Monday, September 2, 2013

Working Runes

Today, the US and Canada celebrate Labor Day.  Although its original intent was to celebrate the contributions of our work force, it has basically become a three-day weekend treated as a chance to get away from work rather than thinking about it and have one last hurrah before summer ends.  Before spending too much time pondering this situation, I decided to sit with the Runes and contemplate the idea of work.  Besides getting the answer to simple questions like - why do we work? - I got what I am calling working Runes, because they guide us through many aspects of what work is and the role we give it in our lives.

I drew quite a few Runes for this line of questions, pulling one and then asking my next question based on the answer provided by that Rune.  In answer to my first question about why we work, I drew Nauthiz, the Rune of need and necessity, which I feel needs little explanation and answers the question quite readily.  For the most part, we work out of need; we need to work so that we have money to afford the basic necessities of life.

Following on that answer, I wanted to know if that was the only reason we work or if we work for pleasure, because it is fulfilling.  I did not draw Wunjo as symbol reflecting pleasure  as I thought I might.  Instead, Jera came second and this is where the dialogue with the working Runes began.

Jera:  Your work path has the potential to lead to something fulfilling, but there is a process in reaching that point.

Me: I am not convinced you are the Rune I seek here, because I know that everything has a process through which is must go.  I would like to know how we can work doing something we enjoy.

(I put Jera back in and drew again, but when Jera came out two more times consecutively, I realized what I had been missing.)

Jera: I am your guiding Rune; you connect with me on a deeper level than you are acknowledging.  Stop and look at what process means.  Yes everything has a process, but that includes you.  You have a process and your choices are part of that process.  In fact, they have a direct and immediate impact on it.  Your choices determine where your path goes and how you get where you end up.  Remember, too, that your process is the path you follow through time.  So, if you want to work at something that is fulfilling, you have to put in the effort to make that happen by making wise choices.  You cannot simply expect it to happen.  Think of the farmer, who does not simply scatter seeds on the land, rather plants them strategically, tends them, waters them, provides them with nutrients, so that the harvest is bountiful.

Me: I am willing to put in the effort to get something that I find fulfilling and not just have a job.  How do I know which choices to make to create that path?

Ehwaz: To move along your path, you must find the vehicle, the mode of transportation that will carry you.  In this instance, that means finding out what you enjoy, what you're good at.  Talent arrives in two forms, those born to us and those we learn through experience.

Me:  I must focus on my own interests and innate talents, then.  How will that help me find a job I enjoy?

Ehwaz:  Your talents will carry you forward much quicker and happier if you can utilize them in the work that you do.  Remember, you may not always get to apply them in your work exactly as you'd like, so be aware of the sacrifices you're willing to make on that front.

Me: What if I'm not willing to make a sacrifice that would compromise my talent?

Ehwaz:  If you do not want to compromise your talent through your work, you may end up doing something you don't enjoy at all, so make sure it will afford you what you need to enjoy your talent when you are not working.  You must also surround yourself with people who are going to support you in this endeavor.  The horse is not only the transportation mode, but represents the importance of relationships and partnerships in your life.

Me: That's a good point.  How do I know who these people are?

Gebo:  True support will be apparent.  Those who offer it will give it willingly, without expectation.  Support for your endeavors is a gift, but one you sometimes have to seek by explaining to people what you want to do and asking for help and guidance.  Likewise, when you have something to give in return, you should act the same way.  Give because you can, because you want to, not because you have to.

Me:  If someone supports me, I should return the favor.  Is that all?

Gebo:  That is not what it means.  A gift is not about reciprocity.  Your talent is not just your vehicle, but your gift.  While you are receiving the gift of support from friends, family, potential employers and so on, you will be given the opportunity to give your gift to others through your work.

Me: What if I am still unable to do something I enjoy?

Wunjo:  You will find a way to be happy if you truly desire it.  If your work does not make you feel fulfilled, you must find that fulfillment in other ways.  You are responsible for your own happiness. A good place to begin is by being happy with what you have before you seek more through work or the tools work gives you to acquire those things.  Gratitude and appreciation are important aspects of realizing the joy in your life.

What began as a line of questions looking at why we work and the fact that, on this US/Canadian holiday that is supposed to acknowledge our work, we try to forget about it, has made me realize the importance of what this holiday is intended to do.

Now, as I prepare for my own meal with friends on this labor day, I honor my work efforts on many fronts.  While I acknowledge that not all the work I do plays to my strengths and innate talent or interests, it does afford me the time I need to work on things, like this blog, that I enjoy and that gives me a sense of fulfillment.  Further, I acknowledge that I do get to do some work that gives me fulfillment and I am paid very well for those services.  Coupled with that is the realization that this part of my work has grown in the last two years and continues to move in a positive direction on my path.  Finally, I acknowledge that I did not accomplish this alone, rather through the support and generosity of friends, family, clients, and readers, like you, who support and encourage my writing.

Although we don't always get to do what we want, even when we know where our interests and talents lie, we can still ride those talents on our life's path and, if we can't do what we enjoy for work, we can make sure that the work we do supports us in doing what we enjoy in our time away from work.  In this way, our work, whatever it is, is very important and deserves to be acknowledged today, not necessarily for the contribution it makes to the economy, but to the contribution it makes to enriching our own lives.


  1. Excellent post! Wow, I needed to hear everything that was stated here. Even though I own Runes and am familiar with them, I am more of a Tarot reader, but thought I could still get something from the post. I love the dialogue between you and the Runes and how plainly you laid the expressions out in your post. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Melody,
      I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your feedback. I'm glad to know that my post was helpful. My kids sometimes look at me funny when they see me talking with my Runes or they ask who I am talking to, but I find these dialogues the most useful way to engage my Runes.

  2. This is a great post! Thank you for writing it - I too, needed this right now.