Monday, June 25, 2012

What Led Me to the Runes

This week is a very special week for me; I am in the process of self-publishing my first novel, The Son of Nine Sisters.  It's been a three-year process that I have enjoyed more thoroughly than I can express.  In fact, I have enjoyed it so much, I am going to do it again... and again... and again... you get the idea.

While publishing this book makes this week special, publishing it is special for another reason.  You see, it was during my research on this novel that I discovered and immersed myself in the Runes.  In the sequel, tentatively titled The Sentry's Incantation, the Runes will play a very important part.

In case you're wondering what The son of Nine Sisters is about, here's a brief synopsis.

Stacy’s life is going nowhere until she starts having dreams of life in Ásgard, the kingdom of the Norse gods.  In Ásgard, she is Heimdall, the son of nine sisters and watchman of the gods.  Heimdall has power; Stacy has none.  Heimdall has purpose; Stacy has none…

Before long, Stacy and Heimdall’s lives begin to weave themselves together and carry her in a direction she never imagined.  The interplay of their worlds – ancient Ásgard and modern New York City – brings together Stacy’s dreams and reality, forcing her to reconsider her own life and purpose.

While the book goes through final proofing this week, I hope you will take the time to read the first couple of chapters, which you can reach by clicking on this image:  (You can also get to the chapters by visiting my website at:

So, if it hadn't been for this book, I may not have found the Runes and started this blog.  Therefore, this week, I am grateful that my novel for led me to the Runes and their amazing guidance.  Thank you for reading my blog.  See you next week with more insight from the Runes!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Runes 301 - Making Your Own Runes 4

This morning, I cut the wood staves for my Runes.  The picture above shows the cherry wood branches that I cut this spring from the cherry tree in my yard, the water from Freyr to cleanse the tools for making the Rune staves, the organic cotton cloth I used to dry the tools, and the gardening shears (or pruning shears) for the cutting.  I also had a small saw, which I used on a few of the thicker pieces of wood.

For the shears, I dipped them into the jar of water and requested a sharp blade for a clean cut, reciting this incantation:

"Please provide me with a sharp blade, so that I may make a clean cut.  I do not wish to waste Freyr's gift to me."

When I needed the saw, I put my fingers in the water, then ran the water along the blade of the saw, reciting the same incantation.

Remember, I chose to say these things.  You may use them, but you can also say what feels right to you.

Once the blessing was complete, I marked the staves with a single dot from a marker at four inch (10cm) intervals.  I struggled a bit with determining the length, because, in Norse Mythology, the number nine is a commonly used number, as are three and six.  I measured out strips of paper at three, four, and six inches (nine was clearly too long) and examined them for a long time, before deciding that four inches was the best length for me.  Four is the right length and, although it is not a special number in Norse Mythology, it has special meaning to me, personally.  Since these are my Runes (or will be my Runes), I feel I have to put as much of myself as possible into each one.  You may find slightly shorter or longer staves feel right for your needs.

My four-inch wooded Rune staves, trying to look like logs, just waiting to be carved, stained and varnished.

 As I was cutting the staves, I realized a couple of things.  First, the staves, while all the same length, are not the same width.  In fact, they range from under half an inch to more than three-quarters of an inch (about 1-2.5cm).  In a moment of true personal growth, this made me smile.  The staves, my staves, are not going to be uniform.  Each will have its own distinct look, feel, and width, along with the Rune carved into it.  As someone with a strong 'type A' personality, this should bug me.  They should all be the same length, width, and so on.  Instead, I find myself pleased with these distinctions.  I must, however, confess that I believe the "perfect" stave size is somewhere around half an inch (1.5-1.7cm).

Next week, I will resume my carving practice for a few days, before beginning on my actual staves.  On that, I have two quick things to point out.  Due to the different stave widths, I will be carving specific Runes into the thick versus thin staves, because, like the staves, some Runes are wider than others.  Simply look at Dagaz and Isa as an example.  The other point I want to make is that the wood is drying out a bit and I am afraid I may lose some or all of the bark on the staves.  I tell you this, so that you can plan to make your Runes in a shorter time frame.  That way, they can be carved before the wood gets to dry and then varnished to protect them from drying out.

Look for more Runes 301 in a few weeks.  Until then, stay tuned for more about Runes, their meanings and their role in mythology and history.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Runes 201 - Individual Runes - Wunjo

What is the secret to happiness?  Because so many people are overwhelmed by today's fast-paced life, I thought I would pause and ask this question.  I hear people claiming regularly that they are miserable or unhappy or frustrated.  Life seems to be beating them down instead of lifting them up.  This is hard for me to witness, because the world is full of simply amazing things from sunrises and storms to smiles and stars.  It would be great if we would all take time to focus our energy on the beauty in this world instead of the negativity.  So, I ask the Runes this week how to bring happiness into our lives, how to work with Wunjo, the Rune of joy.
This draw provided some truly fascinating answers, starting with Berkana, the Rune of the three Bs in a sense - birth, beginnings, and beauty.  What a wonderful overview and the perfect place to begin our quest for happiness, with birth.  Berkana is also related to the birch tree, which, in turn, is associated with fertility.  In essence, the ground is fertile for our pursuit of joy.  Moreover, we are starting this quest at the beginning, with a birth or rebirth of ourselves and our focus and commitment.  Our first step from here is to notice and appreciate the beauty that is all around us in unlimited form.
I had hoped Hagalaz would not be our challenge, as it has been revealing itself often lately.  However, the Rune of Hail and disruption is our challenge.  It makes sense that, to find our joy, we must overcome whatever it is that is disrupting us and preventing us from having joy right now.  Whatever is making us feel frustrated, unhappy, and miserable is our Hagalaz.  Thankfully, we know that, just as the hail melts and turns into nourishing water, the things we allow to make our lives unhappy will melt away too and, through our experience with them, we will be stronger and, perhaps, appreciate more the things that bring us joy.
As I was posing today's question, I couldn't help but think that Sowilo had to be one of the Runes.  How could it not?  It is the Rune of the sun, good fortune, and wholeness.  When we are happy, our lives seem brighter, good things come to us, and with joy in our hearts, we begin to feel whole and strong.  So, of course, Sowilo is the action required to have happiness fill our lives.  We must allow ourselves to focus on and experience wholeness and the brilliance of the sun, and accept good fortune.

I hope you will take some time to find joy this week.  I will be cutting my Rune staves, which is my commitment to joy, for working with the Runes, especially making my own set, fills me with satisfaction and, yes, joy.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Life on the Fringe

Since high school, people have tried to fit me into a given group or set of people.  While I think I am pretty easily defined, that definition falls, in parts only, into various groups.  Lately, I  found a group to which I am very drawn by its openness, acceptance, and peaceful approach to life.  Still, there are aspects to this group about which I remain ambivalent.  I decided to seek guidance form the Runes on this issue, because I think this is something that many of us face or have faced in our lives.  How do I join this group as fully as I can and embrace it, while maintaining my individuality?
I was caught off-guard by Isa, the Rune of ice or a standstill.  However, after some contemplation, I realized that this Rune is a fair representation of my current situation.  For am I not looking at something I find beautiful and tempting, but exercising caution, because of potential risks yet to be revealed?  Still, I wonder about ice as one of the primal elements, which is another aspect to this Rune.  Could it be this question is asking about some primary thing I need to create my world the way that earth, air, fire, and Isa (ice) created ours?
As interesting as Isa is to contemplate, Eihwaz, as the challenge in this instance, peaks my curiosity even more.  This Rune of stability and the yew tree presents a tough situation, a test in a sense.  I believe this means that I have made my choice; I stand with and support this new group.  The next step is to stand my ground on the issue.  If I commit to this, I cannot turn tail when questioned about my choice.  Luckily, I find this new group quite welcoming and inspiring, so demonstrating my commitment to it to others will be easy.
I must confess, the Rune for the action around this question is quite pleasing - Sowilo, the Rune of the sun and wholeness.  Drawing this Rune lifted my spirits, just as it is intended to do.  Further, it allowed another opportunity for me to contemplate my question and how I will address it personally.  Becoming part of a group doesn't require me to give 100% of myself, rather to give 100% of the part I give to the group.  This is great advice, in general.  If you are going to participate in something, do it completely or don't waste your time and the time of others who are committed to it.  If you are going to engage, engage completely, but don't not feel like you have to engage always.

That's a good way to start this week.  I hope it helps you too.  Next week, I'm cutting my Rune staves, so stay tuned!