As I continue with my study of the Runes, I invite you to join me in contemplation. I am not an expert on the runes, just a student and enthusiast who wants to improve my skills with reading the runes and using them for Magick or Divination. Thank you for joining me!
GEBO: Gift, Exchange, Reciprocation
GENEROSITY: "Generosity brings credit and honour, which support one's dignity;
it furnishes help and subsistence
to all broken men who are devoid of aught else." - -Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
GEBO is represented by an 'X' or a 'crossed staves' design, resembling a multiplication symbol or the letter X. It can also be seen to represent two crossed staves, wands, or swords - bringing to mind a unification or agreement between two parties.
Gift and Generosity: One of the primary interpretations of Gebo is the concept of giving and receiving. The rune emphasizes the importance of reciprocity and the exchange of gifts, whether tangible or intangible. It signifies the bonds of friendship, alliances, marriage, and the interconnectedness of individuals within a community. Gebo represents the kind of Gift Exchange in which we have truly thought out what the other person will benefit from, and the joy or benefit that we receive in return. When you truly and generously give a gift to a friend, it is a gift that shows how much you admire or respect and understand that person and the bond between you is strengthened.
This is not limited to tangible or material gifts that are exchanged, but also an energy exchange or a form of partnership that promotes feelings of reciprocation, balance, and equality. For example, I am inspired to give time and energy to helping my partner around the home because I also see my partner giving time and effort to support me. I enjoy giving time and devotion to my coven, because the bond of my coven mates gives me a lot of joy and fulfillment in return. I love to give a birthday gift to my best friend because their friendship brings so much value to my life.
The Anglo-Saxon Rune poem reminds us that generosity results in more help from our community when we need it. The community is more likely to gather round and help someone in need if that person has previously been generous - there is reciprocation. However, if someone has been greedy and has never given of their time and energy to the people around them, why would those people then feel inspired to give back? This is not about keeping track of every little exchange to make sure that every good deed is paid back in some mathematical sense, but it is just about the Natural Law of return. It is natural to develop feelings of gratitude, comradery, connection, and support towards people who have shown you support. It is natural to want to help or support someone who has brought value and support or help to you when you needed it. There is trust developed when there is equal balance in give and take, or when there is at least an effort to participate in the exchange of energy.
Partnership and Unity: Gebo is also associated with partnerships and unions. The crossing of staves represents the coming together of two forces, creating a harmonious balance. When trust and mutual respect have developed, people form alliances. These can be alliances between individuals in the form of business partnerships, friendships, and romantic commitments. This can also represent alliances between larger groups of people, such as when two kingdoms join together to fight a common enemy, or to exchange foods and supplies. The basic alliances of trade and commerce are also represented in Gebo - I offer a skill or a product and someone else offers me an exchange of their money or a service. If we both feel that the exchange is fair, the trade is made. This is not limited to humans, but can even be seen among animals. My cats trust that I will provide them with food and shelter, and in exchange they will provide me with affection, companionship, and they will hunt spiders in my basement!
When I see this rune in a divination, I am reminded to check that I am giving as much as I am receiving and to be aware of needing a fair and balanced give and take in my relationships so that trust is the foundation of our bond. I might need to double check that I am not giving and giving without also having my own needs met - or to make sure that I am not simply recieving from others without giving back in appropriate ways.
In magical practice I might place this rune on a candle or inscribe it somewhere if I want to promote the energy of Generosity, Reciprocation, and Balanced or Fair Partnership.