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Experiencing the landscape of the runes in Bodo

After basing my life on the Younger Futhark runes, and the Norse pantheon I have finally managed a trip to Norway.

We arrived (I travelled with my three sons) at- possibly my favourite place on the trip- Bodo. A small city in the Arctic circle with an strangely industrial feel, surrounded by ocean and snow-capped mountains.

We were there for mind-summer ( a lucky chance) and the mid-night sun was disconcerting. The light didn’t really change, and the sun dipped below the horizon for a short time rather than setting. Day and night, light and dark- markers of our life. It confused us, we lost track of time- staying up later and subtly shifting our body clocks. It made me want to DO more, to pack more into the never-ending day. We were up (UK time) at 3am to catch our early morning flight to Oslo, then on to Bodo. We checked into our air-bnb about 3.30pm. Yet we walked about 10 miles that afternoon and evening. Exhausted, but with a need to be outside- walking along the harbour edge time and time again to take in the ocean, the mountains, and the freshness of the air.

As we sat (endlessly, several times a day) on the rocky outcrop at the edge of the harbour I felt the raw primal energy of Jord, Njord, Ull. And how Odin wove himself into the landscape.

For me Jord is earth. And all earth was once rock. Rock that has been weathered, where cracks have allowed small plants to grow- creating tiny cracks in the rock expanded by water and ice, further filled as the plants die, slowly creating the rich matter we call “soil”. And everywhere in Bodo, and surrounding Bodo was rocks. Reminding me that fertile soil is Jord’s rocks cracked wide, filled with death to allow new life.

Njord is water- the rune laug meaning “water”. And water dominated Bodo- from the surrounding ocean, to the endless streams and rivers building into the estuary, to the snow topped mountains. This is a landscape created by the Old Gods. The Gods of earth and water. It was easy to look out and imagine humans had never touched this landscape- that not so much had changed in a millennia.

The God that took my breath away was Ull. I often think of him as “glory”. I know this is associated with the Northern lights- and obviously with no night there was no Northern Lights. But looking at the high mountains, the snow catching the light, the mountains fading into shades of blue creating an infinity feel with the ocean and the sky (which my camera could never quite catch) I felt his Glory. His mountains looked like a wonderland, and I was desperate to be there, to experience them. (Which I did- at later points in my journey).

And Odin. I don’t see him in quite the same way as many do. I do think he is a self-styled “All-father” that there were others before him, and after. But as his rune poem mentions “Estuary is the way of most journeys” Because Bodo is in the heart of huge mountains- and water is the obvious way to travel. As I watched the busy boats in the harbour, the fishing, the cruises, the ferries, the trade, and my beloved Hurtigruten boats I appreciated why Njord was needed by Odin.

The wealth of the sea is not only the riches within the sea- but the goods, and experience that comes with trade via the estuary- both inland and further out via the oceans. I could feel the energy of Odin as I watched the endless boats on their fascinating journeys. Always moving, endlessly restless.

Looking for more information about the runes? I am building a series of blogs you can find more here: Runes | maddy-elruna-tarot (


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