Monday, September 24, 2012

Mental and Emotional Healing

A month ago, I asked the Runes for a Healing Rune.  They showed me Fehu.  That was for a physical healing.  After reading that post, a friend of mine asked what the Runes would suggest for a mental or emotional healing.  I know a lot of people that could use a healing like that, so I asked the Runes what guidance they have to offer to help us heal mentally and emotionally.

I should mention that I made a point to ask that they not give us Jera in this instance.  We know that healing is a process.  What I want to share with you is how to approach that healing process.  The answer is simple, but, I find that, hearing it from a completely non-biased, neutral source carries a lot of weight.  Granted, the Runes that are revealed are subject to my interpretation, but, if you disagree with my assessments, please feel free to leave a comment with your perspective.

I found this group of Runes to be quite appropriate for this question - Algiz, Berkana, Perthro.

Aligz, as the Rune of self-defense and protection, is a good Rune to begin this journey.  After all, if we are going to endeavor to heal from mental or emotional pain, we want to know that we are doing it in a safe and protected way.  When we are in what we perceive to be a weakened mental or emotional state, what we attempt to regain is our inner strength, that which we have lost sight of.  However, there is also a warning that comes with this situation - Make sure that you are not protecting or defending your perceived weakened state.  It is easy to use our mental or emotional state to justify lack of action or committing an unfavorable action.  We need to make sure we are protecting and defending our true self, our empowered self, not our weakened self, for it is the empowered self we seek to revive.

Well, we know that's easier said than done, so we should be aware of the challenge we face as we attempt this healing.  That is where Berkana comes in.  The Rune of birth, fertility, and creativity offers us a different perspective, our first chance to empower ourselves.  What if we decide that today is the first day of our consistent healing?  I say consistent, because we are going to make every effort to move forward a little each day.  There will be fall backs, but we commit to the trend toward growing empowerment.  This Rune tells us that we are ready; the ground is fertile; the time is right.  Think of this as a beginning, if that helps.

But, what is the best action we can take down this path, while ensuring a safe, protected process?  For that answer, we look to Perthro, the Rune of friendly competition, social outlets.  In other words, the best place to begin this part of the healing, now that we have decided we are ready, is with friends and family, loved ones.  Surrounding ourselves with the people who love us, getting out and being social, those are the things that will help us begin to feel better.  Before I go on, let me stress that, this in no way should replace professional counseling or therapy.  If you are struggling, you should seek professional guidance.  What I offer here is just one small part of  the healing process that we can do on our own.  Sometimes, making the decision to see someone is easier when  friends and family support us in that pursuit.  Our mental and emotional healing should be us empowering ourselves to be strong and having loved ones behind us as we do it serves only to help us on that path.

Have a safe and happy week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Compliment or Criticism: Choose Your Focus

For some reason, it seems humans are more inclined to focus on the negative, rather than the positive.  While we appreciate compliments, a single criticism, no matter how small, not only tends to erase the good feeling brought on by the compliment, but makes us angry, frustrated or sad.  I had this experience this morning.  I ran into a friend of mine, who told me that she started reading my novel last night and couldn't put it down.  "Really engaging," she said.  Of course, that made me feel great!  Less than thirty minutes later, I ran into someone else, who criticized something I did yesterday, behavior that he clearly misunderstood, but his comments were enough to piss me off.  At home, I came into my office and sat, staring at my computer screen for 10-15 minutes, so angry that every time I started typing something, I deleted it.  Nothing seemed right.  Then, I realized what had happened.  I decided to ask the Runes how to allow the positive into my life, while letting the negative roll away.

Othala, the last Rune in the Futhark, offers a very interesting overview, focused on the positive.  While Othala is the Rune of inheritance and the homestead, we must look beyond this face value to find its underlying meaning.  It is about the foundation for the way we live our lives.  It is not an entitlement, rather reminds us to appreciate the gifts we receive that allow us to create the life we want.  Although the meaning tends to be geared toward the gifts we've received from ancestors in the form of traditions, property, and inherited characteristics, when we are building our homestead (the life we want), we also receive gifts in the present from friends and family.  This is where our focus should be, but how do we do it?

Well, Raido reminds us that life is a journey.  The Rune of riding or a carriage, travels on the path we take to establish our homestead on a foundation of the gifts we receive.  We must move forward; that is how we progress.  However, what we must be aware of is that the path our journey takes us on is not going to be straight and smooth.  It will contain bumps, curves, dips, hills, bridges, a whole variety of things that make our journey interesting.  Unfortunately, we will hit potholes and other disruptive features in our road, but our challenge is that we must manage and get past those annoyances, so that we can enjoy the rest of the ride and the amazing scenery that surrounds us.  Again, we ask how to do it?

 Can you guess the answer?  It is, of course, Jera, the Rune of the harvest.  As we have seen many times before, a bountiful harvest represents the fruits of a long process.  This means that there is no easy answer to our question, that removing and not allowing negative energy to chip away at our homestead's foundation will take time.  What we can do is make a commitment to the process.  Realize that the power is within us to dwell on the things we choose.  Therefore, as I starting point, I choose to dwell on my friend's positive words about my novel and build on that.

Before I end this post though, I'd like to offer something positive to you.  Simply by reading my blog, you have done two positive things.  First, you made me feel good by reading my writing.  Second, and more importantly, you have given yourself a tool to help you shed negative energy.  So, when someone says something negative to you, stop and think about all the positive things people have said to you and feed on that instead.

Have a positively beautiful week.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Runes 101 - Runes in History - Bergen Fire

Bergen, Norway
Over the weekend, I finally got around to reading an article I found quite a while back about some runic inscriptions from Bergen, Norway.  Well,  these were no ordinary inscriptions.  In fact, nearly 700 of them were discovered after a huge fire broke out in 1955. During the 14th century, the area had been home to a group of German merchants, called the Hanse or Hanseatic League, which controlled much of the northern European trade along the coast, including Bergen's fish trade.  The 1955 fire, which began when lightning struck the nearby wharf, burned through four large building complexes.

Two amazing discoveries were made as a result of this fire.  First, it was not the first fire in the area.  In fact,  "German Bryggen" (The German Bergen) has burned at least seven times since the late twelfth century.  What these past fires provide archeologists and other researchers with is a tool to date artifacts found in the area.  When a large fire like this occurs, basically, it leaves a charcoal line in the strata.  Because researchers know the dates of the fires, and thus the charcoal layers, they can determine the age of the artifacts in the surrounding layers.

The other aspect to this fire and the aspect which is relevant to this post is the findings of the archeological research that ensued following the burn.  As I mentioned above, archeologists found nearly 700 runic inscriptions in the area.  Some of the inscriptions occur as late as the 14th century, which surprised me, because I had assumed that the use of Runes had died out shortly after Christianity took over.  Apparently, many other people thought that it had ceased by the end of the 12th century as well.

The really cool thing about these inscriptions is that, not only do they give us a glimpse of daily life in Bergen over a number of centuries, but they are quite varied.  Occurring primarily on wooden sticks, the carvings range from simple labels that could be affixed to other items to declare ownership, to letters dealing with finances and other business matters, in addition to poems, quotes from mythology, biblical quotes or prayers, and even proclamations of love and romance, and a letter from a crown prince, who was seeking ships to build a naval force.  A few wooden sticks also included charms and spells.

I'm not sure which of these inscriptions I find the most interesting.  The fact that people carved complete letters into wood is pretty cool and the love poems are fun, but I may have to go with either the contrasting mythological and biblical quotes, demonstrating a potential culture clash, or the sticks with spells and charms - a.k.a. magic.  According to the article I read, more than 100 of the runic inscriptions are related to magic and about half of those use the Futhark as their magic.  That is to say the writer would inscribe something (such as a wish or a warning) on one side of the stick and, on the other, would carve out the entire Futhark.  What was interesting to me is that this is claimed to be an "immensely old" form of sorcery, yet the Futhark used (in the images I saw) was the Scandinavian and Younger Furthark which contains only 16 letters, whereas the Elder Futhark, from which this and the Anglo Saxon Younger Futhark derive, contains 24 (see my earlier post Runes 101 - Runes in History).  I would have expected that the Elder Futhark would have been used, but this represents regional variations of the Futhark that developed with time and distance.

This is a fascinating topic, one I feel I could spend years researching.  However, what I will do instead is add to this brief introduction a few links to information about the Bergen fire runic inscriptions and the article on the subject from 1966 that I read.

For those of you interested in learning more, please read on...



Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Monday, September 3, 2012

Runes 201 - Individual Runes - Berkana

This week, I entered into a business adventure with a very good friend of mine.  I chose to say "adventure" rather than simply "venture", because she and I have worked together before and we did amazing things.  It was a great adventure and I am certain this time will be too.  To acknowledge this partnership, I wanted to look at Berkana, the Rune of birth and the birch tree.  This Rune symbolizes beginnings and beauty and is linked to fertility, creativity, and, of course, goddesses.  My question for the Runes this week is how she and I can make the most of this beginning.

Tiwaz provides the overview for our adventure and, for me, this is a reassuring draw.  I am strongly aligned with Tiwaz, Týr's Rune.  Not only is Týr the left-handed god (I am left-handed too), but he is the warrior god.  To me, Týr's left-handedness, represents bravery, because Týr lost his hand, because he was the only one among the gods with enough courage to put his hand in Fenrir's mouth while the other gods bound the wolf.  This signifies the necessity of bravery and self-sacrifice in this undertaking.  We must be brave and unafraid to take some risks.  Coupled with this is the warrior, who is someone who does just that - takes risk and is unafraid.  As warriors, we are not afraid to work hard or fight for what we want to accomplish.

As my friend and I live 4,500 kilometers apart, Raido symbolizes what is, perhaps, our greatest challenge in this endeavor - travel or progress.  It is the Rune of riding or a carriage, and reminds us that we must move, literally and figuratively, to advance and achieve our goals.  This means not only can we not allow the physical distance between us to hinder our progress, but we must find a way to use it to our advantage.  Interestingly, travel is a component that she and I have discussed to some degree already and we see it as an important factor to addressing our aspirations and being successful in this endeavor.

 Finally, I was quite pleased to see Sowilo as our action for this question.  Sowilo stands for the sun and symbolizes good fortune.  For me, the sun, in in rawest form, is energy and that is what we need to make our adventure together successful - sheer energy.  One other key aspect to point out about this Rune is that in Germanic traditions, the sun is feminine.  For two women to draw the sun as their action for a working relationship reinforces the notion of the warrior's strength.  Together, we will be a strong force of positive, creative energy.  Look out world!

While this week's draw is more personal for me than my usual posts, I hope that you have gained some insight into either dealing with a new situation in your life, making the most of a beginning, or understanding how the Runes offer guidance.  I am always available to offer you personal readings or to answer questions you have about the Runes.  Just leave a comment on this post or email me.  Have a great week!