Monday, June 26, 2017

Runes 403 - Rune Interpretations - Forward Progress

Last week's Solstice got me thinking about cycles and balance, because the latter is not constant.  It comes in cycles, just like the Solstices and Equinoxes.  Equinoxes represent balance (12 hours of daylight and darkness everywhere on the planet), while the Solstices can be seen to to be moments "out of balance" - long summer days and short winter days.

At a time when we are "out of balance", how do we manage to keep making forward progress?  That is the question I posed to the Runes.  At a time when we feel out of balance, how do move forward and not let everything around us that is making us feel off balance over power us?

The Runes presented me with Dagaz, Perthro, and Hagalaz.  I like the circular meanings in this draw and the reminders that each Rune provides.

Dagaz is a very empowering, hopeful Rune.  The day Rune represents the idea that everything is less scary during the day than it is at night.  This works for either Solstice.  In both instances, Dagaz reminds us that we can do this.  For those facing a winter Solstice, it is a message to say that daylight is returning.  Be a little patient.  For those in the summer Solstice, you are in the heart of the day.  Positive energy is all around you.  Absorb it and let it help you to focus and move.

The reminders with Perthro are that we are not alone and that we need to remember to have fun.  Help is there for us.  Maybe knowing this gives us more confidence to actually do it on our own.  We are creating and implementing the plan.  And, we need to remember to have fun.  We have a lot going on and it can weigh us down if we forget to lighten the mood once in a while and what better way to do that than to spend some time being social?

Finally, Hagalaz hits us with hail.  This is a great Rune to end on, because it reminds us that, while things may start off feeling out of balance and like they are beating us down, in the wake there is nourishment.  When the hailstones melt, what's left behind feeds us.  I would argue that, we are responsible for melting the hail and, in doing so, create our own nourishment by tackling the challenges that are trying to knock us off balance.  This is the empowerment that we gain through Dagaz, bringing our interpretation full circle and moving us forward in a positive way.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Runes 303 - Rune Art - Deeper Meanings

Through readings and rituals, the Runes can be very empowering.  They can also provide some great and consistent energy through art.  I've recently started using art to express that very thing and am excited to launch a new series on  this blog as a result: Runes 303 - Rune Art.  Though it wasn't planned, this piece of art turned into something far deeper than the artistic representation I thought I was creating.

I love the coast - the beach, the sea air, the expanse of the ocean, and the life the coastal ecosystem supports.  I wanted to choose three Runes to represent the major aspects of this beautiful natural setting.  I chose Laguz, Ansuz, and Sowilo.


Taking the blank canvass, I wanted to create a background to depict the sand.  Once that was dry, I started to outline the sea with Laguz in the center.  In the upper left, I painted Sowilo to signify the sun.  In the lower right, I placed Ansuz as the embodiment of a river delta or the mouth of the river.  Opposite Sowilo, I made splotchy dots to denote the stars in a night sky.  Opposite Laguz, I painted the tributaries that feed the rivers that leads to the sea.

As I added the finishing touches, I considered the three Runes I chose and realized that they are more than a mere representation of the coastal ecosystem.   I recognized a much deeper meaning to them, one of self-exploration and awareness.

Laguz, the water Rune, is central to the image and beckons us to explore and face the mysteries of the deep where the sea is a metaphor for our subconscious.  The Old English Rune poem warns that people who take to the sea in an unsteady ship will be terribly frightened by the waves.  Similarly, if we venture into new parts of our subconscious, though it might be scary, we must be prepared to accept what is there.  It does not mean that what is there cannot be changed, merely that what we find is the current state.  It is what we do with the recognition of the current state of things that matters.  As we explore, we must remember to look at the good as well as the bad, the accomplishments as well as the challenges.

Having Sowilo above Laguz brings comfort, for Sowilo represents the sun and feminine energies of support and caring.  It lifts spirits and gives hope.  Interestingly, Sowilo's Old English poem mentions the sea-stallion bringing travelers to land, to safety.  This is the same sea stallion mentioned in the Laguz poem that is not heeding its bridle.  When I made this connection, it strengthened the empowerment of the image I had painted.  With Laguz, there is exploration and uncertainty, but Sowilo watches over that uncertainty and provides the space for it to be processed and understood safely.

Ansuz, as the mouth of the river, feeds Laguz, creating an intriguing dynamic when interpreting the image beyond its face.  Ansuz is almost like the beginning, for as the origin of every language (according to the Old English poem), its ideal intention is to provide wisdom and build confidence through knowledge shared.  But, we know that communication does not always follow its intended path.  Though well-intentioned, Ansuz's message can be twisted and contorted in the storms of Laguz, thus creating the challenges an exploration of Laguz might uncover.  In this way, it counters Sowilo nicely to provide balance to the meaning of the image and remind us that we must sometimes pause and reevaluate certain parts of our lives.

I was pleasantly surprised to realize that, through this creative exercise, I had actually produced a piece of art that holds such provocative meaning and insight.  What is especially profound is that what the Runes in this art revealed is exactly the effect that the coast has on me.  When I go to the beach and look out over the ocean, my reality (my current state) becomes much easier to accept and address just by being there.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Runes 302 - Interviews - Kelley Harrell

I am especially pleased to share with you an interview with Kelley Harrell, owner of Soul Intent Arts.  Kelley has been sharing her rune work with me (and many of you) for at least five years, though her practice extends well beyond that.  I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little bit better.  I know I did.

How did you discover the Runes?
I read about them in 8th grade literature, like so many of my generation did.  I was introduced to the Elder Futhark as living items of power by a friend when I was 19.  It was love at first cast.

How long have you been working with them?  How do you use them?
I started working with the Elder Futhark enthusiastically at 19 years old.  I worked with the runes for years, though the resources that were available were very limited and very limiting.  I felt connected to the staves, though not to any interpretation of them that I read.  I thought that meant I was doing something wrong, so I walked away form them as a formal study for a few years.  They popped up in my mind and life, continually, so when I decided to commit to the staves and forgo texts on them, everything came alive.  I'm so glad there are better resources of them now.

What is your favorite way to connect with the Runes?
My path is animistic and shamanic, so asking the spirit of the stave I'm working with to step into my form is very powerful.  I find that embodying them is more sustaining and informing on personal needs than using them in a more traditional divinatory way.  For me, divination isn't about predicting outcomes, rather it's about gathering as much insight as possible about present dynamics, so I can make more informed decisions about how I go forward.  When I hold an intention in mind and embody the stave, I feel its counsel on how to hold my awareness.  It gives me a focus to sustain throughout whatever I need.

How do you use the Rues in your everyday life?  For guidance?  To guide others?
I find that I use them differently for self, as opposed to using them on behalf of others.  For personal use, I connect with them best through galdr, one at a time, and shapeshifting with them as I noted before (in the previous question).  When I work with another person, I ask Heimdallr to oversee the session and give him and the runes access to my awareness, so that when I draw runes for the person, I feel the needed connection to each one as I touch it.  I see the story it wants to relate to the intention that was set forward.  The hardest part of working with others using runes is that they don't sugar coat anything and they are more about giving a perspective on the intention, rather than dictating how to go forward in the intention.

Is there one experience that you've had with the Runes that was especially rewarding, engaging, moving or unexpected?  Will you share it with us?
It wasn't a singular experience, rather a life dynamic that persisted about a year and a half.  I worked with the runes frequently to understand the various currents that were happening during this really difficult time.  I asked them for insight about the true intentions, the best focus I could hold at specific points of the progression, the best focus to take into various meetings, the best way to deal with specific people involved.  Prior to this dynamic, I went tot he runes for insight about diverse needs, usually immediate in timing and short-lived involvements.  There was no longevity to watch how the insights would play out.  This particular dynamic lasted so long and provided such detailed insights over a continuum, I came away even ore convinced of the power of the runes.

The runes were frank, as they always are, though they warned me about hidden motives, things that weren't at all evident in the face-to-face interactions, but became evident as things progressed.  They informed me that the direction was going away from the intended focus of the dynamic.  I truly felt more informed going into meetings because of what the runes taught me along the way.  I sustained my relationship with them as part of a difficult time and they helped me stand in my power throughout it.  They didn't change the outcome; they changed me and how I interacted with the whole ordeal.

What else would you like to share with us about your work with the Runes?
I undervalued the runes for a long time.  Though they spoke to me immediately upon meeting them, I didn't realize their value through everyday life until I committed to them, so to speak.  In shamanism, everything is about direct relationship and that been no less true about the runes.  I really do take them everywhere with me.

Thank you, Kelley, for taking the time to share with us.

Kelley's Bio
Kelley is the author of Teen Spirit Guide to Modern Shamanism, Gift of the Dreamtime, and several other books.  Her shamanic practice is Soul Intent Arts, through which she mentors others on the path of modern shaman.  She has written The Weekly Rune, since 2012.