Breath

The Road to Runes

June, 2018

The Road to Runes: Ansuz, Woden’s Rune

For this stage in my journey with runes, I decided to do a little divination for myself. I’m wanting to begin working from home within the next year, hopefully within a few months. I’m at home with the six-month-old baby at the moment, but will have to return to the ‘day job’ by October, and everything in me rails against it. I want to be at home with my family, and I already write all the time anyway, so why not make a career out of it? Having already made steps in this direction, I was interested to know what the runes would make of this decision.

I pulled out a single rune for this particular piece of divination. This rune (pictured) was Ansuz, which literally means ‘God’. It’s normally associated with either Odin or Woden, the runes having come from Norse and Germanic origins. Esoterically, this rune is complex but tends to mean ‘inspiration’, which as a writer, is definitely one of my favourite words. Ansuz is also linked to communication and answers, something I was definitely hoping to get, so how does this rune translate into an answer to my query?

Ansuz is the rune of air, specifically breath. It is the breath of the universe, and the first breath that takes the spirit into the body, and the last breath that allows the spirit to escape. It is intrinsically linked to words and the power of words, particularly names. Words develop from and into concepts and creativity, and are often the focus of communication. As a writer wanting to make a career from my words, this rune tells me to listen to my inner voice, to embrace my creativity and use the talents I have to make this step.

Ansuz is also a rune of order. It indicates that even when the path is unclear, or times are difficult, that the universe has a plan and that ultimately, order will prevail. Ansuz encourages us to find patterns within chaos, and to trust that all will be as it is supposed to be. To me, this encourages me to take a leap of faith. Even if I have doubts, if I trust in the divine energies of the universe (and work hard!), I will find myself in a place that is good for me and my family.

Ansuz also reminds us to listen. Breath comes from the universe, from Odin, from ourselves but also from others. We must acknowledge that their breath, words and ideas are as potent and important as ours. We should take care with our words and not use them for manipulation or menace.

I’m a bit taken aback that for a question about writing and a big change in my life, I’m given a rune that focuses intensely on words, inspiration and creativity. I’m also reminded of the power of my own voice, and that words can do great harm, as well as great good. At the very least, this has inspired me to take the step I was tempted to take anyway, and see where the path takes me. The best interpretation is that this is definitely the right choice for me, and that if I trust the universe and my own inner voice, I will end up on the path that is truly best for me.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

A Moment for Meditation

November, 2015

The 5th Chakra

As I mentioned in the previous columns, when doing any chakra work, it is imperative to keep yourself grounded. While you can use any grounding exercise that you prefer, I have always used this one in my chakra classes:

**Stand up, grip toes to the ground, long deep breathing, visualize your roots going deep into Mother Earth, keeping you grounded and centered. Inhale and bring the earth energy up to the base of your spine; exhale and let the energy return to the Earth. With each inhale, receive healing energy from the Earth; with each exhale, release all negativity. This will not hurt Mother Earth, as long as it is done for healing and revitalization. Activate your feelings of consciousness and open yourself up to the limitless possibilities surrounding you.**

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*From my 7-Week Chakra Course*

(Photo Credit: synchromysticsmforum.com)

The Fifth Chakra is also called the Throat Chakra. It’s name in Sanskrit is Visuddha, which means *pure or purification*. It is located right at your throat. This chakra is all about TRUTH. The color of this chakra is blue; it’s element is the Ether/Spirit and it is considered a “masculine” chakra.

The Fifth Chakra is the balance between your heart and your head. It is the gateway to the higher levels of consciousness. This chakra is all about communicating with one’s self and others, creating connection, being heard and being understood. One of the best ways to open the throat chakra is through mantra. Mantra is sound that sets up a vibration and helps to liberate us from unwanted thoughts. Chanting and singing makes us happy; it is the song of the spirit/soul. (Please see my previous column on Mantra – http://paganpages.org/content/2015/01/a-moment-for-meditation-5/)

When this chakra is balanced and functioning properly, you are able to fully communicate with others; you are able to also comprehend when others speak. You are confident, clear and focused. You may find yourself being an inspiration to others, being able to educate and elevate through speaking the truth, honestly and openly.

Conversely, if this chakra is unbalanced, you may find yourself unwilling or incapable of speaking the truth, as you are unable to connect to it. You may be afraid of communicating and unable to accurately express yourself.

A wonderful breath exercise for this chakra is *Dog Breath*, not the most wonderful of names, but accurate. This healing exercise will help to cleanse the toxins from your throat; helping to clear out lies of the past and leave you able to speak your truth, as you see it:

Sit with your mouth open and extend your tongue as

far out as it will go and begin to pant rapidly, like a dog

would do (hence, the name). Pant deeply putting your

lungs and navel into it. Move your navel with the breath, so it

is as if your are pumping your belly.

Do for 3 minutes

(From The Eight Human Talents by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa)

Any exercise where you put a stretch on the throat will strengthen this chakra. You can try standing, bringing your hands straight up over your head, clasping the palms together. Inhale and begin to gently do a back bend, stretching the throat. Exhale the breath and you come back to the standing straight position. Do this for at least 3 minutes, with powerful breath.

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Rolling your neck (gently) in a circular motion, or in a figure-8, is beneficial, as is Cobra Pose:

(Photo Credit: tinareale.com)

Additionally, for this chakra, you can do the following breath visualization meditation:

**Lie on your back. Close your eyes. Breathe low and deep. Visualize that you are lying under a beautiful blue sky. Watch the clouds as they pass. Feel that beautiful blue coming down, surrounding you, surrounding your spirit. Stretch your consciousness up into that blueness, and then beyond, into space. Feel yourself amongst the stars, continuing to reach out with your consciousness. You are one among the stars. Feel the universe enveloping you, filling you with peace and contentment. When you are finished, start to slowly bring yourself back, bringing with you that feeling of peace.**

(*From my 7-Week Chakra Course*)

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After the meditation, continue to lie down on the floor and relax for at least five minutes or alternately, sit quietly with a relaxed breath. Stretch your arms up toward to ceiling several times before moving.

(Photo Credit: chakralover.com)

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ShaktiWarriorSpirit@gmail.com

Until next month, when we continue with the Sixth Chakra, I wish you peace, joy and happiness.

A Moment for Meditation

December, 2014

meditation

 

Pranayama – Breath

 

I hope that you have been practicing the simple breath meditation I spoke of in last month’s column.

This month, I would like to continue talking about conscious breathing, also called Pranayama.
The inhale, what you bring in, is called prana; the exhale, or what you put out, is called apana.

I’m sure it sounds strange to say that I want to teach you how to breathe. We all breathe everyday, constantly, all day. It’s what we do. But, we are not consciously breathing.

Think about how you breath in different situations – when you are exercising, when you are thinking over a problem, when you are at work, when you are angry, sad, upset. On each of these occasions, your breath comes differently, and, most likely, without any conscious thought at all.

The world has become a crazy place and the pace we are expected to keep goes beyond any reasonable sense of normalcy. People are rushing from the minute they get up to the minute they lie down to sleep. We are not acting – we are reacting to any number of things simultaneously. Look around. Everyone has a phone in their hand, afraid they are going to miss something. In my own opinion, this is a world gone wrong. We should be slowing down, trying to appreciate each other, in person not on a device; walk in the beautiful world, enjoy what is out there and what we each have.

In addition, we have already entered the craziest part of the year – holiday after holiday after holiday. As if the world wasn’t rushed enough, it now goes into overdrive. Believe me, I know from first hand experience that conscious breathing will help get you through it.

The breath is a fundamental tool in being able to control your emotions and your mood. It can give you clarity of thought; increase focus; increase your patience (and who doesn’t need that?); reduce and prevent toxins in your body that we are continuously bringing in via food, drink and air. It does this while also expanding your lung capacity; cleansing your blood and relaxing and calming you. Just a slight change in the breath creates a huge impact. Amazing, yes?

With that being said, I am going to describe a few different breathing techniques. As you do each other, please be aware of how each one makes you feel. Do you notice any change? Physically? Emotionally? Mentally?

U Breathing – Block the right nostril, inhale through the left nostril; block the left nostril, exhale out the right nostril, inhale through the right nostril, block the right nostril, exhale out the left nostril, inhale through the left nostril and continue. This is a purifying breath. As you are breathing, try to follow the path the breath is taking and visualize a pure light flowing down the same side of your body as the breath

For Calmness – Inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 8. This is a good breath to practice when you are feeling stressed or anxious. Produces a clam and relaxed state of being.

Sitali Pranayam – Open your mouth in a circle, curl your tongue and inhale through the mouth, through the tongue and exhale through the nose. This is a calming breath. It is also a cooling breath, lovely to do in the summer or when you have a fever. I have taught this breath to several sick children through the years to help with their high temps.

For Relaxation – Breathe only through your left nostril. The left side of your body relates to the moon, which is the calming and receptive side of your body.

For Energy and Increased Focus – Breathe only through your right nostril, as the right side of your body relates to the energy of the sun

Abdominal Breathing – For this one, you should be lying down on your back. Place your hands on your abdomen, below the navel. Begin the long deep breathing from the last column. On the inhale, the breath should push the abdomen gently against your hands and on the exhale, the abdomen gently goes down, as do the hands. This helps to open up your 3rd chakra (energy center), works on digestion, eating problems, enhances your creative energy and will help you to feel both relaxed and energized.
I hope that you will try some or all of these breaths of the next month. As always, if you have any questions, or are looking for a breath meditation for a particular problem, please feel free to email me at ShaktiWarriorSpirit@gmail.com.
Blessings