Supporting Meanings: Protection, linking divine and natural worlds
Ancient Meanings: According to Diana Paxson, the Anglo-Saxon rune poem is the only one to include this rune, and it does so by aligning it with a plant, “Eolh-secg” which some translate as elk sedge, eelgrass, or holy place edge. This grass (or the edge of a holy place” is found mostly in fens and grows in water, but it causes stinging wounds to any brave soul who tries to hold on to it. Whether this is protective or harmful, I suppose, depends upon your perspective: are you using the grass as a defensive shield, or are you trying to work your way through it?
Modern Meanings: Edred Thorsson describes elhaz as a sign of protection, calling to mind the horned elk that feeds upon the Worldtree. It could also stand for the link between man and his spirit guide. He says that its protection comes from one’s relationship with his or her own personal divinity. Peterson finds elements of hunt magic in the rune. Osborn and Longland point out the danger of eelgrass, but note that knowledge of one’s environment would allow you to operate safely and ward off danger. Freya Aswynn belives that its use as a termination in language makes it primarily magical in function. For her, this rune can be upright or upside down and can be feminine and masculine: therefore, when combined together in a bindrune, they can represent marriage. She does, however, also agree that the rune is a force for connection and protection.
My Take-Away of the Meanings: I like to think of the rune as protective, defensive antlers. But it also looks like a man with his arms raised to the sky in worship and channeling. It’s protection comes from increased connection with the Gods.
Paxson’s Interpretation and Use: In a reading, this rune almost certainly means protection, possibly by means of drawing on natural powers or allowing suppressed aspects of personality to operate. It indicates a beneficent new influence, willing sacrifice, or an exchange of lesser for greater good. It can be dangerous to the untrained, and can be used to turn back an attack so that it wounds the attacker. Combined with other runes in bind runes, it invokes their force for protection. The Elk rune is used to protect or hallow in situations where Wiccans would use the pentagram.
Paxson’s Practice for Living Elhaz: To raise elhaz energy, ground and center while standing, reaching deeply for power. When you have a strong sense of the energy, slowly stand with hands at your sides and draw the power upward. As it fills you, lift your arms, extend them at an angle, and project the energy out through the crown of your head and the tips of your fingers in offering, or bring your arms downward again so that the energy forms a protective sphere. As you do this, meditate on your guardian spirit. Protection is intensified by drawn the rune with a fingernail on your forehead, chest, or the palms of your hands.