Spiritual Reflections

Pagan Witchcraft


Who Is Starweaver?

Archive of Past Issues

Site Index

Blog: Starweaver's Corner


Sowilo (pronounced SOH-wee-loh) was used to represent the s sound in runic writing in all the Germanic languages. The name means Sun. The Icelandic Rune Poem reads

Sun is
shield of the clouds
and shining ray
and destroyer of ice.

In the northern lands where the Germanic peoples originally lived, the world was conceived as a battleground between the elements of fire and ice. Life came forth when the heat of the Sun's fire melted the snows of winter and revealed the moist, fertile earth beneath.

The Sun was personified as feminine, and the Moon masculine - opposite the associations found in Mediterranean cultures. In the warm regions of southern Europe, the Sun could be an unwelcome guest, parching the land and drying it up. The Moon was sometimes a welcome relief in these places, a gentle feminine presence presiding over balmy nights and outdoor revels. It was not so in Northern Europe, where the Sun was unambiguously benevolent (and the Moon does not merit a rune!) The Sun was warmer, life-giver, creatrix. Known as Sol or Sunna, the Sun goddess rode through the sky in a chariot drawn by two luminous horses, Arvak and Alsvid. She was pursued by a wolf, Skoll, who was fated to catch her and devour her (a metaphor for a solar eclipse), at which point she would be reborn as her own daughter.

Thew Sun was also a guide, as suggested in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem:

The sun is ever a joy in the hopes of seafarers
when they journey away over the fishes' bath,
until the courser of the deep bears them to land.

The light of the Sun dispels fog and the darkness of night, allowing us to see the way before us once again. She is illuminator, bringer of clarity. From the Sun's place in the sky, we can judge both direction and time of day.

The Sun is thus the great force of fire and light, the Goddess who leads us out of the frozen, trackless darkness of the winter and ushers in a rebirth of life and awareness. She rejuvenates us, and brings us back to the path of progress and growth after we have lost the way and survived the darkness of despair and disorientation.

When this rune appears in your divination work, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What revitalizes me?
  • What is being revealed?
  • What is my true will?
  • What is the path to my destination?
  • What wall of ice is being melted away?

The Sun is a divine guide to growth and truth. In her light, we can see our way forward and we can receive the life-force we need to pursue it. She reminds us that night does not last for ever, and that uncertainty and weakness can be melted away when clarity and vigor return to our lives.

You can use the sowilo rune magically, too. It can bring you clarity, renewed vigor, and help reveal your purpose. It can melt away whatever is keeping your frozen and immobile, and can dispel the darkness of depression, confusion, or lethargy. Use this wound to strengthen a new resolve, or to energize hope.

Rune Lore is a regular feature of Starweaver's Gems from Earth and Sky

Copyright © 2008 Tom Waters