Welcome to the Perthro column of Rune-of-the-Month Club. Perthro is the Rune for the sound represented by the Roman letter “P.” This is the sixth Rune of the second Aett, hence the fourteenth Rune, so we are moving right along! Perthro is the reconstructed Common Germanic name of this Rune. The Anglo-Saxons called it Peord; the Gothic name was Pairthra.Edit
Divination is also a function of Perthro. You could put rune-chips into a dice-cup, or think of the rune-pouch as the Well of Wyrd. The Sheils remind us that Wyrd is evolving constantly. Interpret the results of a Rune reading not as what is set in stone (BTW passive Fatalism is NOT what Wyrd is about), but rather as the most likely outcome given the CURRENT circumstances. Make the changes you feel appropriate (the basic three-Rune reading goes from past state or causes to current state or best action to future state or most likely outcome), then do another reading in a week or so!Edit
The Sheils also mention the nine nights of Odin’s Initiation upon Yggdrasil (source of his, and hence our, Rune-knowledge) and the nine months of pregnancy as being tied in with Perthro. Since Initiation is indeed a (re)birth, this makes sense to me. Magick Number Nine is very significant to Heathen mythology! How many pieces did the snake fly into when Odin struck it with NINE glory-twigs in the Anglo-Saxon NINE Herbs Charm? Right. Nine bonus points for you! Some superstitious Christians BTW are as scared of 9, which by pure coincidence in Arabic numerals looks like an upside-down 6, as they are of 6 (as in 666) itself! Wonder if it is tied in to some extent with Christianized Germanic peoples’ fear of the Old Wisdom? Just a thought, but...Edit
Wells and suchlike (caves and caverns, think of the birth canal) are another entry into the religious mysteries of Heathenism, and of this Rune in particular. Remember all the Heathen and Celtic Pagan sacred wells and springs. They have been taken over by Catholics in places like Lourdes. Perthro is the Well of Wyrd. It’s no coincidence that Eihwaz, the World Tree Yggdrasil, is the Rune just before it in the Futhark. Occasionally the two switch places in some old inscriptions of the Elder Futhark, but they are still side-by-side. The Well and the Tree by Bauschatz is well worth reading as you investigate the Heathen Mysteries.Edit
While the “Havamal” reminds us that a gift looks for a gift, sometimes a gift is just that, a gift! Our Gods and Goddesses are wealthy, generous and kind. Enjoy the many gifts which flow from them to us, and strive to live as their worthy Younger Kin. That, perhaps, is the gift for which their gift looks! Through your work with Perthro, may the Mysteries of the Runes and of our Heathen Religion spring fruitfully into life within you, and may the Wyrd you weave (weaving is another of Frigga’s functions) for yourself be a good one!Edit
Here's what Pam C. has to say about Perthro:
"Perdra is a deep well indeed."
Criticizing certain Runesters who erroneously "...take a blank stave and call it Wyrd, ignoring the cornucopia contained in Perdra."
Works consulted (lots of them this time!):Edit
At the Well of Wyrd by Edred Thorsson. This book is well worth its purchase price just for the translations of the Rune Poems - but not for much else :-(
Dictionary of Northern Mythology by Rudolf Simek (to my knowledge, he does NOT have a red nose, and the book is VERY useful).
The Germanic Invasions by Lucien Musset. Translated from the original French by Edward and Columba James.
Lost Gods of England by Brian Branston. Read this book!
Northern Mysteries and Magic by Freya Aswynn (www.llewellyn.com to order). Previously published as Leaves of Yggdrasil, although NM & M does contain some new material, particularly on Seidhr and a CD of her tape “Songs of Yggdrasil.” Very good but Freya Aswynn sounds like the Vulcan priestess Te Pao from the old Star Trek series: “Spock (with the “ck” pronounced as the “ch” in “loch”); they say thy Heathen blood runs thin - art thee Heathen or art thee Wiccan?” You can groan now, but buy the book and listen to the CD: I’m right!
The Road to Bifrost Volume III: the Runes and Holy Signs and Volume V (the Gods and Goddesses) by Thor and Audrey Sheil. Long out of print, alas. I highly recommend both these books. They are my top two Heathen book selections outside the Elder and Younger Eddas, of course.
Teutonic Magic by Kveldulf Gundarsson.
The Well and the Tree by Paul C. Bauschatz. Scholarly study of Wyrd. Winifred Hodge tells me this book helped set her on the road to Heathenry.
As degreed librarian, I remind my readers that their local public library (in the USA and Canada anyway) can obtain virtually any book via Interlibrary Loan for a nominal fee in about a week and a half (nine nights?).Edit
last modified 08/11/2004