Like many elder tongues, Anglo-Saxon is beautiful in its simplicity of vocabulary and rich in its oftentimes complex meanings of the words. Take the word fréo, for example, which means “free”, but also means “lady”, “woman”, from which we get the name of our Goddess Fréo. Fréo also means “glad”, “joyful”, “illustrious”, qualities we might attribute to a noblewoman. So, one Anglo-Saxon word might mean many related things. What it means specifically when expressed has much to do with its use and how it is inflected when spoken.
So it is with our Folkrunes.
The Free Folk have two Folkrunes: the Knot and the Tree. The Knot consists of the Triquetra with a Circle woven through It. The Tree consists of two feoh runes stood back-to-back or (if looked at from a different perspective) two eolh runes stacked one on top of the other. Let us examine the meanings of these Runes:
The Knot can be seen to represent the mystery of wyrd (fate) to our collective Germanic unconscious, what C. G. Jung called “the folk-soul”. It is a feminine symbol, comprised of a Triquetra with a Circle woven through it. The three visicae piscis of the Triquetra can be seen to represent the three Wells tended by the Giant-Maidens known as the Wyrdae (Fates), whose names translate to mean: “That Which Has Become” (Past Influence), “That Which Is Turning” (Present Influence), and “That Which Should Be” (Debt or Consequence). The Circle can be seen to represent the eternal progress of deeds through the Wells, in Time and in accordance with the Law of Causality.
The Knot is also representative of The Three Wynns referred to in our last post Thews & Joys and the hālnes (wholeness) created by their cultivation and application, with the Triquetra representing the Joys, and the Circle representing the Wholeness their cultivation and application by the Tribesman attains.
Finally, the Knot is a reference to the origins of the Free Folk, with the Circle representing the Magic Circle of the English Witchcraft tradition practiced by the group’s three Founders, and the visicae piscis of the Triquetra representing the Founders themselves and their kinship.
The Tree can be seen to represent the Sacral Kingship and Sacred Marriage of Fréo and Fréa. It is from Fréo and Fréa that wealth (feoh) and aristocracy descend. The Rune also signifies the warding of that wealth by the double eolh (elk-sedge), Fréa’s “antlers”—bodlily weapons that some say are a reference to Fréa’s skill at martial arts. In fact, one might attribute the “wealth” quality of the Rune to Fréo and the “warding” quality of it to Fréa. After all, Fréo means “Lady”, for which the Anglo-Saxon word is hlāfdige, meaning “rich (blessed) wth bread”; and Fréa means “Lord”, for which the Anglo-Saxon is hlāford, which means “warder of bread”. Of course, this is but a two-dimensional representation of the Tree. The actual Tree has an infinite number of staves branching off from it, suggesting the limitless abundance of the Goddess and the supreme protective quality of the God.
The Tree is also representative of the Tribe itself, which has its roots in the three Wells of the Knot. From these Wells, the Tree draws nourishment from the numinous “mead” contained within the Wells, “mead” formed by the very dew (memory) which drips from the Tree. The Tree represents the quality, ancestry, tradition, and lore of the Tribe and also of the Tribesman, who is both a “leaf” on the “great tree” of the Tribe and a “tree” himself. Examine the “leaf”, and you will find the Tree Rune there in the “veins” of the “leaf”. It is a reminder to the Tribesman of all that has contributed to this wyrd and of the Tribesman’s personal responsibility to contribute to wyrd in ways that nourish the Tree and encourage its brilliance and healthy growth for all time.
Finally, the Tree is a reference to the feoh runes in “Free” and “Folk”.
Where the Knot signifies “That Which Is Hidden” in the mystery of magic and the progress of fate, the Tree signifies “That Which Is Revealed” in the evidence of causes and consequences.
Together the Knot and the Tree form the Free Folk identity. Though we do not combine the two images in the form of a logo, the Two are a pair in that the relationships between what they represent are interdependent, much like the relationships within a family, fellowship, kindred, tribe, nation, and the natural world itself are interdependent. The Tribesman who meditates on these truths will find Wisdom, that greatest of Joys that is the culmination of all Joys and Thews.