Posts Tagged ‘raidho’
I love this mantra. It comes from an absolutely beautiful and powerful working created by David Rankine which you can find in his wonderful book Becoming Magick: New and Revised Magicks from the New Aeon. I think of it whenever we pass through this time of year, moving through the runes ansuz, raidho and kenaz: inspiration becomes action which becomes manifestation. It fills me with a sense of anticipation and I become convinced that I can jump straight from thought into action Now, if you get David’s book you will see that his working takes a much more balanced approach – I would highly recommend it. As I am a rune-girl I have been looking to the runes to help me rein in some of my most ridiculous beliefs about how much one person can achieve in a finite amount of time.
I, like you I suspect, have a to-d0 list which is far too long. Like a fair number of people I am also stress-prone, I like to heap unachievable deadlines upon myself and then beat myself up mercilessly when I don’t achieve them all. This is one of the reasons why I am studying stress management (the choice to seek a qualification in it also being an example of my tireless pursuit to give myself more to do). That aside, I find that working with the runes helps me to get some perspective. Working with the rune calendar has proven invaluable, balance is key to the runester and, just as singing in your rune circle will bring you balance each day, working through the rune cycle each year ensures that you aren’t taking a lop-sided approach to life.
At this time of year we need to start conserving our energies, laying in a good stock of positive, sustaining energy for the winter ahead. Even though our lives are less obviously tied to the cycles of nature than used to be the case, we are still animals, creatures of the earth who develop, grow and live through the cyclical tides of the seasons. We may not be close to starvation (but there are those in the world who are), and we may not freeze to death (although there will be people who do), but many of us will suffer from seasonal affective disorder or at least find ourselves less bouncy and energy-filled. The hard work of the summer must give way to a more rested, considered approach as winter draws near; give yourself a break, slow down, chill out – why not spend some time meditating with a lovely rune
Following my Raidho meditations last half-month I have reinstated my ‘thinking time’ walks. These are always the first to go when I am stressed, I tell myself I don’t have time and end up lying on the sofa at the end of the day, boggling at the television after a day of frustration and inefficiently used time. I then wake up the next day feeling tired and crotchety and begin the whole cycle again. I find that if I allow myself time for my thinking walk then I am much more likely to find the time to cook proper meals, do my meditation, and make plans with friends. Corrina Gordon-Barnes from You Inspire Me calls this sort of activity your one ‘non-negotiable’ ; Corrina works with self-employed women but I believe her advice holds true for anyone struggling with a to-do list that’s ’whelming’ them (that’s one of my personal promises to myself by the way, I am never ‘over-whelmed’, but I admit to being frequently ‘whelmed’).
So, once you’ve found that bit of routine that is your own, personal ritual, then you can start to tackle your to-do list with a bit more presence of mind. That’s when Kenaz comes in, the fiery rune of creation and manifestation. Use this month’s Kenaz meditation to help you remove those deep blocks and obstacles holding you back, and find the clarity and the energy you need to move forward. Break your to-do list down into managable chunks and focus just on the day’s tasks. If your head is whirling with ideas, then take time each day to scribble them down so you don’t forget them. For small projects, check to see if the idea is still burning brightly three days later – if it’s still drawing your attention after three days then it’s probably worthwhile. If it’s a fairly big project, then three days won’t be long enough – give yourself three weeks and then check back to see if the project still draws your enthusiasm and energy. You can use the time to consult with knowledgeable friends, colleagues and contacts – then when your three weeks is up you’ll be ready to get started if you’re still feeling passionate about the project. The point of waiting is to ensure that the idea isn’t just a throw-away inspiration – place it in the Kenaz furnace and see whether it fizzles to nothing or burns more brighly and fiercly from its time in the flames.
On Thursday this week we will move into the half-month of Gebo, the rune of gifts and fair exchange. Life changes take approximately three-weeks to become habit so the Gebo rune can help us to stick to the commitments we have made during the period of inspiration, change and manifestation we have just passed through. I will be asking Gebo to help me stick to my ‘thinking-time walk’. When I make it into Wunjo , the rune of fulfilment and joy on 13th October, I will know that I have re-established my old habit and am giving myself the best possible chance of having a fruitful, plentiful winter.
For friends, colleagues and students in the sourthern hemisphere, the time is of course different. You are in the lovely half-month of Berkano, the rune of growth and potential. While we in the North are carefully conserving our energy with the sensible Raidho rune of the rider and checking that we are not giving or receiving too much (Gebo) - you will soon be speeding along on the steed of Ehwaz. Enjoy!
The half-month of Raidho galloped over the horizon on Monday 29th August and we are now within the centre of its power. Raidhois the rune of the road, of the rider, and of that which is ridden; it is sometimes seen as a chariot, or as a great wheel. Its lessons relate to the many journeys we take through life, indeed, its energy is always with us as we forge the road ahead. The secret of Raidho is that there are countless roads opening out before us, many unseen, or unrecognised. The rider who is vigilant and listens to the deep rhythmn of Raidhowill be rewarded with a greater sense of clarity and purpose, Raidho helps you to access the inner knowledge of which road is ultimately the correct one for you.
Serendipitously, many of the tools of Raidho still feature its root sound ‘R’ as their initial letter: ritual, rhythm, relaxation, routine, rite of passage. Raidho comes up for me as a reminder that getting things done is not just about will power and determination. Life is a journey, Raidho says, sometimes the road is hard and you need to treadcarefully, sometimes it is smooth and you can speed joyfully. Sit on your bottom all day and you won’t get anywhere, drive yourself and your horse to the point of exhaustion and you won’t get anywhere either. In the modern world routine and habit are often seen as bad things, holding us back from being inventive, adventurous and free; Raidho counsels that this is not the case, we need our daily routines to keep us grounded. My training as a stress manager has taught me that the options and choices available to us (that we are told make us so much better off than our ancestors), are also weights that drag us down; every decision that needs to be made takes energy and necessitates hesitation and questioning. We can become so involved in the every day trivia of what to eat, what to wear, what to watch, where to go, that we fail to even see the possibilities for change, growth and personal evolution that pass us by.
Imagine that you are riding a horse and your are presented with two journeys. In one journey you are on a road with countless pathways leading off it, points of interest littered along the way; indeed, the road is so busy that it feels like a carnival with stalls, prizes and different ‘rides’ that you can try out. You and your horse are both distracted; indeed, you find it difficult to guide your horse because you aren’t sure yourself which way to go next. In another journey you are on a road which you know well, it is familiar and comfortable to you, containing features which make you feel safe, relaxed, contented and confident. You are at liberty simply to enjoy the sights and sounds of the road as your horse follows the well-known trackway. You are also free to gaze out into the distance, to chart a new adventure for the day and take stock of what is happening outside your own quiet valley. We fill our lives with stuff to stave off boredom - but that assumes that boredom is a of lack of amusement when, really, it is a lack of purpose.
By building routine into our lives and regular periods of relaxation, we are better able to take important decisions and we have more energy to deal with difficulties and challenges when they arise. Raidho speaks to us of the orderly cycles within all things, cycles which are necessary if movement is to be sustained. My work with Raidho has brought me to an understanding that the road itself is a product of the relationship between rider and horse, if I am besieged by worry, self-doubt and concern, then the road may appear treacherous and confusing even when it is not; if I am calm and at peace then the most challenging of roads cannot daunt me. Raidho encourages us to build ritual and order into our lives so that we maintain a harmony between rider, horse and road; this harmony helps us to face challenges with equilibrium and confidence.
One of our most feared journeys into the unknown is the journey into death. Our ancestors decorated funeral urns with the Raidho rune, conferring blessings upon the soul preparing to turn their steed towards the shadow roads. Because Raidho is context specific, its mysteries may be sought on many roads. The rune journey I have prepared for you as part of my Journeys with the Elder Futhark series takes the road of Sunna, the charioteer of the sun. The You Tube meditation, this half-month’s offering, focuses on relaxation and a fostering of harmony between rider, horse and road.
I use this meditation to reduce my stress levels and, when I feel flustered or overwhelmed by all the things I need to do or decide, I re-connect in with my horse, running steadily and assuredly forwards. I have used a horse in the You Tube meditation because it is the most obvious animal for the rider, however, the Northern gods ride on, or have chariots drawn by, any number of different animals. I would recommend using the horse for this meditation, at least to begin with, as the idea is to connect with the rune itself, rather than with specific power animals. Taking the time to get to know your horse will increase your trust in your own inner compass, the rhythm of Raidho which is available to us all.
Seven rune readings are fraught with controversy but potentially very rewarding. While the number 7 doesn’t have much by way of traditional lore, both The Runecaster’s Handbook and Galdrbok have interesting things to say about the potential for working with seven of the nine worlds mentioned in the Eddas. The argument goes that, although there are nine worlds, only seven of them can be visited (as Niflheim and Muspellheim are realms of pure force – ice and fire respectively – rather than being actual places); as such, only seven of the worlds have descriptions that can be used to create a rune spread.
The World Tree
Before we go any further I think it is worthwhile drawing a quick comparison between the World Tree and the individual. The concept of a macrocosm and microcosm will be familiar to people working in other Western magickal traditions, but briefly speaking, the idea goes that the macrocosm (the cosmos, universe, all creation) and the microcosm (individual), are intimately connected and reflect each other. While the terms ‘microcosm and macrocosm’ come from the Greek Neo-Platonic School of thought, the concept occurs in many traditions including Kabbalah, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Tibetan philosphies.
In Norse mythology, not only are the worlds connected by the mighty tree Yggdrasil (which therefore embodies all creation), but man and woman were also made from trees which were given life force by the Gods – it isn’t too big a leap to intuit a microcosm/macrocosm model at work here. Thorsson provides a seven world spread which can be used to look at a person’s characteristics (see below), and others have gone further and suggested that the seven chakra system may usefully be meshed with rune work (modern rune practitioners often refer to the Chakras as ‘Hvels’ (wheels) and it is this merging of Eastern and Western systems that often proves controversial). Whatever the provenance of rune and chakra work, I can vouch for the fact that students of mine with no previous experience of the runes and plenty of experience with the chakras have identified particular rune energies as flowing from the same chakras as modern rune practitioners have identified.
Seven rune readings, are therefore particularly suited to investigations into mindy, body and spirit – the forces that make up the individual and the way in which they relate to the world around them.
Seven realm reading
In The Runecaster’s Handbook Thorsson lays out twenty-one runes (three horizonal rows and seven vertical), assigning the first row to the past of the situation (Urd), the second to the present (Verthandi) and the third to that which should become (Skuld). I would recommend practicing with just one row to begin with as you will get plenty of material from just seven runes. Preparing for your reading as normal (see One Rune spread) and then lay out seven runes which will be indicitive of the following:
- Hidden, instinctual or ancestral influences (realm of Hel, the underworld)
- Creativity, memory and emotions (Svartalfheim, realm of the dwarves)
- How you respond to crisis, change and chance (Jotunheim, the realm of etins/giants)
- Manifested reality (Midgard, the realm of humans)
- Planning, cognition and intellect (Ljossalfheim, realm of the elves)
- Vitality, harmony and balance (Vanaheim, realm of the gods of the land)
- Higher consciousness (Asgard, realm of the gods of the ‘heavens’)
Seven ’chakra’ reading
When looking at Thorsson’s seven rune spread I noticed some interesting similarities between the realms and the qualities assigned to the seven chakras. Although there isn’t a complete overlap, it gave me enough food for thought to investigate further. The method I have ended up with draws on Caroline Myss’s seven stages of power and healing (Anatomy Of The Spirit); Myss combines the chakras, kabalah and the Christian sacraments to describe her seven stages and has ended up with some fundamental principles for each chakra which seem to me to correspond well with both the seven worlds and with the first seven runes in the Elder Futhark (note that other runes are normally assigned to the chakras but this system works well for me as it focuses on the flow of energy from one rune to the next, linking the chakras together). Below I give the meaning of each of the seven positions, and an example reading (note that the picture of the example reading as number 1 at the bottom and number 7 at the top as this is how the chakras appear on he body):
- Tribal power, where you come from, connection with all other things. This corresponds to the underworld and connections with ancestors (note Othala (ancestors, home) is the 24th rune and its energies therefore flow into Fehu as the first rune). I assign Fehu to this chakra and therefore connect it to Audhumla, the cow who nurtures all beings. In the example reading the first rune (at the bottom) is Ingwaz; this individual has a great deal of unrealised potential and can draw strength from the power of the land and her divine ancestors (in Norse mythology, man is descended from the Gods and Ingwaz affirms the seed of the divine in each one of us).
- Partnership, emotional and physical relationships, authority and control. This corresponds with the realm of the dwarves who often provide support to the Gods and are able to harness the power of the earth through their skill and creativity. The rune Uruz complements Fehu as it manifests the strength of the mighty Aurochs (a wild cow now extinct) and brings health and vitality, it is strongly connected with rites of passage and the forging of character and tribal power. In the example reading I was guided to draw two runes, the Kenaz rune (creativity and skill) hidden by a slightly inverted Ansuz rune. This suggests to me that the person is trying to control her emotions through the application of logical thought when, in fact, channeling these emotions into creative endevour and expression would be more helpful.
- Personal power in relation to the external world, individuality, self esteem. Corresponding to the realm of the giants, this relates to the person’s ability to deal with events outside their control. The 3rd rune is Thurisaz which builds upon the strength and endurance of Uruz. Thurisaz is often linked to the subconscious as well as forces of chaos and destructiveness – appropriate when we consider how a loss of personal power and self esteem impacts upon the individual. In the example reading the inverted Raidho indicates that the individual does not feel able to support herself or progress on her life journey. As the rune energies seem to flow upwards from one chakra to the next, I would anticipate that the advice given in relation to the second chakra would help with this issue but a further reading might be needed once the Ansuz blockage has started to dissipate.
- Emotional power, mediation between body and spirit. The heart chakra corresponds to Midgard, the realm of mankind and will therefore say a lot about the individual’s feelings about the world around them and the way in which he or she projects his/her identity. The corresponding rune is Ansuz (logical thought, communication, inspiration) which, again, flows out of the Thurisaz rune – emotional power relying on a healthy partnership between the subconscious and conscious minds. In my reading, the individual has Mannaz (the rune of man) inverted and is struggling with her self image and sense of identity – again I believe this is tied in with the previous runes and that work on chakra 2 will start to remedy this problem.
- Power of Will, union with the divine. This chakra corresponds to the realm of the elves and relates to intellect and foresight. The corresponding rune is Raidho which is both the rune of journeying (moving forward with your life journey) and reliance on the parts of the self that connect with the divine. Again, I have found that the energy of the preceding rune is also important – the inspiration of Ansuz flows up from the heart and unites with the ‘right action’ of Raidho to influence the way in which the individual expresses herself. In the example reading, there is a blockage at the throat chakra – the person is finding it difficult to trust in her own destiny and the choices she has made, she seeks logical assurances (with the Ansuz rune earlier) to remedy emotional difficulties and is not aligning herself with possibilties Wyrd has sent her way (represented by the inverted Perthro rune).
- The Power of the Mind, link between mind and spirit, source of wisdom. Vanaheim is the realm of the Vanir, powerful beings who formed an alliance with the Aesir and govern magic, sensuality, wealth and the natural world. The corresponding rune here is Kenaz which is associated with perception, enlightenment and knowledge as well as creativity and crafting. In the example reading the rune Sowelo is a very positive influence, suggesting that the person is open to guidance from her higher self and that the wisdom she is seeking is available to her and will guide her true.
- Spiritual connection, internal awareness, transcendance. The realm associated with this chakra is Asgard, the realm of the Gods. The corresponding rune is Gebo, the gift, a rune of exchange and connection. Again, the example reading is very positive, the rune Wunjo indicates wholeness, joy and an integrated self – in a sense Wunjo represents the harmonious union of all seven chakras within the indivual. The presence of Wunjo suggests that our querent is on the right path, despite the seeming obstacles present within the lower chakras.
On Monday we moved to the half month of Kenaz. After the inspiration of Ansuz and the planning and action of Raidho, Kenaz gives you the opportunity to combine thought and action to manifest your desire. Kenaz is the rune of the artisan, the craft worker, and particularly of the blacksmith who uses the magic of the forge to transform the elements. In a sense, each of us is our own smith – because we are able to create outselves anew each day. This half month should therefore be a good time for creative projects, burning away the ‘dross’ in our lives, and re-forging ourselves. I ended the half-month of Raidho by going on a firewalk at the Martinsell Centre which was an immensly transformative experience, and began Kenaz doing some decorating and beginning a new painting…
The negative side of Kenaz is the responsibility that comes with its gifts – will yor act of creation be ‘good enough’? Kenaz is not just the fire of the forge, it is the torch light: the light that shines the way but also reveals the shadows lurking ahead. Kenaz is sometimes described as an ‘ulcer’ and, for me, its negative side can be about worries and fears, those ominous shadows that stop us manifesting our desires – although all too often they are just a trick of the light.
The Autumn Equinox falls within Kenaz. Make the most of the remaining light and hold your torch high - ready for the descent into darkness. At this time, prisoners were released, restoring the balance (and perhaps also cutting down on the number of mouths to feed!). Now is the time to burn away your worries and fears, to free yourself to create and harvest: ready for the gifts and binding power of Gebo.
My reading for this half month is The Craftsmanby Richard Sennet. Sennet suggests that there is a craftsman in every person and explores what this means and whether whether our competitive, consumer driven society has eroded the true meaning of ‘craft’.
Yesterday was the last day of the half month of Ansuz. I was teaching a course with some lovely runesters at the time and we definitely felt the departure of Ansuz as I forced the window shut during a gust so powerful the that the ceiling tiles above us were rattling! The group did some really inspired work, with spontaneous poetry and artwork appearing during the course of the day… I have also had a surprising number of people tell me that they have re-discovered their inner poet, or started a creative project, so all in all Ansuz was doing well on that front. Interestingly, Mercury was (and continues to be) in retrograde; Odin is taken to be the equivalent planetary ruler of Mercury in runic astrology, and he also rules Ansuz. Despite all the creative loveliness, I have never known so many horrendous problems with computers, lost messages and post gone astray!
Until 13th September we are in the half-month of Raidho. The new academic year is starting so students everywhere are preparing themselves for the next phase of their learning and parents are looking forward to a return to routine. This should be a great time for taking a quick look around you to check that you are making the most of opportunties, have a good rhythmn of life established for yourself, and are in tune with the world around you. I have re-organised my diary and have a number of new projects starting which I’m really excited about.
Runic astrology: birth months and hours
Michael Cramer from the Facebook Group Runes for Runesters recently suggested that I look into my rune birth-month and hour as part of the rune calendar experiment. The half-month of Raidho is a really good time to do this as the rune governs journeys and the cycles of heaven and life. I have been working with the half-months as given by Nigel Pennick in Runic Astrology: Starcraft and Timekeeping in the Northern Traditionwhich are as follows:
- Fehu: 29th June – 14th July
- Uruz: 14th July – 29th July
- Thurisaz: 29th July – 13th August
- Ansuz: 13th August – 29th August
- Raidho: 29th August – 13th September
- Kenaz: 13th September – 28th September
- Gebo: 28th September – 13th October
- Wunjo: 13th October – 28th October
- Hagalaz: 28th October – 13th November
- Nauthiz: 13th November – 28th November
- Isa: 28th November – 13th December
- Jera: 13th December – 28th December
- Eihwaz: 28th December – 13th January
- Perthro: 13th January – 28th January
- Algiz: 28th January – 13th February
- Sowilo: 13th February – 27th February
- Teiwaz: 27th February - 14th March
- Berkano: 14th March – 30th March
- Ehwaz: 30th March – 14th April
- Mannaz: 14th April – 29th April
- Laguz: 29th April – 14th May
- Ingwaz – 14th May – 29th May
- Othala – 29th May – 14th June
- Dagaz – 14th June – 29th June
Although Pennick doesn’t say (presumably because runes are a Northern tradition), the half months centre around the times of the Solstices; Dagaz reaches full power at the Summer Solistice and Jera at the Winter Solstice – as such, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere the half months will need to be calculated with Dagaz falling on 13th-28th December and the rest falling in sequence after it (e.g. Fehu becomes 28th December to 13th January).
To calculate your birth hour is fairly straight forward as there are 24 runes and 24 hours in the day. The position of Dagaz is again, important, as it will fall at the highest point of the sun (in ‘mean’ time this would be, 12:00 with the hour of Dagaz therefore being 12:30-13:30). Note that, for this sytem, Dagaz is the last rune in the 24 rune sequence with Othala being 23. Pennick then gives each rune a full hour, running in sequence from half-hour to half-hour but does indicate that this is a rule of thumb guide (e.g. Fehu will be 13:30-14:30, Uruz 14:30-15:30 etc).
To get a really accurate reading you should use local time which is slightly different because there are fewer hours of dark and daylight depending on the seasons, so the twelve ‘rune hours’ of night will be longer in the Winter and shorter in the Summer, and the twelve rune hours of day will be longer in Summer and shorter in Winter. Planetary hours are calculated in this way, which is handy for us because there are planetery hour calculators out there which save you having to divide the day hours and night hours into 12 equal segments yourself. Put the location of your time and birth in to the calculator to find the plantary hour of your birth. Each hour is given a numbers from 1-24; note what that is and then see which rune is corresponds to below (don’t get confused with the 1-24 numbers of the standard rune sequence, the numbers below are purely for the calculation):
- Dagaz (this will be the time that the sun is at its highest)
- Jera (this will be the middle of the night when the sun is furthest away)
I was born on 4th May at 15:00 so my half month is Laguz. 15:00 falls bang in planetary hour 8, the rune-hour of Uruz, so I don’t need to worry about the local time much, however, if I was born at 15:28 the accuracy of the calculation would be very important as, according to mean time, I would still be in Uruz, but, according to local time, the hour of Uruz was 14:12-15:26 so I would actually be a Thurisaz baby.