Raidho [pronounced Ride-ho] translates to ‘rider’ but is also commonly associated with numerous forms of travel, including by cart, wagon, chariot or even boat. It is the traveller’s rune of movement, rhythm, speed, action and purpose. The most obvious associated card related to this rune is the Chariot, where we see the harnessing of wild forces to speed us to our destination. Both Raidho and the Chariot conjure images of will and adventure, they are the tidal waves of momentum that keeps us moving, driving, ever onwards.
In this sense we can also see elements of the Three of Wands, that of events unfolding with purpose, of venturing out and taking the initiative to pursue one’s passions. There is the sense of growing potential, of personal expansion and something being set in motion. Although the picture seems very still, we can imagine the ships leaving the harbour as being carried on their way by the swelling momentum of the tide.
In yet another sense, Raidho also shares common themes with elements of the Magician, as the travel or ‘riding’ it speaks of can also include shamanic journeys in search of divine, universal or otherworldly messages. The art of Hedge Riding was practiced amongst Norse tribes, where witches would ‘ride’ over the boundary between worlds and into other realms for purposes of knowledge, divination and healing.
Naturally, this image of adventurous souls on horseback (be they ‘real’ or metaphysical steeds), riding forth on a mission, also aligns strongly with the highly active energy of the Knight of Wands and Knight of Swords. Both have their own specific calling and motivation, however the Raidho element in these cards is not so much to do with what they seek, but rather with how they seek – action, dynamism, speed, passion and so forth. Raidho is about finding your rhythm and exploiting it to your best advantage. Much like these Knights too, there is also a sense of ‘rightness’ to this rune, that whatever is being pursued is motivated by a sense of serving a just and higher purpose.
Merkstave (reversed) or shadowed by other runes in a spread we can see the Chariot energy blocked in the sense that one isn’t grabbing those reigns and taking charge of directing the course of their life. There can also be a sense that one is being dragged in different directions by uncontrollable forces. And much like a shadow or reversed aspect of the Eight of Wands, there is the feeling of being stuck, that our lives aren’t really going anywhere, constantly beset by delays and obstacles.
Similarly, we can also see a reflection of the Four of Cups, the feeling of lacking motivation and purpose, when apathy and dissatisfaction has drowned out any momentum to push onwards, and there appears to be no goal or quest in life worth pursuing.
Finally, Raidho can also carry the shadow of aimlessness. Those times when we feel compelled to go somewhere but have no idea where. Consequently, we see the pointless meandering and abandonment suggested in a reversed Eight of Cups – moving away from something but not being directed towards anything else, the journey is characterised by wandering detours and a feeling of being astray.