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Uruz (pronounced OOH-rooz) was used to represent the u sound in runic writing in all the Germanic languages. The name signifies the aurochs, an enormous form of wild cattle, now extinct. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem sums up the qualities of this creature well:

The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.

Of the various animals connected with the runes, the aurochs is the most fierce, the most primal, the most massive. It is the power of the wild earth incarnate: strong and determined. It is unstoppable in motion, and immovable at rest. Today, with most animals that humans find threatening being driven to extinction, it is becoming hard to project ourselves back to a time when we were often at the mercy of the animals that roamed the Earth, rather than the other way around.

The uruz rune reminds us of simple, raw, physical power - power that has nothing to do with wealth, politics, or the conventions of the social order. The power of the aurochs is pure presence: size, muscle, and will. This is the sense of power we connect with when we do physical labor or achieve an athletic victory.

For me, uruz is a quintessentially earthy symbol. It represents everything to do with body, mass, and strength. It is about physical health, about steadiness and determination, about strength in adversity, weathering a storm through sheer presence of will, tenacity, and motionlessness. When we show what we're made of, when we dig in our heels, when we are the last one standing - that is uruz.

In somewhat more spiritual language, uruz is that bastion of inner strength, the life-force focusing itself on survival.

When this rune appears in your divination work, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my inner strength?
  • Is my body strong and healthy?
  • Is my power rooted to the earth?
  • What must I endure?
  • Am I a force to be reckoned with?

In spiritual work, uruz can draw us to contemplate and connect with the physical aspect of existence. It may ask us to seek greater body awareness, through yoga, standing meditation, or similar practices. Modern cultures encourages us to understand our physical bodies in ways that are primarily intellectual: anatomical terminology, nutritional science, medical treatments. The primitiveness of the aurochs and its world can serve as an antidote to this way of thinking, encouraging us to know the body in a more direct way, through our senses and feelings, through our presence in place.

The rune uruz can be used magically to draw forth strength, power, or tenacity. Its energy is fierce and primal, but not wantonly destructive. It lends itself to defensive or protective uses, as well as instilling permanence or sheer magnitude to a magical undertaking. Combined with other runes, it is an amplifier, a stablizer, and a grounding influence.

Rune Lore is a regular feature of Starweaver's Gems from Earth and Sky

Copyright © 2008 Tom Waters