"Ing was first among the East Danes,
Beheld by men, until afterwards to the east,
He went over the waves, (his) chariot ran after,
Then the warriors named the hero thusly"
(Old English Rune Poem)
Ingwaz is the 22nd rune of the Elder Futhark as a whole. Its sound is that of the English "ng." Like Thurisaz, it represents a sound written by two letters in the Roman alphabet used to write modern languages, such most of European languages of today.
As Ingwaz did not carry over into the Younger Futhark, only the Old English
Rune Poem has a verse for Ingwaz. In Anglo-Saxon, its name became "Ing,"
and it describes how Ing was first seen by the East Danes, implying to me that
his boat was headed West, a direction associated both with the Vanir and the
Dead (the latter, to my knowledge, not directly in Germanic lore). After death,
his folk put his richly-laden body back in the ship and sent it over the waves
whence he came, and his "wagon followed after," as the Rune Poem reminds
us. Alternatively, Ing was buried at Gamla Upsala in Sweden.
Ing, of course, is none other than the Norse nature God Ingvi Freyr. Thus, Ingwaz, like Tiwaz, is attached to a specific God, and this article, like the one on Tiwaz, is also a theological treatise. The rune poem contains allusions to myths known today only in a fragmentary way. Ing was said to have come to the people as a infant alone on a boat. He reigned as a king, and his body after death was sent out again over the waves. The myth of Sceaf Scylding (Sheaf Shield's-son) is similar. Ing was known as a God of peace and plenty (Peace-Frodhi), but has his warrior aspect as well. He traded his self-propelled sword for his Jotun-bride Gerd, so he fights with an antler at Ragnarok. Some have attempted to equate him with Cernunnos, the horned Celtic God of Wiccan fame, but althought there may be ties linking Freyir/Frey to Cerunnos, this observation may be pushing too hard. Some represent Ing as the Green Man or Foliate Mask seen in medieval churches. These carvings have been given both Christian and Pagan interpretations by modern scholars, but the one or two which have written labels are identified as Pagan nature Gods. The idea that Ing = the Green Man is by no means proven, but strikes a chord with many. The surviving lore ascribes to Ing the fertility of fields and flocks, but he is not depicted as a wildwood God!
We know from surviving writings that Frey was commonly depicted with an erect phallus. Two such images have survived, one in metal and the other, a slightly modified three-forked branch, can be seen in Glob's The Bog People.
Ingvi Freyr is Njordhr's son. His mother was said to be his sister, who did not move to Asgard from Vanaheim when her husband, son and daughter did. Nerthus gets my vote for Ing's mother, and this seems to be the modern Heathen consensus as well. Magickal and divinatory meanings for Ingwaz (I will use this reconstructed Common Germanic name for the rune and Ing or Ingvi and/or Freyr for the God) include: good luck, protection, a man or men, husband, well-being, hearth (and home), male sexuality, fatherhood, a happy surprise, and a happy home.
Ingwaz has links to several other runes. The phallic God is full of "seed", as it were. Hence, he gives increase of herds and flocks. The very best is kept for seed grain and breeding stock, and the rest becomes Fehu. Money can be both seed grain (if invested) or Fehu (if spent). Like an offspring emerging from its mother's womb or a seed sprouting from the soil, Ingwaz bursts into the open. It has its own inner glow, which is at first hidden in Laguz. Later, when it becomes manifest, it ties into Sowilo. Berkano is the feminine counterpart to Ingwaz. Ingwaz is also the treasure hidden in the well of Perthro. Handle Ingwaz, like all runes, with care. It tends toward pregnancy. If you are looking for a significant other but not to start a family, at least not right off, it is best to invoke Freya rather than Freyr. Ingwaz requires careful handling here.
Ingwaz can, however, bring out things other than literal, biological fertility.
It improves everything in its range. Ingwaz can help uncover "fruits"
of the inner life such as inspiration, Magickal ability, mystical insight, and
great idea. These can be wisely employed for practical results in many cases.
Starting a business or a degree program is like sowing seed. Ingwaz is helpful
in all of these!
In the search for religious/spiritual understanding, Ingwaz can be a great help. It supports life and health. Ingwaz wards off illness. Ingwaz is orderly and gently motivates. In this, it contrasts markedly with Tiwaz, which includes an element of force. Ingwaz is a remedy for entropy and apathy. It can help re-instill the will to live. Here, Wunjo can also be of help.
One of the Laws of Magick is that Like draws Like. Unlike tends to repel. Since
Ingwaz is so sane, healthy and happy in its effects, it tends to repel insanity,
crazy folks, and anything tending toward destruction, chaos and deception. Ingwaz
facilitates healthy male sexuality, both in attitude and in physical function.
Ingwaz has protective overtones, although it works differently than Elhaz in
this aspect and very differently than Thurisaz when it is so employed. According
to the Sheils, Kenaz/Kaunaz and Ehwaz have ties to Ingwaz, although they do
not elaborate. However, this would be worth your further exploration.
This is a very GOOD rune. "Good sex", as Dr. Ruth would put it, as well as good food, good friends, and a good home life all fall under Ingwaz in some way. Notice all of these but food don't cost money. (By Jordsvin)
At the Well of Wyrd by Edred Thorsson (for the translations of the Rune Poems).
The Road to Bifrost volume III: the Runes and Holy Signs by Thorr and Audrey Sheil
Very important Note by Ingeborg S. Norden:
"Some rune books try to make Ingwaz into a "castration" rune--reading Freudian symbolism into the myth where Freyr sacrifices his magic sword to gain a wife. I see at least THREE things wrong with that interpretation: (1) Castrating yourself in order to get married, makes about as much sense as cutting off your feet to enter a marathon! (2) The groom giving the bride an ancestral sword seems to be a regular Norse marriage custom; if phallic symbolism *is* involved, I'd associate it with offering the woman his manhood to use normally. (3) The conventional image of Freyr (judging by the lore and religious art) is anything BUT castrated! There is NO evidence in the lore for this kind of sex-change, however.
Ingwaz as a seed-rune in general: I agree with that interpretation 100%. Seeds in the earth or in the body are both alive, but have not grown yet; their potential energy is still hidden. I also see a connection with the dead here: the spirit living on in the grave until its time for rebirth comes. Again, I'm reminded of that passage in Ynglingasaga-- "When it became known to the Swedes that Frey was dead, and yet peace and good seasons continued, they believed that it must be so as long as Frey remained in Sweden; and therefore they would not burn his remains, but called him the god of this world, and afterwards offered continually blood-sacrifices to him, principally for peace and good seasons."
Frey is the god of Sweeden, and Swedish people acknowledged that their peace and prosperity depended on Freyr's staying among them, even in death.
Second, the word for "world" in that passage does NOT mean the earth or the environment. (If that were what Snorri had meant, the Old Norse would have called Freyr _heimsins goð_, not _veraldar goð_!) The word _veröld_ literally translates as "man-age" or "human lifetime". ("God of everyday life" or "god of the here and now" would be more accurate, though less formal, translations!) Those tie in with your comments: "This is a very GOOD rune. 'Good sex', as Dr. Ruth would put it, as well as good food, good friends, and a good home life all fall under Ingwaz in some way." Very appropriate for a god of everyday life at its best!
As important as the retrieval of the Divine Feminine in Her myriad forms, it
is the retrieval of the Passionate and Vibrant Masculine.
For this week, honour the God in His myriad forms. Offer Him your prayers and your love, acknowledge your great masculine qualities (it doesn't matter whether you are a woman or a man: remember that the Spirit is both and beyond!).
Frey´s Return will be once more achieved by your daily magicks and may His Strength, Power, Vitality and Love be yours to share in all levels and spheres!
< Back to the 3rd Aettir
To the top of this document
(c) rune-magick.com / eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org