Algiz : "protection"
Phonetic equivalent: x, z
DIVINATORY MEANINGS: protection, assistance, defence, warning, support, a mentor, an ethical dilemma
MAGICAL USES: for protection, hunting
ASSOCIATED MYTHS & DEITIES: Heimdall, Gjallerhorn
ANALYSIS: Heimdall is an interesting and mysterious figure in Norse mythology, and I associate him with the rune algiz because of his role as protector and guardian. He is the watcher at the gate who guards the boundaries between the worlds and who charges all those entering and leaving with caution. He is best known for his famous horn, but his sword is also important in the consideration of this rune. Snorri mentions that the poetic name for a sword is 'Heimdall's head', and the poetic name for a head is 'Heimdall's sword'. This is particularly significant if we consider that one form of his name was 'Heimdali', meaning 'ram'. Through the image of the ram, Heimdall's sword and his horn can be seen as two different sides of the same image. Both the sword and the ram's horns (or the elk's antlers) are symbols of power which may be used for either offence or defence, depending on the situation.
In terms of the journey, we have passed through death and rebirth, and must now face the Guardian before returning to our world. It is he who charges us to use our new-found power wisely. The person can no longer be simply concerned with their own personal development, but must now consider the effect that their actions may have on others. This is a crucial turning point, and the person will either choose to adopt a system of ethics or ignore the effect on others and only work to serve their own ends. Again, the sword is in their hands, but they must decide whether to use it for defence or offence.
More information from another site, on the Rune Algiz:
Algiz: (Z or -R: Elk, protection.) Protection, a shield. The protective urge to shelter oneself or others. Defense, warding off of evil, shield, guardian. Connection with the gods, awakening, higher life. It can be used to channel energies appropriately. Follow your instincts. Keep hold of success or maintain a position won or earned. Algiz Reversed: or Merkstave: Hidden danger, consumption by divine forces, loss of divine link. Taboo, warning, turning away, that which repels.
Information on norse god Heimdall: http://www.pantheon.org/articles/h/heimdall.html
Heimdallby Micha F. Lindemans
Heimdall is the god of light, the son of nine mothers (variously given as the daughters of Geirrendour the Giant or of Aegir). He was born at the end of the world and raised by the force of the earth, seawater and the blood of a boar. Because of his shining, golden teeth he is also called Gullintani ("gold tooth"). His hall is Himinbjorg, The Cliffs of Heaven, and his horse is Gulltop. Heimdall carries the horn Gjallar.
He is the watchman of the gods and guards Bifrost, the only entrance to Asgard, the realm of the gods. It is Heimdall's duty to prevent the giants from forcing their way into Asgard. He requires less sleep than a bird and can see a hundred miles around him, by night as well as by day. His hearing is so accurate that no sound escapes him: he can even hear the grass grow or the wool on a sheep's back. At the final conflict of Ragnarok he will kill his age-old enemy, the evil god Loki, but will die himself from his wounds.
As the god Rig ("ruler"), Heimdall created the three races of mankind: the serfs, the peasants, and the warriors. It is interesting to note why Heimdall fathered them, and not Odin as might be expected. Furthermore, Heimdall is in many attributes identical with Tyr.
Old Norse: Heimdallr