Pronunciation: bear-KAH-nah

Alternative names: berkano, bairkan, beorc, bjarkan, brica

Translation: birch tree

Sound: “B” as in “birch”


Associated Concepts and Interpretations

Birch

Birth/new beginnings

Clearing away old before beginning anew

Creativity

Earth mother (both Nerthus/bright and Hel/dark aspects)

Family

Female/maternal energy

Fertility

Growth

Healing

Love

Nurturing/nourishing

Protective/Shelter

Purification

Rebirth

Regeneration/renewal

Rites of passage

Road to the Underworld

Spiritual reawakening/growth


Associated Rune Poems

(as translated by Bruce Dickins, 1915; public domain)

A number of interpretations are derived from the various runic poems and those associated with this rune (where available) are included below for further consideration.

Norwegian:
ᛒ Bjarkan er laufgrønstr líma;
Loki bar flærða tíma
ᛒ Bjarkan
Birch has the greenest leaves of any shrub;
Loki was fortunate in his deceit
Icelandic:
ᛒ Bjarkan er laufgat lim
   ok lítit tré
   ok ungsamligr viðr.
   abies buðlungr
Bjarken - Birch
   Leafy twig
   and little tree
   and fresh young shrub
Anglo-Saxon:
ᛒ Beorc byþ bleda leas, bereþ efne swa ðeah
   tanas butan tudder, biþ on telgum wlitig,
   heah on helme hrysted fægere,
   geloden leafum, lyfte getenge
Beorc
The poplar bears no fruit; yet without seed it brings forth suckers,
for it is generated from its leaves.
Splendid are its branches and gloriously adorned
its lofty crown which reaches to the skies

last updated: 21 jan 2022


A list of references is available.

Audio associated with this rune is a creation of the author’s and is released to the public domain. Back-linking and attribution are appreciated, but not required, for use.