Last week, I had tea with a friend of mine. She is struggling through some personal issues right now. On top of that, or possibly because of it, she is very troubled over what to do with her life, what she really wants to pursue, and where her life, especially her professional life, is going. She seems stuck, not knowing which way to go and afraid to step in any direction. I assured her that I have been there more than once. I shared with her three major hurdles I've come up against in my adult life and realized that, in each instance, I jumped blindly into the next phase of my life. However, while I am prone jumping off cliffs in leaps of faith (and I should point out that my faith in this instance lies within myself, my abilities and the kindness of others; it's tangible even if unseen in the present), I know that not everyone can do that. Some people need to strap on ropes and special climbing shoes and ease their way down the cliff. That's okay. We all take different paths to get where we need or want to go. The point is that, whichever way we go, we go.
My questions for the Runes this week, then, are what advice works for everyone in this circumstance? How can we look at this overwhelming situation and be willing to jump off a cliff or strap on as much safety equipment as we can find and lower down its side? The answer they gave me - Kenaz/Kano, Othala/Othila, and Eihwaz.
Kenaz (Kano) demonstrates perfectly how the situation should be perceived. It is the Rune of Light, represented by a torch. This Rune indicates a time of enlightenment. The more light we shine on something, the easier it is to see. In a sense, it offers us a moment of clarity in which we can see the right path. Now, we just need to acknowledge it. Once we do that, we need to be willing to set aside any fear or doubt we have and step onto that path. Our instincts know it's the right one for us. Of course, that doesn't mean it's going to be an easy path to follow, but it is the one that will get us where we want to be.
No situation is without a challenge, but some seem more difficult to surmount than others. When we are struggling and find ourselves in a really tough place, Othala (Othila), the Rune of Benefits and Inheritance, helps us in two directions. Before moving forward, Othala reminds us to look back and be grateful for the things we do have in our lives, for the accomplishments we've made so far and for the sacrifices made by others (our ancestors and those around us). Being grateful is not always easy, but once we start to recognize all of the good things in our lives, dealing with the hard things becomes a little easier. The other direction this Rune helps us with is as we move forward. We walk down the path we choose by trusting our instincts so that we can receive benefits. However, although this Rune represents benefits, with those benefits may come personal sacrifices. That is to say that, to get what we want or where we want to be, we may have to give up something else.
To accomplish this leap of faith (or to scale down the cliff side) and follow a new or enlightened path requires a bit of toughness and stability. These aspects are demonstrated by Eihwaz, the Rune of Defense and the Yew tree. We've already established that, just because we choose the correct path, it doesn't mean the path will always be easy to traverse. Still, we have to stand our ground, demonstrate our faith in ourselves on this path, the correct path. Eihwaz reminds us that, not only do we have the strength or toughness to do this, but that through the challenges we face on this road we will grow.
No matter how we enter the next phase of our lives, whether by leaping or taking small steps, the process is the same. Trust yourself to choose the right path. The light shining on it comes from you. Be grateful for the things in your life and the sacrifices of others. Realize you will have to make sacrifices. Finally, be strong.