Stav Runes (Yr)

The Stav | What is Stav | Origin of Stav | Stav Philosophies | Weapon or Unarmed Training | Stav Stances | Stav and Asatru | Laug In Action or the Water of Life | Stav Haiku | Horse in Iron Age Society | The Stav Runes

Meaning: Male energies, A Bow (made of Yew)
Symbolises: Archery, single combat, Skiing, Skating
Mythology: Ull – The God of Winter
Fylgja: Bear, fox
Class: Yarl
Tree: Yew
Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme:
Yew is the greenest wood in the winter; There is usually, when it burns, singeing.

Yr is associated with Ull, the god of winter. He plays very little part in the stories available to us so that we do not know all that much about him. We do know his hall is Ydalir, which means dales where the yews grow. Yew is the direct meaning of this rune, the tree is a poisonous evergreen which commonly grows in country churchyards.

It is a very long lived tree and some specimens predate Christianity in Northern Europe. One interpretation of the shape of the Yr rune is that it represents the three roots of the world tree, Yggdrasil, usually referred to as an Ash, but these things are flexible in mythology.

It is thus a doorway to the underworld of the dead where knowledge can be obtained which is only available to the denizens of that region. We learn most about this rune from the characteristics of the Yew tree and the best known product of its timber, the long bow. As the rune rhyme suggest the yew is a very important tree in winter, it remains green throughout and is very securely rooted. This means that it is a great protector against winter storms. Other evergreens such as pine are not strong enough to stand the driving wind and snow.

Yr is a rune of paradoxes, combining life and death, with its roots in the graveyard yet living a very long time. Green leaves which survive even the bitterest winter storms. Immense resilience from a combination of outer hardness and inner flexibility.

A poisonous tree which provides a most efficient method of hunting fresh food. A timber that burns with an intense heat yet sustains the fire longer that any other. It is a rune that symbolises death, yet it is in facing death with a clam acceptance that gives the best hope of surviving single combat.