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The rune of Challenge Berkana

berkanabBerkana is a rune of challenge. Its pointy shape is an indication that when it appears a period of discomfort may be at hand. Remember, growth comes to us whether we accept it willingly or life shoves it down our throat. None of us are allowed to be stagnant as we move through life. Berkana’s primary challenge is how will you react to the changes that life brings to you!

Once planted, a healthy seed knows when it is time to grow. Whether it is a bloom in a desert that happens once every hundred years, or a high alpine meadow ablaze with flowers bright with color every year, the seed knows when it is time to wake up and grow because of the warmth it receives. The warmth is the lesson here. If we can accept our growth with warmth and understanding it is easier to make the transitions from old ways of being to new.

Berkana calls you to be aware! Be aware of the opportunities and growth that can come your way. Be aware that growth brings benefits and rewards even if a period of temporary discomfort may have to be endured. The attributes of patience, generosity and equality come with Berkana. However, if Berkana is challenging you it may be because instead of seeing the good in growth you are holding on to old habits and ways of being that tie you down, rather than prop you up.

Berkana – Growth

Berkana is one of Tyr’s Aett.

Key Word(s)

Berkana: Growth. Rebirth. New Life. Fertility Rites.


Berkana grants a stable foundation for change by its alliance with the element of earth.

Zodiac Sign

Berkana with its aspect of growth and momentum, especially on the emotional and internal plane, is aligned with Cancer.  Cancer is linked with the Moon in the Zodiac. Berkana is also aligned with the Moon.

Tarot Link

The Empress reigns supreme. She knows that in order to maintain the stability of her reign she must accept the changes of time and people as they ebb and flow. She remains within herself, confident and in control. She knows how to accept growth and incorporate it not only in the otter context of the material world, but also in the deeper depths of the personal self.


When you hear the word “growth” what’s the first color you think of? Most people will say green in one of its various hues. “Spring green,” “hunter green,” “forest green,” and “leaf green” are all colors that speak of the growth associated with Berkana. Even the color green seems to understand the need for adjustment and change when necessary.


Some practitioners of rumenal say that you can see Berkana and its feminine energy if you look at the glyph as a representation of the female breasts. Once that assumption is made, it is not difficult to understand the feminine polarity.

Healing Property

Again the feminine is prominent here. Berkana’s healing properties are best used when focusing on fertility issues.

Modern Letter Counterpart

It is easy to see how Berkana can be aligned with our modern letter B.

Special Runic Associations

Of course, growth. Berkana is the eighth rune in the Cyle of Initiation. Without growth we become stagnant and are stuck. If we are stuck and the Universe is moving around us it doesn’t take Mr. Wizard to figure out that sooner or later it is going to get hit with things that hurt! Yet the positive aspect of growth shines through as Berkana is one of the Runes in the Runic Grouping of Protection.

Berkana speaks of the passage of time as well. Once the seed is planted it must be given time to grow. Harvested too early and it is robbed of it’s
rune-block-Berkanapromise. Left in the field too long it ages and rots. Appropriate timing is called for here. Pay close attention to the runes around Berkana in the casting – these are probably areas of your life or aspects of the situation in question that need special attention and may be a wait and see attitude for proper growth to happen.

In the path of the Spiritual Warrior, Berkana is the ultimate in the “Know Thyself” parallel with the Delphic Oracle. Through knowledge of the self, others, and the world in which we live, we grow. Growth is a natural part of the process of life. Berkana is associated with the fir tree. When we built our home, a small fir tree got scraped pretty bad by the construction equipment. Its vibrant green had turned red in many areas the suppleness of the branches was fading. We decided to just stand it up and lean it against a neighbor. Now the tree is over eight feet tall and has an almost fan-like appearance! Life *finds* a way! Berkana reminds us to never under estimate the “life” factor. If we are open to growth the “life” factor feels positive as we go with the flow. If we are closed to change when it enters our lives we see it as a destructive and disruptive force. Berkana calls you to allow yourself room for growth. The benefits of allowing appropriate growth cannot be overstated later. Allow the nurturing energy of the earth to stabilize you as change propels you forth.