winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Last year, I also wrote about this solstice by asking the Runes what they wanted to share with us about it. This year, my question was more specific. I wondered how did we arrive here? What was the path we followed over the last year and how have we realized it?
I think the response - Jera, Tiwaz, Dagaz - builds on last year's post, which presented Berkana, Laguz, and Othala. What the Runes told us last year was that we were poised at the beginning of something and that we had to be creative and not be afraid to try new paths and realize that, while those paths may include personal gains, that we should look beyond ourselves in the process and recognize that the things that we do affect and are affected by others as well. The three Runes this year are offering us guidance in looking back over the past year.
Jera was the perfect first Rune, because it is the Rune of the year and represents, more so than any other, the idea of process and cycles. It calls on us in this time of silent reflection during the winter solstice to look back over the year and realize how we arrived here. Did we follow the wisdom the Runes shared with us last year? Were we creative in choosing the steps we took that formed the path we look back on now? Were we conscious of the ways in which our steps (choices) affected others? As I look back over the year, I can say that, for me, these are some of the most important questions I can ask and I realize that not only was the Rune's guidance last year exactly what I needed, but that in a completely unconscious way, I followed that advice and had wonderful though not always easy outcomes.
The second Rune for this time of silent reflection is Tiwaz. Now, I confess that I have an affinity to these two Runes (Jera and Tiwaz) more than I do to any others, but their positioning here still holds true. Tiwaz is the warrior Rune, a Rune that represents strength and sacrifice. We don't always think about both sides of that coin. When we are exhibiting strength and making tough decisions or just standing up for ourselves, sometimes we don't acknowledge that sacrifices are being made along the way, especially if they are not our sacrifices, but sacrifices of those who support us. This comes from Othala last year and the fact that whatever choices we made during this year were supported by others around us. Rather than think only about the strength that you showed this year in making hard choices, think about who supported you in making those choices. What strength did they show? How did they support you? Did it involve a sacrifice on their part?
Just as Jera was the perfect first Rune, Dagaz is the perfect third one, because it almost presents us with another beginning - the day - but it also reminds us to look back over the past year and find those bright spots that helped us get through the rough ones. It shows us where we were strong, but it also calls to mind its own set of guiding questions. What made those bright spots bright? How did they come about? What did you have to do to achieve those bright spots? Think of your creativity. Who helped you achieve those moments? How did you on your own and with help from others build on those bright spots to make them more enduring?
Interestingly, these three Runes also set the tone for the coming year. Jera says remember that there is a process for everything that happens during the year. Tiwaz reminds us of the strength we carry through that process and that there will, at some point, be a sacrifice required. Dagaz supports these ideas with a focus on the light, which I take to mean the positive. By focusing on the positive, when we face a challenge, it will be far easier to over come.
With that practical, but important guidance from the Runes, I will wish you all well in the coming year and Happy Yule! Gleðileg Jól!