This is the first day of the fortnight (May 14-28) governed by the rune Ing. Pronounced as it is spelled, its phonetic value is “Ng” and it derives its name from the name of the god Ing, or Yngve—another name for Frey—the consort of the earth mother goddess of fertility and nurture. Ing is the god of male fertility who guards the hearth fire; consequently, the wisdom of this rune has long been concerned with the procreation and welfare of the family and clan.
Ing is an older name of the fertility god Frey, and is perhaps Frey’s true name. (Frey translates as “Lord” and may have come into common use in much the same way that people today speak of “the Lord” instead of saying “Jesus.”) Ing is the tutelary god of the Swedish people and divine ancestor of the Ynglinar, their old royal family, as well as the god of agriculture. Norse legend says Ing traveled around the Earth in a chariot, dispensing fertility and happiness to his people. This story was re-enacted ritually each year when the chief circumnavigated the “king’s circuit,” walking the boundaries of the settlement or homestead or traveling the circuit with a sacred wagon bearing an image of Ing with an erect phallus. This ritual ensured fertility to the land through deliberate action by the clan or tribal leaders to ensure the welfare and productivity of nature.
This idea of humans taking deliberate action is reflected linguistically in the English language where the sound of “ng” is found as a suffix modifying many words from the passive to the active tense. For example: ‘create’ becomes ‘creating,’ ‘build’ changes to ‘building,’ ‘love’ becomes ‘loving.’ These are but a few examples of how Ing can assert its fecund influence into even our everyday communication.
Not only is Ing a rune of invocation and action, it is a rune of filial responsibilities and devotion. What is created must be cared for, children especially. Today’s alarming epidemic of out-of-wedlock births, single-parent households, and abandoned and neglected children in America flies in the face of the core lesson of this rune. This is a design for a tattoo called the “father’s knot.” Here Ing is symbolically represented as being at the heart of the duties and responsibilities any self-respecting father must shoulder for the benefit of his family and future generations. The tattoo is intended to be placed on one’s chest over the heart.
The graphic centrality of this devotion to healthy family life is reinforced by Ing’s association with the hearth, which was traditionally the heart of a household. The hearth was the source of warmth and light through the cold, dark winter months. And as the place where meals were prepared, the hearth was a touchstone year-round for physical sustenance. Ing was not only seen as nurturing the home and those within it, but as calming domestic strife and uniting families with bonds of warmth and affection.
A deeper symbolism in this rune can be seen when one considers that Ing is the combination of two Gyfu (X) runes stacked one on top of the other. Together they suggest an act of creation rendered through a mutual exchange of gifts—or, in a word, sex. Reflecting the rune’s polarity as both male and female, the diamond shape in the center of the rune has been said to pictographically represent a grain of wheat (male) or the birth canal or vagina (female, obviously).
The runestave’s design suggests that Ing is the rune of balanced prosperity which, if safeguarded, is capable of limitless extension. By reminding us to conform to the natural order of things, Ing can help us nurture growth while respecting and preserving sustainable natural and social environments.
Today’s Groove of the Day evokes two powerful images: the hearth and the cricket. One myth which I enjoy is that if a cricket is in your house, it is considered to be good luck. To remove or kill the cricket is said to bring misfortune to the homeowners. The cricket symbolizes happiness and good cheer; so its placement on the hearth denotes a happy house and clan.
Groove of the Day
80° and Cloudy