Meaning: Lot, Cup, Game Piece
Supporting Meanings: Good-natured cheer, camraderie, high stakes, fate, divination
Ancient Meanings: According to Diana Paxson, perthro is an odd rune since the ‘p’ letter is pretty rare. In the Younger Futhark, berkano serves for both ‘b’ and ‘p’ sounds, and the ‘p’ rarely appears in Old Norse, and very few instances of the letter are found in the Anglo-Saxon poems. The name comes from old Germanic, and it is interpreted as a device for casting lots. This looks oddly specific, but playing at dice was serious business among the German tribes: when players had lost all else, they would even gamble with their freedom. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem gives this sign the name “Peorth” and translates it as a chess or a gaming piece, a thing that causes laughter and brings comrades together in happiness. The games provide friendly and intellectual combat, and is a pursuit of peace.
Modern Meanings: Edred Thorsson finds perthro to be a rune of fate’s mysteries; it governs the laws of cause and effect and of synchronicity. It is at one the well and the cup in which runes are tossed, so it is the power of becoming, consistency and change. Gundarsson specifically describes it as a rune of divination, and sees it as “the embodiment of the self-awareness of the cosmos”. Frey Aswynn agrees, but also sees perthro as a rune of the Womb of Space and as a repository of ancestral memory of the collective unconscious. Osborn and Longland, however, translate it as “tune” and think it indicates happiness and recreation. Peterson thinks it means something unknown; a mystery that will be revealed in due time. Paxon notes that it is definitely a rune whose ambiguity is a source of frustration and an opportunity: since historical evidence is thin, one must seek illumination in the insights of more contemporary writers and from one’s own intuition. She says that it can be interpreted as the rune of the Runes themselves, the womb into which Yggdrasil drops its berries to stimulate the birth of destiny. It is the cauldron of transformation.
My Take-Away of the Meanings: There are elements of divination and fate here, but with a connotation of cheer. Its revelations may involve fate, but this isn’t necessarily set in stone. There are ways to twist an outcome around: you can go into fate’s battle laughing.
Paxson’s Interpretation and Use: In a reading, perthro is an omen that one should explore the implications of fate’s operations. It could mean that forces set in motion are working themselves out, or than an unexpected factor will intervene. Psychologically, it could involve needing to deal with uncertainty or taking risks. In personal development, it may refer to the opportunities in which one was “fated” at birth. It can also mean the disclosure of something previously hidden, and Gundarsson believes it can be used to speed up the actions of fate. Upended, perthro is useful in bindrunes to “pour out” other runes into manifestation; upright, to contain them.
Paxson’s Practice for Living Perthro: To experience perthro, you must work with concepts of (re)birth, fate and chance. Playing any game involving dice casting prepares the mind to deal with concepts of change and chance. Perthro can also be accessed by analyzing one’s own inheritance: what physical traits have you gotten through your ancestors? What where the personalities of your family? What do you remember from your childhood? What have these experiences and traits ‘locked’ into place for you, and how can you challenge them?