Algiz, a rune of protection and shielding, is known as the elk rune, though it is fairly certain that algiz/elk is not the etymological origin for this rune. That is not the only uncertainty about this rune which is said variably to sound like ‘x/ks,’ ‘r,’ ‘il,’ ‘l,’ ‘hw’ and ‘z.’ The modern attribution is the sound ‘z’ since we have Raido for ‘r’ etc.
So which is it? Nobody knows but I believe it is likely that the rune name comes from the Germanic word for protection, ‘Algie,’ rather than the word for ‘elk,’ though it is possible that elk snuck in because of the shape of the rune which is not entirely dissimilar to the elk’s antlers… which are used for protection!
Drawing down power
In addition to serving as protection, Algiz can be seen as man’s effort to reach up to draw down divine power on Earth. This is the stance we take, with arms reaching up to the sky, for instance, when we draw down the Moon.
In the Anglo-Saxon rune row, the meaning changes to a plant name, ‘elk-sedge,’ though the plant bearing this name in modern times is native to the Americas.
The Anglo-Saxon rune poem for Algiz:
“The Elk-sedge usually lives in the fen,growing in the water. It wounds severely,staining with blood any man who makes a grab at it.”
So once again, one function of Elk-sedge could be protection if, perhaps, grown in a moat (disclaimer: I don’t actually know if you can grow elk-sedge in motes)… Learn more about holistic rune meanings and correspondences for Algiz HERE.
Algiz Divine Protection Tarot Spread
1. How to stay safe and protected
2. What I need to protect
3. What I should be drawing down from Heaven now
4. Current threat level/type of foe
5. Strength to draw on
Algiz Divine Protection Tarot Spread – Sample Reading
1. How to stay safe and protected – 4 of Swords. Meditation is my best protection and this comes as no surprise. I have battened down the hatches and gotten super disciplined about my meditation practice lately and I’m starting to feel the benefits.
2. What I need to protect – 9 of Pentacles. The material source of my well-being, my health/body and my finances.
3. What I should be drawing down from Heaven now – Ace of Wands. Divine Fire and Inspiration.
4. Current threat level/type of foe – Judgement. Red alert!!! Someone is calling in the big guns to bring me down, asking The Powers That Be to rain down fire and brimstone on me. I had a psychic flash about this when I was outside running through a field full of cows earlier today, so it seems a good fit.
5. Strength to draw on – King of Cups. This King is all about acceptance and compassion. Compassion for my enemy and acceptance of the energy directed toward me to thwart me. I’m always happy to yield to the divine and my innocence is my best protection. Their ‘prayers’ flow over me but can do me no harm.