The rune Berkana represents the way of the mother, the healer and the midwife. It brings new life after death, just as the birch tree forms the first leaves after winter.
The nurturing and life-giving qualities are firmly associated with Berkana, but so are the end of life and death. All life comes from the womb of Mother Earth, and when it is time, the return to the Great Mother is at hand.
Berkana represents all conceivable aspects of the goddess. She is birthing, protecting, loving and giving life, but last but not least also taking life. Berkana joins physical and mental willpower and forms them into a harmonious unity.
She gives a promise of peace and fertility. For the future this means that the person seeking advice will find his inner center, will take the opportunity to rearrange his life.
Origin and Meaning of the Berkana Rune
Berkana is sixteenth rune in the Futhark alphabet. Other spellings are Berkano, Beorc, Bairkan, Bjarkan. "Burr-can-oh" literally means "birch goddess."
The birch is the first tree to awaken in spring, and so the rune Berkana is about the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The runic symbol similar to the Latin letter B represents the body of a pregnant woman, or viewed another way, the breasts of the "Great Mother".
Berkana is the rune of the birch tree. Like the young birch, Berkana has the power to be flexible without breaking. In ancient traditions, birch branches were used to bring prosperity and promote conception. The branches represent fertility.
In European tradition, on May 1, birch branches are placed over the front door and cattle stalls are decorated to promote fertility. Young men, women and cattle were beaten with birch branches for the same purpose.
Norse mythology assigns the rune to the goddess Frigg. Berkana represents primordial femininity with the ability to give birth, to be maternal and nurturing, as well as the sexuality of the breasts. In Berkana lies the embodiment of feminine energy, which is present in both men and women, although the qualities are generally sought in women.
The birch tree has a very strong growth instinct even under unfavorable circumstances. Its roots wrest everything necessary for life from the soil, whether the site is barren and sandy or acidic moorland. In the Nordic countries, it was often planted before a house was built to protect the future home and its inhabitants.
Its tough bark was valued as a lightweight, yet very strong, building material for boats that carried fishermen safely through strong currents. If necessary, kayaks could be shouldered to bring them to the dock.
Witches were said to ride broomsticks made of birch wood. This lore grew out of ancient fertility rituals in which dancers "rode" brooms through the fields. The height of their leaps was supposed to indicate how high the grain would grow in the coming season.
Modern people manage the great leap through continuous development, just as the pliable birch tree bends in a storm and defies the most severe natural events.
No matter how hopeless the situation, the tree still gains something positive from it and grows by its roots utilizing everything available. If your personal starting position is disadvantaged, take the birch tree as an example. It may leave some leaves, but after the storm it straightens up in full splendor.
Berkana highlights all the mental and spiritual strengths that come from motherhood. This is seen in the wisdom that comes with maturity but equally in the patience that develops through raising children. It gives you and others the time needed to grow on your own.
Berkana also represents the burial mound to which each person returns after death. It is a rune that leads to blossoming and maturing in the course of life and also deals with death, rebirth and renewal. Berkana's actions are gentle but penetrating.
If Berkana falls in a reading, it warns against letting obstacles and problems from the past hold you back in today. If you are in a place that is not relevant to your life, you will be able to take advantage of new opportunities.
Although interesting opportunities are opening up at this time, you should analyze carefully and proceed with strict discretion. There is a lot of energy surrounding you and this could prove to be a very exciting time. Great activity and movement announce themselves: Make your fortune!
Fixed Berkana Rune Meaning
Berkana watches over the family. This rune announces a family celebration with a happy occasion, for example a wedding or a birth. Or two people come closer and enter into a relationship with each other. It is the time to make plans. However, do not expect immediate results, as new ideas need to be nurtured, nourished and grow before they bear fruit.
In the reading for a woman, Berkana represents the questioner, and the surrounding runes indicate the forces surrounding her. In the reading for a man, Berkana symbolizes an important woman at his side. Especially in conjunction with the rune Ingwaz, Berkana can herald a wedding or birth.
If you have plans in this direction, Berkana advises you to implement them quickly. If Berkana is drawn as a result, the planned project will go positively. If the entire interpretation is predominantly negative, Berkana indicates that your success will be short-lived.
Reversed Berkana Rune Meaning
If the rune Berkana falls in reverse, it may indicate family problems. You are worried about a family member or a close friend. It is possible that your actions were careless and triggered interpersonal turmoil. It is also possible that you yourself are suffering from a family member and some situations are causing you anxiety.
In connection with Ansuz it is a child, Gebo as a person indicates a significant other, and with Othala older relatives are involved. Berkana gives you an opportunity to look at the situation and restore harmony. Look at your own emotions first before blaming others. In professional matters, your plans may be shattered.
Your project may suffer from teething problems, so you should show patience and postpone everything until later. Don't be discouraged, Berkana only indicates that a different point of view is needed or the concept calls for a change.
Berkana Rune Properties
- Alphabet: B
- Element: Earth
- Deity: Frigg
- Symbol: Earth mother, care, birch tree
- Interpretation: Femininity, fertility, healing, regeneration, birth, growth and creation.
- Stone: Moonstone, Sarder
- Tree: Birch, Poplar
- Flower: Daisy, moon rue
- Herb: Lady's mantle, plantain
- Animal: Hare, Snow Owl
- Color: Green, gold
- Body: Physique, motor skills, kidneys, hips
- Scent: Gardenia, Narcissus
- Tarot: The Ruler, Death
- Astrology: Sun in Virgo, Moon in 12th house, Virgo, Scorpio
|Fehu ᚠ||Uruz ᚢ||Thurisaz ᚦ||Ansuz ᚨ|
|Raidho ᚱ||Kenaz ᚲ||Gebo ᚷ||Wunjo ᚹ|
|Hagalaz ᚺ||Naudhiz ᚾ||Isa ᛁ||Jera ᛃ|
|Eihwaz ᛇ||Perthro ᛈ||Algiz ᛉ||Sowilo ᛋ|
|Tiwaz ᛏ||Berkana ᛒ||Ehwaz ᛖ||Mannaz ᛗ|
|Laguz ᛚ||Ingwaz ᛜ||Dagaz ᛞ||Othala ᛟ|