Monday, May 28, 2018

Runes 301 - Making Your Own Runes - Repurposed Runes

I get a lot of questions about what to do with Rune sets that people no longer use.  Last November, I offered some insight into getting rid of old Runes as a starting point to addressing this issue.

While the previous post was about properly disposing of Runes, Runes do not necessarily need to be destroyed or passed on to someone else. They can be reused or repurposed.

Since last year's post, some of you have reached out with the creative ways that you have reused or repurposed Runes - the most common being using them on your alters and making them into jewelry.  Thank you for sharing!

One friend told me that she had made a set of Runes out of wood,  but she lost one.  Since she hadn't stained them with her blood, she made the remaining ones into jewelry - necklaces to be exact - and distributed them to friends and clients over the course of a year or so.  Others told me about how they incorporated Runes into art.  I'd love to see some of those pictures.  Still others served as medallions.

Your creativity got me thinking about some of the ways that I have repurposed Runes over the years.  Although all of the wooden Runes I've made that I no longer use have been burned and buried because I stained them all, as you can see in the picture above, I do have some Runes on my alter.  (I also still have a couple of bags of Rune sets  don't use on the shelf underneath my alter.)

The Runes painted on the shells were experiments to see which color I preferred.  The Runes I made out of shells ended up being an aqua color, blue too dark, white too light.

The other Runes were inspiration for a book that is in process.  Despite that set never making it to completion, each Rune that was completed represents the essence of character in the book - Raido, Uruz, Sowilo, Dagaz, and Jera.

I also have a few others that I use occasionally in rituals.

If you have repurposed Runes and are comfortable sharing how you did it with me, please do so in a comment or via email.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Runes 202 - Bind Runes - Focus on Health

I've been feeling a little blah physically for a couple of months, but with the warming weather,  now's the time to start incorporating more physical activity into my life.  To help me focus on my physical well-being, I decided to make a bind Rune.  Normally, I draw three Runes and bind those together.  This time, however, I chose the Runes instead.

I had two Runes in mind already - Algiz and Eihwaz.  Algiz was my first choice, because it is the Rune of self defense and protection.  By extension, it becomes about self care, for if you are defending or protecting yourself, is that not a way of caring for yourself?  Algiz has come to me in many Rune draws, but rarely fit as direct self defense.  Thinking of it as self care works in many instances, and it works here too.

Next was Eihwaz.  The Rune of the yew tree represents inner strength, a toughness that, in this instance, places the self care of Algiz at the center of attention.  Eihwaz makes it a priority, by recognizing its importance.

Choosing the third Rune was more of a challenge.  I narrowed it down to four - Fehu, Nauthiz, Jera, and Uruz.  Each presented me with a strong message for focusing on physical health.  Fehu, the domesticated cow is often likened to financial issues.  However, more broadly, it represents wealth, which can take many forms, thus prompting the question of value - placing value on physical health.  I do, but I didn't feel that I needed that reminder.  Nauthiz, the Rune of need and necessity, states unequivocally, that I need to take care of my physical health.  I agree, so this Rune was not a necessity.  Jera is always a great Rune, reminding us that everything is a process.  I almost went with that, because that is a reminder that I do need.  That's also why Jera is my guiding Rune...always.  So, again, not needed in the bind Rune.

Then, I considered Uruz, the wild ox.  It represents determination and, for me, the freedom to be who you really are - your true self.  Uruz recognizes my true self, acknowledges my inner strength (Eihwaz), and promotes my self care (Algiz).  And, through Uruz itself, I give a nod to my determination to improve my physical well-being.

Essentially, this bind Rune embodies the idea of the self caring for the self, because the self recognizes that the self is worth it.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Runes 101 - Runes in History - Blekinge Sweden

Of all the places in Sweden that have Runestones, why should I choose Blekinge, in the southeastern part of the country on the Baltic sea?  I mean it has only three Runestones of the roughly 2,000 that are in Sweden.  However, these three share a few similarities.  The are all dated to between the years 500-790; they were all carved in a Proto-Norse version of Runes, which were used during the transition from the Elder to Younger Futhark; and, they are linked to the same tribe.  I believe they are all also designated to the same clan.

Blekinge used to have four Runestones, but one - the Gummarp Runestone - was destroyed in the 1728 Copenhagen Fire that burned almost half of the older section of the city.  The interpretation of these Runes comes down to two options - Haþuwulfar carves them for himself or they were carved in his memory.  Either way, three staves were carved for him - fff.

Fehu, Fehu, Fehu - wealth, wealth, wealth

Istaby Runestone
Haþuwulfar also appears on the Istaby Runestone.  Here, Haþuwulfar refers to himself as Heruwulfar's son and he is paying tribute in memory of Hariwulfar.

The names are what make this Runstone so interesting.  As you may have surmised, 'wulf' means 'wolf'.  'Hari' and 'Haþu' mean 'warrior' and 'battle' respectively.  The warrior wolf and battle wolf are part of a larger clan that may have incorporated wolves or the idea that wolves are a pack or family into rituals and religious ceremonies to initiate young warriors into the fold.

To see this Runestone, you need to visit Stockholm as it resides in the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities.

The Third Runestone is where things start to get really interesting, because this is where the curses come in.  Lying face down, surrounded by five other stones that formed a pentagon, the Stentoften Runestone was discovered in 1823.  In 1864, it was moved to the church of Sölvesborg.

Stentoften Runestone
The carving on this stone talks about how dwellers and guests [of]  Haþuwulfar had a bountiful harvest.  In part, this carving uses the Younger Futhark version of Jera to represent the harvest.  There are other Runes on this stone, like Kenaz, that are in the transitional form from the Elder to Younger Futhark.

An animal sacrifice occurred either to help with the good bounty or to give thanks for it.  This part is unclear.

You should also be warned that, "I, master of the runes(?) conceal here, runes of power, incessantly (plagued by) maleficence, (doomed to) insidious death (is) he who this breaks."  So, I highly advise that you don't break it.

Björketorp Runestone
The only one of Blekinge's Runestones that still resides in its original location is the Björketorp Runestone, located east of Ronneby off of E22.  One of the tallest Runestones in the world, it forms a circle with two other large stones called menhirs, because nothing is carved on them.

One of the lines on the stone matches almost exactly, in words, the line from Stentoften.  However, scholars say that the two stones were not carved by the same runemaster.  It says, "I, master of the runes(?) conceal here runes of power. Incessantly (plagued by) maleficence, (doomed to) insidious death (is) he who breaks this (monument)."  This stone, however, goes one step further, including a prophesy of destruction.

Scholars have put forth a host of potential meanings for these stones.  The one I like is the notion that these Runestones marked a border between different clans, possibly Swedes and Danes.