Monday, January 30, 2012

For Friends and Strangers

I had hoped to return to my Runes 101 series this week, but as my plate is full (overloaded, actually) at the moment, I will hold off for a while more.  However, I promise to return to it the first moment I can.  I realize I want to return to it just as much for my readers as for myself.  I like doing things for other people.  In fact, on Saturday, I held a small retreat at my home for a few of my friends, because they needed it (and so did I).  I can't help myself.  I am just compelled to help others and I know so many of you are too.  So, what is it that makes us want to help friends and strangers?  What are the benefits of helping others?  How can we compel others to do the same?

Interestingly, though not surprisingly, the draw begins with Mannaz, the Rune of Humanity, the Self, culture, even the higher self.  As contemporary interpretations suggest, everything begins with the self, and what we are talking about here are the characteristics that make us human.  Traditional references indicate that the meaning behind this Rune is "know thyself".  The claim is that Mannaz refers to a spiritual quest, which, in many ways, this is.  In any spiritual journey, we examine how we fit into the larger scheme of things.  We want to know what drives us to act in a given way - in this instance our action is our desire to help or please others, make them happy.  However, we cannot let that which drives us make us arrogant.  Remain humble and don't let your actions go to your head.  That is the overview for this line of questions though, not the challenge.

Perthro/Perth the Rune of friendly competition or initiation signals the challenge here.  Perhaps this suggests that our challenge is, in some way to initiate a challenge.  My suggestion is that we lead by example.  If, instead of focusing on outcomes, we focus on our own actions, not only are we truly present, but we achieve a state of being that attracts others.  For those of us who thrive on helping others, friendship and loyalty are hallmarks in our relationships.  Cultivating them is important to us and we accept that our fate is tied to those friends.

If we are to lead by example, we recognize that our actions may not always fall within the realm of "acceptable norms".  That is why Hagalaz, the Rune of Hail and Disruption is our action draw for this question.  Hail, on one hand, represents a natural destructive force.  However, it is also a form of water, that supports new growth.  In many ways, this Rune symbolizes an agent for change.  If we lead by example, doing what comes naturally to us, whether it is giving our seat on the bus to a parent with a small child or standing up against an injustice against someone's rights, we are natural agents for change.  We do what we do, because it is how we are wired and, if we have to stir up things a bit, so be it.

Given this draw, I challenge you this week.  Go out and do something for someone else, a complete stranger or a friend in need.  Then, think about how it makes you feel to help someone else and let me know.  I am confident that your actions will put a smile on your face and on those you help.

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