Wunjo [pronounced Vun-yo] is a very happy rune and one of the least complicated to unpack. Translated to English it simply means ‘joy’ or ‘bliss’. For me, it is a rune of success, contentment and happiness on the earthly plane rather than any sort of spiritual ecstasy or enlightenment (which we will see later in the rune Sowilo).
Representing the more mundane joys of life, I see Wunjo represented in the happier cards of the tarot’s minor arcana such as the 6 of Wands, where will and sustained efforts have yielded success. There is a sense of joyous recognition for the things we have achieved and the acknowledgment that our successes positively impact not only ourselves, but also those closest to us.
As we’ve seen in Gebo, the Norse placed special emphasis on maintaining good kin and community relationships through hospitality and gift giving. Wunjo is the realisation of the fulfilment found when the ties of family and friendship are maintained with humour and kindness, and the community feels as one in its aspirations and purpose. This sense of perfect harmony and joie de vivre can be seen perfectly reflected in the 10 of Cups, where familial love and happiness flows abundantly, and the Four of Wands, where the community celebrates happy times, united in peace and contentment and the realisation that joy shared, is joy multiplied.
As a community and family driven sort of happiness, merkstave or shadowed by other runes, Wunjo can indicate feelings of isolation and worry, as found in the Nine of Swords, where one feels lonely, cut off from those around us and besieged by anxiety. The Five of Cups also aptly shows the sorrow of failure, disappointment and emotional destitution indicated by a reversal of this rune.