Learn the Viking Runes: Ehwaz

A silver pendant with the letter m on it.

Ehwaz is the rune for horse. Horses were incredibly important to the Vikings – and indeed, to all people of that era – as they provided the strength and power needed to clear land, transport goods, and carry warriors into battle. There’s plenty of archeological evidence that horses were in some ways sacred to the Vikings, playing critical roles in religious ceremonies. The symbolic associations of Ehwaz are rooted in the relationship the Vikings had with their horses – cooperation, loyalty, and travel. 

Understanding Ehwaz: Historical Examples

Ehwaz has a long and complicated history, changing forms many times before arriving in the form we recognize today as the Elder Futhark symbol for horse. Looking to the literature, we discover that Ehwaz appears in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem is believed to have been composed in the 8th or 9th century.

From the text:

The horse is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors.

A steed in the pride of its hoofs,

when rich men on horseback bandy words about it;

and it is ever a source of comfort to the restless.

What Does It Mean When Ehwaz Appears In A Rune Reading?

Ehwaz is sometimes referred to as a rune of twins. It is said its shape resembles two horses gazing at each other. Horses are sacred to Freja, who was of course herself a twin. 

When Ehwaz appears in a reading, it may indicate it’s time to pay attention to a partnership you’re in – this can be romantic, professional, or social – to see if it is appropriately balanced. 

Loyalty and cooperation may be required to overcome any challenges you are facing. Ehwaz has a strong element of protection associated with it. When Ehwaz appears in a reading, it can be a sign that a guardian spirit is watching over you.

 And of course, Ehwaz can indicate travel: perhaps an exciting journey is in the future. This journey may be physical, or it may be a journey in personal growth and understanding.

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