Rune Study : Hagalaz

spiky hail

Hagalaz : Hail

Hagall er kaldakornok krapadrífa
ok snáka sótt.
grando hildingr.

Hail, cold grain
and shower of sleet
and sickness of serpents.

The Icelandic Rune Poem describes Hagalaz as the cold ‘grains’ of hailstones. People growing crops in such a northern climate, would have a very hard winter if a hailstorm came in before the crops were harvested. Their winter grain would be destroyed, and this would be devastating. Hagalaz is the embodiment of this chaotic, unpredictable energy. Even now, hailstorms can and do cause immense amounts of damage.

The lessons within this rune are challenging. The destruction of things we value, the internal and external chaos we experience after a loss, the confusion we feel…These are the forces behind Hagalaz. Hagalaz can symbolize a crisis, or breaking point in our inner journey. A time when all seems lost, or out of our own control. Darkness and dismay threaten to block out everything else.

The story of how Midgard (Earth/the realm we inhabit) comes to mind. The world of ice, Neiflheimr, and the world of fire, Musspelheimr, were separated by a vast expanse of nothingness, called the Gunningagap. The spring in Neiflheimr, called Hvergelmir, flowed into many rivers. These rivers produced mist, and this mist froze and melted as it extended into Gunningagap. This melting and freezing, over the years produced a rime, and from this rime, a seed of ice-rime was formed. It was this seed that eventually formed the first being, Ymir the giant. From him, all the Aesir are descended.

The ‘seed of life’ is the embodiment of Hagalaz. Hagalaz brings chaos and destruction, but in its wake is the beginning of new life. This concept of death/destruction and life/rebirth is a common theme in the runic mysteries, for it rings true in life on this plane. For new growth comes after the destruction of the old. Old patterns, old paradigms cannot evolve into new ones until they are released. Hagalaz can signify a release or transformation through chaos. If we can weather the storm it brings, there is an opportunity for much new growth, and a change for the better.

The sacred geometry of the flower of life is said to be present in all living things on this planet. Hagalaz holds the ninth position in the futhark. Nine is a sacred number in Northern cultures because of it’s balancing of three. We can see in this image of Hagalaz written in the form found in the Younger Futhark, a 6 pointed star.  This ‘seed’ holds all of the runes within it, and therefore all of the mysteries contained within the Futhark. From chaos and destruction, comes new paradigms of understanding ourselves and our place within the universe.


I am Hail. I am chaos. I am destruction. I am the seed of all life, the crystalline formation at the center of all. I am Hagal.

Runelore, Runes