Thursday, June 20, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Tiwaz – The rune of Victory

Norse mythology

Published 24 May 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The shape of the Tiwaz rune reveals both a scale and a spear - symbolizing justice and the indomitable warrior spirit.

ᛏ – Tiwaz, is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the t-rune. It is the 17th rune of the Futhark rune row, thus the 16th in the row of the Uthark.

The name of rune refers directly to the Æsir god Tyr. It is one of only two runes that directly bear the name of a god, the other being Ingwaz, which is a name of the fertility god Freyr. Ullr, Heimdall, Odin, and Thor are closely associated with the runes Eihwaz, Hagalaz, Ehwaz, and Raidho respectively, but they do not bear the names of the gods.

Tyr has named the second day of the week – Tuesday, literally “Tyr’s day” – in English from the old version of Tyr’s name, Tiw.

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

Contrary to widespread belief, Tyr is the main god of war in Norse mythology, not Thor. Tyr is the law-giving force in the Norse worldview and represents balance and order, something that is kept by Thor and the associated Raidho rune. Interestingly, the numerological value of Raidho and Tiwaz according to the Uthark is connected, as rune number 4 and number 16 (4 times 4).

The Roman god of battle and victory, Mars, was identified with Tyr, and also named Tuesday in Latin – dies Martis – “day of Mars”. Professor Agrell also links Tyr to the undefeated god of battle Mithra, which was the central deity of the Mithraic cult in the Roman Empire and numerologically-esoterically connected to 16. This is quite significant since most of the runes in the Uthark fits very well with either the Mithraic numerology, the numerology of the Norse sagas or in many cases both. Furthermore Wednesday, Thursday as well as Friday are also named from the norse gods of Odin, Thor and godess Frigg.

Tyr is also regarded as the oldest of all the Æsir and according to the encyclopedia Fornnordiskt lexikon, he is described as being identical to the original sky god of the Indo-Europeans – Dyēus.

Tyr equated with Mars in an 18th-century manuscript.

The Tiwaz rune is shaped like an arrow pointing upwards. It reveals both a scale and a spear – symbolizing the natural laws of reality as the pillar that supports the roof of the sky – as well as the warrior spirit forging a path to ever greater heights.

The rune is also clearly phallic and regarded a sacred symbol of masculinity and the main rune of men, while the following rune Berkana is the main rune of women.

According to one of the most iconic tales of the Norse mythology, Tyr puts his hand in the mouth of the terryfying Fenrir wolf as a “security” when the gods trick it into the binding chains of Gleipnir. The wolf later bites his hand off when it realizes that it has been deceived. This perfectly symbolizes that the rune of Tyr brings victory – but a victory that involves sacrifice.

Colorized illustration of the Swedish painter John Bauer’s 1911 painting of Tyr sacrificing his hand to chain the Fenrir wolf.

Symbolism and magical use

While the sky god Ullr (symbolized by the Eihwaz rune) has had a special status especially in Sweden and Norway with several villages and cities with names derived from Ull, Tyr has apparently been a highly revered god in Denmark with a long list of places with the prefix Tyr while there is only one such place in Sweden.

Places named after Tyr in Denmark and Sweden. Map from Fornnordiskt lexikon.

A bractaete from Zealand, Denmark, has been translated as

“Hariuha is my name, the dangerously knowing one. I give happiness.”

ᚺᚨᚱᛁᚢᚺᚨ ᚺᚨᛁᛏᛁᚲᚨ ᛬ ᚠᚨᚱᚨᚢᛁᛋᚨ ᛬ ᚷᛁᛒᚢ ᚨᚢᛅᚨ ᛬ ᛏᛏᛏ

hariuha haitika : farauisa ᛬ gibu auja ᛬ ttt

The message concludes with a triple bindrune of Tyr. The Tyr rune repeated three times is a recurring phenomenon in a number of finds, as is the motif of Tyr and the Wolf of Fenrir.

The Tiwaz rune marked on the bractate from Zealand, Denmark. To the right Tyr with the Fenrir wolf on a bracteate from Trollhättan, Sweden.

It is also worth noting that Tyr stands first in in the third ættir of the Futhark and last as a gatekeeper in the fifth secret ættir of the Uthark just as Heimdall stands first in the second ættir of the Futhark and last as a gatekeeper in the fourth secret ættir of the Uthark. Apart from the numerous other references to their respective numbers 8 and 16 it is also befitting in this sense as well.

The third, official ætt, beginning with Tiwaz.
The fifth, secret ætt, ending with Tiwaz.

Finally, one last esoteric coincidence to be noted is that the rune of fate – Nauthiz – and Tiwaz, being first and last of the fifth ætt, also form a pair of opposites in the Uthark covered in the previous rune.


The Tiwaz rune represents the law-bound order of reality and ultimate justice, manifested in the warrior spirit with its unbreakable will to grow and overcome any adversity in its path. The appearance of the Tiwaz rune in a runic reading is a reminder that the path to Victory is forged with a willingness to fight – and endure pain if necessary. It is calling upon courage, moral integrity and an attitude of selfless service to the greater good.

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.

Drawn upside down, Tiwaz can signify injustice, or even cowardice, laziness and short-sighted selfishness. Are you actually on the side of true justice, or have you fallen into the dangerous trap of self-righteousness? Have you become comfortable and chosen the path of least resistance? The upside-down Tiwaz may be a warning that this may lead you down a path of failure, shame, and deep regret.

Discover the following rune Berkana – the rune of the birch


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