Mythology Around Runes: Gebo


Both Odin and Thor are symbolically associated with Gebo. Its significance of knowing once’s boundaries and swearing to abide by contracts link the rune with Thor, the thunder god whose job it was to preserve order in the universe. Odin, being the archetypal king, was expected to give generous gifts to his followers in order to reward them for their loyalty. He possessed a marvellous arm ring called Draupnir, which replicated itself into eight other, identical rings every ninth night.
These precious objects were then distributed as it pleased him. Gebo has thus gained an extra interpretation as a valuable ornament. In his song, Odin warns that “it is better not to ask then to overpledge, as a gift demands a gift”. This verse speaks both of making hasty promises and of casting enchantments. In both cases, a price must be paid, so caution should be the watchword.


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