Monday, December 31, 2012

Personal Reflection

Thank you supporting my blog over the past 1 ½ years.  As I look back over the posts, I see how my blog has grown and changed, matured and become focused, and expanded as I've learned.  Though I look forward to the growth to come in 2013, this is a wonderful time for reflection, before the new year begins.  To help us with our reflection, I asked for some Runes to give us guidance.  The response was interesting.

First, I drew Tiwaz.  This is one of my favorite Runes, as I feel a strong affiliation to Týr, the Norse god of justice, the warrior god, and ancient god of the sky.  This Rune is the Rune of sacrifice and/or self-sacrifice.  We can frame our reflection through this lens, by posing the questions – What sacrifices did I make?  Why did I make them?  How did my sacrifice work out?  When asking the latter question, consider the answer on multiple levels and not just at face value.  How did your sacrifice help you grow?  How did it help another?  How did you feel after making the sacrifice?  What is the lesson from that sacrifice?  One last note on this, everything requires some kind of sacrifice, whether apparent or not.  If you would like some help thinking through this, please contact me.

Perthro was next, the Rune of friendly competition and social gatherings.  However, this Rune is so much more than that, because we must look at what transpires on such occasions.  Here is a chance to ask ourselves what we accomplished with regard to building friendships or simply establishing relationships – networking.  How have we surrounded ourselves with or approached people who can have a positive impact on our lives?  How have we tested or, more appropriately, supported the warrior within us?  It is important to remember that our fate is attached to others in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons.

The best part, but also the part that warrants the most caution is Thurisaz as our final Rune for reflection.  The Rune of giants and thorns relates to power, focused power.  As we reflect and think about all that has transpired in our recent past, we can build a picture to help us identify where we can most effectively focus our power, for this is the next logical step.  What is the point of reflection if we do not take what we’ve realized and pieced together and move forward to accomplish our goals and ambitions?

I like this approach, because we are not blindly setting or proclaiming “New Year’s resolutions”; nor are we charging ahead without focus or understanding.  By taking a little time today, on this last day of the year, to contemplate what we’ve sacrificed and how we have supported our inner warrior, we can focus our power and move forward to a productive and truly happy new year.

Please let me know how this works for you.  I enjoy and appreciate your feedback.  Enjoy 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace, Love, and Happiness

No matter what holiday you are celebrating this month or, if you celebrate no holiday, I still wish you peace, love, and happiness for the coming year.  Occasionally, I give Runes to people.  By that I mean, I share a Rune with them that best represents a message I want to give them or a meaning I wish for them.  Therefore, today, rather than draw three Runes, I decided to select three Runes to represent this wish  of peace, love, and happiness for you.

To wish you peace, I chose Sowilo, the Rune of the sun and good fortune.  I hope that the great light of the sun warms and lifts your spirit.  Being in good spirits is a key component to finding peace.  May you also find good fortune in the coming year. 

For love, I decided to give you Gebo, the Rune of gifts.  We give gifts to honor or show respect, but also out of admiration and affection.  While giving a gift is more akin to generosity, giving without expectation of receiving anything in return comes closer to love.  When I give a gift simply because I choose to, I feel good inside.  When that gift is appreciated, I feel even better.  When we feel good and make others feel that way too, we build bonds that approach love.  Remember though, a gift is not necessarily a physical thing; it can be spending quality time with someone, paying them a compliment or doing something special for them.

Wunjo is the easiest and most obvious of the three Runes I chose.  It is, after all, the Rune of joy.  What better Rune for wishing you happiness?  Of course, a major component of this requires you to be grateful for all of the things you do have in your life.  Essentially, happiness begins with gratitude.  Moreover, the greatest happiness is found in simple ways, simple pleasures and comforts, not in excessiveness.  That is why I wish you simple happiness.

There it is, the Runes I chose to wish you peace, love, and happiness.  I hope you will carry these good wishes with you this week and I hope your week is wonderful.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Runes 102 - Book Review - Song of the Vikings

When I began reading Song of the Vikings, by Nancy Marie Brown, I expected to learn about Snorri Sturluson.  I did; but Brown provides so much more than his life story.  She doesn’t simply walk her readers through this essential historical figure’s day-to-day life; she gives us the context (both in Iceland and northern Europe) in which his life existed; she relates him to his culture, and she even gives us tidbits of the myths he recorded, while inferring potential links that Snorri may have made between the gods, himself, and the influential people of his day whom he tried so desperately to impress.  While all of these details are important to understanding Snorri Sturluson and his writing, perhaps the greatest contribution of this book is to show how Snorri’s impressive writing was not only reborn, but came to influence many great writers and, of course, the illustrious composer, Richard Wagner.

According to Ms. Brown, Snorri wanted two things in life – to be the “uncrowned king of Iceland” and the king’s skald, his poet.  Brown tells us how the shrewd Snorri achieved the first by becoming Lawspeaker and the most powerful chieftain in Iceland.  However, what I found to be truly fascinating and engagingly written was not simply that Snorri wrote the Prose Edda and several sagas, but why he wrote them – to achieve the second thing, becoming the king’s poet.  Brown explains this aspect brilliantly.

As I neared the end of the book, and with Snorri being dead by this point in the story, I wondered what else there could be to discuss.  This is when I found Brown’s jewel – she leads us from the myths being forgotten within a hundred years of Snorri’s death to their rebirth and influence on great writers like Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Terry Brooks, but, most notably on JRR Tolkien.  Brown brings the relationship between Tolkien and CS Lewis to life, so the reader feels their enthusiasm and excitement for Snorri’s work and understands its importance to literature.

For anyone wanting to learn more about the life of Snorri Sturluson, life in early medieval Iceland, the origin of the Norse myths or how these great works have affected world literature and culture, I recommend Nancy Marie Brown’s Song of the Vikings.  She takes all of these aspects of Icelandic culture and weaves them together in an appealing and informative way.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Feeling Energized

Happy Monday!  Today, for no specific reason, I am feeling very energized and positive and wished to share that feeling with you.  I asked for a Rune to express that emotion, then for one to support it and finished with one to ensure it continues throughout the week.

The Rune to best express the feeling I have, the energetic optimism, is Dagaz, the Rune of day and clarity.  And, that is exactly how this sensation feels - like a clarity, but not an epiphany.  The difference between the two is subtle, yet key.  Clarity inspires without necessarily having a predetermined destination or goal.  I have been working hard lately to focus on the positive and, when negative things happen, to not let them take over.  Dagaz offers clarity to support to that idea.  In daylight, we see more clearly and feel safer than in darkness, when something unseen could be lurking in the shadows.  In many ways, we feel more empowered in daylight and, through empowerment, adopt a sense of feeling energized.  This Rune alone would be enough to represent today, but we want support this feeling.

Berkana is a wonderful Rune for support.  This Rune of birch suggests beginnings and creativity.  With our energized spirit leading the way, today, we can begin an endeavor; unleash our creativity; move forward in a positive way and share that energy with those around us.  Let the energy carry you on a positive path.

Ehwaz, the Rune of horse, loyalty, and a spiritual journey helps us keep this feeling going.  There is a special relationship between a horse and rider, one of cooperation and understanding.  I'm imagining myself climbing into the saddle of an Icelandic horse (in Iceland) and that invigorating, yet comfortable feeling of the adventure that is about to ensue flows right to my face and puts an unstoppable smile on my lips.  Of course, yours need not be an actual horse; what matters is the feeling, the sensation, the inspiration!

Think about what inspires you and consciously carry that hopefulness, that optimism with you this week.  Let me know how it goes.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Is it an Opportunity Worth Taking?

Sometimes an opportunity comes our way that causes us to pause and give lengthy consideration to it.  Weighing the pros and cons seems to balance out, leaving us unsure or indecisive about what to do.  This happened to me a few days ago, but consulting the Runes helped to clarify whether I should pursue this opportunity or let it pass without acting.  First, I asked the Runes how I know if this is really an opportunity.  The response was Thurisaz, Hagalaz, and Jera.  While these Runes did answer that question (and were almost frightfully accurate), I realized that I needed to refine my question to determine if this opportunity was one worth taking.  Making clarifications like this became especially important to me a few months ago when a friend was pointing out that I wasn't taking advantage of an opportunity.  I realized my reason for not taking action was simply because, at that moment in time, it was not an opportunity that was worth taking.  However, not all opportunities are so clearly 'yes' or 'no', black and white.  So, for those gray scale opportunities, I ask for guidance to determine whether or not I should pursue this opportunity.  I got three different Runes from the previous question - Uruz, Othala, Nauthiz.

Uruz, the Rune of the aurochs (wild ox), tells me that making this decision is going to require strength.  While we usually relate this Rune to physical strength, I believe in this instance, that it refers to mental strength.  I say that, because of the nature of the question.  Because the answer to this gray scale question is not clear to me, I have to think longer and harder about my decision.  Moreover, I would be wading into new water, potentially entering a current that is going to carry my life in a different direction from its current trajectory.  In this case, caution and thoughtfulness are the required strength I must possess to be successful.

The second Rune added to the difficulty around this situation, by highlighting the key aspect over which I am conflicted.  Othala is the Rune of inheritance.  It speaks of appreciating the gifts of our ancestors.  I was not sure if this meant I should pursue the gifts that have been given to me or if I should ensure that my children can do that as they grow up.  After pondering this for a few minutes, I realized that one does not negate the other and that the point is to create "a stable foundation on which to build".  To me, that is my challenge.  I must determine if this new opportunity allows me to create that foundation better than my current path or situation does.

To address that conundrum, the Runes gave me Nauthiz, the Rune of need and necessity.  This is a core issue when confronting any situation - is this something I want or something I need?  The follow up to that is how badly is the opportunity wanted or needed.  Next, comes the question of whether there are other similar options available that would allow me to stay on my current path.  Essentially, is this opportunity available somewhere else, in another form?  Many times, we know the answer to this.  We would not be considering the present opportunity if it didn't have the potential to improve our current state.

However, taking that first step onto that new path can scare us into inaction.  This is what was happening to me, so after asking the Runes several more questions that kept giving me (more or less) the same six Runes in various orders, I stopped.  I took a deep breath and said, "Give me a decisive Rune."  I love the Runes!  I drew Raido.  Let the journey begin...