Saturday, December 31, 2011

Opportunities in the New Year

With the new year beginning, I know it seems cliché to ask what this new year holds for us, but I couldn't resist.  So many of us see January 1 as a new beginning, a time to wipe slates clean, start fresh.  It incites optimism in a daily life that tends toward the opposite end of the hopeful spectrum.  Maybe the start of a new year even strikes an encouraging cord within us.  Therefore, for all of us sappy souls, today I asked the Runes - What opportunities might the new year hold?

Sadly, the Runes have given their usual realistic answer - it's going to be a tough year.  The overview of the year is Algiz, the Rune of self-defense and protection.  Tiwaz/Teiwaz, the Rune of the god Týr, the god representing self-sacrifice, gives us the challenge.  Thankfully, the action is something we know we all possess, strength in the form of Uruz, the Rune of the wild ox.

Do not despair, despite this initial interpretation, because this is our preparation for a tough year; it doesn't mean we won't succeed.  It means simply that our successes will be worth the trials we go through to attain them.

Algiz tells us to be careful, to make our actions in a timely manner, not too soon, not too late.  Although Algiz assures us we have what we need to defend ourselves, it does not tell us that we must do that.  Instead, we protect ourselves by making good choices and thinking things through, not by jumping feet first into icy or muddy water.  If we play our cards right, our opponents will create their own downfall.

That doesn't mean that 2012 will be a walk in the park though.  There will surely be battles and injustice.  That is why Tiwaz, the Rune of the god Týr is our challenge.  As you may recall, last month I drew this Rune and explained how Týr (Tiw) was the only one among all the gods that was brave enough to put his hand in the mouth of the wolf, Fenrir, when the wolf was being bound by the other gods.  Týr sacrificed his right hand to ensure the beast, Fenrir, could not harm the gods. Surely this is a sign that we will be making sacrifices this year.  There are two bright sides to this though.  The first one may not make you feel any better about making sacrifices, but it is important to remember that, through sacrifices, we grow on many levels.  The second is the action Rune we drew with Týr's challenge - Uruz.

Our action calls for courage and determination and, with Uruz, the Rune of the wild ox and strength, to accompany the protective measures of Algiz and the fearlessness of Týr, we have a good draw here.  Uruz is the final piece of this puzzle, assuring us that we possess the strength we need to accomplish our goals in 2012.  We need be only convinced of our own strength and to remember that strength comes in many forms, not just from within us, but from the love and support of our friends and family.

Here's wishing you a happy and prosperous year!  Feel free to let me know how things are going, to ask for guidance or simply enjoy my weekly posts.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What is the message?

Today, I had hoped to write the fourth installment of Runes in History from the Runes 101 series.  However, I need to do a little more research on the initial story I found before I share it with you.  Until then, I hope you will enjoy today's draw.

Though not a random draw like the last draw I did where I asked the Runes what they wanted to show me; for this draw, I did ask a similar question, "What is the message?"  This was in reference to my own writing.  As many of you know, I am revising my first novel and have started my second.  I wish I could spend all my time writing; I love doing it so much.  However, reality tells me otherwise and insists, out of necessity if nothing else, that I balance my passion with my basic needs.  If you have a passion and need to balance it with other aspects of your life, maybe this reading will help you too.

My draw was Dagaz, Nauthiz, and Uruz.

Simply put, Day exemplifies the overview of this situation.  Dagaz is the Rune of Day, clarity.  When light is shed on something, what it is becomes clearer.  Silhouettes take solid form and scary shapes become everyday objects.  This implies that my view of my current circumstance is becoming clearer.  With this understanding, finding a balance between spending every waking hour writing and researching that about which I want to write and doing things that are required (like working in a more traditional setting to bring in money) should become easier or more acceptable.  I should see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I must still focus on what is at hand and try not to race directly to the light.  If I do, I will miss something that needs to be done along the way and the light will either move further away or disappear, because I have created more obstacles for myself.  By moving toward the light and addressing the things that arise along the path to the light, I will move closer to the light and accomplish my ultimate goal.  For me, that goal is writing.  What is it for you?

On every path, there is a challenge and my challenge in this situation comes, appropriately enough, in the form of Nauthiz, the Rune of Need and Necessity.  New age interpretations of this Rune take the basics of need a step further and discuss it from the aspect of restraint or constraint.  For while I want to race toward the light, I must show restraint and focus on the needs my family and I have.  An ,given by Ralph Blum, is that when fishermen can't go fishing, they repair their nets.  Similarly, although I can't spend all my time writing... yet... I can work on my writing skills in other ways and that is what I am doing.  The work I am doing requires writing, lots of it.  Even though it's not the style of writing I'd prefer to be doing, it is writing nonetheless, and I am grateful that I get to write in some form.  If you aren't able to use some form of your passion in your job, I hope you can set aside time  to do it when you aren't working.  It is so important for your piece of mind.

Uruz, the Rune of Strength, exemplified by the Wild Ox provides this week's action.  Where day gives us clarity and and our basic needs challenge us when all we want to do is pursue our passion, the wild ox reminds us that we must be strong to accomplish our ultimate passion all the time.  In fact, traditionally, this Rune is thought to be useful for gaining strength.  I sure need it to continue to move forward toward the light, which is where I will get to pursue my passion for a living.  I find the burning desire I have inside of me to write provides me with more strength than I thought I possessed though.  At the same time, that desire fuels the challenge I have not to run directly to the light.  I hope your passion is a bit more even tempered under the same circumstance.  Now, I have to find a way to balance the strength that comes from my passion to write.  How are you doing at finding your balance in your strength?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Runes 101 – Runes in Mythology 6

Last week, one of the runes I drew was Ingwaz – the Rune of the god Freyr and I mentioned that Freyr surrendered his sword to his friend and servant Skínir so that Skínir would get the giantess Gerðr and bring her to Freyr to be his wife.  What I didn’t tell you was how exactly Skínir accomplished that ask.  He used Runes.  Today, in the sixth installment of my Runes in Mythology series, I will, because it shows how Rune magic was perceived in the mythology.

You see, one day, although he wasn’t supposed to, Freyr sat in Hlidskjálf, Odin’s high seat in his hall Valaskjálf.  From this seat, Odin can see everything in the nine worlds.  As Freyr sat in Odin’s seat, he looked to the north and spotted a great hall in Jotunheim, a hall which belonged to Gymir.  Coming out of the hall was a beautiful maiden – Gerðr.  Immediately, he was love struck and Skínir, at the request of Freyr’s father Njörd and step-mother Skadi (also a giantess) got Freyr to confess the reason for his mood.

Freyr told him about spying Gerðr and then asked Skínir to go to her and convince her to meet with him.  He agreed to give Skínir his sword and the horse that that would carry him through the darkness and over magical, flickering flames.  With these items in hand, Skínir set off on his journey.

When he arrived at Gerðr’s hall, two hounds stood guard at the gates.  Skínir asked a local herdsman how to get past the dogs, but the man was unwilling to help him.  Determined and realizing his fate was set long ago, he rode to the hall, set his horse to graze and Gerðr, hearing all the noise of the barking dogs and the yelling between Skínir, told her servant to invite him in.

Once inside, he presented her with eleven apples of gold and told her of Fryer’s desire for her.  She refused the apples and assured him she would never settle down with Freyr.

Next, Skínir gave her Daupnir, the magical arm ring.  Eight rings, just like it, dropped from it every ninth night.  Again she refused Skínir’s offering.

When gifts didn’t work, he resorted to coercion.  Brandishing the sword from Freyr, he threatened to slit her throat with it if she didn’t agree to meet Freyr.  She didn’t cave to his threat of force against her.

Skínir set down Freyr’s sword, grabbed his own magical staff and began to cast Rune spells on her.  He told her he would tame her, she would go to a high tower where no man will ever see her again and just sit there looking through bars out over the world.  All food would seem vile to her.  Unbearable desire, rage, and longing would torture her.  No matter what she did, she wouldn’t be able to escape her fate.  Spiteful spirits would pick at her.  Then, she would creep through the halls of the frost giants without choice, her body would shake as she cried and she would be very sad.  She would spend her life with a three-headed giant and never sleep with a man.  She would be driven crazy by her unfulfilled lust and sadness and then cast away like a thistle at the end of the harvest.

Skínir told her how he traveled into the forest to get a potent branch to fashion a wand and showed it to her as he proclaimed that Odin and Thor were mad at her and Freyr would hate her; she had unleashed the gods’ fury.  He began to chant to the frost giants and forbid them from pleasuring Gerðr.  Hrimgrimnir was the giant who would have her near the gates of Hel and she would have only goat urine to drink.  Then, he carved three Runes on her – unbearable desire, loathing and raving.  Once the Runes were carved, Skínir told her he could erase them if she gave him a valid reason for doing so.

By this point, Gerðr was trembling with fear and conceded.  She offered Skínir mead and assured him that she would meet Freyr at the forest called Barri in nine nights and give herself to him then.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Random Draw

Today, I find myself at a crossroads of sorts.  There are a number of things about which I want to ask the Runes for guidance and clarity.  Since I can't decide, I turned the tables on the Runes.  I asked them to show me what they wanted me to know and promised I would figure it out.  The catch is that I can figure out only what the draw means for me.  So, you will have to see if and how it fits your situation.  The three Runes I was given are Laguz, Ingwaz/Inguz, and my favorite - Jera.

Laguz is the Rune of the Sea, of Flow and Intuition.  I found it quite amusing that the new age interpretation for this Rune includes living without understanding or evaluating things and that it is a Rune of intuition.  A challenge, perhaps, for my request to have the Runes show me what they want me to see and the promise that I will figure out to what they refer.  Maybe they don't want me to see anything at the moment.  To be sure, traditional meanings related to Laguz refer to the mysterious depths of the sea and liken it to the subconscious mind.  Okay, so maybe the Runes are telling me that they don't need to tell me, because I already know it on some level.  A cleansing, reevaluation is called for.  I should look at what I have and, if I move things around a bit, I will see more clearly what I need to know.

The challenge around this mystery is Ingwaz/Inguz and relates to the Norse god Freyr, the god of fertility and plenty.  That Freyr was brave and passionate cannot be doubted.  He is the god who fought and was killed by Surtr, the fire giant, in the final battle.  Looking at why he was killed reveals his passion.  He fell so deeply in love with the giantess Gerðr that he gave his sword to his servant Skínir to get him to go and bring Gerðr to him to be his wife.  Thus, Freyr did not have his sword, then, when he came up against Surtr at Ragnarök.  While passion drives me most of the time the message I get from this is that passion must be guided by practicality and planning.  Whatever your "sword" is, don't be too quick to give it away.

The action comes from Jera, the Rune of the Harvest.  This reminds me that everything has a process through which it must travel to fruition.  Hard work, good planning and judgement are required here to complete the cycle successfully.  The best part of this Rune lies within the traditional interpretation, which claims that if the investor (aka me or you) benefits, the community will benefit.  This is a worthwhile venture.

Have you figured out how this applies to your life?  Because now I know that an idea that popped up for me a few days ago is one worth pursuing and that I must continue my lifelong quest to be a writer.  I hope you can see how this applies to you and that we all have success with turning our dreams and ideas into reality.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The State of the World

All I hear from around the world is bad news, news of corruption and war and violence, of inequality and poverty, of a lack of understanding and acceptance.  I believe the world doesn’t have to be this way.  Because of this, today, I wanted to give the world a Rune.

I asked the Runes, “If I could give the world a Rune, which one would it be?”  The Rune it gave me was Isa.  As soon as I saw the Rune, I knew my question had not been specific enough.  This Rune represents clearly the state of the world today, but I want to give the world a good Rune, a Rune with some positive aspect to it, some hope.  So, I asked how the world can counter the Ice Rune, Isa.  I drew Tiwaz/Teiwaz, the Rune of the god Týr.  This is a better Rune, but I decided one final question was needed.  “What do we do with the Tiwaz?”  Use Nauthiz.  In essence, though it had not been my intention, I ended up with another three-Rune draw with each Rune addressing (in order) the overview, challenge and required action.

The Rune that represents the state of the world today also provides the situation overview – Isa, the Rune of Ice.  I wish I could put a good spin on this draw, but both the new age and traditional explanations for this Rune don’t offer much.  The greatest similarity between the two explanations is the idea of a lack of forward motion, a lack of progress.  Both talk about caution and risk and a lack of awareness of the true situation.  Some people just submit and go along and, those who rise up are met with a backlash and violence.  Finally, the interpretation of this Rune suggests a time of pause.  Maybe the positive side to this is that I see the pause coming with the onset of winter (for those of us in the northern hemisphere).  Perhaps now is the time to plan for the spring when we can come out coordinated, in force and strong.

Then again, maybe this is my resolve and that is why I drew Tiwaz, the Rune of the god Týr (Tiw), who was the only one among all the gods that was brave enough to put his hand in the mouth of the wolf, Fenrir, when the wolf was being bound by the other gods.  Týr sacrificed his right hand to ensure the beast, Fenrir, could not harm the gods.  This fearlessness is what we need now to change the world, but there is something else we must remember.  Týr did not start a war, he did not wreak havoc on anyone, he merely stood up to the problem to make sure that what needed to be done was done.  In fact, traditional associations include justice and self-sacrifice.  More recent definitions link to terms such as perseverance.  Basically, if we expect change to occur in the world, we must be strong.

To change the condition of the world in an effective way, Nauthiz, the Rune of Necessity offers guidance.  Although Nauthiz counsels restraint, it suggests this action to help us make correct decisions in difficult situations.  Perhaps this ties into Isa’s time for pause.  Through consideration and appropriate planning, we can achieve positive change, restore balance and, in some instances, create harmony.

Maybe this draw was for me.  Maybe it’s not a Rune for the world.  Maybe all it shows is my perception of the state of the world.  Whether talking about the state of entire world, my world or any injustice, these three Runes remind me that, if I want to be the change, I must be strong, smart and persevering.  Who’s with me?