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< Runes Main Section < "Book of Runes" Rune Reference

The Meaning of the Rune "Eihwaz "

Interpreting this rune

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Literal Meanings of "Eihwaz "

Yew Tree


The verdent Yew tree stands tall in a snowy field. All around it is the still lifelessness of winter, yet the Yew remains supple and strong. Yews are hardy trees which stay green even in winter. Their red berries signify life in the harshest of environments -- a steadfast refusal to succumb to the opposition and hardship of the cold. Yew trees have been linked to runes, the occult, and rites of passage in Europe since ancient Germanic times. In Christianity, yew trees are often linked to immortality -- and are often planted in church yards expressly to signify this. Historically, the wood of the yew tree also made the best bows, at one time a vital and sophisticated instrument of war -- used to kill the enemy at long range before they could draw close.

How to Interpret "Eihwaz"

A major and necessary life change may be about to take place; either the onset of adulthood, going away to college, marriage, retirement or a change in profession. This change may seem full of uncertainty when it is first introduced, but it will become clear very quickly that such change is necessary. A significant confrontation with one's inner fears and innermost insecurities may be at hand. While 'change' is a constant process, the appearance of Eihwaz indicates an increase in the speed and intensity of change. Change comes in many forms: mental, spiritual and physical. It is important to keep one's focus clear throughout the process: some change should be accepted as it is necessary and just. Other change may require a steadfast resolve and hardiness -- like the always green yew tree. Through the trials of 'change' come growth and spiritual expansion. Resolve, flexibility and a focus on the importance of change will see one through the most difficult trials. Eihwaz may also reference the need to address a problem well in advance, before it becomes serious. Other possible literal meanings of Eihwaz in a reading are positive health, nature or the season of winter.

Inverted Meaning

None. This rune cannot be inverted.

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