January & New Year 2022 Rune Reading

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Unveil and understand the rune meanings for the month and year ahead!

What Are the Runes?

The runes have been succinctly described as “an ancient alphabet for modern magicians” – Edred Thorsson in his book ‘Futhark, A Handbook of Rune Magic.’

Futhark, A Handbook of Rune Magic book cover

Runes were the first systems of writing developed and used by the Norse and other Germanic peoples. These runic alphabets are known as “futharks” after the first six runes (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, and Kenaz) – just as the word “alphabet” comes from the names of the first two Semitic letters (Aleph, Beth).

There are three principal futharks: the Elder, Younger, and Saxon futharks. The 24-character Elder Futhark was the first fully-formed runic alphabet, dating back, so far as we know to the first century CE/AD but was probably in development from at least 200 BC.

The Elder Futhark Wiki
The Elder Futhark Wiki

The word ‘rune’ comes from the old Germanic, ‘runa’ or ‘runo’ meaning a secret thing, a mystery. The Earth, its forces, and all things in nature were seen as alive -living mysteries demanding honor and respect. The runes are more than just letters. They can be read that way but they are also a pictographic or ideographic symbol of some natural principle or power as experienced by these Germanic-speaking peoples in the climate and landscapes of northern Europe including Britain and the island of Ireland. 

Rune casters were both welcomed and feared. Runemal (rune craft) took on a ritual function, used for the protection or well-being of an entire community.  Runes might be used in casting of lots to decide who did what. They were used in rune spells to influence the weather, the tides, the crops, fertility, and healing. Runes were used to send curses or remove them.  Runes were carved on amulets, carved into doorways and into the wood of ships. Protective runes can be seen in architecture, in the shapes of the decorative timbering of black and white timbered houses throughout Britain and Europe.

Runes embedded in half-timbered buildings, Dornstetten, Germany
Runes embedded in half-timbered buildings, Dornstetten, Germany, Image Wiki Commons

Casting the Runes

Rune casters would shake their pouch of runes and scatter them on the ground. Sometimes they would lay a cloth or draw a circle and read only those runes that fell within the circle or on the cloth. Sometimes they would read only the runes that landed upright, and not reversed, or ‘merkstave’. (The reader today is including merkstave runes.)

The runes were and are still used today for psychic insights or guidance, or for magical purposes- to request or summon sacred protection or good luck

The runes have been found wherever Germanic-speaking peoples settled, traveled, traded, or raided, from Iceland to Scandinavia, through England and Central Europe, all the way to Constantinople.

Runecast for January 2022

Today we are using the Elder Futhark. You’ll notice the runes are all straight lines, no curves; scratched or inscribed into wood, metal or stone.

The runes are chosen entirely blindly and at random.

Runecast for January 2022
Rune caster’s own image

We have drawn three upright runes (Sowilo, Perthro, and Kenaz) and two reversed or merkstave runes (Ehwaz and Laguz.) This rune cast, therefore, translates as more positive than negative for January 2022 and for the rest of the year itself. But clearly, this is rather a close call. We are part of bigger world events. 2022 promises to be pretty intense, and occasionally downright turbulent, though somewhat more buoyant, optimistic, and outgoing than 2021, and brighter by far than 2020.

Position 1: Sowilo/Sigel  

Word/Symbol: The Sun.

Meanings: Victory, Success, Health/Happiness.

This rune is standing for the Here and Now- the Question. You can see this rune looks like a modern capital S, or a back to front Z.

This is a positive rune of victory, success, happiness, and good health. Well, that’s a welcome rune, cheers! This rune of the sun can literally mean ‘a year’…one journey of the Earth around the sun. This seems a suitable rune, therefore, to start a New Year reading. 

The question translates as “when will life be ‘happy’ again/get back to normal?” If we mean, normal as, back in 2019, well, no, that is not happening this year.  There are storms. But there are silver linings.

The days are getting noticeably longer again already in January. The sun is returning to the northern hemisphere where the runes first originated, just as it is slowly leaving the southern hemisphere.

Sowilo is one of the most fortunate of all runes, bringing good news whenever it appears. It is as if the Norse gods are saying the sun will shine upon your efforts this New Year. Be brave. The world is old and wide. There is so much to learn and explore. Look on the bright side as much as you can. Seize the day.

We are in troubled times. 2021 was angry, 2020 was grim. We have all felt it. This year will also be difficult, stormy even on the world stage. But it’s not personal even when it feels personal. The sun will shine in between the storms. 2022 is intense, perhaps rocky, but also more upbeat and mobile, less coldly relentless, less stuck in a rut.

Drawn with Laguz next to it, in the reversed position, Sowilo can be suggesting that you have become over-tired. This has been such a long haul for many people. They have become somewhat drained, fatigued, and depressed, not to mention twitchy, nervous and in some cases, worked up, oversensitive or even paranoid, and possibly by the same token, physically lacking in vitamin B.

Sowilo means sunshine, and through this connection, maybe suggesting that you look into your levels of the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ Vitamin D, so important both for mood and optimal immune function. Supplements are ideally combined with vitamin K2 for optimum calcium absorption.

This year really could bring you a lucky break, if you can find the energy, seriously apply yourself to whatever goal you set yourself for 2022.

Position 2: Perthro  

Word/Symbol: cup for throwing dice/paddock.

Meanings: Mystery/Secrets/Initiation/Sanctuary

This rune is standing for where we have recently been and what’s been going on, both on the face of things but also deep down.

Perthro is a mystery rune dealing with things far beyond our personal control, like the covid pandemic. Perthro represents sanctuary. We have been seeking sanctuary. What and where for us, represents our own personal sanctuary? Is it at home? Is it with other people? Is it doing something we love that takes our mind away from worry?

This rune deals with karma, destiny, things that are hidden. There are many theories, much speculation, but the causes of the pandemic remain unclear. That it started in the Far East seems certain. The exact circumstances are less certain. When I asked about this, my Tarot showed me The Hierophant, the Tarot’s card of Taurus.

This represents the earth itself and suggests natural causes rather than lab engineering went wrong. This disease has originated in Nature. Humanity should not have come into contact with it at all but has done so through over-expansion with an accompanying disturbance of previously undisturbed habitats in the Far East. This new virus variant escaped those habitats possibly via fruit bats or flying foxes and then infected animal intermediaries such as locally farmed pigs, and then humans, thereby entering the food chain through local conditions of animal husbandry and from those sites in the Far East inexorably spread via mass global travel.

Some think this rune is supposed to show a dice cup- meaning a cup once used for drawing lots in gambling games or throwing dice. As such, you may take a bit of a gamble this year, and it pays off. This gamble, however, depends on your doing some research beforehand.

Secrets come to light or we learn useful or important new information starting this month.  How do we respond and apply this information for the best? We may notice our psychic abilities more this year.

Position 3: Kenaz   

Word/Symbol: Torch/Beacon/Ulcer

Meaning: Illumination, learning, opening

This rune is talking about how we handle things for the best in 2022. This is a friendly fire rune, like a domestic hearth fire, cheerful small, and manageable. 

It is saying, ‘keep the home fires burning.’ It is reminding us of a certain wartime spirit that says we are all in this together; an attitude which has fallen out of fashion since the war, but it is salutary to be reminded from time to time, that the world does not revolve around us and our own personal concerns.

Kenaz talks about energy, drive, recuperation from illness, and enlightenment- learning of all kinds, whether this means formal or informal study.

Kenaz is a positive rune, with a lot of vitality attached. It suggests good news in respect of the turning of the tide in the covid pandemic, even though we are not free of it in 2022. Still, this virus is evolving and over time, is becoming less dangerous, as human immunity is gradually learning how to deal with it as a brand new enemy of mankind, which it was until 2019.

Kenaz is masculine in its energy, and in a relationship will always denote the male partner. What is he offering? What is he looking for? Where is this going? Laguz, the rune next door in this spread is a powerful feminine rune, and says, well, we can have fun, and maybe this is the year to move ahead with a new partner, but keep your head screwed on tight this year.

Kenaz, like Perthro can also be psychic. We get the modern English words ‘canny/uncanny’ from this rune. ‘Beyond our ken’; is a phrase derived from this rune.

We have been more limited in our options than we are used to. Life imposes changing limits from time to time. That is the nature of reality. Still, we make our own choices, in choosing how to respond to challenges. This is our own instinct at work as we operate within our own environment where we can choose how to respond.  There will be sudden insights, flashes of some new understanding of our situation – perhaps even a psychic dream or waking insights. You can see by looking at it that Kenaz shows something that is opening up, opening outwards. 2022 brings some kind of new awakening, both on a collective level and on a direct personal level. What new things shall we set out to study or explore this year? Kenaz is a morning rune. Start as you mean to go on this year. The early bird catches the worm and all that.

Kenaz is a positive rune for relationships, two people opening up more with one another, greater mutual understanding. It is a lucky rune for fathers and fertility.

Less glamorously, Kenaz can also mean an ulcer, either literally, as in; we may need some kind of skincare. Are we deficient in Vitamin d, or zinc, for example? Or it may be speaking figuratively on an emotional level, as in, what apparently small wound never seems to heal?

If you recognize this wound or hurt, then do not nurse it. Do not let this thing fester any longer. Have the conversation. Bring the issue out into the light of day and sort it out once and for all. Or else draw a line under it. Let it go, let it be, make peace, and don’t keep picking away at it.

Position 4:  Laguz (merkstave=reversed)

Symbol:  Lake 

Meanings: Flow/Instinct/Emotion/unseen powers

This rune forecasts the challenges of 2022. The Lake represents water, both literally and symbolically. Are we swimming or sinking or just staying afloat? Drawn reversed, this rune signifies confusion up ahead. Beware of getting in too deep, too soon, whatever new waters you try out this year. These waters are deep. This is like Pisces in the zodiac. This is like the planet Neptune.

Dreams could come true or they can become nightmares. This rune reminds us, when those around us get worked up, we do not necessarily need to join in and add to the noise. Laguz reversed can mean collective inebriation, getting drunk, or high. It can mean new ideas, new visions, but it can also mean delusions, mass hysteria, paranoia, and psychosis.

Looking at it from another angle, this rune says global military and political maritime-based events will loom large this year on the global stage. This could mean extreme rainfall, flooding, tsunamis, and/or big maritime military or scientific events, perhaps in connection with Taiwan. March/April could be the months to watch for in particular here, and then again later in the year.

Laguz could be maritime technology; submarines, submersibles, and developments to do with spying, surveillance, or mineral mining; lithium or other mineral extraction or production.  This may or may not feature in the media, but it is big.

There are times when we need to go with the flow and let the river carry us along. There are times we may feel we want to swim against the flow. OK. If that is what you decide to do. But this calls for Kenaz, the rune of inspiration, good information, and a clear head.

Position 5:  Ehwaz (merkstave =reversed)

Symbol: Horse

Meaning: Movement, travel, vehicle, progress, transits, shifts           

This central rune is a recurring theme in January, and perhaps throughout the rest of 2022.

Ehwaz is like the Chariot in the Tarot. It is about physical movement and forward progress. Paired with Laguz as it is here, it refers to overseas ambitions and far journeys over water. But there are obstacles or problems.

This rune has been drawn reversed/merkstave. This is not necessarily negative but does indicate continuing stops and starts in 2022, both in respect of control of the pandemic and on a personal level.

Ehwaz merkstave brings changes that could be sudden and unexpected. Obviously, these bring challenges, not least with periodic issues to do with trade and international travel in 2022.

This rune drawn reversed advises us to be extra careful in January when it comes to vehicles, traffic, travel, and making big decisions. It says timing is everything. Kenaz advises, by all means, to look around. Be curious. This is balanced by Ehwaz reversed which is saying yes, do explore but do not force any issues until you are sure where you are going next. If you are not sure yet, do not burn any bridges. But do keep your eyes open. Not everything is right for us, or possibly the timing isn’t right. But as the old saying goes, what is meant for you won’t pass by you.

Wishing you happiness and good fortune in 2022!

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine, BA Hons, Cert Ed, is an intuitive Tarot reader, consultant, and variously published writer in the UK. She has been reading the Tarot professionally since 2006 and has been featured for this work in “Fate and Fortune” magazine. Katie-Ellen Hazeldine Website | Twitter