Also known as: Thurs, Thor
Letter sound: TH (as in “thorn”)
Translation: thorn, thorn bush, giant, the god Thor
Keywords: protection, warning, contemplation, decisions, luck
Magical Uses: Defensive magic, protection, help with decisions, good luck
Thurisaz is chiefly concerned with aspects of protection and resistance to danger or other unwanted circumstances. The shape of this rune represents a thorn on a branch, symbolizing the wisdom of choosing a defensive stance, rather than rushing to attack an adversary. If you go into a challenging or potentially dangerous situation, you can surround yourself with a shield of protective energy, carry a talisman, and/or be extra mindful of your environment and your actions. Taking these measures is often enough to deter potential attackers from trying to harm or take advantage of you, so that you avoid the unpleasant situation altogether. Consider this rune as a friendly but stern warning to be alert to potential danger at this time. Reversed, Thurisaz in this sense may actually indicate that danger is passing, or that the risk you’re facing is less significant. It may also simply point to a feeling of vulnerability or fear of adversity. In a related interpretation, Thurisaz advises you to be mindful of your motives. Watch out for opportunities that bring reward through deceit or dishonesty, remembering that what goes around comes around. Don’t take the “easy path” if doing so allows you to skirt responsibility. Furthermore, be willing to listen to advice from those you trust, even if you don’t like what you hear. In this context, drawing Thurisaz reversed may mean that you have been stubborn in this regard, refusing to follow solid advice that could have helped you avoid an unwanted experience.
Another common interpretation of Thurisaz indicates that you’re facing an important decision requiring careful consideration. Be sure to thoroughly evaluate every aspect of the situation before making your move. Take as much time as you can to decide, and don’t make your choice from a place of emotion. The ability to come from a neutral, rational place when making a decision that could significantly impact your life is another form of protection against unwanted circumstances. Thurisaz reversed may be signaling that you’re not serving yourself well in this regard—you may be in denial about an aspect of the situation and therefore unable to make a balanced decision. Seek the advice of experts and/or people whose perspective you trust. Depending on the context of the reading, Thurisaz can also simply represent a stroke of luck—in either a positive or negative sense, depending on the position of the rune. Thurisaz is sacred to both Thor, the Norse god of thunder and lightning, and Loki, the trickster god. It reminds us that chaos is necessary for transformation, that what appears to be positive at first may not be (and vice versa). We may love a good thunderstorm, and the land may benefit from the rain, but we also know that lightning may strike and trees may be destroyed. Thurisaz represents this destructive, chaotic, primal force within the Universe.