Monday, February 18, 2013

Runes 301 - Making Your Own Runes 7

The etching has begun!  At long last, I started etching Runes into the cut and carved staves, completing five Runes in this morning's ritual - Laguz, Isa, Ehwaz, Nauthiz, and Kenaz.  Except for Laguz, I chose the other four Runes because of their shape's simplicity.  With Laguz, it was different; I had planned to begin with Isa as it would be the easiest to etch, but Laguz called to me.  I think this may be, in part, because water is my element; it just felt right to etch the water Rune first.

After the success of my first Rune ritual a couple of weeks ago, I decided that I would have to do a ritual with this part of making my own Runes.  I couldn't merely carve the Rune shapes into the wood; I had to do something special to acknowledge each Rune and its meaning.  To begin, I set out the staves and placed one of my temporary Runes under each one so that I would know which one to engrave into the carved out space on the staves.  Then, I got my tools and my holy water and, following the arc of the Runes as I laid them out on the floor and going behind myself where I sat in front of them, I enclosed us in a circle of water.  Each time I added water to the circle, I said, "water is my element."

Once I completed the water circle, I used the water to clean my tools.  As I dipped each tool into the glass jar of water, I said, "I ask for Freyr's blessing, guided by Aegir, Njord, and Mardoll, that I will carve meaningful Runes on this wood."  I've had a few people ask me why I ask for a blessing from Freyr when I am working with Runes; why not Odin or Heimdall?  When I was collecting the water last summer, I viewed it as a form of fertility, required for life, so plants could grow and so on.  Thinking fertility in that vein, I went to Freyr and he has remained, blessing the water each time.  As for the others, Aegir is the related to the sea and some call him the sea god or the sea personified; Njord is also a sea god, but he is more closely aligned with the power of the sea (providing favorable winds as Viking warriors sailed into battle or on a journey of exploration) and the sea's bounty (providing a good catch of fish); Mardoll is a little less clear, some say she is another name for Freyja, but 'mar' has connections to the sea and some think that Mardoll may be the feminine version of Heimdall, where he is likened to Earth and she to the sea.  Suffice it to say, I have asked for support from all of the Norse deities whom I believe have a connection to the water Rune, Laguz.

Now, I am ready to carve.  I began with Laguz, so I added water beneath the temporary Laguz Rune.  I dipped my finger into my holy water and repeated this chant three times, "Infuse this Rune with the power of water, Laguz, flow."  Then, I held the blank stave over the water and waited nine seconds for the energy to move between the water and the Rune.  With that completed, I engraved Laguz on my first Rune.

I went through the same process with each of the other four Runes and chanted a similar ritual.  Here is what I used and what I said for each one:

Isa.  Fortunately, I live in a place where, at this time of year, ice is plentiful.  I just walked out my front door and grabbed a small handful of icy snow from my front yard.  As I set it down  under the temporary Isa Rune, I repeated, "Infuse this Rune with the power of Ice," then held the Rune over the ice for nine seconds before etching it.

Ehwaz.  I had no Yew tree branch to use, so I substituted a piece of cherry for it, acknowledging that in my chant, before carving it.  "Infuse this Rune with the strength and power  of the Yew tree."

Nauthiz.  This one may have been my most creative.  Nauthiz is the Rune of need and necessity.  I could have chosen food, water, shelter, but I chose love, represented by a heart my daughter made for me last year that I keep on my desk.  My chant for this was around the idea of the greatest need at any moment.  I see love as a driving force behind helping you get what you need.  "Infuse this Rune with the ability to see the greatest need."

Kenaz.  The torch.  As you can guess from the picture, I used a candle, but not just any candle.  This is a meditation candle and, given that the torch is sometimes likened to creativity and enlightenment, a good fit when we are using the Runes for guidance.  We must be aware of ourselves and honest about who we are and what guidance we seek if we expect the true wisdom of the Runes.  When I held the stave over the candle I was amazed at the way the smoke swirled and wrapped itself around the soon-to-be Kenaz Rune.  "Infuse this Rune with the enlightenment and creative action that comes with the light offered by the torch."

This week, I hope to complete the rest, so that I can stain them next week, but I would love some ideas on symbols to use to represent some of the Runes.  I have a few thoughts, but am open to suggestions.  If you have ideas, here are the Rune I'd like help with.  Please leave a comment on this post with your suggestion.  If you don't see a Rune listed here on which you want to comment, you can do that too.

Uruz - Aurochs, the ox; Thurissaz - the giant or thorn; Ansuz - communication, Odin; Raido - riding; Perthro - board game, social gathering, friendly competition; Berkana - birch, beginnings; Mannaz - humanity, humans; and Othala - homestead, inheritance.

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