Y Awenechen


Germanic name: RAIDHO

Anglo-Saxon name: RAD

Old Norse name: REID

Phonetic Value: R

Traditional Meaning: Wagon, Riding
Solar Cross

This rune has a variety of interesting meanings, almost like the spokes of a wheel, which is appropriate, as one of its most central meanings is a cartwheel. From this we can get other meanings, such as a cart, chariot, or wagon. One must not think, therefore, that this rune is ever static. It is ever-moving. So, from a moving wheel or wagon we get its most common meaning - "Journey." Some other meanings are "riding" or "controlled movement from one place to another." From this we can progress to generating motion, taking charge of situations, taking the initiative, being in control, decision-making, starting a new venture, or directing a course of action. As the solar wheel, Raidno, is the Path of the Sun, the Dance of the Seasons, the Patter Behind Events, the Round Life. To the Vikings, the constellation we call 'Ursa Major' was the 'Wagon' which the sun traveled across the night sky.

A representation of the Sun Wagon was found in a peat bog at Trundholm in Zealand, Denmark, dating back to approximately 1000 B.C.E. Riding in the cart was a large gilded bronze disk.

According to Tacitus (c. 100 B.C.E.) There was a sacred island in the ocean where the goddess Nerthus dwelled in the heart of a sacred grove. Once a year Her presence, as represented by a nude priestess with long hair, wearing a golden torc, arm & leg bracelets, would enter the Sacred Wagon and, drawn by cows, travel across the land. Wherever She went, people rejoiced. Weapons and quarrels were set aside and peace and harmony followed Her. Eventually, in tune with the yearly cycle, she returned to her sacred island and both she and her wagon were bathed in a sacred lake, and then rested and prepared for the next year's cycle.


So how did the people rejoice? Well, one of Nerthus' names was The Dancer. Her dance was the dance of life itself. Thus, in Raidho, we have the Goddess as the great Pattern Maker. She who shapes the cycles of life with her own movement. All cycles of life are Hers, from the pattern of the heartbeat, to the daily passage of the solar wagon, to the cycle of the seasons.

Much as fire dances upon the hearth, the Nordic tribes said that the sun danced across the sky, leaving Her footprints in the mountain tops. Petroglyphs of footprints are found next to solar wheels and sledges or boats (the forerunners of the wagon). She danced most often at sunrise and over water, and it was considered lucky to see Her dance. In Germany, she dances at Easter and girls gather dew at sunrise to wash their faces, or gather river water where the sun has bathed, for their beauty baths.

The Greek word for dance came from the word "drao" which meant "a ritual pattern of dynamic expression." Sacred dances, or rounds, were a major part of many pagan holidays, reflecting the turning of the wheel of life. As all life was seen to be interconnected, the energy of human participants was seen as a necessary part of the wheel's turning. Many times the pattern of the dance was marked out. An example is the pattern on the floor of Chartres Cathedral, a labyrinth or Mare Dance. Similar mazes, constructed of stones, are found in parts of Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Northern Germany. They were often called Troytowns (such as Trojeborg in Sweden) from the Celtic "Troian" meaning to turn or twist. They were also called Stone Dance. Swedish and Danish custom and stories say that the circles were used for Round Dances in the springtime, when a young maiden, representing the spring sun, danced out from the center. Compare this to The Spiral Dance used by many Wiccans today.

Raidho is associated with the element Air, and its ruling divinities are the fertile deities Nerthus and Ing. This rune is associated with the Oak (Quercus Robur) and the Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum Lantana) and its herb is the Mugwort (Artemesia Vulgaris).

Nerthus' role is assumed in later sagas by Frigg and Freja, while Ing is another name for Frey. As one month of every year, the Yule month, or Thor's month, was sacred to Frey as well as Thor (It began on the longest night of the year, called Mother Night.), and since Yule means "Wheel," and since Thor is the god of the yeoman farmer (as well as the merchant and the adventurer) who grows the crops that Nerthus and Ing fertilize, it should be no great surprise that the rune of the Wheel has become associated with Thor, the Thunderer. In fact, Norse name for this rune, Reid, could mean either a wheeled vehicle or thunder. Thunder, of course, was caused by Thor's wheeled chariot rattling across the sky. Since Thor is the god of hallowing, community and travel, as well as thunder, you can see why farmers, merchants and adventurers, people who depend on cycles of change, and on hallowing to give them luck during the change so that their community can prosper, called upon Thor.

In the sagas, one of the first acts of the gods is to create order out of chaos. This is not a static, but rather a dynamic flowing cyclic order, as illustrated by the apparent travels of the sun and moon around the earth, which invokes the image of a wheel.

The gods established a clear division of the year, which in most esoteric traditions is divided into eight segments, like an eight-spoked wheel. This gives us the four quarters, as represented by the two solstices, and the two equinoxes, and the four cross-quarters that we call Bridget's Fire, Beltane, Lughnassad, and Samhain.

Until recent times in England, Germany and Holland, as part of the Yule celebration, people would gather on a mountainside or hilltop and ignite a huge wooden wheel wound with straw, and then send it rolling down the hillside to celebrate the return of the year.

Raidho, being the rune of the wheel, is the symbol of the physical cycles, gears and physical circular objects. These include many of our concepts for mechanical energy and mechanical advantage such as a wound spring, clockwork gear mechanisms, pulleys, etc. They are all circular rhythmic motion.

Something to try is to use the symbology of the eight-spoked wheel and its relationship with the yearly cycle as a pattern for rune-readings instead of the more commonly used twelve-house system borrowed from tarot and ultimately astrology. The Futhark, being a triple eight-fold system, is particularly suited to work well in the type of reading, especially when supported with Norse mythology.

As we have seen, Raidho is linked with symbols for wheels and wagons, and thereby is linked to movement and travel or journeys. From the Anglo-Saxon rune poem we get that "Rad seems easy to a warrior indoors and very courageous to one abroad on horseback." This alludes to the fact that journeys are easier to talk about than do. Images come to mind of old warriors sitting around the fires in their Great Halls, guzzling ale and mead , and talking about their past great conquests. Of course they weren't out there doing it.

Too often people sit around with their photos, memories and ideas and speculate morosely on what might have been, or what could be, then turn on a soap opera or pick up a slushy romance novel where the young heroine meets the wise and rich older man in an exotic location and lives happily ever after. Without getting out and doing, the only older guys that you are likely to meet are divorced with heavy alimony and child support checks whose back won't let them lift anything heavier than a beer can or remote control. Those exotic locations are out there, but if you want to see them, plan on paying the return fare. This doesn't mean "don't dream," it just means that your dreams should be ones where you do the accomplishing, and then you need to get out and do them.

When Raidho indicates a journey, it is usually a journey of pleasure, often to see friends, or take a short holiday or a long weekend, or just to get out and explore the countryside. Even if it indicates a business trip, it usually is one that is safe and pleasant, with no delays, accidents or frustrations, even friendly travel companions.

Holy Thistle

The journeys that Raidho refers to are not all physical. An example is the shamanic journey to the underworld where spiritual growth, help and good advice or judgement was available. Even the shamanic journey can involve a physical journey as well as a spiritual one. The soft option or easy route is often not the best one, even if it seems far easier to sit on your duff and wait for the teacher to ring your front doorbell rather than make any effort yourself. Often the lesson is in the journey, which is one reason that in the northern European tradition the shaman often went off alone into the forest to isolate himself from the outside world. These short journeys of self-discovery were regarded as an important aspect of the shaman's training and were used to spiritually recharge the shaman. Most of the time the shaman lived and worked in the village, immersing himself in the villagers wheel of death and rebirth, but occasionally he needed this period of isolation for reflection and inner growth.

As you can see, Raidho's message to the spiritual seeker is that one must be willing and ready to make the effort to travel in search of new experiences. This doesn't mean you must hop a jet and shoot off to India. The journey is usually partially physical and partially internal. How do you go internal, you ask? Well, one way is the way of the shaman, who uses the physical to open the way to the internal. The rhythm of drumbeats, a rattle, or chants help the shaman attain the trance state necessary to perform this journey. Sometimes the shaman literally dances into an ecstatic trance from the rattle, drum and chants.

If this reminds you of a rock and roll concert or dance marathon, don't be surprised. Ultimately all music is based on patterns which make it possible to enter an altered, spiritual state of mind. Through rhythm and dance one blends first with one's personal rhythm and then becomes one with the world rhythm and dance.

Raidho is the rune of rhythmic ritual dance and the dancer of the runes is the Goddess, and Her dance is the dance of life. To be aware of this great dance which is part of everything, is to feel our connection to everything in the universe.

The word "maze" comes from Scandinavia. It refers to "a state of bewilderment or confusion." Related words mean "to dream" and "a languid state." Maze dances were meant, in part, to create a trance state in the dancer, where one could travel "between the worlds" to that place where one can perceive the pattern of life/death/rebirth.

Some of you might be saying "Whoa! This is getting pretty intense. I don't know if I'm ready for all that." Well, don't worry. Part of the magical significance of Raidho is not only to establish control over one's own circumstances, put things in order and make them subject to one's will, it is to become aware of one's natural limits and to move comfortably within them. Raidho is a rune of order in the sense of ordered cycles and laws of nature.

So if Raidho shows in a reading it may be suggesting that some change that you have been thinking about is due. Don't let it overwhelm you, just make a small change. After all, something has to end for something else to begin. Even if it's only to stop watching so much television every night and replace it with something new and positive, something you want to do, a step forward. What's the use of stopping doing something if you just leave a void in your life? Put something positive and enjoyable for you in its place. The appearance of this rune doesn't mean that a great hand is going to swoop down from the sky and scoop up your familiar world. Changes are caused by people themselves. Sometimes it takes a little courage to take that first step.

Often we are so immersed in the act of living that we lose sight of the larger patterns in our own lives and the world. If Raidho comes to you, look for the larger picture. It is an invitation to put events in a larger perspective. The actual nature of the journey is, in itself, unimportant. The key factor is that any type of travel broadens the mind and opens new horizons. We may think that we are just going on a pleasant holiday, yet the chance to see different places and meet new people will subtly alter our world-view. The experience, no matter how mundane it may seem, is part of the soul's learning process. After all, there are no coincidences, just patterns that we don't yet understand.

Magically, Raidho is the rune of "command and control," for it allows energies to be transformed and assists the transfer of spirit, matter or information from one place to another. It is the power of making a conscious decision and the discipline to carry it out. In magical terms, it represents the "vehicle" used to achieve an objective, but just as a wheeled vehicle cannot be used without a road on which to run, Raidho also represents the road or process itself. It is both the way forward and the means to get there.

Sometimes a person may find oneself in a situation where a lesson must be learned the hard way. The requirements for growth may call for personal sacrifices that totally disrupt what you had intended and you find yourself on a journey that you know is going to be arduous and unpleasant. It still has to be experienced, so face it with a positive rather than a gloomy or pessimistic attitude. What you regard as detours, inconveniences, disruptions, blockages and even failures will actually be rerouting opportunities where the insights and lessons we gain will lead us to union and reunion with greater wisdom and knowledge so that we can proceed at a higher spiritual level.

Raidho is the rune of not only controlled movement and direction, it is also a rune of repetitive movement and process and thus of ritual. It is the rune of cosmic patterns and archetypical order in the universe, as expressed by such things as the path of the sun and the cycles of nature and humanity. Raidho is the channeling of force according to natural laws along the proper patterns so that one can harmoniously work with the laws of cause and effect. Ritual has been described as an arrangement of energy and actions according to a cosmic order for a specific purpose. It has also been called a repetitive effect on the human mind, a psychological tool used to shut off the mundane self and tune the mind to more subtle vibrations. The emphasis is on the correct ordering of these energies. A well-constructed ritual can clear a space and a time for magical work without outside interference. It is a means of magical control and guidance which is an aspect of the Raidho rune. To take full advantage of the rune's power, one must learn to be in the correct place at the proper time, doing the most harmonious thing. As a hippy would tell you "Go with the flow, man." and as a surfer would tell you, "You gotta catch the right wave for the best ride." Learning to do good ritual will help us in personal transformation. It helps us to take conscious control of our destiny (wyrd).

Raidho is concerned with communication. In fact, "Rad," the Anglo-Saxon name of the rune, is collated with the German "Rat" and the Dutch "Raad," meaning "counsel" or "advice," which is one of the meanings of Raidho. In early times, the only way a message could be delivered was by hand, or by word of mouth if the sender of the message was unable to write. These messages were often communications between village councils. From this we can infer that the Raidho rune is a rune of leadership through wise counsel and right action. At one time leadership and nobility were not automatically acquired by being born into the "right" family. Rather it was earned and held by merit and it implied moral responsibility and integrity. In Dutch and German the word for knight are "ridder" and "ritter," which are related to Raidho. This is no accident, especially when you consider that the traditional image of a knight is strongly associated with he virtues of honorable conduct, chivalrous behavior and journeying about the land to right wrongs and protect the populace.

Celtic Dragon

Raidho refers to the balance between respecting the rights of others in the tribe and maintaining ones own individual rights; "tribe" is used here to mean a like-minded extended family sharing more or less the same social and spiritual values.

At times Raidho may indicate that you are of two minds about a situation; not sure which course of action will lead to the better solution. In an ambiguous situation like this, be on the lookout for hidden patterns. If Raidho falls with negative runes, it is a strong counsel against placing any faith in the words of others. Pay close attention to the small print in any transactions you may undertake at this time. In all questions dealing with a difference of opinion, Raidho suggests that although there are problems, a comfortable midpoint can be reached. Try extra hard to be patient and keep up a good sense of humor - especially when dealing with friends and loved ones. Never forget that though there may need to be concessions on all sides, a satisfactory and mutually beneficial solution can be found.

Inherent within Raidho are the ideas of freedom and moral responsibility to the self (even if this conflicts with the "norms" prevailing in the present-day social structure) as well as the knowledge of right and wrong in the personal developed conscience and the courage to act accordingly. Raidho is the energy pattern underneath all life, and may be expressed in the concept of the Spiral Pattern. This is in accordance with the traditional lore of the cycles of existence, ever plowing in circles while ever rising (or sinking) toward a goal. Reaching this goal is not an end, it is a transformation and a new beginning for another outwardly expanding spiral of growth.

The more you allow external factors to dominate you and to take control of your life, the more you create weakness, a lack of strength, an empty space, a vacuum. Once this weakness or vacuum has been produced, something else can then step in and take control. Raidho tells you to take charge of your own fate, gradually extend the degree of control that you exercise over the patterns in your life and finally, to make a conscious choice of what direction you wish to go. Oft-times this journey is a journey of the soul. If this is the meaning that applies to you, make that journey within. The journey is toward self-healing, self-change and union. You are concerned here with nothing less than unobstructed, perfect union - the union of the microcosms and the macrocosm, what is within and what is without cannot be forced. Regulate any excesses in your life. Material advantages must not weigh heavily on this journey of the self toward the self. A lack of material advantages is also an excess to avoid.

Stand apart even from like-minded others. The notion of strength in numbers does not apply at such a time. This part of the journey, the soul's journey, cannot be shared. Ask what, for you, constitutes right action. Ask through prayer or meditation, through addressing your Higher Self - the Teacher Within. Once you are clear in yourself you can neutralize your refusal to let right action flow through you. Not intent on movement, be content to let things flow. While you wait, keep on removing obstacles. As the obstructions give way, all remorse arising from trying to make things happen disappears. Raidho carries within its form the rune of joy, for now the end is in sight. You are no longer burdened with what you have left behind. The microcosm and the macrocosm unite within you to support you on your way. This ultimate union comes at the end of one journey and the beginning of another when what is above and what is below are united and of one mind.

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