Monday, June 24, 2013

Runes 202 - Bind Runes - Creative Energy

Last week, a friend and fellow writer asked me about a Rune to help her with the Children's books she writes, specifically a Rune for focus and energy.  However, I did a Rune interpretation related to focused energy two weeks ago.  And, I realized that, what my friend wanted was to be able to focus on her creative endeavor - writing.  So, I wanted to create a "situation" to support that effort.  To that end, instead of a single Rune, I envisioned a bind Rune of sorts.

Ingwaz, Eihwaz, and Kenaz came to me immediately.  Individually, these Runes represent fertility, stability, and light.  Bound together, they could look as simple as a diamond with a line down the middle.

The image that came to me, though, brought the Runes together, but kept them distinguishable from each other.  This bind Rune looked like this:

If we examine them together in more detail, we can see how they support and complement each other.

Ingwaz was first.  It is Freyr's Rune, symbolizing fertility, but also peace.  It creates a setting that that is ripe for the picking.  Moreover, it establishes the shape structure in the bind Rune.

Eihwaz, offers stability to the situation through the strength of the yew tree.  Because taking the time and creating the space we need for our creative endeavors requires a commitment on our part to stand up and make it okay to take the time in that space, Eihwaz also gives us courage to do that.  Interestingly, it runs through the middle of the bind Rune, providing the physical framework. 

Finally, Kenaz is more than simply light as the torch; it is also a creative force.  In fact, Kenaz is often associated with artists and craftspeople, making it he perfect room to represent writing (or any other artistic undertaking).

In this bind Rune, the creative force is settles into a fertile space created by Ingwaz and supported by the strength imbibed through Eihwaz.  This is why the image came to me as three distinct but connected Runes.

Ingwaz, by its shape and meaning, establish a fertile and peaceful space for Kenaz to engage in its creative endeavor.  At the same time, Eihwaz offers stability and strength to Kenaz to help it focus on making the most of its creativity; in the bind Rune, it appears to hold open the fertile space, like a tent pole.  Between Ingwaz and Eihwaz, Kenaz has an ideal opportunity to excel.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Runes for the Solstice

At the end of the week, we will celebrate the summer solstice (in the northern hemisphere).  Back in March, I embraced the equinox and the increased daylight, by looking at Sowilo, the sun Rune.  With the sun reaching its annual zenith in the sky, I want to acknowledge this cycle and ask the Runes - How can we incorporate this warm energy into the next three months (until the autumnal equinox)?  How can we engage this vibrant time of Earth's annual cycle?

Although I was drawing three Runes, four came out; Ingwaz stuck tightly to Mannaz, which I will come back to shortly.  For now, let's look at the first two Runes - Gebo and Berkana.

Gebo is placed perfectly as the first Rune in this draw.  The gift Rune reminds us to be grateful for the gifts we receive as part of the solstice.  It is summer, the season of warmth, fun, and high energy.  These are the aspects of this time that we should engage.  It is as if the Runes are saying, "You have been given this amazing time of year, full of long, warm days.  Go out and enjoy it, make the most of it; use the energy to lift your spirits and propel you forward."  What a wonderful gift.

Berkana was second.  I would have expected this Rune in March, as the Rune of beginnings, but we must remember that it is also the Rune of birth... of life.  In this view, it supports what Gebo tells us.  This is a time of pure potential, full of life and, once again, energy.  I feel as if the energy is encircling us, just waiting for us to reach out, touch it, swim into its flow... to share it.  We have spent the time since the equinox planting our seeds, nurturing and tending to them.  Now, things are beginning to happen.  Our seeds have sprouted, are flowering, and some are already bearing fruit.  This is what we build on and celebrate in the summer.  However, we must also recognize that the process is not complete, but like the zenith sun, is reaching its high point.

Our third Rune is Mannaz, the Rune of the self, the higher self, and humanity.  I struggle with this Rune sometimes, because it seems to encompass everything from who I am and aspire to be to everything that makes us human and creates humanity as a whole.  How do we focus this Rune to a particular thing?  Of course, I realize, we can't.  What this Rune says is that the experience is not only about us.  It has to be about all levels, because we shape humanity and humanity also shapes us.  Whether we think so or not, we are constantly playing a role in defining what humanity is and how it works.  While we must approach things through our own experiences, our actions affect more than our own outcomes.

Here's the really interesting part of this draw.  A fourth Rune, Ingwaz, attached itself to Mannaz, which sends a very powerful message to me about the state of humanity and our ability to impact it.  Ingwaz is Freyr's Rune, a fertility Rune.  While I am consciously drawn to Tiwaz and Tyr, Freyr seems to appear out of nowhere, when I am least expecting it.  Yet, his approach is gentle, but confident and comfortable, and it reinforces the idea that "now is the time".  In this instance, I believe that Freyr's essence represents a reminder or reassurance that supports everything symbolized in the other three Runes.  Not only are we entering a time of warmth, energy, and fun, but a fertile time, which makes the gift of the solstice even greater.  The seeds we planted during the last few months have become fertile, thanks to our care.  And, finally, as we engage and acknowledge the solstice, the pieces begin to come together for us as individuals and to shape our world.

As we embrace the solstice and express our gratitude for its gifts, we must carry it one step further and take the feeling it gives us and share it widely.  Share the warmth, the fun, and the energy.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Runes 101- Runes in History - Rune sounds

Over the past few months, I've had two questions posed to me on multiple occasions, so I decided to address them here and hope that this summary helps others who are wondering the same thing.  The questions are:

1.  I want to write my name in Runes; how do I know what sound each Rune makes?
2.  Why did the Runes not become a more prominent writing system, like the Latin alphabet?

To help answer the first question, I created a chart showing the sounds assigned to each Rune.  (It is similar to the chart I created for Rune meanings.)  There are a few interesting Rune sounds to take note of.  For example, Eihwaz, which I wrote about two weeks ago, produces an ei combination sound.  Ingwaz, joins the sound of two consonants - ng.  Although Wunjo looks like our Latin p, it makes the w sound.  And, Jera, although it is j, its sound leans more towards y.
These distinctions are important when writing names, especially for those of you seeking tattoos.  Let me give you a couple of examples.  Let's say you want to get a tattoo to honor the Norse Goddess, Freyja.  Writing that name in Runes would combine the y and j into a single letter, Jera.  So, it would be spelled like this:

One of the Runes I didn't mention above, but which has a duel sound is Thurisaz.  This letter actually evolved in Icelandic as the letter thorn and it makes the th sound as in thumb or Thor.  So, if your name is Theodore, the first two letters would be combine into one.  It would look like this:

Now for the second question.  There are multiple reasons why Runes never became an alphabet like the Latin one we use today and what I provide here is only a summarized overview.  For starters, Runes were made to be carved and their angular shape was easiest to carve into the resources available - wood, bone and antlers - with Runestone engravings coming later, but maintaining the angular aspect.  Because they were designed to be carved, the complicated process used to create such things as papyrus, parchment or vellum was not needed, nor was the requirement to make ink or quills.  Instead, Germanic people used their knives and carved messages onto available resources.  Beyond the requisite equipment, there were no grammar or writing rules;  Rune carvers spelled things phonetically, the way they sounded to them. Rune shapes varied regionally and things were not always written from left two right.  Words, phrases, even sentences could be written right to left and there are boustrophedonic examples as well, where one line reads from left to right and the next lines reads from right to left.  There are more reasons, but this gives you a sense of some of the basic issues around why the Runes never became an alphabet like the Latin one.  The Viking Answer Lady provides some good insight into this issue as well.

If you have more questions about the Runes, whether it's for writing or using them as an oracle, let me know.  I am happy to help.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Runes 403 - Rune Interpretations - Focused Energy

We all have times when we are "in the groove" or "plowing through things", when our energy is focused on that which we need to accomplish.  But, what happens when something disrupts that flow?   How can we maintain that focused energy to get us through the turbulence and back to calm?

This week, I asked the Runes how to manage these times when things are smooth flow has been interrupted.  The simplicity of the answer was perfect, but the Runes were a bit feisty in the process, having a little fun with me.

As I pondered the question in my mind, I had a feeling I would draw Hagalaz, the hail Rune, and I did.  It was as if the Runes were already attuned to my question before I posed it, because Hagalaz came out first.  Ehwaz, the horse, followed; but I put it back, because I thought I hadn't been concentrating well enough on the question.  Guess what?  After I shuffled the Runes around some more and thought only of the question, Ehwaz came out again.  Clearly, it was the right choice and the Runes were telling me that I just needed to think about it for a moment.  Finally, in an almost silly, sappy conclusion, the Runes gave me Wunjo, the Rune of joy.

Hagalaz is a Rune I've drawn fairly regularly recently (Runes for Celebration and Runes 403 - Rune Interpretations - Time).  In this instance, this is a great Rune to carry us through the turbulence.  On one hand, it represents the turbulence itself through its destructive aspect.  However, it also represents Wunjo by virtue of it's second aspect of healing or providing relief.  Perhaps most importantly, Hagalaz guides Ehwaz by imparting creative ability into the mix.

Ehwaz is the Rune of the horse.  The final line of its Rune poem depicts the idea of a journey made easier for someone, who is on foot, to be able to mount a horse and ride.  This image implies a number of subtler ideas.  Partnership, cooperation, and loyalty each play a role in this Rune's meaning and Hagalaz provides a foundation for these ideas with its requirement for new growth.  These aspects of Ehwaz translate nicely into maintaining focused energy to get past the disturbance and onto the next step (or back to normal) in the process.  In short, the message here is to work together, look for support from those loyal to you, and to be loyal to those who offer assistance.  These bonds will strengthen and support your ability to focus and get back "in the groove".

As I said, Wunjo was last and, on the surface, it provides us with a Hollywood ending to our phase of disruption, implying "and they all lived happily ever after" to our struggle to keep our energy focused.  It is also the final aspect of Hagalaz incorporated into the situation - the relief.  However, Wunjo has a more ancestral sense of joy behind it, a deeper meaning than the Hollywood-style happy ending.  Wunjo almost becomes an appreciation and recognition of a comfortable life.  In this instance, I believe the joy Rune indicates gratitude, thus serving as a gentle reminder to thank those who help us through our turbulent times and showing us how important cooperative relationships are.

Stay focused and, if you can't, reach out to those who support you!  Have a fabulous week!