UR is symbolic of the primal power of creation, a collective power.
Ur is the raw, tameless might of the Primal Ox. Ur represents the immense and boundless primal power of creation. It is about vital stamina, perseverance, the potential for creativity. I consider this rune and see, in my mind’s eye, a great horned auroch standing on a cold and misty moor, the breath from its body is forming a cloud thick as a snow cloud. Imagine the collective energy of a herd of such creatures, focused on accomplishing some thing. There is a similar image in the Greek language, expressed as ergos, from which we get the word ‘energy’ and other related Greco-Latin words with the root sense element erg. In neither language is this a personal power controlled by a single person. This is a collective power to be directed for the common well-being.
Collective power- yes, and UR collects in these small units of extremely expressive sense.
This rune is transliterated as the letter /u/ and, is found in small units of sense which, though minute, are frequently powerful words, such as: ub/ ube (club, rub, stub, snub, cube,) ud/ ude/ udge (bud, budge, crud, crude, dud, dude, fudge, mud, nudge, study) ug/ uge (bug, chug, hug, huge, lug, luge)
um/ umb (bumble, crumb, dumb, fumble, gum, grumble, number, slumber).
The element ‘un’ is often used within words, sometimes as -und, -ung and -unt. When used at the beginning, it undoes or negates whatever follows, as in: unbecoming, undone, unbeknownst, unloved, unwanted. The word ‘up’ is also an element as in ‘cup’and ‘supper’. When used as a compound word, we have powerful statements like uppermost, upset, upsidedown, and uptown. When we use the element ur, something interesting will happen. It always does with RAD, the rune of transformation. We have ur, urb, urd, ure, urg, urge, urgh, urse, urst, ury. The power of ‘us’expresses human ‘collective power’ even when it shows up in the word ‘use’ which is both an element and a word for compounding, as in ‘abuse’ or ‘useful’.
‘Ut’ means ‘out’ in A.S. In ‘but’ and ‘cut’ it can be an exclusionary force that diminishes whatever or whomever is excluded, such as: ‘I could sing his praises to the heavens and speak of all of his admirable qualities; but, I won’t. “But” says a lot and, of late, is sometimes used as a one-word statement. ‘Ut’, alone says a lot as in referring to the outer limits of one’s abilities, “I will do my utmost.” or utterly, as in utterly exhausted or utterly bereft. There may be places where, as a vowel, /u/ might be used simply for its phonetic value; but, I haven’t seen it. In fact, there are some words from which the /u/ has been removed in American English, and it is very conspicuous in its’ absence. Some of these words are flavour, colour, honour and behaviour. I learned the words with the /u/ and still think it is more suitable considering the natural energy stimulated and evinced by flavors, colors, honor and behaviors. I have tried several such words where ‘u’ is part of another sense element and have still found the runic sense of collective energy to be quite plausible. e.g. ause, oust, ourse .
I’m still looking for exceptions where /u/ has a phonetic value unrelated to its’ sense. I thought I had one with ‘cute’. Then I realized that KEN /c/ is intuitive knowledge and the sense of ‘cute’ is a deliberately abbreviated energy, TYR /t/ being the rune of regulation. Cuteness consists in making abbreviated statements with words or with fashions in dress and grooming which make dynamic announcements about a persons’ personal viewpoint. Current examples are ‘cute talk’ like the Valley-Girl dialect, mismatched earrings, strategic tattoos, sparkly make-up, undergarments worn as outer clothing, bejeweled flip-flops, etc. There is strong group energy in that, including marketing groups. Partridge gives ‘destitute’ as L. for to forsake and ‘minute’ as to lessen. So, it appears that in Gr. L. as well as in the runic, the sense of abbreviation still exists in the sense element -ute. Even in the word ‘brute’, it is that abbreviation, or pettiness, that makes the word sound so damning.
Then, I thought we had two words in which the energy of UR could not be vocalized- sugar and sure. Here we have another instance in which HAGAL does its special magic by altering the vocalization of the letter /u/ without even being present. Notice that in pronouncing sugar and sure, the sound of hagal is required to pronounce the words intelligibly.
UR is an old rune and an old sense element. While it is Anglo-Saxon, it is also found in many non-native words of collective energy such as, urban, suburban, urbanite and urbane. hurt, blurt, curb, plural, rural, sturdy, urge, urgent, purge, surge, splurge, burgeon, burg, burgh. Notice that the letter /u/ carries the energy of UR; however, when /r/ follows /u/, the transformative energy of RAD is also quite apparent. To see how the runes of GYFU or EOH can alter sound and sense, see the analysis of ‘burgh’ under the runic section of EOH.
It is interesting and significant that ‘urge’, seen from the Latin influence rather than from our tribal Vulgate, is a force being exerted upon the people by an outside power. The runic slant is that there is a primal force of nature within all creation. When we combine this primal force with that which is within others, both humans and the various tribes of animals, oxen, horses, wolves, cats, dogs, etc., there is a compounded collective power that benefits us all. The runic view shows an awareness of self-control and of personal power, rather than a subservience to some outside authority figure, or submission to the strength of the ‘urge’ itself. Life-forms, of all sorts, are not just whipped around by outside forces of nature, there is also an inner nature. The great UR dynamic here is between the inner urge and the will-power, which is mediated by our personal code of honour.
Ah, ha! Ur, The Birthplace of Abram:
My brain finally made the connection, why this rune seems so familiar and yet so out of time and place. The name “Ur” has a strong archetypal significance as the birthplace of Abram. After their religious change to monotheism, he and his wife had (Hagal) added to their names and thenceforth were known as Abraham and Sarah. This connection with divinity resolves the conflict of the inner urge versus the outside authority figure. Symbolically, we are transformed by emanations of divinity to free-will with personal responsibility.
This transformation of Abram and Sara marked the beginning of the three monotheistic religions. See TR- (as in truth and trust) for its’ significance of ‘three’. This Babylonian-Assyrian connection is probably a source of the sense of greater antiquity in the rune of UR.
Other than the transliteration from runes, another significant change in our language took place shortly after the 10th Century. Anglo-Saxon had quite a few words with double /u/s; but, I haven’t seen any double u’s in the texts since the 11th Century. The story is that after the Norman Invasion, French scribes wrote all the double /u/s as /w/s. (double u’s).
That is one of those stories that is easy to believe, too easy, in fact. I’m inclined to trust my informed instincts on this one. My instincts on this are informed by all the reading, and observing, that I have been doing about how we choose which sounds of language that we make. Our self image, and the image which we choose to project, are parts of how we decide which speech sounds to make. We do copy many of our sounds from nature. We also emulate the sounds of some people, often those we admire or who represent desired traits such as posh, wealthy, educated, strong, etc. People’s language will reflect their surrounding sounds, those sounds that ‘speak’ to us. We warble, chirrup, hiss, bark, growl, mew and meow and we all make the sounds that feel right for us, no matter what language we speak.
Those sounds that we select have many effects: In 1967, I read a book “Race” by a man, surnamed “Coons”, who quoted historical documents, including ‘Papal Bulls’, which gave the rationalizations for categorizing some humans as sub-human and therefore subject to sub-human treatment, such as enslavement, even if they were baptized. The sub-humans made clicking, whistling sounds that aren’t in human speech. That made a significant impact on my attitude toward different speech patterns.
Animals do mimic us and we mimic them. If the sound of /u/ sounds a little like baby pigs, it wouldn’t be strange, as the ancient tribes had a “Great Sow Goddess”. With Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all encamped in Europe and the British Isles, she would have been one of the first to go, and every last grunt or oink would have disappeared with her. In the present day we generally consider ‘pig’ and ‘sow’ to be pejorative terms. The idea of mimicking pig sounds in our language sounds incredible. But, as late as 845 ACE, when Viking raiders were still raiding the ‘British’ Isles and Europe, clear down to the Mediterranean and the North coast of Africa, having the pig as a totemic animal was quite respectable. The legendary Viking raider, Ragmar Lodbrok, who was captured by King Ælle of Northumbria and thrown into a snake pit to die, spoke the threat, “The little pigs would grunt now if they knew how it fares with the old boar”. The “little pigs” were grown men who besieged York and made an end of Northumbria over what happened to the ‘old boar’.
Wiping out traces of the ‘old gods’ doesn’t even seem strange when one reflects on how thoroughly the runes were wiped out. We need the sound and the communal energy of UR so we will keep some of the /u/s and /w/s. Both energies are needed. This nicety of speech, which we have cultivated in English, may also account for some of the extreme resistance to acknowledging any Irish influence on English. I have come across some really nasty comments about the sounds and appearance of the Irish. One of the milder remarks was, “flannel mouth”. This admiration of ‘nicety’ is likely a factor in our excessive regard for Gr.L. elements in preference to native words. This is how histories get rewritten and speech patterns get edited. What we choose to see, say and hear interferes with what we actually do…
The energy of UR , the Uroch:
On a larger scale, this UR energy is not just in people and oxen, this force is in all of life. The way that people have learned to use it, which sets some of us apart, is that we sense that this thing exists with our various senses and we try to get an image of it with our imagination. Our faculty of imagination has a strong sound feature. Some peoples’ imagination, like musicians, functions almost entirely with sounds. Having recognized, pictured, and named this image, we then put it out before us. There we can observe it in action and at rest. We can play with it and work with it and find out what neat things we can do with it. We have made internal combustion engines, nuclear power plants, atom bombs.
But, one of the most important and least appreciated products of our imaginations is the use that we have made in the expression of this natural phenomenon within our language. The rune of UR is still in the English language, written as /u/ and /ur/. Interestingly, the sense of many of these elements remains the same when the words appear to come through other languages. King Ælfred put this principle of group energy to work right away by founding a nation composed of many ‘burghs’, small towns composed of the cooperative energies of many different tribes.
Restatement of the principle of ‘Group Energy’:
It is impossible to speak English without using words with these energy sense-elements. Let us close with these: ‘us’, ‘out’, and ‘but’.
us [AS. us dat.; us, usic, ussic, accu; pl. us] p.2012 A.S. had different forms for different cases, yet the word is unchanged. Runically this is ‘UR, SIEGEL’. Siegel is the sun rune, the rune of victory and the triumph of light over darkness. Us, together, sounds like a significant force, for good if we set our minds to it.
out [AS. ut ] p. 2134 away from; forth from or removed from a place, position or situation; into the open air. To be an outlaw or out-sider, each states a position with respect to a definite principle.
but [AS. butan, buton, without, outside into the open air] be, by and utan The word ‘but’ is an old word for the outer room, particularly the kitchen of a cottage (often outside). In old towns people often shared ovens, roasting spits and other cooking and eating facilities.
“Into the open air”, from that image of an invisible though palpable force comes the word ‘but’, a poetic expression, which we use to carry the meaning of ‘exclusion’, to insert an explanation, to change the subject, to take a breath and collect ones thoughts, or just to escape from a word mire. Imagine trying to speak English without ‘but’. I’ve noted that ‘but’ has become a linguistic ‘escape’ button. The sense element, ut, also gives us: abut, utmost, utterly, hutch, butch, bout, gout, lout, pout, rout, tout, grout, out, about, outdoor, outcome, outlook, outlaw, outside, outermost, without… Compound words using -out and out- go on and on. ‘Ut’ also gives us simple everyday words: but, cut, gut, hut, nut, put, rut, gutter, putter, and the list goes on, including ‘butter’ and ‘button’. When you relate these words to the sense of the element ‘ut’, there is a graphic visual image that makes the sense memorable. That is what we mean by a referent image.
A variation on the -ut element is -ud. There is a slight but significant sense when ‘d’ takes the place of ‘t’ While the sounds are similar, the sense of the two letters is between ‘regulation’ /t/ and ‘balance and stability’ /d/. With ‘d’ we have more substantive words: bud (as in flower bud), dud, mud, cud, stud, cuddle, fuddle, muddle, puddle, budge, nudge, cudgel, bludgeon. The rune UR also makes its great energy felt in -oud and -ould: cloud, loud, proud, could, would, should.
[AS. prut, proud] The elemental sense of -oud is ‘swollen with its own fluids or substance’. The Archaic Dictionary and Websters give definitions of ‘proud’ as full; high; swelled; luxuriant; turgid or swollen as a river in flood, sexually excited; stately; magnificent.
The sense of -oud give a strong image to both cloud and loud
should [AS. sceal, scal, I am obliged] There are many and varied meanings in newer dictionaries which reference words as “formal, informal, and colloquial speech” suggesting fashions of usage rather than an awareness of the sense of the word. ‘Should’ is one of those words that is now used more for the elegance of the sound than for the sense of the word. That is not good since ‘obligations’ should never be taken on or spoken of so lightly.
The sense element ‘-ould’ carries the idea or sense of ‘a burden’ and the (SH) prefix gives it the meaning of ‘obligation’. Neither ‘could’ nor ‘would’ carries the meaning of obligation; but, they do carry the sense of ‘a burden’. A parallel situation exists with the words ‘can’, ‘will’ and ‘shall. ‘I can’ means I have the power to do it. ‘I will’ means I have the intent or the ‘joy’ of doing it. And, ‘I shall’ means ‘I assume the obligation.’ Runically, ‘SIEGEL- HAGAL’ (SH) should carry this sense of the imperative as siegel carries the stupendous power of the sun.
If our objective is to to communicate the image in our mind and to make ourselves understood, then we would do well to attend to the sense of what we are saying rather than to fashions and ‘received’ forms, unless they are required to make ourselves understood. I was taught that the word ‘should’ carried the sense of ‘personal obligation’. The fact that I was taught something does not make it so; however, all the ‘-ould’ words which I have found have had one common sense of meaning, which is that of ‘a burden’. would, could, should, mould, boulder, shoulder, nould (Obs. contraction of would not).
The idea of ‘burden’ may seem consistent with obligation; however it is not the same thing. An ‘obligation’ is related to the words ‘ligate’and ‘ligature’ having the sense of ‘to tie’. The word ‘burden’ has the sense element -urd related to ‘group energy’ which is weighted or rooted. While it may feel burdensome, it ‘comes with the territory’. In the case of the ‘shoulders’ which we all have, that particular obligation is built into the anatomic structure. I think we would do well to do less “shoulding” of ourselves and of others. Please note that I avoided saying “should” and, in the future, will strive to avoid saying it to anyone but myself. That is a very strong turn of phrase to use as it is obligating oneself. It is too much like giving ones word.
-ound is found in quite a few words and is a particularly dynamic image. Ounding is an obsolete word, a noun meaning a waving, a curling Oundy, also obsolete, is an adjective meaning waving, curly. The general image in -ound is a swelling outward in a wavelike motion from a central point, like a sound wave, rolling hills, even a radiating, pushing outward, against resistance. The image of ‘ound’ is compounding, just like our language is, and also carries a sense of abundance. Some words with -ound: bound, redound, found, ground, hound, pound, round, sound, wound, astound, compound, mound, stound. The sense of ound remains consistent whether the ‘ound’ is made of goods, words, flesh, soil, rocks, air, hair, emotion, or imagination. These elements are not just about making rhyming elements, they are about forming pictures in our imagination that represent ideas.
The word ‘stound’ is seldom used other than in ‘astound’. It means a time or moment; a pain or pang; a shock; a time or moment (that stands out) [AS. stund]. We still use that AS. word, albeit spelled differently, ‘stunned’. Mound [AS. mund the hand; protection, defense “prob. confused with L. mons, montis mountain”. No, not confused and not Latin. This is quite native considering the many uses of mounds in the British Isles, high places, hiding places, burial mounds, fortifications, fairy mounds (the sidhe), handmade or natural.
A word where the sense element might be questioned is ‘found’ [AS. fundon pp. of findan, to find] “provided with all the necessaries, especially room and board.” I had always thought that something had to be ‘lost’ in order to be ‘found’. Instead, I find that ‘found’* refers to a kind of ‘mound of movable wealth’. This makes the term ‘foundling’ not quite as piteous an image. And, the idea that ‘providing the necessaries of life’ to a person has a history in our language is pleasantly surprising. This AS word fundon also gives us a native source for foundation, foundry, founder, and six definitions of found. There may also be a Latin source but one is not required. This may be another one of those ancient concepts that goes back further in history than either one of these languages.
There are many more elements that begin with ‘u’ or ‘ur’ and carry the sense of collective energy. They sneak up on you all the time in words like fur, burl, burly and burlage. What are commonly called rhyming patterns often have a lot more in common than rhyme. Looking for the common denominator of sense in rhyming words that have the same sense element is a good exercise and it can be very informative. I find that having a mental image of what words mean, makes reading more informative, more stimulating and improves comprehension. Above all, for me, is the comfort I take in the awareness that there is a living fundamental principle of coöperative energy in our world. The words that we use reflect the reality of that principle.
While the sense elements of -und, -urd, -urt,-ond, -oud, -out, -ould, -ound often express physical configurations in our landscape, they also depict expressions of our relationships with the energy fields which are active in those configutations. For example, the ‘energy’ that forms the shape of a cloud is the same that puffs up the proud.
“Origins. A Short Etymological Dictionary” p. 865 Partridge, Eric This is listed under -ute as a suffix. In this book as in most of the others, save Dr. Burchfield and George Campbell’s “Compendium”, no mention is made of the English runic connection. It does exist and did not come through Latin or Greek.
“The Birth of Britain” pp. 73-76 , Churchill, Winston -for a short story of these four “little pigs” invasion.
Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary p. 1269
ibid p. 1797
See “Celtic Myth and Legend” Squire, Charles
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