Nauthiz is the rune for self-reliance. Nauthiz teaches us that we’re all responsible for meeting our own needs, even when it’s not easy. The shape of this rune looks like two crossed sticks. If you’ve ever tried rubbing two sticks together to start a fire, you know that it’s a slow, frustrating, seemingly impossible process - and if you’ve ever done so while freezing cold, you understand the dire sense of urgency that makes accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks possible.
Understanding Nauthiz: A Look at the Historical Literature
Hardship was well known to the Vikings. We see Nauthiz appear in all three rune poems, acknowledging the difficult nature of life and pointing out the need to work through tough times.
In the Old Norwegian Rune Poem, we read:
Constraint gives scant choice;
a naked man is chilled by the frost.
In the Old Icelandic Rune Poem, we read:
Constraint is grief of the bond-maid
and state of oppression
and toilsome work.
In the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, we read:
Trouble is oppressive to the heart;
yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.
What Does It Mean When Nauthiz Appears in a Rune Reading?
While every rune invites some degree of self-examination, Nauthiz is all about understanding what’s driving you to make the choices you make. You may be feeling trapped or in a dark phase of your life, but this experience will reveal to you the underlying needs you must meet in order to be happier and healthier.
Nauthiz also encourages you to trust yourself. Self-reliance is a skill that builds with practice. The more you actively take care of meeting your own needs, the easier it becomes - and the more prepared you are to care for other people who are important to you. Individual strength helps build strong communities.