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Thoughts on the Rune “Uruz”

Aurochs is fearless
and greatly horned
A very fierce beast,
it fights with its horns.
A famous roamer on the moor
it is a courageous animal

The Old English Rune Poem

Uruz is the second rune in the various rune-rows. It is one of the six runes I will briefly examine in this series, focusing on traits for personal development.

The aurochs, a wild bison (now extinct) of Northern Europe, was hunted by the young men of Germania as part of their initiation into manhood. The weak or cowardly did not survive this extreme ordeal.

The obvious gifts of the aurochs are fearlessness, ferocity, a combative attitude, and sheer courage. But there is another, less obvious: wisdom. What does such a brute have to do with wisdom, you may ask?

The aurochs is an Initiator. As such, it – by definition – has wisdom to transmit. Those mighty horns can deal death, yes. But the aurochs’ horns were highly sought after in ancient Germanic society; hollowed out, they were fashioned into the drinking horns of heroes, and filled with mead. The most obvious lessons of the aurochs are courage and strength – to which the relevant verse in the Old English Rune Poem adds two other traits: ferocity, and fame. For fame, read a related word: reputation – something highly valued in Germania.

But sometimes those horns were used as mead-containing vessels for holy mead, offered to the Gods or passed ritually among the Folk. As such, they were conveyors of holiness, wisdom, and divine inspiration. The horn of the aurochs, poetically speaking, pierce the mundane and carry us to the higher realms of being.

We need, and seek, the higher worlds of holiness – but to get there, we first must have the more physical, more pugnacious traits that ensure survival and well-being…strength, bravery, ferocity, and a fighting attitude. Only the bold and strong can afford to be noble, kind, and and generous.

Become more than you are! Have the heart of the aurochs…and the demeanor of the gentleman and gentlewoman.