Wednesday, November 3, 2010



Alternative Names
Berkano; Beorc; Bairkan; Bjarkan.

Key Phrase
‘Now is the time
 to put the knowledge and wisdom
 you have learned into practice’.

A Birch Tree

Viking Rune Equivalent and Meaning
Growth. Birch Tree. Re-birth.

Divinatory Meaning
New Beginnings

Collective Force

Tarot Equivalent
Judgement  -  20  -  XX

Corresponding Letter

Associated Colour

Associated Herb
Lady’s Mantle

Associated Gemstone

Associated Tree

Associated Myths and Deities
Freya, Frigg, Hel, Nerthus, Holda, Berchta, Idunna. Sacred to the Earth Goddess.

Manifestation Uses
Healing (particularly infectious wounds), achieving conception, making a new start. Promotes safety and secrecy.

Relationship Interpretation
Fertility, children, parental projection of the self onto the children.

Healing Colour and Qualities
Aides with pregnancy, delivery (birth) and for dis-ease of the womb or uterus. Can also ease the pain of menstruation and related symptoms.

Berkana can be worn to ward off and heal infections. It can also be worn to bring about good harvests and/or to make a fresh start.

Berkana Drawn Upright
Fertility, health, new beginnings, birth, conception, plenty, clearance, nurturing, protection, mental and physical growth, prosperity in an enterprise, youth, vigour, beauty, purification, spring, liberation, regenerative power, renewal, personal growth, brings light, creative abilities.

BERKANA is ‘Rebirth and Feminine Energy’.

The second rune of the third Aett is the rune Berkana. It is the eighteenth rune of twenty-four. It is a ‘birth rune’.

Berkana is the rune of the Birch tree, and like the young Birch tree, Berkana has the power to be flexible without breaking. In ancient traditions, Birch twigs were used to bring prosperity and to encourage conception. The branches represent fertility. In European folklore and tradition, Birch twigs were affixed above a sweetheart’s door on May Day, and were placed in stables and houses to promote fertility.  Young men, women and cattle were struck with Birch twigs for this same purpose, and young boys would be sent out into the fields and around the town, to ‘beat the bounds of the parish’ with branches of Birch to ensure prosperity in the coming year. 

‘Witches’ were said to ride broomsticks made from Birch. This concept originated with fertility rituals where dancers would ‘ride’ brooms though the fields, the height of their jumping indicating how high the grain should grow that coming season.

In Norse mythology, the Berkana rune represents various goddesses simultaneously, including Freya, Frigg, Hel, Nerthus, Holda and Berchta. This Rune is one of femininity and represents the ability to give birth, to be motherly and nurturing as well as the sexuality of the breasts. Berkana is the rune in which we find the embodiment of feminine energy which resides in both males and females, although the qualities are generally looked for in women. It is the rune of ‘Mother Earth,’ the ‘Great Mother,’ or the ‘Earth Goddess.’

Berkana represents the path of the mother, the healer and the midwife, bringing new life after death, just as the Birch puts out the first leaves after winter. Berkana’s ‘wound’ is one of menstruation and her ordeal is that of childbirth. The Birch tree is abundant and all providing and heals through nourishment, cleansing and loving. It was often planted before a house was built, to protect the home and its occupants in Nordic countries.

Berkana also comes to represent burial mounds in which we return to after we die. It is a rune which leads to blossoming and ripening and is concerned with life, death, rebirth and renewal.  Berkana’s actions are gentle, yet penetrating and pervasive.

Drawing Berkana in a reading warns you not to wallow in the past and let obstacles and problems hold you back, today. You will be able to receive and appreciate new opportunities and adventures if you find yourself in a place not relevant to your life. Many doors of opportunity are opening up for you at this time, but you must use discernment and discretion. There is much energy around and this could prove to be a very exciting time. There is great activity and motion. Make the most of it.

Drawing Berkana indicates that this is a time to sow seeds and make plans. Be aware though, not to expect to see instant results and immediate rewards for your efforts, as new ideas and concepts need nurturing, feeding and growth before they are able to bare fruit. Patience and diligence are needed here.

Berkana tells that a meeting will bring romance, arousal and desire, and promises that an enterprise or new venture that has begun will be successful and will bring prosperity.

Drawing Berkana gives one a sense of protection in a caring and gentle way. With this rune in play growth is unavoidable on all levels including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Berkana Drawn Reversed (Merkstave)
Family problems or domestic troubles, anxiety, carelessness, abandonment, loss of control, deceit, sterility, stagnation.

If the Berkana rune is drawn merkstave, it is an indication that you may have been careless in your actions (or in-actions) and now find yourself in an uncomfortable position. You may feel dismay at failing to take right action or making wise choices. It is your opportunity to look at situations and those involved, then rectify issues. 

There is also an indication that you may be suffering with family problems, conflict or turmoil.  his can be both immediate family or distant relatives. It can also relate to close friendships and bonds with others. Look to your own actions and emotions first, before seeking to lay blame on others. 

Plans, ideas and concepts that you thought were sound may turn out to be a waste of your time and effort. Do not allow this to discourage you – it is merely indicating that a different concept or angle must be looked at.


Joanne Walmsley


1 comment:

  1. I am a 41 yr old, single, well-educated, and pregnant woman of USA. I had a Swedish Grandmother and relatives who immigrated to No.USA in the 1800s. I am very proud of my heritage and studied the Runes since my early 20s. My only child, expected in August will be named Berkana. Thank you for the detailed and elaborate reading of the "B" Rune... I will cherish it.