put my foot against a fifth wall. Ten females and one rooster!” In this way she thinks she will have many hens in the brood.

If it were a question of only the hens outnumbering the roosters, it could just as well have been “ten eggs, nine hens and one rooster”, notes Sigurd Agrell.

A series of rhymes collected by the Swedish ethnologist H. F. Feilberg also shows that 11 is often associated with feminine animals, women or weddings. In the Edda, similar numerical symbolism is reflected in Frey giving the female giant Gerðr eleven golden apples.

Depiction showing a tale from Norse mythology recorded in the Skírnismál, in which Freyr sends his servant Skírnir to Jotunheim, the realm of the ice thurse giants, in order to convince the giant-daughter Gerðr to marry Freyr. Illustration by Harry George Theaker for Children’s Stories from the Northern Legends by M. Dorothy Belgrave and Hilda Hart, 1920.

Jera Rune on the Vimose artefact

On a wooden plane from around year 300, found in Vimose on the island Funen (Fyn) in Denmark, there is an inscription of runes on the upper side clearly of magical character, with gematria based on Jera and 11.

The inscription on one side is illegible, but the visible line reads
TALIJO GISAI OJ:WILIRAILAORBA

The plane found in Vimose is one of several finds in the area in Denmark. The inscriptions are among the oldest found Elder Futhark runes and were written at the time of the Roman Empire, dating from the 2nd to 3rd century.

 

The first word “talijo” means “plane” (the tool) with the Jera and Othala runes – ᛃᛟ – JO at the end.
Gisaioj” is interpreted as: “for Gi’s inheritance and yearly harvest” with Othala and Jera at the end –ᛟᛃ.
These two end runes literally means “inheritance” and “harvest“.

The numerical sum of GISAIOJ rune series, based on the numerical values of the Uthark, is 77, i.e. 7 times 11.
The following “wilir aila orba” seems to make no sense, but the numerical sum is 143, which is the number 13 times 11.
All the runic characters on this side are 26 in number, which is 13 times 2.

Aside from the number 11 and Jera, which is read literally with its deeper cryptic-symbolical meaning, along with Othala, it is worth noting that the numbers 7 and 13 clearly appear in the numerology, as they do on so many other artifacts.

Divination

In Norse culture, the harvest was a time of abundance and thanksgiving, and Jera is therefore also generally perceived as a talisman for prosperity, abundance and gratitude. In a runic reading, it may herald good harvests and fertility or a new child to come into the family.


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.


It may foretell of a good harvest and that you will reap what you have sown. It may however, also be a general advice to sow well now in order to reap well later – or a reminder of the need for patience and perseverance in this process, as the cycles of nature cannot be rushed.

Reversed, Jera may indicate a bad harvest and poverty in the form of stagnation, lack of progress, missed opportunities, or that there will be no change from what you have experienced before.

 

Discover the following rune Perthro – rune of the Earth Mother

 

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