Head & Torso
Head and Neck
(forehead at hairline) “Earth diamond” “Eye of fire” a sign associated with Hel . It is said to allow one to always see the truth. This may be by enhancement of second sight as it is also said to dispel glamors and fascinations. This is also said to be the ever-gazing eye of Vor (aware), the goddess from whom nothing in the entire nine worlds can be hidden.
(wrapping from tips of “earth diamond” around to eight-spoke Swastika) Elhaz, Eihwaz, Tiwaz, Thurisaz, Mannaz
- Elhaz, the elk rune offers the protection of the Valkyries. Elhaz has an alternative name, “Algiz,” which means “protection.” The Gothic word “alhs” or sanctuary is also associated with this rune. Elhaz can be used to strengthen magical power and luck, as well as stamina or life force. Used on its own it is a rune of protection, useful against all hostile forces. Because it embodies victory through active defense, it is not usually employed on it’s own, but in conjunction with other runes or talismans. It can be used to enhance all defensive actions or to undercut the defenses of an enemy. In a similar way it can be used to raise alertness to danger, or lull an enemy into a false sense of security. It keeps out “baneful wights” and other unwanted influences. Folks who choose to embody wrong cannot stand the energy of this Rune.
- Eihwaz, represents the tree of life, the yew tree, Yggdrasill. The yew is a powerful stave of protection and banishing, not only because of its association with the forces of life and death, but because of its association with the yew bow. Eihwaz is the axis around which all else revolves and from which all else spins. It suggests the passage and communication between different worlds and layers of reality and contains the mystery of life and death. The yew is a life giving force which has its roots in the Underworld and death. Eihwaz is the immovable object standing against all irresistable forces. It provides protection and can help increase personal power and defense. Yggdrasil is the tree from which Odin hung to obtain the answers to the mysteries of the runes. This means Eihwaz can be worked to obtain understanding of all mysteries. This rune is also associated with Ullr, god of the winter sky who dwells in Ydal, Yew-dale, and uses a yew bow. He is called upon to shield the fighter in duels. The yew is known as the tree of death, still planted in cemetreies to this day. According to popular belief, the yew tree can trap the souls of the dead. Eihwaz is used for making wands and staves along the turnk of the World Tree or to fare up and down it yourself. The name Yggdrasill means “steed of Ygg” (Odin). The gallows is called the horse of the hanged. Through this rune you can speak to the dead and learn wisdom from them as Odin does, or call them up if your need should be so great that nothing more will suffice. The Poetic Edda writes how Odin has to ride down to the seeress´ mound at the eastern gate of Hel to chant her up and even then she complains of the fear-fraught ways he makes her fare. Both the riding and the calling forth are ruled by eihwaz. Making the dead fare to Midgardhr is a sure way to rouse their wrath. It is also a rune of warding when you must fare past the bounds of the world. Eihwaz strengthens the will. It is the might which holds memory and purpose through death and rebirth. You can learn from both other dead and the dead whose knowledge and power have been passed on and hidden in your own soul.
- Tiwaz, also called Tiews, Tir, and Tyr, in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem. The rune is identified with the North Star, Polaris, and the god Tyr. Tiwaz is said to symbolize a spear or the vault of heaven pierced by the world tree or axis. This image is intended to convey a pillar supporting the heavens and as such, may act as a bridge between human affairs and the divine will. As the North Star, Tiwaz calls on the image of guidance which the north star has given to many travelers over the centuries. This rune, then, can be considered representative of the guiding principles which are steadfast and can be relied on to judge one’s position. Tyr is a god of justice who gave his hand to subdue the wolf, Fenris. Since Tyr is the Norse god who presided at the Germanic general assembly, this rune can be interpreted primarily as a rune of justice and leadership. In Teutonic culture, judgment in legal matters was not always arrived at by discussion or deliberation. Judgment by arms was a more common concept. Tiwaz is associated with the idea that “justice will prevail” and victory will be granted to the one most deserving of a favorable judgment. This cultural belief also lends strength to the connection between Tyr and the sword, spear, or arrow. Magically it can be invoked where justice should be done, to prevail in legal matters or lawsuits, and for victory in contests or combat.
- Thurisaz or Thorn, in the original Norse, meant “Frost Giant,” and it can be found translated as giant, monster, demon or devil, reflecting this original meaning. By extension, it was also associated with the giant killer, Thor. It is also sometimes used to represent Loki, Thor’s Hammer, Chaos, wildfire, or a gateway. Thurisaz is a dangerous rune, representing natural forces that can damage or kill. Magically, it is not a safe rune for ritual or spells. It may be used to deploy destructive or defensive forces, but the method is fraught with difficulty. The Icelandic and Norse poems both warn that this rune is dangerous to women. Thurisaz is the rune of chaos, sudden danger, attack, weapons, hostility, war, pain, harm and wounding. It relates to disagreement, conflict and violent confrontation, but at the same time, it can act as a helping, balancing force to overcome the forthcoming difficulty. It represents harmful obsessions, including sexual ones, reaction force, destructive force, conflict, instinctive behaviour, and a changeable nature. Thurisaz can also signify the will or motivation to change. Thurisaz epitomises the adage “there’s no gain without pain.”
- Mannaz, also called Manna, Mann, and Madhr, represents man. It symbolizes interdependence and support, as well as duty and responsibility. No individual is independent of others, each is part of a larger pattern. For this reason, Mannaz depicts the intersecting point of human contact, a handshake. It is a rune of the human existence, a rune of mortality which is the human condition. Mannaz can represent either an individual or a group, representing the inner qualities that reinforce and reflect the connections between people, or the social order and expectations that reinforce the fabric of human society. Mannaz is a reference to the importance of upholding the expectations of social order. While other runes in the Futhark carry meanings elemental, situational, or circumstantial, this rune is always a specific reference to a human or to humanity. It invokes bonding with the community, promoting cooperation, assistance and teamwork, but again, specifically among humans.
(directly after “earth diamond“) A solar fire sign, also an alchemical sign for gold. In Ghana, this is the adinkrahene a sign meaning “highest,” “best,” or “king.” This is a protective symbol.
(directly after fire sign) an eight-spoke variation of the Swastika, offering protection from all directions, possibly a precursor of the modern chaos sign.
(directly after eight-spoke swastika) “Aries“, red. This sign offers protection from head injuries. In Greek, this constellation is Krios the ram. In Persia, it is Varak, the lamb. It is Mesha, the ram, or Aja, the goat, in India. However, in Babylon, this constellation was Zappu, the hair or Hunga, the worker. In Rome, it was a sign associated with Minerva.
(directly after Aries) “Taurus“, pink. This sign protects from neck injuries. In all cultures, this constellation was the bull -Tauros (Greece), Tora (Persia), Vrisha (Sanskrit), and Gudanna (Babylon).
(directly after Taurus, loop on back of skull and arms and body on neck) the “Ankh,” red and blue; “key of the Nile.” This is the Egyptian god-staff. It symbolizes life, reproduction, and sexual union, or according to other sources, zest for life, future life, or life after death. It is a sign of Hathor who is shown carrying the ankh and giving life with it. It is also associated with Imkotep (3000 BC), a physician to the pharaoh’s family who was made god of medicine long after his death. This sign is also found in Peru with the loop filled in. It was used by the Mochica culture. Around the 7th century, it was adopted by the Christians as the Crux Ansata or coptic cross. The Ankh is very similar to the sign of Venus and the goddess Venus is seen as a variation of Hathor through Inanna/Astarte.
(at base of ankh to left) “Egyptian Vulture“, red. The vulture is a sign of Isis. It is protective against venomous animals. The vulture is also connected to Nekhebet or Nekchbet, the Guardian goddess of Upper Egypt who looked after children and mothers. She was often shown with Uatchet, who was shown as an identical goddess, either as a woman or a snake, wearing the crown of Lower Egypt. It was in her mothering role that she was known as the ‘Great White Cow of Nekhb.’ She was seen as the pharaoh’s own protective goddess, right from his birth until his death. It was mostly during the later times that she was venerated as a goddess of birth, specializing in the protection and suckling of both the gods and the pharaohs. Nekhbet was thought to be the wife of Hapi, and she was also linked to Horus in his role of god of Upper Egypt. Due to her vulture form, she was linked to the goddess Mut, the mother goddess and wife of Amen. Both Mut and Nekhbet were a particular type of vulture – the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). She was also linked to war and combat, depicted hovered above the pharaoh in many war scenes and protecting him from his enemies.
In Southern Africa, the name for an Egyptian vulture is synonymous with the term applied to lovers, for vultures like pigeons are always seen in pairs. Thus mother and child remain closely bonded together. Pairing, bonding, protecting, loving are essential attributes associated with a vulture. Because of its immense size and power and its ability to sore high up in the sky, the vulture is considered to be nearer to God who is believed to reside above the sky. Thus the qualities of a vulture are associated with Godliness. On the other hand the wide wingspan of a vulture may be seen as all encompassing and providing a protective cover to its infants. The vulture when carrying out its role as a mother and giving protection to its infants may exhibit a forceful nature while defending her young. All these qualities inspired the imagination of the Ancient Egyptians. They adopted what seemed to them at the time to be motherly qualities, the qualities of protecting and nurturing their young.
-Ma-Wetu, The Kiswahili-Bantu Research Unit for the Advancement of the Ancient Egyptian Language
(at base of ankh to right) “The collar of Gold.” This sign offers protection for the throat and neck. In mummification, it is used by the mummy to free itself from its wrappings. It was a rare amulet of the later period (about BC 500).
(base of neck, front left) Nefer, red. This was a very popular Egyptian symbol used to attract luck, joy and success.
(base of neck, front center) Tyet, the Buckle or Girdle of Isis, the Knot of Isis, the Blood of Isis; red, sometimes inlaid with green. It is often translated as “life” or “welfare” and represents Isis’ genitalia or her menstrual blood. It is a symbol of vitality, fertility, and the motherly wisdom of Isis. It provides the dead with access to and the ability to move freely in the underworld.
From a spell in the Papyrus of Ani:
“The blood of Isis, the spells of Isis, the magical words of Isis shall keep this great (or shining) one strong, and shall protect him from whosoever would harm him\do to him such things as he abominate.”
(base of neck, front right) The Papyrus Scepter, green. The papyrus scepter represents youth and vigor. It protects the body from injury, damage, and decay. It enhances healing magic. This was a favorite amulet and symbol of scribes as papyrus was used for writing. Based on the rampant growth of the papyrus, it became symbolic of life and fertility. Funerary texts dictate that the placement of the papyrus scepter on the neck to ensure continued life and fertility after death.
(right, under collar bone) Seed of the Universe. This a Tibetan symbol depicting the origin of the universe. It spirals clockwise in a spiral of potential energy. A similar sign is the emblem of Quetzalcoatl from approximately 700AD. Quetzalcoatl is associated with Venus as the Morning Star.
(next to Seed, under collar bone) Cancer, green. The Greek Karkinos, Persian Kalakang, Sanskrit Karkat, and Babylonian Al-Lul are all depicted as crabs. In the Egyptian zodiac however, this constellation is Dendera, the scarab, a sign of Khepera, the sun god. Many cultures believed that the world began with all planets aligned in the constellation of Cancer and would end that way as well.
(left, under collar bone) Staff of Odin. Compare this symbol to the Staff of Jupiter or the Staff of Adad, all storm gods.
(next to Staff, under collar bone) Egyptian heart container, blue. This sign preserves vitality and power. It is the seat of conscience, protected by the god Tuamutef.
(center of chest) Eye of the Dragon. This is a Germanic sign representing protection from threat, combining the downward pointing triangle with Y, representing the “choice between good and evil.”
(right, under Cancer) Scarab, green-gray. The scarab is a symbol of Khepera, the sun. Carved scarabs replaced the heart in mummification rituals. It was worn by the living next to the heart to ensure longevity.
(left, under Heart Container) Leo, orange. In all cultures, this is the constellation of the lion. In Greece, it is Leon, in Persia ser, in Hindi Simha, and in Babylon Urgula the Lioness. The sign denotes boldness, bravery, leadership, and nobility of spirit.
(diaphragm) Ohm, Aum. This is a protective sign representing the four states of consciousness -wakefulness, dream, sleep without dreams, and the transcendental state (Samadhi, Satori, or the exteriorized state).
(stomach) Protective rune glyph formed of Eiwaz, Uruz, Mannaz, Ingwaz, Hagal, Elhaz
Eihwaz -protection from deception and thought forms
Uruz -protection from astral attack
Mannaz -protection from interference with intuition
Ingwaz -protection from astral attack and the evil eye
Hagal -protection from physical attack and misfortune
Elhaz -strengthen self-defense
(between protective rune and belly button) Virgo, blue. In Egypt, this constellation was depicted as a woman holding a sheaf of wheat. In Babylon, this constellation was called Ab-sin, the furrow. It is Kanya in Sanskrit, Khusak in Persian, and Parthenos in Greece… all meaning virgin or maiden. It has been connected to the goddesses Ceres, Ishtar, Ma’at, and Astraea, and the god Mercury. It promotes tact, intuition, and skill.
(belly button) Oroboros, red. Oroboros is the Gnostic name for the world serpent. While more modern depictions would have us believe the serpent is male, the original serpent was a female, protecting an egg, the world. Sometimes the serpent was androgynous or a mated pare. In the Middle East, the serpent was called Taqut. In Egypt it was Thoth or Sata. It was Vasuki in India and Ophion to the Ophite Christians. In Japan, it is Koski and in Russia, it is Koshchei the Deathless. It has had many other names as well… Nahash, Nehushtan, Nahusha, Okeanus, and the Midgard worm. In Egypt, the red head of a snake, called Urhekau “serpent’s head that opens mouth”, was used in spells to compel the truth. It was usually dedicated to Isis. A coiled snake was protective for travelers and from chaotic forces.
(to right and above Oroboros) Caduceus. This is an old sign, predating its use in Greece as a symbol of Asclepius and Hermes. In Mesopotamia, the Caduceus represents Ningishzida, one of the lovers of Ishtar. His symbol is a staff around which the double-sexed, two-headed serpent Sachan coils. It is a sign which has been found in diverse areas of the world including India and the Americas.
(to left and above Oroboros) Runic charm against hexes. This charm is found in Northern Europe. It was designed to ward off spells cast by rival magicians. It is said to be a crude representation of a human (male, female, or both) with power in both hands.
(below Oroboros) Libra, light blue. This constellation is Tula in Sanskrit, Tarazuk in Persian, and Zibanita in Babylon, meaning “scales.” In Greece however, this sign is Zugos, the yoke. It is considered sacred to Ma’at, Vulcan, Venus, Tanit, and Libera.
(below Libra) Scorpio, dark red. In Sanskrit, this sign is known as Vrischika. It is Gir-Tab in Babylon, Gazdum in Persia, and Skorpion in Greece. Scorpio is associated with the planet Mars. The sign is supposed to preside over passion, boldness, courage, determination, and death.
(below the ankh) 7-rung Ladder running length of spine, each rung corresponding to color of different planet. The ladder is an important symbol to many ancient cults. The cult of Mithra used a ladder of seven rungs, each rung corresponding to one of the seven known planets and their deities. The ladder was also sacred in Egypt in conjunction with Horus or Set as guardians who would help the pharaoh ascend to haven. Climbing a ladder is characteristic of the shamanistic initiations of Central Asia, China, and the Black Sea.
(below first rung) Triquetra. The Triquetra is an ancient symbol of female trinity composed of three yonic vescas interlaced to form a gateless design (that is, a sign without an opening). It is always regarded as protective. In more modern times, is has been called the symbol of Glory.
(below second rung) Pentagram. This symbol was possibly discovered some 6000 years ago in the Tigris-Euphrates region as a result of astrological observations. It was common in Sumeria as of 2700 BC. Many cultures have used its symbolism. It has been described as a symbol of the seven corners of the earth, coupled with the vault of heaven. The Pythagoreans used it as a symbol of the human body, and from this association a pentagram flipped onto its head came to be considered a sign of evil or man’s nature reversed. This star and its six point cousin have both been called Solomon’s Seal or Solomon’s Shield by medieval mystics. It is also sometimes called the Eastern Star and is identified with Venus (the Morning Star). In Nordic countries, the pentagram is said to protect against trolls and evil. It is considered sacred to the Celtic death goddess Morgan. Other names for this sign include the Pentalpha, the Star of Bethlehem, the Three Kings’ Star, the Star of Logres, the Devil’s Sign, Witches’ Cross, Goblin’s Foot, Drudenfuss (Germany-Druid’s foot).
(below third rung) Hexagram. The hexagram is based on a gestalt of two triangles, one pointing upwards and one down. It is estimated that it may have been in use some 3000 years before the pentagram. From earliest times it was considered a sign of the Hebrews and its use spread with them. For this reason, it may deserve the title of Solomon’s Seal more so than does the pentagram. The hexagram has also been called the Shield of David or the Magen David. Used by alchemists in the Middle Ages, it was a symbol for fire-water. This was based on the use of the downward pointing triangle being a symbol for water and the upward pointing triangle being a symbol for water. The sign was also used to represent quintessence or the fifth element in some alchemical texts, and very rarely it was used to mean “drink.” The two triangles are also viewed as female and male (Kali and Shiva) and represent the union of opposites to maintain life.
(below fourth rung) Heptagram. The heptagram presents the seven planets or seven celestial spheres. It is also known as the Mystical Star.
(below fifth rung) Octogram. This is a sign of creation and regeneration. In Nordic countries, it is used in invocations of magic and a protective ideogram carved into doors and walls.
(below sixth rung) Enneagram. The nine-point star has come to represent the nine gifts of spirit in Christian dogma -love, happiness, peace, patience, leniency, benevolence, trustworthiness, gentleness, and temperance. It is also called the Star of the Muses.
(below seventh rung, at base of spine) The Djed Pillar, red and blue. The Djed pillar was one of the most important religious symbols of ancient Egypt. It represents to the restoration of Osiris. Some sources say it represents his back bone and lends strength and stability to the wearer’s back and spine. Though it does resemble vertebrae in the more simplistic pictures, many more sources indicate it is a symbol of the sycamore trunk wherein Osiris’ body was concealed from Isis. The four cross bars represent the four cardinal points. It is worn as both a strengthening and protective amulet and is a symbol of endurance.
(on shoulder blades) Utchat, (right) the Eye of Ra, green; (left) the Eye of Horus, blue. Together the Utchat form an amulet of healing and protective energies. The solar eye (Ra) was often drawn on magical papyri alone to protect the words written therein and charge them with power.
(left of Eye of Horus) Medieval charm. This sign is supposed to secure the aid of “good spirits.”
(below Eye of Horus) Turtle, green-gray. In Native American systems, the turtle can provide invisibility on the astral plane.
(right of Eye of Ra) Holy Magic Circle.
(below Eye of Ra) Raven. The Raven protects against black magic in America.
(left buttock) Icelandic Protection Cross, Aegishjalmur “helm of awe”. This sign literally “defends the center.” Like a swastika, it shows the four directions, and along each line, bars are placed preventing enemies and tribulations from reaching the center. It is supposed to provide protection and irresistibility in battle.
(right buttock) Native American Sign. This symbols is supposed to facilitate communication with the spirits.