Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cweorth Rune

Cweorth or Eoh for q (Fire, action, power). 
We have been through the fire
We have been the funeral pyre
We have learn to purify, to cast aside
that which keeps us from living fully
And now we blaze as well as flame.


Cweorth is the Fire-Twirl - the Fire of Cremation that transforms the spiritual body at death. This is the Rune of Valhalla where the Einheriar feast with the Gods.  It represents a flame, and through this, the transformation of one state of being into another, this can be either through the funeral pyre, or through alchemy.

Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, associated with the South, and connected to strong will and energy. Fire both creates and destroys, and symbolizes the fertility of the God. Fire can heal or harm, and can bring about new life or destroy the old and worn.. For color correspondences, use red and orange for Fire associations.

Like Ken/Kaunaz, it is a rune of Fire, but where Ken is the smith's Fire that forges, or the torch of Truth that lights the way, Cweorth is the Fire of purification and destruction, the funeral pyre that burns away the dead flesh. The home of all Fire in the Norse cosmos is Muspellheim, the fire-world. Its keeper is Surt, the great grim Fire giant who engineered the beginning of Midgard, deliberately steering his fiery realm into the ice-world of Niflheim. Surt is the Keeper of the Funeral Pyre, and he is a no-nonsense deity who demands perfection.

The Cweorth is to help someone get through burning times, and have the strength to excise what needs to go.  With those obstacles cleared, new things might grow and mature in their place.  It is a good rune to use when wishing to change something negative into something positive, for instance, hatred to love, poverty to wealth, sickness to health.



  1. I don't suppose you know when/how cweorth became associated with the funeral pyre/fire-twirl? According to Elliot the word "cweorth" has no meaning (and I double checked, unsurprisingly my Anglo-Saxon dictionary backs him up) and there is no verse for cweorth, but most people associate it with a ritual fire or a funeral fire and I have no idea *why*.

    1. Hail and Thank You! You are correct with you research and there is no real answer 'why' but let me maybe expand from what I know.

      There are several systems of runes that can be used. The most common and oldest form is the Elder Futhark with 24 runes - from 2nd to 8th centuries. Most people who work with runes prefer to stick to the basic 24 Futhark set, largely because those are what they can find all around them. Then there is the Anglo Saxon and Frisian which adds on 5 more runes - starting about 5th centuries. The Anglo-Saxon is much more adaptable for writing ordinary messages in English, as they contain certain letters and sounds that Norse doesn't use. And finally there is the Northumbrian which is more uncommon and adds on 4 more runes. (There is also rune systems in Armanen, Younger Futhark, Gothic, Cipher, Orlanthi, Medieval and many other sets)

      The Northumbrian runes are an extension of the Anglo-Saxon runes. It adds 4 more runes to the Anglo-Saxon set making the total 33 runes. Examples of them can be found in the Cottonian Collection, now at the British Library. The Domitian is one manuscript there with Anglo Saxon Chronicles and Futhorc Row - from about 11th century. But many manuscripts there are now in fragments with parts completely destroyed. So, like stan, calc and gar, there is no standard poem, lore or text.

      Cweorð may be a modification of peorð. But of the four additional letters, only the cweorth rune fails to appear epigraphically. In the Domitian manuscript there are a total of 33 letters, one of the only few known examples of its use that I can think of. And like you pointed out, it was more for the letter q, instead of fire. Add into the mix that I have heard of may be a misinterpretation and the mystery deepens.

      I read from Raven Kaldera at Northern Shamanism The author Galina Krasskova book 'Runes Theory and Practice' or author Alaric Albertsson 'Wyrdworking'. The British Library would be another resource But cweorth is not a Norse word and an irregular rune so there is not much historical information. Blessed Be!