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.

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