First Ætt – Freya’s Ætt
Phonetic Value: G
Pronounced: Ghee-boe, gay-boe, Gee-foo
Other Names: Gifu, Gyfu, Giba, Gipt, Geofu
Color: Deep Blue
Deities and Myths: Sigurd, Brunhild
Keywords: Gifts, Contracts, Partnership, Relationship, Hospitality, Generosity, Exchange
When Interpreting Upright: There are many ways to interpret this rune. As always, taking into account the other runes drawn with it, the meaning can change slightly. Drawn by itself, Gebo shows that a boon may be coming your way. It may be in the form of money, relationships with others, a new friend, new lover or a spiritual gift. When drawn with Ingwaz it leans towards fertility, though when drawn with Fehu it is your financial matters you should look to. If you’re out there dating, drawing this rune means you’ll soon be successful in finding a mate. You could come into some money or perhaps get a new job or promotion. You could start a new endeavor with a new partner. Or you could simply receive a physical gift. Who doesn’t like presents?
When I say spiritual gift, I mean to say some type of gift, talent or ability. This could be any type of talent or ability. In the matter of your relationships, remember balance is key here. Do not allow yourself to get lost. Staying true to yourself will bring the right kind of partnership into your life.
Hospitality and generosity are another meaning for this rune. In the days of old, these two characteristics were highly prized. The relationships between two people or a lord and his people, relied heavily on them. It was custom to offer hospitality to any who needed it and was thought rude to deny it or refuse. Gebo teaches balance and equal exchange in this manner. If you have abundance, share and if you are in need, don’t be too proud to receive. Look at your position in the world. Are you in a place where you can help others? Should you be recycling more or donating old items you no longer use?
This rune has been associated with sacrifice, in the way of giving up something in order to receive something. This also plays into equal exchange. Odin hung on the tree to get the knowledge of the runes, he gave his eye for the wisdom of the ages. He gave and received. This can apply to a spiritual gift, especially when drawn with Ansuz, the mouth of the gods. Some enlightenment may come your way.
When Interpreting Merkstave (Reverse or Upside Down): Though there is no reverse meaning for Gebo, since you can’t reverse the rune, Gebo is also a clear warning to not be greedy, especially when drawn with Nauthiz. Do not seek to own everything and do not be stingy with what you have. When drawn with Othila it can also be a warning that some problem financially is coming your way, funds may dry up, or that some relationship is coming to an end.
Gebo can be used in healing as well as fertility rituals. To help conceive, drawn it over your womb. To help heal, place it near the sick. Give it as a gift to your lover.
Disclaimer: This is not the end-all only interpretation for runes of the Elder Futhark. This is a learning guide written by me for teaching purposes. Each rune guide is a compilation of information that I’ve put together over the years. It is, by far, not the only source for runic meanings and I encourage everyone to research the runes further. Find out what each rune means to you.