Monday, December 30, 2013

Runes 201 - Individual Runes - Ansuz

Ansuz, like Ehwaz, signifies many important aspects of life.  Ansuz is considered the mouth Rune (mouth of a river), the mouth Rune (the origin of language and, by extension, communication), and the god Rune.  What makes this especially interesting is that each Rune poem (Old Norwegian, Old English, and Old Icelandic) depicts a different meaning.  In looking at the complex Rune, I want to address each of these features.

Let's begin with Ansuz as the mouth of a river as explained in the Old Norwegian Rune poem.  I like beginning here, because the mouth of a river can mean the beginning, middle or end of a journey, depending on the direction you are heading; it can mean arriving in a new land or returning home.  It symbolizes an adventure, embarking on or completing something new or representing something familiar.  For the Vikings, for example, the seas were roads; it is how they traveled between lands and explored their world.  I mentioned this last week in terms of creative exploration and Laguz.  However, here it can go beyond exploring to settling and managing.  By starting with this aspect, we can determine which path we are on - a new path or strengthening a familiar one - and build from there.

With our chosen path in mind, we can look at Ansuz as it relates to language and communication.  Back in April, I undertook a Rune Ritual around Ansuz's communication feature.  I chose Ansuz for this reason, because I want to make a living off of my writing, a major form of communication.  Moreover, I have used Ansuz to help couples remember that communication is vital to any relationship.  These uses show a beginning (my career) and something familiar (relationships) demonstrating the importance of how we use communication in our lives and how our word choice, the tone of our voice, our gestures, and facial expressions impact them.  Ansuz tells us to be aware or increase our awareness of the way we communicate.  In support of this idea, the Old English Rune poem focuses on this interpretation of Ansuz and puts special emphasis on how wisdom gives warriors comfort (in the sense of happiness) and confidence.  The important thing to remember here is that wisdom is gained not because communication is a one way street, rather includes interpreting and understanding the messages being communicated to us.

On an even more personal level, Ansuz links us to our deity.  In this regard, the Old Icelandic Rune poem points specifically to Odin as the the head of Asgard and the one in charge of Valhalla.  It is fitting that Odin is represented here, because he is the god of poetry and wisdom.  These characteristics of Odin are just as important, if not more so, than Odin as god of war, because they not only imply our own spirituality in communicating with our deity, but they also in highlight, once again, the importance of communication in all its forms.  What is equally important to recognize is that Odin, the chief Norse god is tied directly to communication, implying or reinforcing the importance of the latter throughout the world and and the role it plays in the journeys we take and paths we follow in life.

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