Monday, August 26, 2013

Runes 401 - Rune Rituals - Idunn for joy and vitality

Over the weekend, my family and I went apple picking.  While we were in the orchard, the Norse goddess Idunn came immediately to mind.  We know a reasonable amount about her relative to many other Norse goddesses.  We know about her apples and how they keep the gods strong and healthy, and even stopped them from aging.  We learn this when Loki, the trickster, kidnaps Idunn and gives her to Thjazi the Jotun and all the gods and goddesses begin to lose their youthful beauty and become physically weak..  I tell this tale in my novel, The Son of Nine Sisters, and there are many versions of it in other sources too.

In the orchard, I could sense Idunn peeking out from behind the trees a couple of rows away with a smile on her face and fun-loving mischief in her heart.  In that moment, I felt good and happy, carefree, just as I envision her to be.  To that end, I decided to conduct a Rune ritual to her, focused on the joy and vitality she represents for the gods.

For this ritual, I encircled a bowl of apples, a bottle of apple wine (with the name "Jardin D'Eden" on the label, which means garden of Eden, but I prefer to interpret it as Idunn's garden or orchard), and three Runes with a ring of 24 apples (one for each letter of the Elder Futhark).  Before selecting the Runes, I sat with them for quite a while contemplating which ones would best honor the goddess I view as the epitome of innocence, good health, and fun.  I came up with three that felt right - Wunjo, Dagaz, and Gebo.  I chose these Runes not only for their individual meaning, but for the way they represent Idunn's essence together.  Wunjo is, perhaps, the most obvious choice, but here is my reasoning for all three.

As the Rune of joy and pleasure, choosing Wunjo for Idunn represents that child-like innocence that I sense from her.  More specifically, it serves as a reminder to lead not just a happy life, but one that is uncomplicated.  Keep it simple, because when we are not complicating our lives, we are keeping stress out of it, which makes being happy far easier to accomplish.

Dagaz supports the intent of this ritual by offering warmth and sunshine.  For when do children play and frolic more than on beautiful summer days?  As adults, we need to engage more fully in these opportunities.  Being active increases our energy and, in turn, our vitality.  In short, we feel alive when we are more active, especially if we are enjoying it in the carefree way we did in our youth.

Next to Thor's use of Mjolnir, Idunn provides the gods with perhaps their greatest gift - the apples that give them their vitality and good health - and she seems to do it without any expectation of receiving something in return.  Gebo represents this idea perfectly - give without expectation and be grateful for the basic gifts of life.  I also get the impression that not only does Idunn give the gods these apples, but that they are her apples; she grows and tends them.  She takes care of the orchards.

For the ritual itself, I set up the circle of apples, then placed the contents inside and, as I did so, I thought about each item as I set it down and chanted, "I make this circle to honor Idunn, my goddess, for her wonderful essence and energy.  May she spread good health, joy, and vitality.  May we, in return, be grateful not only for her apples, but for the example she sets for us to be giving and happy without expectation or complication."

I'm not sure how many times I repeated my request in honor of Idunn while setting up the circle, but once the circle was complete and I sat in front of it, I repeated it three more times and was struck by how natural the entire process felt and how much I wanted to do my part in this ritual.  Therefore, to honor my goddess, I commit to the very words I chanted, for this ritual helped me to realize the importance of what Idunn represents for me, my energy and vitality.

How do you honor your god/dess through rituals?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Runes 403 - Rune Interpretations - Anticipation

To say my summer has not been great is a bit of an understatement, but things seem to have turned a corner and are on a positive track.  In other words, anticipation is building around some potentially really good things.  One of the challenges I face now though is not letting the anticipation take over.  Have you been there?  It's hopeful waiting, but when you get so excited about the possibility actually coming to fruition, it can become all you think about.  So, how do we maintain our cool, so to speak, while we wait?  That's the question I posed to the Runes.

I find it very interesting that Wunjo led the way on this draw.  The Rune of joy and pleasure seems an obvious choice here and, for a moment, I thought, 'Really?  this is the best you've got to give to me?'  But the Runes, as always, told me to look deeper.  This is not simply a question of being happy.  It is about being grateful for what we have already, gratitude for the basics.  If we are grateful and do not take things for granted, we curb our anticipation in a very important way.  In other words, if we are not grateful for that which we have already, anticipating more or something else is not going to bring us true happiness.  Moreover, we will never feel a sense of security or comfort if we spend all of our time thinking about and hoping for other and different possibilities, especially when the power to make them happens rests with someone else.  We can do what is in our power to affect the circumstances and, beyond that, we must let it go.

Dagaz, the day Rune supports Wunjo on two fronts.  First, it tells us that it is okay to anticipate something and look forward to its potential arrival, for like the day, it gives us hope.  Like Wunjo, this interpretation is almost obvious.  But, it does support the idea of being happy, which is Wunjo in its simplest state.  However, (and this is the second front) like the day, Dagaz also sheds light on the reality of the situation.  Therefore, while we can be happy and hopeful, we must look truthfully at the potential we see and not get ahead of ourselves, rather pace ourselves based on new information as it comes to light.  This is a far better approach than fretting and worrying about whether it will happen and it ties nicely into our final Rune if we think of information growing out of fertile situations.

I especially like Ingwaz in the final position here, for a few reasons.  For starters, it's the fertility Rune, which signifies potential and a situation whose time has come; it's ripe for the picking.  This gives us the hope found in  anticipation.  For, when we anticipate, we are optimistic; we believe that the moment is fertile and ready for us.  We feel it in our bones; yet Wunjo and Dagaz remind us not to put the cart before the horse if we truly want to have the greatest opportunity for success.  Second, just last week, I wrote about using Ingwaz in empowered situations.  On some level, our anticipation gives us a similar sensation.  We are feeling empowered and hopeful and the Runes are providing us with sage advice, so that we don't get too caught up in the anticipation, rather approach it strategically, letting go of expectation and moving forward based on factual or truthful information.  Finally,  Ingwaz is Freyr's Rune.  I feel an odd affinity toward him, for although he is a great god and warrior, his commonly recognized traits are fertility, peace, and plenty.  We've talked about the fertility aspect that is the core of this Rune, but as his Rune, Ingwaz also encompasses the other two aspects of him, which are equally as powerful as fertility.  The word 'peace' resonates with a calming and comforting effect.  That is what we seek to help us manage this overwhelming anticipation and not get carried away by it.  It also supports the idea of gratitude provided by Wunjo.  If you appreciate what you have, you will have a greater sense of peace.  Plenty, to me, again brings us back full circle to Wunjo, because it carries with it, the idea that everyone has what they need to be happy.

This may be one of the most supporting readings I've done in a while, with the Runes linking easily to each other.  I hope it was positive and uplifting for you and that, whatever it is that you're anticipating (looking forward to), comes to you soon.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Runes 201 - Individual Runes - Ingwaz

A few weeks ago, I talked about empowerment, especially with regard to taking control of situations.  By taking control of our own circumstance, we create a fertile environment in which to function.  This brings Ingwaz to mind with its fertility and relationship to Freyr.  But how can we utilize Ingwaz in a productive and positive way to make the most of an empowered situation?

First, we must look at Ingwaz itself to determine what fertility means.  By empowering ourselves, we create a situation whose potential and energy is fertile, fertile for us to take advantage of and reap the rewards of hard work and or bravery.  However, we must do it without becoming overbearing or greedy.

The stage is set.  Opportunity awaits.  We must focus on fertility in this regard and allow it to feed the sense of empowerment we have built.  Freyr's essence, as the Norse god of fertility, peace, and plenty explain that we can prosper if the ground is fertile and we don't incite conflict.

With that understanding, I asked the Runes how we might make the most of our new found empowerment.  I drew Raido, Othala, and Ansuz.  I understood what this draw meant for me immediately and  I believe that many people may be able to relate to the story the Runes presented.

We begin with recognizing that we are on a journey.  Raido, as the riding Rune, tells us this.  Journeys such as this, that carry us into the fertile territory we have created through our own empowerment can have great impact on us and our perception of things.  Raido represents fruitful travels as we engage Freyr.  I really like the Rune poem for this Rune (Old English version), because it basically says it's easy to sit and talk about adventure, but much harder to actually undertake to have one.  Yet, that is what we are doing and adventures or journeys like this will create a change in us.

Othala answers the very important question  - why undertake this journey?  In short, what do we hope to accomplish by doing it?  Othala signifies a happy and peaceful home; it implores us to advantage of this fertile moment in hopes of positively impacting our home and what we give to our family and friends.  We hope to provide something for ourselves and a solid foundation for our loved ones as they grow and learn from watching and sharing our experiences.

With Ansuz, we arrive at how we will achieve a prosperous journey.  Here again, I turn to the Old English Rune poem to interpret the meaning of this Rune in this position.  It talks of wisdom and support and language and counseling.  It is associated with Odin and the idea of comfort or strength to warriors.  Together, this signifies that we must take time to make wise choices, seek other perspectives, and realize that, as empowered warriors, we can and must be strategic in our approach to this position of strength we have established for ourselves.  As we step onto this path of empowerment, we must use our wisdom and realize that our steps leave a trail for future generations to follow or learn from.

I hope you are empowered to take your first step on this journey.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Applying the Runes to Different Situations

Occasionally, I come across a naysayer whose comment after a reading is, "You could have made any Rune apply to my situation."  The response to that comment is, of course, "Yes, I could."  However, that is kind of the point.  Any Rune can apply to any situation, but they do not apply in the same way and it is that latter aspect that matters.  For instance, Wunjo and Thurisaz would not apply to a situation in the same way.  We draw the Runes we draw because it is what that Rune is telling us about the situation that we need to realize or focus on or understand and act on.

To that end, today, I drew three Runes randomly - Berkana, Ehwaz, and Sowilo - and I want to show how they apply to three different aspects of my life - professional, myself/personal, and relationships (friends and family).  I'd like to ask you to figure out how they apply to yours too and let me know.

These are the Runes of beginnings (birch trees), the horse, and the sun, respectively.  But, as we know, they are much more than that.  Here is how I apply these three Runes to three different aspects of my life.

Professional Life - This year, I have seen a respectable jump in the amount of editing work I've been offered.  In addition, I have written a few articles, including one about the Runes, for a couple of different magazines and completed the draft of a young readers book series I'm writing with my daughter.  In the coming two months, I have more plans to draft a few synopses for the young readers series with my daughter, organize what I've written on the sequel to my first novel, The Son of Nine Sisters, and  finish off a few chapters there, and continue to build my professional writing and editing clientele.  I view this growth as the beginning (Berkana) of achieving my lifelong dream to be a full time writer.  Ehwaz, as the horse, reminds me of the strength I have shown in carrying the weight of starting this venture at this point in my life.  It also highlights the accomplishments I've made so far, but goes a step further to provide a reminder that the work is not done and that it requires cooperation and teamwork.  This signifies to me not only the support of my husband, but of my good friend, and colleague, Chantel, who has coached me through some of the more challenging moments on this journey.  Finally, Sowilo represents the sun, but it also signifies good fortune.  This serves as the guide I need to continue this path.  In sum, I have started a new path, but I don't travel it alone, even though it is my path; I have plenty of support to ensure good fortune as I fulfill my professional writing dream.

Myself/Personal Life - When I consider these Runes for myself, I have to look to recent events to give them context.  This summer has been a tough one for me with family illnesses and the loss of a loved one.  Therefore, I think of the sorrow I feel as a result of these events and realize that, while I process my grief, I must remember the lessons that come with each experience in our lives, whether joyous or sorrowful.  Through Berkana, they have started a transition in my life and I realize the importance of making the most of my time, starting new projects, taking risks, and not being afraid to kick ass.  It has revitalized a part of me that existed much more strongly in my youth.  This is my life and I need to do what it takes to be happy.  This is where Ehwaz comes in, to signify the pilgrimage to ensuring happiness.  However, a horse also makes the journey easier.  A horse is a loyal and helpful companion.  In an odd way, this tells me that I need to be a good companion to myself; I need to stand up for myself, something that is not always so easy, despite the ease with which I stand up for others.  Sowilo, with its feminine strength prompts me to release the stress and remember that I am a strong woman and and it is that undying strength I must summon to incorporate the lessons into my life and carry me forward to my personal happiness.

Relationships (friends and family) - I could apply this to any number of relationships that I have or to how I manage relationships over all.  However, I am making the conscious choice to focus these Runes on my relationship with my friend, colleague, and coach, Chantel, who I mentioned in the professional life section.  I am doing this not because I see a simple link between them and my relationship with Chantel, rather because this is an important relationship in my life and it is good for me to check in and make sure that I am doing all I can to keep it a happy and healthy one.  Honestly, Berkana is a tough one at first.  I've had to think about this, but I believe it ties into our working relationship.  We are just beginning to fine tune some of the projects we are working on together.  The birch tree is a coppicing tree;  it regenerates after its cut.  I'm not sure any tree or Rune could better represent not only my relationship with Chantel, but one of our shared characteristics as individuals.  No matter what happens, we always come (bounce) back.  So, this Rune symbolizes our projects and our commitment to bring things to fruition despite setbacks and obstacles.  Ehwaz as a sign of loyalty that connects us too.  This Rune tells me to ensure that I am there for my friend the way that she is there for me.  The beauty of this is that it doesn't just mean to lift her up in bad times; it means celebrating her accomplishments and reminding her of all the amazing things about her and giving her a figurative kick in the pants when she needs it.  Thank you Ehwaz for the important reminder.  I confess, Sowilo does fit nicely into this relationship, because Chantel has been a bright spot in my life for more than twenty years.  She has brought great and powerful energy into my life and I am grateful for it everyday.  To me, it also signifies the strong feminine energy we exude when we are together.  Together, we can do anything we set our minds to.  Now, we are harnessing that energy and our loyalty to each other and undertaking some creative projects together.

If you have the time, sit with these Runes and share with me how they resonate with you.  Have a wonderful week.