Monday, June 21, 2010


According to Northern European legend, the worlds came into being when Muspelheim, the blazing land of the fire giants, struck Niflheim, the icy home of the frost giants. They will end at Ragnarok, when everything returns to the primal fire to be recreated again.  Fire marks both beginning and ending: it reminds us that everything new rises from the ashes of the old and that there can be no destruction without creation - and vice versa. This is the great mystery of Cweorth, the rune of the fire-twirl which sustains life and the funeral pyre which marks its passing.

Like any flame, Cweorth cannot operate without fuel. To effect its transmutations, it consumes that which is unnecessary, outmoded or superfluous. This can be a painful process:  what we desire and what we need can be very different. When Cweorth acts to change us, we may lose those things which we hold most dear: we may find our most cherished illusions about ourselves and our world stripped away.  Cweorth can manifest like Tarot Trump XVI (the Tower).  It is the lightning strike which knocks down the fortress built on sand, forcing us to rebuild on a more sturdy foundation.  For those of a more technical bent, Cweorth can function like a security audit on our networks.  It can point to gaping holes and potential exploits in your defenses, giving you a chance to repair them before it manifests as an attack on your system.

If Os functions as the higher octave of Ansuz, Cweorth can be called the higher octave of Kenaz.  Both runes act as agents of initiation and rebirth. But Cweorth is more harsh and impersonal. If Kenaz transforms the individual, Cweorth changes the group and the world. Kenaz is the light which allows us to survive the horrors wrought when Cweorth comes into play in the political sphere. Cweorth sparks the  war which will ultimately resolve the long-standing border dispute: Kenaz can provide us with the foresight and wisdom to bring it to the best possible conclusion. Kenaz can help us to manifest what should be: Cweorth is concerned only with that which must be.  Kenaz is the divine spark within us, while Cweorth is the flame which in the end will consume even the Gods.

Cweorth also partakes of the nature of another flame-rune, the need-fire of Naudhiz. Like Naudhiz, it can become the flame which drives us onward. But while Naudhiz is the urge to survive, Cweorth provides us the energy to go on when survival is no longer an option. The starving Jews who fought when all hope was gone in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising knew Cweorth all too well.  In the end we all return to ashes: Cweorth lets us choose the hero's death and the deeds which will blaze bright as a pyre after we are gone. In the end, our bodies and our lives are superfluous: Cweorth liberates us from their bondage and purifies our spirit that it might return to its rightful place. It leaves us in the end with nothing but our works and the monuments we leave behind. And if those too will one day be consumed, Cweorth reminds us that they are no less valuable for that. Cweorth forces us to grab the present and make the most of it:  that which is will become that which was and that which is no more.