Monday, January 16, 2017

Runes 401 - Rune Rituals - A Rune for 2017

Last year, I chose my first Rune for the year - Thurisaz.  For reasons I won't go into here, this Rune turned out to be a wonderful choice and it got me through some very tough and unexpected challenges.  This also prompted me to make choosing a Rune for the year an annual occurrence.

My purpose for choosing an annual Rune is to use its unique and inherent meaning and power as a guide for the next twelve months.  Although I say I choose the Rune, it feels much more like the Rune chooses me.  However, it is my intention and ritual that helps to identify the appropriate Rune.  Whereas last year, I chose my annual Rune under the guise of an individual Rune, and did a three-Rune draw to help me understand how to use Thurisaz's energy, this year, I want to share more of the process or ritual of discovering which Rune will be my annual Rune for 2017.

The ritual is simple, but takes time and a quiet space.  It started off moving rather quickly, but slowed as I went and ended up taking me almost an hour to complete.

If you can do this ritual outside, I would recommend that.  It's too cold outside where I live right now to do that, so I sat in my room on my bed with my Runes spread out in front of me.  Some Runes were easy to remove from consideration, starting with Jera - my guiding Rune always - and Thurisaz because it was my Rune for 2016.  I set aside nine other Runes relatively quickly.  I had no scientific or other reason for removing these Runes other than intuition.  As I ran my hand over the spread of Runes, it was just a sense that caused me to remove these Runes from the process.

There was a second set that I removed because they felt more personal to me.  That is to say that I believe they will serve a more personal and singular issue purpose rather than guiding my overall year.  Allowing my hand to hover over each one several times for as long as a minute, I whittled down my choices even further, removing six more Runes.

At this point, in terms of numbers, I had removed two aetts.  With the remaining eight Runes, I held each one in my hands (resting in my left, covered by my right), closed my eyes and reflected on the Rune's meaning and the sensation I felt from the energy in my hand.  Through this part of the ritual, I discarded five more Runes.

That left me with three, each of which are pretty different from each other - Nauthiz (need, necessity), Eihwaz (yew tree, inner strength), and Sowilo (sun, feminine energy).  I honestly had no idea which one was "the one".  And the ritual became less consistent with regard to deliberating.  I laid them out in a line and moved them around, changing order, and position, trying to determine what story they were telling me.

I grabbed Nauthiz and held it tight in my left hand; squeezing it.  I looked at it in my hand for several minutes, occasionally closing it, and sometimes closing my eyes too.  Nauthiz was not it.  It was not giving off a strong energy, though it did remind me that my annual Rune needs to address a larger need that I have.

Next, I held Eihwaz.  I thought this was going to be the Rune, because I remembered how it helped me avoid a panic attack just over two years ago.  It's ability to keep me calm in the face of a major challenge was stunning.  As I held it in my right hand and wrapped my index finger around its perimeter, I realized Eihwaz is a special Rune for me, but that it already had its very specific place and role for me.

That left Sowilo.  Interlocking my fingers around it as it pressed between my palms, I knew I had arrived at what I need for the coming year.  Sowilo is not a Rune that comes up for me very often, which makes this even more meaningful; it's almost as if it was waiting for this moment in time to reveal its magic to me.  It is especially telling that it comes on the heels of Thurisaz.  Where Thurisaz seems to represent masculine qualities, especially linkages to Thor, Sowilo puts forth feminine energy.  It seems that, at least in part, Sowilo offsets the year of Thurisaz and balances out the two years with a different kind of power.  It is that feminine strength that I will carry forward this year, with qualities of caring, thoughtfulness, and kindness.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Yule Wishes

Whether you celebrate Yule or Christmas or Hanukkah or another holiday at this special time of year, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for reading my blog.

I celebrate multiple holidays between now and the end of December, some with friends and some with family.  But it is Yule, which occurs on the solstice, that is the holiday I link to my spirituality for many reasons.

I did a three-Rune draw for the solstice and want to share it with you along with my best wishes for the coming year!

Please remember that you can always email me if you have any questions or would like your own personal reading.

 The Runes I drew were Laguz, Perthro, and Berkana.  They address the simple question: What Runes will you give me to share for the Solstice?

I like these Runes, because they answer the question as simply as it was asked and lend themselves to moving into the new year in a thoughtful and positive way.  They seem to say relax and enjoy yourself.  Have fun with friends and family and prepare for the new year to begin.  Perhaps, most importantly, in this draw there exists a strong sense of optimism, which I hope we can all carry with us into and throughout the new year.

Laguz has always been a bit perplexing to me, because as the water Rune it represents fluidity and flexibility (go with the flow), but it also beckons the mysteries that lie within the depths of the water, which may also be advice to look deeper into things and into ourselves.  This may be great chance to take some time to reflect, think more about what we want for ourselves and how we might get it, and prepare to go into the new year strong, happy, and committed to your goals.  At the same time, this time of year can be very festive and a good opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family.

I think that is why Laguz is followed by Perthro.  For me, Perthro represents social gatherings, the perfect Rune for this time of year.  It is a time to gather with loved ones, to relax and have fun, play games and eat and drink.  Plus, being with family and friends can provide support to make looking more deeply at our hopes and dreams easier and more productive.

Berkana as the last Rune is quite encouraging too, because it signifies beginnings.  It can represent the fact that a new year is starting and with that new year comes hope and maybe optimism about what we can accomplish in the next twelve months.  It can be a fresh start or a chance to begin again.  How ever you decide to approach 2017, I hope you have a wonderful year!

Remember, the Runes are always here for you!

See you next year.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Runes 101 - Runes in History - The Vang Stone

Image from Wikipedia

The Vang Stone is a Runestone located in the central part of southern Norway. Although its runic inscription follows a fairly standard wording someone has erected the stone in honor or memory of someone else – I am not sure if the stone was erected for the carvers' nephew or cousin.  In my research, I found both. The actual wording is interpreted as:  Gasa's sons erected (cut or carved) this stone in memory of Gunnar, their nephew/cousin.  But, this is only one aspect of the Vang Stone.

Vang Stone inscription
Of the roughly 3,000 Runestones in Scandinavia, Sweden hosts the vast majority of them.  There are none in Iceland, around 250 in Denmark, and Norway comes in with 50. Of course, other areas of the world also tout a runestone or runic carving (for example, Italy has the Pireaus Lion, there are some in the UK, including the Manx Crosses on the Isle of Man, even Greenland has one.)  So, this special stone is one of Norway's 50 and what makes it interesting is that the Vang Stone has some really fascinating features all based on location.

Changing location.  The Vang Stone was erected right around the time of the conversion to Christianity in Scandinavia (around the year 1000) and located originally near a stave church; and there it sat for more than 800 years.  When the stave church was taken apart and reassembled in Germany in 1844, the Vang Stone was also moved to the Vang Church and it still resides there.

Geographic location. On a larger scale, the Vang Stone lies just to the north of the Ringerike District of Norway, the area which is responsible for the ornate carving style on the Vang Stone's face, called the Ringerike style.  The design is topped off by a stylized lion with two small shells at the bottom.  In between are gently-curved swirls that crisscross in the middle. The top part of the crisscross appears a bit more symmetrical, though not entirely, than the lower portion.

Inscription location.  On a much smaller scale, the stone itself is different from most other stones, because its runic engraving runs along the side of the stone.  It is not above, below or integrated into the picture and design on the stone's face.  I tried to highlight (in the image to the left) the cut Runes that run along right side of the stone as you look at its face, but if you want a better view, I did find a reasonable image online. (Click to see the Vang Stone image.)  The location of the Runes on the stone is quite intriguing to me.  I can't help but wonder if carving them on the side was an intentional piece of the stone design so as not to take away from the carving on the front or if Gasa's sons simply forgot to leave space, so had no choice but to cut the Runes along the stone's side.

The Vang Stone is a good example of the importance of location, location, location.