Learn the Viking Runes: Hagalaz

Posted by Cindy Potts on

Hagalaz is the rune for hail - the icy pellets that plummet from the heavens without any notice, crushing crops, breaking objects, injuring people. Nature’s wild forces can bring destruction and upheaval. That’s the lesson of  Hagalaz: we are all vulnerable to things outside of our control.

Understanding Hagalaz: Readings from the Rune Poems

The weather has always been with us. For people who lived as sea farers and farmers, the sudden destruction caused by storms could change the course of their lives. It’s not surprising to see Hagalaz appearing frequently in the literature of the time, including these three references from the rune poems.

From the Old Norwegian:


Hail is the coldest of grain;

Christ created the world of old.

From the Old Icelandic:


Hail is cold grain

and shower of sleet

and sickness of serpents.


From the Anglo-Saxon:


Hail is the whitest of grain;

it is whirled from the vault of heaven

and is tossed about by gusts of wind

and then it melts into water.


What Does It Mean When Hagalaz Appears in a Rune Reading?

Knowing that Hagalaz represents a time of turbulent change and destruction can make seeing it appear while casting runes a stressful event. However it is important to remember that what  Hagalaz signals is a time of testing. Resilience and strength will be required but even catastrophic changes can be endured. 

Hagalaz’s destructive forces have beneficial outcomes. By clearing away stagnation, disease, and weakness, Hagalaz sets the stage for the individual to make full use of their abilities. This rune is a prompt to look for opportunities for growth and to be willing to start fresh. 


As we’ve seen, many Viking runes reference the cycles of life. With Hagalaz in particular, we’re seeing the cycle of destruction and creation. Almost every human endeavor has this cycle at its core - as the classic saying goes you can’t make an omelet without breaking the eggs.

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