This piece is a recurring runic exploration. It is a culmination of study from Taking Up the Runes by Diana L. Paxson (1), A Practical Guide to The Runes by Lisa Peschel (2), and Runes, Alphabet of Mystery, available at http://www.sunnyway.com/runes/index.html (3).
Sowilo (so-WEE-lo), or sometimes Sigel (2), possesses an incredibly straightforward meaning: the Sun. What the Sun meant to our ancestors is what really defines this Rune (1).
In the times before electric lights, our ancestors relied heavily on our closest star for all aspects of their lives. The Sun guided ships on their journey and provided hope. The Sun destroyed the ice and could be seen as a radiant shield protecting against the cold. The Sun guided holy cycles for our ancestors (1), much as it does for us presently. The Sun was the literal life force, for ancestral tales even explain solar eclipses, and how that would be the start of Ragnarok. The Sun, however, would bear a daughter who would carry on the next phase of life (1).
Modernly, Sowilo continues to mean the literal sun disk itself and the solar wheel, but also has come to mean victory for a seeker. It is not only triumph, but also a shield on the journey. It is a Rune of transformation, giving victory over even the self for growth (1). It is life force, consciousness, and wholeness. It is contact between the unconscious and the higher self (3). As the solar deity is female, Sowilo could also represent the Divine Feminine (1). Sowilo dictates a time when one will have the personal power to make life changes successfully (3).
The shape of Sowilo reflects a lightning bolt, and could be a Rune associated with Thor. As electrical particles from the Earth are attracted to the clouds, it could also be seen as a Rune of attraction (1).
Sadly, Sowilo, like Othala, is another Rune that was misappropriated by the Nazis of the German Third Reich. It was the symbol of the SS soldier, brandished on their collars, and remains in use by related hate groups to this day. This mindset is not appropriate and should be discarded before using the Rune.
In divination, Sowilo provides relief after stagnation in the form of change, illumination, or guidance. Additionally, it can show strength, energy, life force, luck, and achievement (1). Some may suggest that Sowilo in a reading almost guarantees success (2). Mentally, it bears truth and enlightenment (1). Physically, it shows one who is healthy and strong and, if ill, will make a full recovery (2).
Sowilo merkstave could reveal falsehoods including false successes, bad advice, gullibility, and loss of goals (3).
Some believe this Rune could not only represent the Sun disk, but also the connection with the World Tree, Yggdrasil, and our energetic connections to it, chakras (1). One could try a chakra meditation, using a finger to draw Sowilo on their body and each energy port to strengthen their connection to the World Tree and the Divine. Additionally, as Sowilo is a Rune of journey (1), it could be a good Rune for travel, whether kept in the car for the daily commute or packed in luggage for holiday.