Wunjo means joy! Community, connection and celebration are all major themes in this rune. It is the joy found in time spent with others, and the feeling of solidarity in working together for a common cause.
Community, connection and celebration are all major themes in Wunjo.
Wunjo is something of a respite before the next three more challenging runes. I recommend you rest here and enjoy before moving forward. Wunjo is the reward for the hard work spent through Freya’s Aett, think of it as Freya’s gift if you will. It is the result of not just one person’s spark like in Kenaz, or the shared gift of two balanced sparks in Gebo, but now a whole tribe of sparkling humans whose roads have converged and all share their gifts in a big thriving network.
The best part of community is the diversity. Everyone’s tool (Thurisaz), purpose (Ansuz), and journey (Raidho) are as unique as each individual. But here they have all come together, in balance and harmony and joy to share their skills and gifts into a bigger, joyous entity that is greater than each individual part. This is the power of synergy, where the whole is significantly more than the sum of all parts.
Think of how a roadside blacksmith wouldn’t succeed unless he had farmers around as well. Or how, when there are people that specialize in farming it allows others to focus on things like science and medicine. Humans do not thrive individually, they must first be individuals and find their individuality to be able to contribute to society but ultimately, to be the best versions of ourselves we must all work together.
To come together and thrive we need something to unite us. This is Wunjo. The image of Wunjo is a flag. The flag is a symbol that unites people. Symbols can transcend words in their ability to convey meaning and purpose, and when it is raised on a pole for all to see, it draws people of similar value and like-mindedness. It gives us purpose outside of our own individual purpose and journey. It can even allow us to look past the traits of people we don’t necessarily like or agree with to create a working relationship because we know that our community as a whole is better off with them also bringing their light.
Wunjo gives us purpose outside of our own individual purpose and journey
The village in the painting purposely includes a diverse array of individuals. It has the very young, to the very old, both of which are important in providing a holistic view of the world and contributing to a whole society. The village may be that of a historic Nordic village, but the people are more like that of today, where many types of people are dancing together. In Wunjo we are connected by a purpose that is larger than that of our individual consciousnesses and we celebrate together in this moment, regardless of other factors such as age, societal standing or race.
The hummingbird is not native to Europe but it is a universal animal symbol for joy, and here it is pollinating a honeysuckle. Honeysuckle also conveys innocence, joy, summer, and the festive energy that is Wunjo. These two organisms exist in a symbiotic relationship, where the hummingbird is provided food, and the flower gets to spread its pollen. Neither could exist without the other, both have existed for many millennia because of the perfect harmony that exists between the two. So not only is each its own representation of joy, but the symbiosis between the two is the primary message in Wunjo.
Other symbolic images are in this painting that are meant to help convey the message of Wunjo. One is the bonfire, which has always been a connecting source for humans as a safe and warm space. Another is the maypole, where the young folk dance around merrily in celebration of the coming summer. The crossroads show that there is more than one path that has led people to this community.
This rune almost always comes up for me during festival season. It is Wunjo at its finest, where you can find happy hippies next to lawyers doing yoga and dancing and drinking together. The music, in this case, brings people together who may never speak in other circumstances to celebrate something they find common ground in. Another time I experience this rune is when either I need to reach out for help, for something like moving my home, or when I am able to be there and provide the help someone else in my community needs.
Overall, the meaning of this rune is true joy. It is not just a single ecstatic experience, but a larger purpose that keeps us going and gives us meaning while also holding us in hard times. It gives us connection and celebration and reminds us that there is so much in this life worth celebrating.
Merkstave, this rune represents a lack of community. It can mean feeling disconnected, not having your place in society, or not participating in your community in a way that is meaningful. If this rune appears to you merkstave you may want seek out community in doing something, and find a way to contribute to it.