Galdr-sound: OOOOOOO (as in oath)
Letter: O


"Estate is very dear / to every man / if he can enjoy what is right / and according to custom / in his dwelling / most often in prosperity"
(Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem)


The root idea of othala is that of the boundary separating the known and guarded from the unknown and dangerous. This boundary naturally came to define the land which could be inherited, and in due couse, kinship, social position, even law and custom. For example, othala establishes the degrees of relationship within which one might avenge a wrong against a clan member by killing or claiming money from the offender. The boundaries of law were clearly defined in almost every case, and usually this was according to inheritance and birth. Although the Teutonic people were not awed by noble or royal parentage, those born of of free parents, those born of bondservants and those born of thralls. Exceptions came in the cases of those born of unwed free persons or parents, or certain kinds of mixed-class unions in which the father, if the kin agreed, was required to hold a rite of adoption to bring the child within the boundaries of the kin. The naming cerimony, which took place nine days after the birth of the baby, bound the soul of the clan to the child and brought it within the circle of a clan. Before that date, the child was not considered fully human.

As the rune of inheritance, othala rules not only the bounds of the clan itself but also the mysteries of inherited power. This rune is tied to the wisdom of the kinfylgja, a guardian power who bears a resemblance to the fylgja, the valkyirja and the disir. The kinfylgja is a feminine personification of a particular family´s might, who usually attaches herself to the head of the clan, although at times she will pass to a younger member who is better fit to wield her might. Othala rules both that might which is inherited from the genetic ancestors and that which is inherited from the ancestors of the spirit - that is, your previous existences. Either or both if they are harmonious, may be the determinant of the nature of your personal power. In the end, this leads back to the udal lands of the rune of Odin´s might as the AllFather: by his inheritance of the might of both jotuns and gods, he has become identified with the roots of power for every living being. His assumption of this heritage makes him the leader of every clan.
Although othala is an enclosure, it is not an isolated enclosure. It may be gainfully increased through the powers of gebo expressed as marriage, as the giving of hostages, or as the relationship between ring-giver and warrior, although the ties of inherited blood usually prove to be stronger than the legal inclusion within the clan.
As the final rune and completion of the futhark, othala holds all the runes, the power of the runes is our own mystical heritage.

The rune othala is used to strengthen the ties of clan, especially those which relate to family customs and practices. This encompasses all those of similar physical and/or spiritual ancestry, the sibs of blood and soul. Othala is used to bring out wisdom and power from all sources of your heritage, including past-life knowledge and talents. It is particularly useful here in conjunction with mannaz and ansuz. It may be used to gain an earthly inheritance in case of legal questions, or to bring you back to the homeland of your ancestors and roots into family history. Othala is used to gain wealth in the form of possessions and immobile property, as set agains the mobile wealth of fehu. It also protects that which you rightfully own.
Othala shows both inclusion and exclusion; in workings of woe, it may in certain combinations and settings be used to cast an individual out beyond its borders, the borders of human society. It may also create a sense of racial or cultural prejudice. The vitki working with this rune must always be careful not to let her/himself be bound by it.

In ritual workings, othala shows the circle or ritual enclosure. The outer circle is the ordinary space of society, the Physical and Living Earth; the circle of the vitki is the holy circle, corresponding to Asgardhr. It also shows the mysteries of the ancestors and blood-and-soil of the homeland as the truth held in all the beliefs about the native earth.
Used with other runes, othala defines their sphere fo working particularly in thsoe cases where the matter at hand is a boundary of some kind - magical, social or physical. It is good as a aprt of wardings. It may also be used well in meditations to learn more of your past.

A stone which works well with othala is petrified wood, which is particularly known for its capability to bring out the memories and talents of past lives, and which can also be used to awaken the slumbering dragon of ancestral might



You stand outside, in a valley, at sunset, inside a fence which encloses a wide diamond-shaped yeard around a house. You recognize this house as your childhood home, set alone in this bit of fertile land surrounded by high, rocky mountains. You begin to walk the long stretch of fence around the field, tools in your hands to repair any breaks you might find.
The sky darkens quickly when the sun has sunk behindthe dark mountain peaks. The wind from the heights moans and howls eerily, sweeping down through the rocks in a whispering blast of cold. As the night settles into windy blackness, you see that the fence is beginning to glow with a faint golden light. You sense that wild things are moving beyond its border. You can just see the shadows of their misshapen forms. One of the wild things lopes up to the fence, moving now on four legs, now on two, lifting its face up to sniff at the boundary. It seems to be a manlike wolf or wolflike man, with flat face and long limbs covered with coarse grey hair. The wolf creature howls a mornful, desperate sound tht sets the hairs prickling up on your arms and down your back, and runs back into the night. You know that you have seen a vargr, an outlaw, cursed to live as a wolf beyond the bounds of kin and clan, and shudder in both pity and revulsion. Finally, you have completed your rounds of the fence. Certain that nothing can break through it, you enter your house. Your family is eating dinner inside; it is warm and bright, and you are glad to join them.

As you eat, you see a faint brightness out of the corner of your eye. You turn your head and see the rune othala in bright gold upon the floor. Inside it stands a woman in golden robes. Her hair is streaked with grey, though she is strong and tall; her eyes are bright with wisdom. Although you do not know her, you can tell by her features that she is a member of your family.
Your kinswoman beckons to you. You push back your hair and go to her, entering the enclosure of the rune through the crossed lines at its base. As you step in, the rune grows until it seems that you and your kinswoman are standing inside a small cottage - a cottae such as your Northern ancestors lived in hundreds of years ago, with hard-packed earthen floor, thatched roof and a fire in the middle sending a trail of smoke up to dim the stars that shine through the smokehole. You feel power thrumming up in your bare feet from the earth; you know that it is part of you, earth filled with the bones and blood of your forefathers and foremothers for generations. Their might is passing into you from the ancestral soil, filling you with their magick and strength. You feel that you bear the waxing power of a thousand generations and more within you through the millennia, going always backwards in time and space. Your mind is now full of secrets, wisdom hidden in the blood and soul that has ghosted down the ages from father to son, mother to daughter, your true spiritual heritage coming forth at last.
Your kinfylgja places a wand in your right hand. On it is carved a great othala rune with the whole futhark written within. She bends down and scoops up a handful of earth, pressing that into your left hand until it melds into your flesh. You stand still as she steps forward, her being and might passing into you.

Slowly you return to your own body, feet firmly planted on the earth, filled with your own ancestral might and wisdom, which you can always reach through the rune othala.

I deeply honour the roots where I come from and carry with pride the Torch my Spiritual Heritage



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