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Polaris of Enlightenment

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Wunjo – The rune of joy

Norse mythology

Updated today 17:58 Published 19 April 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Wunjo is the rune of celebration.

ᚹ – Wunjo, is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name for the eighth rune of the Futhark, with the IPA sound value [w].

Its literal meaning is “joy” – which is perfectly logical in the context of its position as the seventh rune in the esoteric pattern of the Uthark.

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

Seven has been considered a lucky number in many cultures, including Old Germanic, which is reflected in modern terms such as “the seventh heaven”. Seven has been considered a sacred number because it recurs as a pattern in nature, in the case of the seven primary colors of the rainbow, and also in the seven primary notes of music.

Other well-known cultural references of seven include phenomena such as the seven days of the week, the seven oceans and continents, the seven wonders of the world, and the seven chakras of the body according to Vedic philosophy.

In religious-mystical contexts, the number seven has also appeared in connection with the Greek god Apollo on the seventh day of each month and the Persian goddess Mithra, who was celebrated in the seventh month. In the Mithra Mysteries, seven is the definitive favored number, referring to the seventh sphere of the world and the ultimate divine height.

In other words, Wunjo’s literal meaning of “joy” and its position as the seventh rune in the Uthark fits well with the general symbolism of the number seven.

The sacred position of seven is not usually associated with the Æsir gods and Asatru, but rather with the so-called Vanir – a separate family of gods in Norse mythology, the most famous of which are the gods of fertility – Freyr and Freya.

Symbolism and magical use

Joy and the number seven are associated with each other on several objects, including a bracteate from Danish Sjælland with the word “Auja” – meaning “joy”. The gematria on the bracteate is clearly based on the number seven.

Another interesting example of a gematria around the number seven from 9th or 10th century England is found on the Kingmoor Ring (also Greymoor Hill Ring). On the gold ring with a diameter of ca. 27 mm., there are 27 runes engraved and to which a Christian cross has been added. The numerical value of all the runes, based on the English futhorc, is 343, i.e. 7*7*7. The odd number of runes 27, i.e 3*3*3 harmonizes very well with the aforementioned. Finally on the inside there are 3 runes – T, O and L – engraved, which gives the numerical value of 39 (=3*13).  Three and thirteen recurs yet again.

The Kingmoor Ring (also Greymoor Hill Ring).

According to professor Sigurd Agrell it is probably a case of Christian magic making use of Anglo-Saxon runes. For a certain period of time, especially in northern England, a peculiar mixture of Christian and pagan beliefs was embraced by the aristocracy. The amulet from Maria Magle in Lund, Sweden, shows the same kind of combination of the Christian cross and a rune formula.

In the Anglo-Saxon runic poem, the Wunjo rune is also mentioned in the sense of “bliss”.

ᚹ Ƿenne brūceþ, þe can ƿēana lẏt
sāres and sorge and him sẏlfa hæf
blǣd and blẏsse and eac bẏrga geniht.

Who uses it knows no pain,
sorrow nor anxiety, and he himself has
prosperity and bliss, and also enough shelter.

—  Lines 22–24 in The Anglo-Saxon Runic Poem, translation slightly modified from Dickins (1915)


In a rune reading, Wunjo represents joy and luck. Its magical power is said, for instance, to give depressed people a new flow of life energy.

Wunjo also encourages people to remember that everything in life is constantly changing, even in the most difficult moments. After the darkness of that winter comes a brightening spring. Sorrow is soon replaced by joy.

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.

When Wunjo is turned upwards, it heralds that a time of joy is coming; either a short, intense period of happiness – or a higher quality of life expressed over a longer period of time. Likewise, an upside-down Wunjo can foreshadow grief and misfortune.


Read about the following rune Hagalaz – the rune of hail


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