Meaning of Berkano or Beorc

The Berkano meaning is related to the birch tree, which is very common in the north areas, like Scandinavia.

There is no coincidence for this because the birch tree is usually associated with another meaning of this rune, the goddesses.

Trees are seen as the spring heralds, for when it comes, their beautiful green leaves give a feeling of birth, renewal, and a new beginning, which this rune is all about.

Talking about goddesses, the Berkano rune is related to the mother of all things, the Earth Goddess. The symbol is represented by the breast, and the letter, as it can easily be observed, looks like a mother’s bosom turned sideways.

Motherhood is a mundane of the rune stone, and it depicts the mother who protects her womb where a new soul is bound to be born. The secrecy of it, because no one else knows the feeling of a mother except that very same mother, is represented by the unexplained phenomena on a spiritual level, given by the childbirth.

Berkano is also a symbol of child protection by the mother or the goddesses of this world.

The mother, as the first person a child meets in the world, is seen as a shelter, a place where even the now-grown child can return for protection and liberation when everything else is against him. In order to help him, a mother can use the Berkano rune like a direct action towards new beginnings or a renewal to new ways of life.

Female emancipation regarding the sexual needs can also receive help from this rune.

Nowadays, the subject is taboo, and many religions try to remove any idea of a woman’s need from society. But this rune is all about femininity and the power of a woman, especially a mother who knows that love can pass over anything.

As said above, another quality from the Berkano rune is the feelings of healing and protection. It can help a tormented soul regain confidence and maintain a healthy way of living, with a clear mind and the feelings of crystal cold.

As the old proverb says, a healthy mind can lead to a healthy body, so this is where the healing capacity comes in to help.

There is also a negative feature of the rune when drawn in reverse. It represents a symbol of an obstacle in front of birth or healing. It can also refer to bitterness, stagnation, and infertility.

Hagalaz is also known as Hagal or Hail. It means “hail” in general.

Key Concept 

Growing, Revival, Regeneration.


Privacy, Quiet, Security, Knowledge, Necessity.


Vessel/Liberator, Fertility, Nature.


Maternity, Curing, Nursery, The womb.


Natal, Changes, Harbor, Freedom, Sanctuary; or Treachery, Infertility, Inactivity, Conspiracy, Lack of confidence.


  • Refers to a new spirit who comes into the world.
  • Gives power to those faint of heart.
  • Works like a protective totem.
  • Maintains a good communication way.
  • Helps people realize the true meaning of life.

Berkano the birch represents fertility, growth, sustenance, renewal, regeneration, new beginnings and good fortune in relationships and ventures.

Joseph Ki-Zerbo, a Burkinabe historian and writer, once said that “When deeply rooted, one is porous to all the breathing of the world and prepared for every opening.” He may not have known it but his words expressed the very meaning behind the Berkano rune.

The birch stands calmly on a patch of earth. Every day its shadow glides along a circular path as the sun completes its rounds of the sky. The birch’s bark creaks slightly as the wind shakes the branches of the tree and its roots shift to keep the massive trunk from leaning. The sound is one of deep satisfaction and contentment as if the birch has learned a deep secret from the wind. As if it remembers countless conversations whispered to the ground beneath it as it basked in the glow of the sun’s golden light. The bark of the birch creaks as the tree stretches itself and reaches out for the sun aching to trade secrets with the guardian goddess of the sky before her time comes to an end and the birch must sleep for the winter, to be woken in the spring. This is the nature of Berkano.

This rune shows that your life is about to enter a stage of growth and good fortune. It encourages you to root yourself deeply in the ground and leave yourself open to the breathing of the world. Plant the seeds of your success and keep an eye out for any opportunities that may come your way since the time for growth has come and prosperity is sure to follow in the wake of your actions.

Learn from this rune and learn because of it. Make it your objective to acquire new skills and apply yourself to the pursuit of knowledge. Balance this knowledge with a pursuit of spiritual enlightenment in order to ensure that your growth is well-rounded. This knowledge and enlightenment will form the roots of your birch and keep your trunk from leaning when a strong wind comes.

However, do not ignore the wind for it bears secrets that you need to learn. Smile in the face of hardship and learn from the growing pains that you experience. Allow them to teach you perseverance and patience. Put in that extra hour after work. Take some time to read a book before you sleep. Do the paperwork for the business you want to start. Smile through the burning in your muscles as you run on a treadmill. Understand that the weakest trees are blown over by the wind before they grow while the strongest stand tall in the face of it.

Sustain your growth by nourishing the relationships you have with the people you care about. Let them be your branches and through them reach out to listen to the secrets of the universe. Learn from the experiences of the people around you and incorporate them into your own existence. Remember that the fool learns from his own experiences while the wise man learns from the experiences of others. In return for this gift however be the bulwark that protects the people you care about from negativity and negative forces. Aid them in their growth and allow them to aid you. Remember that a grove stands better against the wind than a single tree. Become the first seed in a birch grove.

Seek the renewal of lost ties and the regeneration of relationships that have turned sour. This does not only give you more support, but it also reduces the amount of negative energy in your life and rejuvenates your soul. Coupled with your pursuit of knowledge and spiritual enlightenment, this turns your spirit into fertile ground for the blooming of positive emotions and energy and leaves you ready for any opportunities that may come your way. Should the sun stray within your reach one day, you will be ready to reach out for it and listen to its secrets.

Berkano’s merkstave signifies a time of stagnation, sterility, and problems. This period could affect you financially, emotionally, spiritually or even in terms of your relationships.

Growth occurs around us every day. Berkano’s merkstave warns you against ignoring the need for growth, change and rebirth. It seeks to remind you that every winter, the birch sleeps and every spring, it is born anew under the light of the sun. Trying to escape this cycle of growth and rebirth would be to invite trouble since the world would change around you and move ahead without you.

This rune’s merkstave warns you against becoming comfortable with the position that you are currently in since the natural law of life is decay and everything loses value as time passes unless its growth keeps pace with the decay affecting it. Think financially, money depreciates in value simply by existing. Relationships become dreary and tedious if they are not nourished and reinvigorated by the stream of growth. The mind grows dull if nothing new is learned and the body grows weak if the muscles aren’t occasionally pushed to their limits. Even the spirit dies if it is not fed with new experiences from time to time.

Stagnation is your enemy. It washes away the soil around your roots and cuts down the birch grove around you so that, when the wind comes you have no protection. Berkano’s merkstave warns you that this threat exists and that only your actions can keep you safe from it. You must keep growing.

However, be careful not to overexert yourself because unsustainable growth is the same as death. If you do not regulate the pace of your growth, you may outgrow your capacity and the capacity of the environment that you exist in. Nothing grows overnight. Take care not to mistake grievous harm for growing pains. Ensure that you understand yourself enough to grow at a pace that suits you but does not keep you comfortable.

By Florance Saul
Mar 13, 2013