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Traditional Runic Shields


Do you know how to write? Do you know how to read?
Do you know how to tint? Do you know how to try?
Do you know how to ask? Do you know how to offer?
Do you know how to send? Do you know how to slaughter?
-- From Odin's Rune Song (from the Hávamál)

There are many rune staves that have traditional meanings and still speak to us today. Although many of these symbols are only incompletely understood by modern people, I think the connection that they create in our own minds with our ancestors and Gods is important. These shields are made on willow hoops I gather and bend. The surface is generally Red Stag Deer or Horse, both animals that were well known to our ancestors and held to be sacred.

The runes themselves are painted in red ochre, the sacred clay of death and rebirth and which most closely represents the blood they likely would have been stained with.  The size varies but generally they are around 12" tall and 6"-7" wide.

Svefnthorn "Sleep Rune"

This symbol was found carved on bedsteads in the North.  It is thought to bring restful sleep. Even though, in the old stories, the svefnthorn was used as a magickal device to cast your enemy into a deep slumber from which they could not awaken without help, I have slept with one over my bed and never had any trouble awakening. I imagine, like everything, it has a lot to do with the purpose for which it was created. 



Aegishjalmur "Helm of Awe" Protection

The Helm of Awe
I wore before the sons of men
 In defense of my treasure;
Amongst all, I alone was strong,
I thought to myself,
For I found no power a match for my own.
          (Fafnir the Dragon, from the Poetic Edda)

This symbol has been found on helmets and was apparently meant to be worn over the third eye to offer protection to the wearer and fear to the enemy. It appears to be made up of eight Algiz (protection) runes along with Isa (ice or stillness). These days it has become a general protection rune and is frequently tattooed on the body or hung in the home for protection.




For Rune Staves currently in stock, please visit Our Etsy Store.

Gaia's Workshop
Michelle Meister & Luke Martinez
Portland, Oregon
503-933-9038     gaiasworkshop@gmail.com