ALU, Wodanaz, & the Gifting Cycle by Gothi Trent East
What does the runic formula ALU mean? Why did our ancestors call Odin “ALU-God”? What does all this have to do with the gifting cycle? In the Gylfaginning, King Gylfi of Sweden is asked questions about the Gods and the cosmos by “three men”, who are all most certainly Odin.
The three men give their names as High, Just-As-High, and Most High. These are thought to represent different forms that Odin takes. Let’s discuss those three forms, and how they relate to ALU: “High” is the human form of Odin, often called Grimnir. He is credited with being the progenitor of many lines of Germanic royal dynasties, as well as a wanderer and wizard. This is URUZ, the rune of primordial power, cthonic while still sacred. “Just-As-High” is the disembodied form of Odin, the “divine ecstasy” that he is known for. Pure Oðr, fury, ecstasy, inspiration. This is LAGUZ, the intermediary flowing force between Aryan and Æsir, between Uruz and Ansuz. “Most High” is the God form of Odin, King of the Æsir, the All-Father, the High One who discovered the runes. This is ANSUZ, the rune of the Æsir and their king, representing the Gods as a single concept.
Now, when we analyze how Odin won the runes, we can identify it not only as an example of the gifting cycle, but as a representation of ALU and what it means. Odin’s “human” form, representing Uruz, stabs himself with his spear and hangs himself from a branch of Yggdrasil. He does this as a sacrifice, a gift(Laguz) to his higher self, which is Odin the God(Ansuz). He sends this gift of his lower self to his Higher Self, from “High” to “Most High”. From here, the gifting cycle is completed, and Odin’s gift is returned in the form of grasping the runes! Uruz gives the gift, Laguz, to Ansuz, and Ansuz returns the gift in kind! Our ancestors called Wodanaz the “ALU-God”, as he himself embodies the entirety of the gifting cycle that is found in the runic formula of ALU. From Aryan, into the well, to Æsir- from Æsir, into the well, to Aryan. A gift for a gift.