From the Boughs of Yggdrasil: Ingwaz

In Practical Magick, Spirituality by Heather1 Comment

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 (3).


Ingwaz (ING-wahz) finds its name directly taken from a god, Ing. Ing is the Old Germanic fertility god, who was consort to Mother Earth. He gave his power over to her, to allow for fruitful release in the spring (1).

Very little is known of him, aside from his foothold as an East Dane, in what is now considered Northern Germany. He led his people away from Sweden in search of a new home, east over the waves. He would have been a Vanir god, rather than Aesir, and this leads many historians to associate Ing as a local dialect translation of Freyr. This name would translate to son of land, and is quite possibly the spiritual name for England. He is also connected to Scyld, which is listed as an ancestor of Beowulf. Looking back to the Danes, he could also be related to King Frodi, who sacrificed himself as an offering to the land during famine to bring plenty back to his people (1). 

Ing is energy in growth; as the seed germinates, it grows into plenty. The shape of Ing shows the cycle of life with growth, harvest, wilting, dormancy, and regrowth. This can also be applied to energetic cycles of people: growth, transformation, withdrawal, and regrowth. Ing not only represents the cycle of growth, but also of male fertility. Some scholars see the dormancy/withdrawal aspect here, though, as it represents the male letting go of his machismo in order to grow into shamanism, a machisma quality. Others see this rune as potent male energy, representing the seed of life itself. Still others see this as a meaning of genetic inheritance and reincarnation passed on to a chosen heir (1). These heirs would link together common virtues and family love. This rune can be both human affection and the home itself (2). 

When looking for nonliteral meanings, some look to the passage of Ing to the east going overages which became calm as he approached, relating it to the calming, releasing powers of creativity. It is the work that goes towards creation and is ultimately seen upon a project’s completion (1). It represents a time when all loose ends are tied and you are free to move in a new direction(2). A successful completion to your task is to be had, and relief from the completion is soon to come (3). It is time to rest (2). 

In all aspects, Ingwaz is a cycle never-ending. It is a rune of both birth and death, and all points through life in-between. It is the return to life after death in regrowth every spring (1, 2). 

Ingwaz, when seen Merkstave, may show literal or metaphorical impotence, or work without change (2). It should be noted, however, that Ingwaz is almost always positive and may only suggest failure if the runes around it read negatively (3).

Ingwaz can be used in meditation, when contemplating where one has been, where one is presently, and where one wishes to go. It is cyclic in nature, allowing for reflection on the past and present as well as planning for the future. When beginning a new project or a new life event, reflect on Ingwaz. At each new year, whether that be your own solar return, the calendar new year, or the growth of spring, reflect on the last year and make plans for the next one. It can also be a reminder that we all need to follow the cycle of work and rest, and to allow ourselves the rest that naturally follows the work.


  1. I never got the chance to make my own website, or at least consented to

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