Ehwaz is the horse, or more accurately, the relationship of the horse and rider. This is the rune of co-operation, of balanced understanding in an unbreakable bond. It is about harmony and the balancing of opposites, the joining of two to become one mind. This is about love that transcends all verbal communication, where the horse and rider both play equal but different roles. This rune may be used to find common ground, strengthen a friendship, find love, synergize other runes or develop a mutually beneficial business relationship with a boss or co-worker.
Ehwaz is about love that transcends all verbal communication, where the horse and rider both play equal but different roles.
The relationship of the horse and the rider is primarily one of business where the human is the brain and the horse is the brawn, but there is an understanding between the two that they both need and care for each other. There is no lust in this relationship, but there is a strong bond of love and respect. The horse makes reference to Sleipnir, Odin’s eight legged steed who was faster than any other horse. He was born of Loki, who is a male but transformed himself into a mare when he conceived Sleipnir. This also suggests a balance of the feminine and masculine. Sleipnir is related to shamanism, as Odin’s mount that travelled the nine worlds with him on his back. The message here is that together, two people (including non-human persons such as horses) are able to travel to new places and achieve things greater than if they were alone.
When I say a business type of relationship, what probably comes to mind is a rather dry and unromantic visual of two people in an office, so let me clarify that business is just as important an aspect of marriage as lust. In marriage two people must co-ordinate structure within a home over finances, children, food, material property, expectations, tasks and time for each other. There is a constant push and pull from both parties on what the roles are, how much work each person is willing and able to take on and whether or not staying together is beneficial in the future. Boundaries are important.
Even with all the work, love is still a beautiful thing! That two people can come together, and be able to communicate and work all of those aspects needed for a successful partnership is nothing short of a miracle. True love is a combination of care, surrender and trust; when we give another being the reins, we trust in their instinct, their knowledge, and their capabilities in general and we trust that they will take care of us in a like way. Even if it doesn’t mean forever, it can still be an amazing experience in the present, and both parties usually leave a relationship as better versions of themselves, having learned and gained something from the experience. In the pinnacle of Ehwaz we see a union so powerful that there is unspoken communication, a knowing of what that person will say next, how they will act, what they need in that moment, and being met in all those things.
Communication is key in Ehwaz, whether your relationship is two people in an office, two lovers in a bed, or a horse and a rider together. Although Ehwaz is the unspoken bond, our minds are often wired to play tricks on us and second guess things. When the words have been spoken and the communication is clear, it frees the mind of the exhausting guesswork trying to figure out what the other person wants or needs. What you have with clear communication is a bond that you can be confident in. Having defined roles and purpose allows us to focus on our job, and be assured that the other person will fulfil their role also.
Having defined roles and purpose allows us to focus on our job, and be assured that the other person will fulfil their role also.
In the rune sequence, Ehwaz follows Berkano, the birth of the hero. Our hero has come out of his isolation, his time spent in the womb, the forest where he was protected. He comes now as an innocent, a babe, an animal, back into the world with wide eyes that see everything in a new light. In Ehwaz we learn to love others, ourselves, the world, and our mothers unconditionally as does a small child or animal.
The shape of Ehwaz is that of two horses with their heads together, noses touching. If you have spent time with horses you may have seen this act, as horses often use their heads to communicate love. It also highlights how this form of love is of the mind, whereas Gebo was a connection at the hips. The horse is a representation of our animal state, one where we are connected to source energy and our minds are open. Horse energy can imply motion and links to Raidho, the chariot. Where Raidho represents a journey itself, the horse, the connection with another, can be what fuels and holds it together. These two runes are used together harmoniously. I often find people’s descriptions of Ehwaz are related to motion and journeys and could just as easily be descriptions of Raidho, so I leave the aspect of progress to Raidho and the aspect of synergy to Ehwaz.
Ehwaz is also seen as a 1 with another 1 reflected back at it. This is thus a representation of the number 11, which is also said to be a number of balance and union. There is also powerful magick in the number 11, as if you see the repeating numbers of 11/11 often in dates, times, phone numbers, etc. these are signs that higher powers are communicating to you and are very lucky. The 11:11 phenomenon is a product of our digital age, but shows how magick still works through our modern systems. It is also the number of the Twin Flame union, a New Age concept where it is said two complementary spirits who were destined to find each other come together in a powerful bond that can help heal humanity.
Merkstave, Ehwaz represents disconnect or miscommunication. This is one of the best examples of how to describe a merkstave rune, as disconnection is not the opposite of love. A disconnect is a powerful example of love, when we care so much that we argue, we want our partner to see things from our perspective, we want them to care. This is thus one aspect of love, not the opposite which would be hate, or not loving at all. It can also show that there is currently an imbalance of power within a relationship, or that you have no one to make your journey with. Merkstave Ehwaz is a good time to reflect on what is important to you, and how to create balance. Sometimes it just means now is a good time to spend time loving yourself first. And sometimes, some beings are just better left independent, though ironically I have found that the most independent humans rely heavily instead on animals for companionship.