Thurisaz. For reasons I won't go into here, this Rune turned out to be a wonderful choice and it got me through some very tough and unexpected challenges. This also prompted me to make choosing a Rune for the year an annual occurrence.
My purpose for choosing an annual Rune is to use its unique and inherent meaning and power as a guide for the next twelve months. Although I say I choose the Rune, it feels much more like the Rune chooses me. However, it is my intention and ritual that helps to identify the appropriate Rune. Whereas last year, I chose my annual Rune under the guise of an individual Rune, and did a three-Rune draw to help me understand how to use Thurisaz's energy, this year, I want to share more of the process or ritual of discovering which Rune will be my annual Rune for 2017.
The ritual is simple, but takes time and a quiet space. It started off moving rather quickly, but slowed as I went and ended up taking me almost an hour to complete.
If you can do this ritual outside, I would recommend that. It's too cold outside where I live right now to do that, so I sat in my room on my bed with my Runes spread out in front of me. Some Runes were easy to remove from consideration, starting with Jera - my guiding Rune always - and Thurisaz because it was my Rune for 2016. I set aside nine other Runes relatively quickly. I had no scientific or other reason for removing these Runes other than intuition. As I ran my hand over the spread of Runes, it was just a sense that caused me to remove these Runes from the process.
There was a second set that I removed because they felt more personal to me. That is to say that I believe they will serve a more personal and singular issue purpose rather than guiding my overall year. Allowing my hand to hover over each one several times for as long as a minute, I whittled down my choices even further, removing six more Runes.
At this point, in terms of numbers, I had removed two aetts. With the remaining eight Runes, I held each one in my hands (resting in my left, covered by my right), closed my eyes and reflected on the Rune's meaning and the sensation I felt from the energy in my hand. Through this part of the ritual, I discarded five more Runes.
That left me with three, each of which are pretty different from each other - Nauthiz (need, necessity), Eihwaz (yew tree, inner strength), and Sowilo (sun, feminine energy). I honestly had no idea which one was "the one". And the ritual became less consistent with regard to deliberating. I laid them out in a line and moved them around, changing order, and position, trying to determine what story they were telling me.
I grabbed Nauthiz and held it tight in my left hand; squeezing it. I looked at it in my hand for several minutes, occasionally closing it, and sometimes closing my eyes too. Nauthiz was not it. It was not giving off a strong energy, though it did remind me that my annual Rune needs to address a larger need that I have.
Next, I held Eihwaz. I thought this was going to be the Rune, because I remembered how it helped me avoid a panic attack just over two years ago. It's ability to keep me calm in the face of a major challenge was stunning. As I held it in my right hand and wrapped my index finger around its perimeter, I realized Eihwaz is a special Rune for me, but that it already had its very specific place and role for me.
That left Sowilo. Interlocking my fingers around it as it pressed between my palms, I knew I had arrived at what I need for the coming year. Sowilo is not a Rune that comes up for me very often, which makes this even more meaningful; it's almost as if it was waiting for this moment in time to reveal its magic to me. It is especially telling that it comes on the heels of Thurisaz. Where Thurisaz seems to represent masculine qualities, especially linkages to Thor, Sowilo puts forth feminine energy. It seems that, at least in part, Sowilo offsets the year of Thurisaz and balances out the two years with a different kind of power. It is that feminine strength that I will carry forward this year, with qualities of caring, thoughtfulness, and kindness.