Gebo: Increasing Power and Flow of Blessings

What does your tradition do to increase power and the flow of blessings? In the Havamal, the Cosmic Law of Compensation is written: “Better not to over-pledge as a gift demands a gift.”


I have many answers to this question but right now I want to focus on a particular lesson that I am currently meditating on and practicing strongly – this is the practice of Gebo.
Gebo is one of the Elder Futhark Runes and its literal meaning or translation is Gift. Its meanings include:

  • gifts 
  • giving and taking 
  • trade 
  • sacrifice 
  • process of exchange
  • balance
  • compensation
  • equilibrium
  • law of reciprocation
  • altruism
  • the gravity of equals and opposites
  • generosity 
  • hospitality
  • honor

This rune governs balance in all exchanges between people whether its the exchange of gifts, trade between merchants, marital gifts, harmony between siblings, even exchange between the romantic and sexual union between people. 

Personal Practice

​I was introduced to this concept a few years ago and this year in particular, its practice keeps coming up for me again and again. When meditating and speaking with the Norse goddess Frigga, I have found that it is important for me to practice this in my life consciously and so I have made it a focus on daily meditation and in my actions. 
One of the ways I have practiced Gebo is by having equal exchange with 2 friends – In one instance a new friend gave me an in-depth rune reading that clarified a few things that I have been experiencing recently. For her I made a scarf that I was inspired in pattern and color by her matron goddess Angrboda. 
The second instance needs some explaining – in my meditations and practice it has been decided that I will learn the runes but my first set must be given to me as an act of Gebo – a gift for a gift. My best friend and sister of the craft bought me a rune set that is currently being shipped to me and I made for her a tarot bag to her specifications. 

Exchange of Words & Actions

​By practicing Gebo, I see that the Gods do provide and that there can be a fair exchange between people. I also see that there can be joy and camaraderie between people when exchange is done this way that is missing when money is used instead. I believe that when we do this we also see that when we buy things with money, we aren’t spending paper – we’re spending hours of our lives. 
I notice more now how much time I lose with my husband while he is at work more than before – vs when he is working on wood or metal in his shop and enjoying himself here in the home. I notice that I think more about what items are worth. ​I also practice Gebo in my exchange of words and actions with others. I think about how I interact and wonder – am I speaking fairly or treating them fairly? I consider my time and energy in an exchange and am more likely now to back out of conversations or interactions that do not nourish me or are wasting my patience and time rather than forcing my way through them.  ​Gebo is a blessing to humans, a blessing of gifts and of relationships. This is a blessing that means so much more than physical items as it is something that lasts longer and is truer than any bought or traded item. It is a practice used by the gods, our ancestors, nature, and us.