Saturday, October 1, 2016

Runes 403 - Rune Interpretations - Optimism

I had a nice chuckle as I sat down this morning to write this post, because it's focused on optimism and this is the first post that missed its month.  It should have been posted in September, but here we are: October 1st.  Maybe it's mocking me or maybe it's the perfect step into optimism.  Either way, I just have a feeling that we could all use a little optimism in our lives at this point.  So, I asked the Runes to give us some insight into this hopeful idea.

The simplicity of their guidance is reassuring.  They gave me Mannaz, Wunjo, and Gebo.

The subtle reminder provided by Mannaz, the humanity Rune, tells us we're all humans;  all imperfect, but that's okay.  One of the marvelous things about imperfection is its variety.  And, we all know that variety is the spice of life.  But, the more important message behind this Rune is also that, as humans, we can decide how we perceive things and what we do with them.  We can choose to turn away from negative perceptions and emotions and responses to things that take us outside of our comfort zone.  Because, let's face it; there's a reason it's called a "comfort" zone even though it may not be the best place for us.  It's familiar and we liken familiar with good, which isn't necessarily true.

Wunjo is an interesting choice to follow on Mannaz, especially because we may liken our comfort zone to a  happy place.  So, does the joy Rune tell us that we should stick to our comfort zone?  Is it countering Mannaz?  I don't think so.  I think it is challenging us to find true happiness, to broaden our comfort zone and truly make it a space filled with joy.  That means we have to make that decision to turn away from negative perceptions, emotions, and responses.  If we accept negativity, how will we achieve happiness?  We won't.  In this way, Wunjo offers encouragement to reject negativity in all forms and pointing out that, because we are human, we can do it.  I've given many readings to people with a similar message: focus on the positive.  Often times, their response is to say that they don't know how to do that.  My response is always the same.  You just do it.  You make a conscious choice to be happy.  It occurs to me that what Wunjo in second position is suggesting is that choosing to be optimistic is the first step toward joy.

Our third Rune, Gebo the gift Rune, reinforces optimism in no uncertain terms.  The ability to choose optimism, especially when the world seems so full of negative energy today, is an incredibly powerful gift that we can give to ourselves.  Our own optimism can spread to others too.  The most amazing part is that we can all do that simply by making that conscious choice.  Making the choice is easy, but following through on it may not be.  Remaining optimistic in the face of obstacles real or perceived isn't necessarily easy, but the joy that awaits you on the optimistic path is worth it and so are you.

My being able to publish a blog post every month is a small thing, but I am optimistic about being able to do it and it is okay that other things in my life needed my attention this month.  I am still optimistic I will get October's post done before November arrives.  In case you're wondering, some of those other things in my life that needed my time this month aren't simple little things like writing a monthly blog post, and I am letting you know that so that you know you are not alone in facing beasts, turning away from negativity, and making a conscious effort to focus on optimism to make yourself happier.  I'm with you and I am sure that many other people who read this blog are too.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Runes 402 - Rune Dialogues - Struggle

We all deal with a struggle at some point in our lives.  Some are big and some are small.  Sometimes the small ones pile on top of each other and can feel like a big one.  For me it's the time of year.  The end of July to the end of August is a tough time of year for me for personal reasons and I find myself struggling more than any other time of the year.  The bright side is that, once September arrives, I hit a productive time that lasts more or less through the end of the year.  Although my period of struggle is nearly over, the last month to six weeks has been more of a struggle than usual, so I turned to the Runes and asked them for guidance to get me through the next week or so.

Me:  I am having a really hard time right now.  What guidance can you offer to help me approach this struggle?

Runes:  When this year started, you chose the Rune that can help you.  You chose Thurisaz for its power.  That power can overcome the angst you're having right now.

Me:  Thank you for that reminder.  Right now, I am not sure how to harness that power to move me forward.

Runes:  Raido can help you on your journey.  Your journey actually requires you to focus that power so that you can move forward.

Me:  I appreciate what you're saying, but I am feeling very overwhelmed by everything that is required of me, all that I have to do before I have any time to do what I really want to do.

Runes:  You must find time to do the things that make you happy.  You were not intended to live a life without it.  Wunjo reminds you of that importance.

Me:  I am confused.  Are you telling me to do what makes me happy and forsake that which doesn't?

Runes:  No.  It is something to strive for though.  Remember your guiding Rune - Jera.  It is the Rune of the year, a complete cycle, which can represent balance.  Perhaps the best way to avoid or minimize these struggles is to find a balance that allows you to consistently engage in the things that you want to do for yourself.

Me:  In other words, when I am going through a struggle, if I focus on doing something for myself regularly, that will help?

Runes:  When you focus some of your power on the things that are fulfilling for you, it can make the things that weigh you down more bearable.  If you focus on them long enough, your struggle will lighten and things will become clear again.  That is the message Dagaz gives you.  The day Rune symbolizes the return of a lighter time in the cycle of your year.

Me:  So, you are saying that I need to set aside time to do the things that I enjoy for myself?  Part of my struggle is that my other responsibilities eat into that time and when that happens at this time of the year, I lose focus.

Runes:  That is exactly what I am saying.  When you are struggling, it is even more important to focus some of your power on the things that make you happy.  That is what you need to get you through the struggle.  That is why, for your last Rune, I give you Nauthiz.

Me:  Thank you for your guidance and wisdom.  This was very insightful and has helped me to relax, take a step back from my struggle, and take a breath.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Runes 401 - Rune Rituals - A Simple Blessing

Back in May, my kids and I went for a bike ride and stopped at a beach by the lake.  I don't usually pick up shells or rocks or things like that to bring home; I'm of the take only pictures, leave only footprints frame of mind most of the time.  However, I was drawn to this piece of drift wood that I just couldn't put down.  I knew I had to have it and I knew I had to have my name and my Rune (Jera) carved into it.  My carving skills aren't great, so I asked a friend to do it for me, which he graciously did.  Nothing fancy.  Here's what it looked like when he gave it back to me:

It was the perfect starting point.  Then, I went through a ritual, similar to when I made my own Runes.  It needed to be painted and sealed.

First, I thanked Njord for providing the wood to me.  Soaked by the lake, smoothed by being rolled around near the shore, and left to dry on the beach.  It is perfect.

After I selected my paint, I invoked Heimdall and Odin, because they gave us the Runes.  Then, I pricked my finger and put nine drops of blood into the paint.  The sacrifice was to them.  As the drops fell into the bowl, I thanked Heimdall for sharing the Runes with Jarl and thanked Odin for his nine-day sacrifice to obtain the Runes, all their secrets and mysteries.  The blood was also my way of making the carving my own. 

This process strengthened my connection to the carving and to the gods.  Even though there wasn't enough blood to noticeably alter the color of the paint, I know that a piece of me now resides within the wood.

I let the paint dry over night, then sealed it with a non-toxic varnish, but not before I expressed my appreciation to all of the gods and goddesses.  This piece of Rune art and the process to create it was important for me in strengthening my connection to the mythology that I love.

I was especially pleased that, when I drew Runes as the final piece of this ritual, I got Perthro, Jera, and Berkana.  Simply put, Perthro represents my friend in this process who did the initial carving for me.  Jera is my guiding Rune; that's why it's on the carving.  And even though Berkana comes at the end, it symbolizes for me that this work of art represents a new phase in my relationship to the gods and the Runes.