runes

The Road to Runes

December, 2018

The Road to Runes: The Right Headspace

 

 

Reading runes is a form of divination. All forms of divination require an open mind ready to receive messages and interpret symbols. A stressed and worried mindset will lead to false interpretations, or prevent messages coming through at all. Even the strongest connection between diviner and tools can be blocked by a worried mind or troubled soul.

Of course, we often look for answers from the runes because we are troubled and worried. So how can we stop these worries affecting our divination?

Relax

As an anxious person, believe me, I know this is easier said than done. Relaxation becomes even trickier when you have lots of questions on your mind. However there are several techniques you can use to relax your body, which will normally also help relax your mind.

Listening to music is an old standard for me. Very familiar songs allow me to blank out everything else in my mind, and I often find that belting out a good tune can release a lot of pent-up tension. Classical music can also be very relaxing, but if you’re someone who finds classical music boring, don’t go down this route! Spend some time figuring out which music relaxes you. Are you more relaxed after shouting along to something upbeat? Or by closing your eyes and letting some panpipes wash over you? Services like Spotify are great as they allow you to search for relaxation music and sounds, if you can’t think of anything from your own collection.

The pendulum method, or progressive muscular relaxation (PMR) is also a method I use to help me relax. It also works for sleeplessness. It consists of deliberately tensing groups of muscles, then allowing them to relax. The idea is that for the pendulum to swing the most one way, you first have to pull it all the way in the other direction. So muscles will relax better, or feel more relaxed, after being tense. You may start with your hands, work up to the shoulders, then down to the feet, all the way back up the body leaving neck and face until last. I tend to start with the feet and really take my time. I will talk to myself mentally as I do this: “I’m tensing my toes; I’m relaxing my toes. I’m tensing my feet; I’m relaxing my feet,” and so forth. The combination of muscular relaxation with focusing on the task will leave body and mind loose and ready for anything.

Meditate

Rune meditation is a specific type of meditation designed for understanding the runes better. However, any form of meditation before divination can help make the mind more receptive to messages and more skilled at interpretation. Meditation helps move our mind onto a different level of operating, and allows us to let go of thoughts and feelings which may be bothering us unduly.

Breathing is the key to meditation. A very skilled meditation master advised me that breath is the only tool we ever need. Philosophical, but also accurate. Find yourself a comfortable position. There’s no rule that says you have to sit cross legged, or sit at all. Laying down is perfectly acceptable, although there is the risk of falling asleep! I have joint issues which means it’s very painful for me to sit cross-legged, so I normally sit on a chair or on my sofa, supported by cushions in order to have a straight back whilst remaining relaxed. Once you are comfortable, start to focus on your breath. Breathe naturally, but make a note of it flowing in and out of your body. Notice the breath coming in, then feel it leaving you. In, then out. Imagine yourself breathing in fresh, cooling air, and imagine any stress or tension leaving you with every out breath. Inhale refreshment, exhale stress and worry. Inhale light, expel confusion. Inhale relaxation, exhale aggravation.

If you struggle to breathe normally whilst focusing on your breath, try counting as you breathe. Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of four, then breathe out for a slow count of five. There are lots of different breathing techniques to allow you to enter a meditative state. Once you find your mind starting to relax, you can start to let go of troublesome thoughts. Notice them appear, then just let them drift away. Don’t try to quiet your mind; this is impossible and can make you feel more stressed when you fail. Let the thoughts rumble through your mind but treat them as though you are watching traffic, or the birds flying by. You don’t need to be involved with them right now. Observe them, then let them pass. Stay in this state for as long as is comfortable or until you feel relaxed and comfortable. Always come back to yourself slowly, and gently. Drink some water. Thank yourself for the gift of relaxation. Now you are ready to read your runes.

***

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.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

The Road to Runes

November, 2018

The Road to Runes: What Questions to Ask?

 

One of the hardest parts of divination is asking the right questions. A question that’s too closed may get an answer that makes no sense if you’re expecting a definitive “yes” or “no”. Most runes have plenty of meanings, and aren’t always obviously negative or positive.

Conversely, questions that are too vague or broad leave the answer widely open to interpretation. This can lead you to find an answer that you were hoping for, rather than an accurate one. I covered these “false positives” in last month’s article.

So what are the best questions to ask? What questions lead to the best answers? Experimentation has led me to narrow it down to a few I come back to again and again. Let’s have a look at those that I regularly use with good results.

 

  • In regards to situation “x”, what is the outcome if I make decision “y”?

This type of question is good, as it puts a clear framework around your question. You aren’t asking for a yes/no answer. You’re also not asking for general guidance around the whole situation. You’re specifically asking what the potential outcomes are in relation to one action within the situation. This could be, “While deciding where to move house, what will happen if I take my brother’s advice?”, or “I’m leaving my job. What will happen if I decide to become a homemaker?”, or “Someone is causing trouble for my family. What are the repercussions of hexing them?”

These are all made up situations, but you get the idea. Your own question may be about something very mundane, or completely metaphysical. Narrowing your question down to one aspect of a complex situation makes it a little simpler to analyze and interpret the answers the runes give you.

 

  • Can you give me clarity on this situation?

This is for when you are struggling to get your thoughts or emotions in order. Stressful or complicated situations may leave you feeling confused or unclear, but the chances are that the answers are buried deep within your subconscious. The runes are a magical way to unlock those hidden answers. Asking this type of question and doing at least a three rune spread allows you to parse out your own musings on your situation and become a bit more logical or move forward with confidence.

 

  • What’s my next step?

This is a more risky question, as it’s more direct than the pleas for clarity. This is out and out “tell me what to do” which is fine as long as you are prepared for either some blunt or potentially confusing answers. The runes do seem to swing between “Do this right now” and “Sort it out yourself” so don’t be surprised if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for. But divination is sometimes about hard truths, not false hope. The reason this is a good question is because there’s no room for misinterpretation. Visualize your current situation, focus on where you are right now and ask what you should do next.

These are just a very few of the questions you can ask the runes. I’ve used all these with interesting and informative results! What questions do you ask your runes? Let us know in the comments or tweet me @Mabherick.

 

Image credit: Stentoftastenen, today exhibited in Sankt Nicolai church, Sölvesborg by Henrik Sendelbach 2005 via Wikimedia Commons.

***

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.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

The Road to Runes

October, 2018

The Road to Runes: Keeping it Balanced

Any divination can be a double-edged sword. And isn’t it interesting that sword is an anagram of ‘words’; our fiercest weapon and most powerful tool. We practice divination through our words, by asking questions of the universe or our deities via tools such as the runes. But it can be hard to ask the right questions, and very easy to attribute meaning in hindsight. How can we be sure that the interpretation of the runes is in relation to what we’ve asked, and that we are not just shaping it around the answer we hope to receive?

False Positives

No, I’m not talking pregnancy tests! Although I do know of situations where the runes have indicated possible future fertility, but that’s quite another story. A false positive is what I call it when someone purposefully takes only the positive aspects of a rune and applies them to their situation or question. It’s so tempting to reach only for the positive outcome, but in divination, we’re looking for accuracy, not platitudes. It’s even harder to avoid falling into this trap when doing readings for others, as who wants to be the bearer of bad news?

Balanced Readings

However, just because a rune or rune spread carries negative connotations, it doesn’t mean a reading is all bad news. It’s important to look at both aspects of the runes; the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’. Many aspects that may seem bad may actually be about cleansing or something negative being swept away or destroyed. Or they could be indicating the tumult of a current situation rather than a future outcome.

Here’s an example. Today I drew Thurisaz in relation to a question about a personal issue I was dealing with. Thurisaz means ‘giants’ and is shaped like a thorn, representative of conflict and pain. It’s associated with both Loki and Thor, particularly the tormenting and aggressive aspects of these deities. Immediately, I started looking for alternative meanings to the rune, and ways it could be viewed positively. Of course, there are positive aspects to Thurisaz. Conflict can lead to resolution, or the rune may indicate that you are being resistant to change. It can indicate a breakthrough or breaking down internal blockages that have been preventing you from progressing.

divination vs. hope

My problem wasn’t that the rune doesn’t have a positive aspect. It was that I immediately began to try and skew the rune’s meaning to a positive outcome for my question. This is not divination, it’s just being hopeful. Reading the runes should come with a balanced approach, and the understanding that the answers received might not be what we were expecting or looking for. But we should take them on board, just the same.

In my situation, once I took a deep breath and stopped grasping for the good, thurisaz means I might have to drastically alter my own view of myself and accept that there are parts of myself that I want to change, and actually do something about them rather than just saying “this is who I am.” It tells me that there is pain, and may be more pain, but that it’s up to me to take responsibility for my own actions and resolve to be the change I want to see; to set an example.

Remember, the runes are sending a message in response to your question, or allowing you to dredge your own answers from your subconscious. Just because these answers aren’t always happy and hopeful, doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Keep yourself open to all aspects of the reading, and of course, that includes the positive aspects too.

Next month I’ll be talking about how to frame our words and questions in the best way to get the most effective readings. Contact me via Twitter @Mabherick if there’s a particular rune you’d like me to focus on.

***

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.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

The Road to Runes

July, 2018

 

The Road to Runes: Learning the Layouts

Before I expand further into learning the individual meanings of the runes, I wanted to understand a bit more about the different layouts used in rune divination. Like tarot, there are various ways of displaying runes, and each layout can have different meanings and is useful in different types of situations. We’ve already had a look at a three rune spread, showing what has happened, what is happening right now and what is going to happen; past, present and future. More metaphysically, this can be seen as our current situation, our desired situation and the eventual actual outcome of the situation. We’ve also looked at pulling a single rune, and using that to give us some guidance on a single question. But how else can the runes be used for divination?

 

The Four Directions

Pull four runes and lay them at north, south, east and west. The Rune Site tells us that each of the positions of the runes can be named for each of the dwarves that hold up the sky; Nordri, Austri, Sudri and Vestri. This cast expands upon the three rune cast by adding in an extra rune which tells us of what obstacles may be in our way.

Nordri: North, the past. What happened to lead the subject to ask the question they are asking today? What led to this situation? Why are we here, in this position, today?

Vestri: West, the present. What’s happening right now? How are people feeling? How are they dealing with the current situation? How are subjects reacting to one another?

Austri: East, future obstacles: What stands in our way? What opportunities are there? What challenges, and what chance to overcome these?

Sudri: South, future outcome. What may we expect at the end of this situation? How will it be resolved? Indeed, will it be resolved, or will it lead to another situation beyond this one?

 

Five Rune Spread

You or your client pulls five runes and spreads them in a line, and they are read left to right. Blackwitchcoven.com tells us that these runes, one to five, are the present, the obstacle, a desired goal, a concern and the final result.

Rune One: This is the truth of the current situation and should directly relate to the question the caster or client has asked.

Rune Two: This rune will describe or foretell an obstacle which will occur in the caster’s journey.

Rune Three: This rune should relate to the caster’s goal, but may reflect an unconscious desire.

Rune Four: This rune deals with any worries, concerns or even anxieties about the situation in question. It may be that the caster didn’t appear to have any worries, and was simply looking to the runes for reassurance. This rune will deal with any subconscious worries that are lurking behind the scenes.

Rune Five: This rune gives some guidance on what the actual outcome may be.

 

Seven Rune Layout

This one seems more complex, but is incredibly useful for obtaining more detail and specifics about your situation or problem. Sunnyway.com tells us this spread can often tell us how we ended up in this position in the first place, and can look three months in to the past, or the future. Another left to right reading, simply choose seven runes, lay six out left to right with the final rune by itself, below the first six.

The main difference in this layout is that two runes are read at a time, the meanings combining to give a more complex, but more thorough explanation of each aspect of your situation.

Runes One and Two: These should give details on the current problem; what is happening right now; people’s current feelings, reactions and actions; how we are dealing with this situation right now and how it is affecting us.

Runes Three and Four: what happened in the past to lead to this situation? What are the root causes?

Runes Five and Six: These are the two key runes that will provide the necessary guidance for this situation. Try and interpret the meanings of each rune and see how they relate to one another, in order to get the best advice possible. You may be told to move on, to let something go, to hang on to something, to wait, to act; it’s important to try and glean as much meaning as possible from these two runes.

Rune Seven: The overall outcome. The meaning of this rune will be affected by the runes that came before, so if it’s a rune where the meaning could be either generally negative or positive, look to the prior runes and see how positive or negative they are, and their meanings; do they back up a negative outcome? Or would that make little sense in the context of this reading?

This sounds like a really complex reading, and I doubt I’m ready for it yet, but it’s really interesting to see how the runes can be used together, and not just as individual messengers.

 

***

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.

 

 

Rune Activism for Fallen Trees

June, 2018

Rune Activism for Fallen Trees

In Germanic regions, it was believed that mankind was created from tree trunks, echoing the perception that people and trees have much in common.

In Sweden, some trees were considered ‘wardens’ and could guard a home from bad luck. The warden was usually a very old tree growing on the lot near the home. The family living there had such great respect for the tree that they would often adopt a surname related to the name of the tree.

A well-known sacred tree in Norse mythology was Yggdrasil, a giant ash tree that was said to link and shelter the nine worlds that were believed to exist.

https://blog.pachamama.org/people-and-trees-intimately-connected-through-the-ages

Earlier this year I wrote a blog titled Novena for Fallen Trees. This blog follows on from that article.

My (Swedish) surname is Almqvist: it means branch of an Elm tree.

My maiden name is Berendsen : it means son or child of a bear.

A few days ago I walked up the forest track right next to our house. I was looking for large smooth rocks that might volunteer themselves as spiritual boundary markers for our property (I am collecting 24 of them and painting the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark on them).

In horror movies there often is a scene where an unsuspecting person is walking in the forest and feeling completely relaxed, but ominous music starts playing (obviously not heard by this person!) – the viewer grips their seat and fears the worst…

As I saw one particularly suitable rock and started making my way to it I heard a roaring noise and saw a massive machine rolling out of the forest towards me. I took another leap aside but it veered too and continued to come directly at me.

I am all alone in the forest in a pretty remote place. What now?!

The machine stopped. A set of green metallic steps was lowered and a large man climbed out. We were face to face, the Logger and I. He offered me his hand and said: I am Sten – who are you? (The name Sten means Stone!) I stood there cradling one large rock like a baby and said: “I am Imelda, I am collecting large rocks”. He nodded as if a woman holding a big rock as if it is new born baby was a normal event in his life. He then proceeded to tell me that he had not seen a human being for four days. He had been working 14-hour days logging away, all on his own. He was desperate for some conversation and a human face.

This encounter reminded me of coming face to face with a pack of hunters in the same forest, in October last year. This was after waking up to a gunshot outside my window and then finding a dead young deer on the track in front of our house. I set with this deer for a while and spoke some prayers.

The forest that surrounds our house is owned by two large local country estates (essentially two aristocratic families). Everyone who owns forest land must file a plan with the forest authorities (a family friend who owns forest land has explained this to us). Sten is just doing his job. He works for the logging company that was hired to turn mature trees into logs. Those logs might then become buildings (or IKEA furniture).

There exist many myths throughout the world that say human beings are descended from trees, and these are particularly prevalent among Indo-European cultures. In Völuspá the first humans, Askr and Embla, are created from pieces of wood, and in Gylfaginning Askr and Embla are created from driftwood logs found on land by the sea. The three gods credited with their creation include Odin, and either his brothers Vili and Ve or companions Hœnir and Lóðurr (believed by some to be Loki or, by others, Frey). Each god endowed the first man and woman with different attributes.

http://www.thesoulofbones.com/blog/the-world-tree

I had briefly contemplated doing something heroic, like dramatically throwing myself in front of his death-machine. However, Sten doesn’t call the shots, he does not have the power to reverse any decisions. He is only doing his job….

Yesterday evening I decided it was time to check how far the destruction had reached. I brought a candle, red paint and a huge drum with 24 runes painted on it.

Things were even worse than I thought. My youngest son has a favourite hang-out in the forest that he calls Lynx Rock. – Lynx Rock is no more – it has been raised to the ground.

This week I had a dream where I was painting the rune Eoh (Eihwaz in the Anglo-Saxon system) on the tree stumps of fallen trees. Eoh represents the world tree and world pillar or axis mundi. So I used my red paint to do this. I turned one large tree stump into an altar where I had my candle burning while drummed loudly enough to raise the dead. I half expected the loggers (holed up in their caravan) to come running and investigate what was going on – but they stayed away.

I drummed. I chanted. I prayed. I asked the spirit of the world tree for regeneration and healing of this land. I apologised to all the animals, plants and creatures that had just lost their homes.

I took a moment to connect to tribal peoples all over the world who have lost their trees and way of life to loggers and deforestation.

As the world axis, the World Tree runs vertically through the centre of the cosmos and links the heavens, earth and underworld together. Holding the many worlds within its boughs, it is the connecting point between all realms. Its branches (or, in some cases of inverted world trees, the roots) stretch into the realm of the gods while its roots reach into the depths of the world of the dead. It also functions as an anchoring point – a sort of “world nail” or “spike” (Old Norse veraldar nagli) – around which the firmaments revolve. It is sometimes represented by the Pole Star, or North Star, since the skies do appear to revolve around this central, fixed point. As Åke Hultkrantz mentions in a discussion about world trees and pillars in shamanic cultures, the world tree and world pillar/nail were probably two distinct concepts initially which eventually merged together.

http://www.thesoulofbones.com/blog/the-world-tree

When all that was done, I made my way home down the forest track. The daylight was going. I was still extremely upset but I felt better for having performed my vigil and “rune activism”.

In Old Europe there were many ancestor cults involving trees. It was believed that after death the souls of the ancestors took up residence in trees. This is why many forests and groves were so sacred and there were severe penalties and punishments for messing with trees.

What if the Old Europeans were right? What if Heaven does not exist or Heaven turns out to be a forest in this world where our souls take up residence in trees after death so we can continue to watch over the living (and pray that they pay attention to our loving guidance)?! Do we give this ancient belief any thought before we decide to decimate forest land?!!

Today I will take my son to where Lynx Rock used to sit in a forest glade and where he would tune into Forest Magic and Lynx Medicine teachings. You can see him in action here and hear him explain what he is doing here:

I am not looking forward to seeing his face…

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of Northern Tradition shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans – A Spiritual Toolkit for Life: Using Shamanism Creatively with Young People of All Ages (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit 2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book Sacred : A Hollow Bone for Spirit (Where Meets Shamanism) will be published in March 2019. She is currently working on her third book: Medicine of the Imagination.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86  

(Year of Ceremony)

 

Seeing the Signs

June, 2018

Depression and divination

(Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash)

Depression is a disease that affects millions of people, regardless of religion, ethnic background, genetic make-up or economic outlook. Many of us take antidepressants, trying to feel better and suffer dubious side-effects from these medications. Some of us become addicted to these meds. Others of us self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and may end up with addictions to these substances. Some of us console ourselves with “comfort” foods, while others of us lose our appetites altogether and even when we are ravenously hungry, we can not eat. Some of us relieve our psychic pain by cutting ourselves. We lose pleasure in many of our favorite activities. Our days are long and boring. Depression robs us of all that once made us happy.

I personally suffer from bipolar mood disorder, which means along with depression, I also have episodes of mania. I am actually what’s called a “rapid cycler” – I can cycle in and out of manic and depressed moods within a single day. I can be depressed and manic at the very same time. But like a day is contained within a week and a week is contained within a month, my days of rapid cycling are contained within seasons of either manic moods or depressed moods. Generally, I am more manic in the early winter and later spring and depressed in the early spring and most of the summer.

Since being formally diagnosed in 1993, I have been on dozens of medications, most of which have been totally useless. I fully believe that most of the medications caused more problems than they solved and most of the problems that I had in the 1990’s and early 2000’s were a direct result of taking psych meds. I was out of my mind most of the time. I have been fairly stable since I reached my Crone years but I still have my moods.

This recent depression was triggered way back in 2016 when our current president was elected and I think many of us went into a deep slump at that time. Certain health issues of mine came to fore, as well as housing problems, and I had to move from New England – which I love – back to Buffalo – which I do love, but Buffalo is like loving an abusive man with addiction issues who’s never going to change. I know that many cities are just like Buffalo but I don’t have the emotional attachment to those other cities. And things really are worse here than they were in 2016 – for poor people, that is. There’s lots of shiny new buildings and expensive restaurants and microbreweries selling drinks that will give me a migraine after the first sip, they’re so damn hoppy. But that’s another subject.

At this point, I have been depressed for well over a year – with seasonal episodes of mania, like the one I’m in now – and it is affecting every facet of my life. If being depressed is defined as “losing interest in things that used to interest you”, then I have got the sickness pretty bad. I love to cook and eat but I have lost interest in food altogether – I go for days, eating nothing other than Cheerios, fried eggs and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I simply do not care. I stopped writing my novel over a year ago – I even took the blog off WordPress – I keep saying that I’m going to restart it – and honestly, I miss my characters – they were like friends of mine! But I don’t write – I barely keep my diary.

One of the things that depression has stolen from me is my desire to use my Tarot cards or throw the I-Ching or study the Lenormand or pull a few Runes or anything. Like my attitude toward food, I simply do not care. It’s like – so what? One day is just another day. And with the madman in the White House, we may not have a tomorrow anyway. So what difference does anything make?

I was cleaning the other day – this is where being manic always works out – and I found my divination journal. The paucity of entries are pathetic. The last time I had done a reading was in February! And honestly, I didn’t remember it.

I did a Tarot reading that day – a Celtic Cross – with my Rider-Waite cards – partly because I felt guilty that I hadn’t done any readings in such a long time and partly because I thought that maybe I would see something new. Maybe it was my depression – but it just seemed to me that the cards were telling me that I was depressed – which I already knew! But maybe it’s just I’m too depressed to be reading my own cards. I don’t know – which brings me back to the whole point of this essay – depressing and divination. What is a practitioner to do?

I have to step out of myself to answer this question – as if I were being asked the question by another person. I would answer, go back to the basics. Pick one card a day and meditate on that card. Read all of your spiritual books and remind yourself of your path and why you are on this path. Go to the park and walk where it is green and quiet. Listen to the birds chirping.

I was told that there is no cure for bipolar disease and I do not think there is a cure for depression – there is only managing the symptoms. But I am going to do what I *told* myself to do – pick a card a day and meditate on that card. Read all of my spiritual books and remind myself of my path and why I am on this path. Go to one of the many parks in Buffalo – even if it means getting on the bus – and walk around the greenery that I have right here. Everything will change. The wheel will turn.

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

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.

Review of the App Spellcaster

June, 2018

I downloaded Spellcaster on January 26, 2018. I started right away doing the daily draw of the cards. Every day I get both, the one card draw and the 3 cards draw. It does seem that it is random. It uses the Rider-Waite deck and the meanings are somewhat standard to what the LWB says for them. So, there is no big surprise there.

I did pay for the Rock Guide and the Runes. The Rock Guide has 23 listed rocks, and that has not been updated since I got the app. The Runes are a daily draw or a 3 Runes draw. The meanings are again standard from the Elder Futhark Runes.

I did find under setting that the only thing you could do was either enable or disable push notifications. There are ads Spellcaster. But they are not in the Runes or the Rocks; I think this is because you pay for both of those features.

There is a shop area. I wanted to see if it would update from what they initially were carrying. The first time I looked at the shop, it was mostly Yule Items. It still has mostly Yule items. The App has added Athame, Crystal balls withstand, chime candles, a few books and a couple of Tarot cards. Otherwise, everything is still Yule, as in Yule oils, Yule candles, Yule log pin, nothing in this area has been updated for the Holy Days.

I did order something from the shop this month. I clicked on the “Greek Athame,” and it leads to an Amazon link for that item. The price on Amazon was a bit lower than the price listed on the site. I ordered it, and it arrived in 2 days. I just clicked on the “Yule Log Wood Candle Holder” again, it led to Amazon, and it is not available at this time.

I did sign up for the newsletter the night that I downloaded Spellcaster. I have received two newsletters, both times it was only advertising that I could purchase a reading and gave a link to go to for the reading.

There is an area where you can use a link to get to Blogs. I have a Samsung Galaxy S9+ phone, and I can’t read the blogs because the format doesn’t support mobile viewing. If you use the link go to the forums, you can see the blogs and daily videos that have been on the site since 1/3/18, so, there hasn’t been an update. Forums haven’t had anything in them for about six months to 2 years ago.

I am happy that Spellcaster was free and that it only cost me 3.80 to get both the Runes and the Rock shop unlocked. If it had required more, I would have been a bit angry. I think that the person who started this lost interest and has decided to give up on updating anything. It is too bad because there was some great potential here.

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become an E-Book reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

The Road to Runes

May, 2018

The Road to Runes: Hagalaz, the Coming of Hail

So, it was the turn of a different friend to pull a rune this time, and I wasn’t expecting it. On the spot divination, she pulled out the polished, burnt piece of hazel and looked at me quizzically. I had to admit to her that my studies had not taken me this far, and thus, my latest article was born. Pictured is the rune she pulled: Hagalaz, also known as Haglaz or Hagala. This rune literally means ‘hail’, and by what I have learnt, is a pretty fierce and somewhat scary rune to see in any divination.

The Elder Futhark (the group of runes I am working with and believed to be the oldest Germanic runic alphabet) is split into 3 Aett, or groups of 8 runes. Hagalaz is the first rune of the second Aett, or Aettir. There are so many variants of the terms used to describe the runes and their alphabetic structure, and while I am still learning I am keeping myself open to all of these words, so forgive me if I chop and change. The second Aettir is sometimes known as Hel’s Aetirr, which sounds pretty ominous. Hel is the daughter of Loki, and therefore at least part giant, and she reigns over the realm of Hel, one of the dwelling places of the dead in Norse mythology. She is fairly indifferent to the trials and sufferings of humankind, if not actually cruel, and that aspect seems to be reflected in the hail rune. Hail is out of our control. It doesn’t care if we get cold, or wet, or stung. It has no pity for our misery; it simply is, and it is up to us to deal with it; get out of the cold or battle on through the storm.

Hail is the coldest of seeds… (Viking Rune Poem)

Hail is often described in runic inscriptions as a seed, and perhaps this is simply due to its appearance, as if someone high above was casting ice cold grain onto the earth, in the vain hope of it sprouting into some bizarre crop. However, there is more to the seed aspect than simple appearances. If we are tested, and we follow through with the test, whether we pass or fail, we grow as people. Each new challenge we face changes us in some way, usually for the better. Even bad experiences teach us something. Hagalaz is a seed rune because although hard times may be coming, there is the chance for great personal transformation; to be the sprouting wheat after the grain is cast.

Hail is whitest of grains. It whirls from the sky

whipped by the wind, then as water it trickles away. (Old English Rune Poem, translation Marijane Osborn)

This is a reminder that hard times don’t last forever; just as the icy hail turns to water and trickles away, so will our hardships eventually come to an end. We may be whipped into shape by the storms that buffet us, by the challenges that are sent to test us, but ultimately, calm will come, and a time to take stock and see what we have learnt, gained, or been left with. Also, it could be that we are about to lose something, but perhaps that is something we should have let go of long ago. Are we holding on to something that does not help us achieve our highest goals? Are we clinging to a relationship that prevents us being the best we can be? Hagalaz warns that it may be a tough time, but something different is coming, and it’s up to us to make the best of the new situation.

Hagala who breaks helmets… (Runic Inscription on the Kragehul Lance)

So far, I’ve concentrated on the more positive aspects of Hagalaz, but I can’t avoid the simple fact that this is a rune associated with destruction, turmoil, conflict and crisis. Hail is coming and you’re going to be caught out in the storm. If you’re already having a tough time, it’s possible it could get worse before it gets better. Are you ready to be tested? Be prepared, have your wits sharp, don’t be complacent about any potentially upsetting or risky situation and muster your inner strength. Yes, transformation and growth might be just around the corner, but you’re going to have to turn your face into the cold wind and really push hard before you feel the benefits.

The ninth rune in the Elder Futhark, just as Yggdrasil holds nine worlds, Hagalaz is a powerful and crucial rune in any reading. I think it’s important not to panic if you do pull this rune for a client. I’ll admit, when my friend pulled the rune and I read the meaning, I was startled and worried at first, but thinking about her personal situation (private, sorry!) it makes sense. She’s been through a tough time, it’s not over yet, and we’d already spoken about certain things probably not being resolved to satisfaction until Samhain. A gifted practitioner herself, it doesn’t surprise me that she pulled the rune that almost exactly describes the situation she is in and where she appears to be going. And it gave me the chance to learn about a formidable rune; one more step along the road.

***

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.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

Click Images for Amazon Information

The Road to Runes

April, 2018

The Road to Runes: First Steps

I received, for Yule, a gorgeous handmade set of runes from my father. He made them himself, out of hazel; wood from the tree of wisdom, in Celtic mythology. Of course, runes aren’t a part of the Irish Celtic mythology I’m so fond of, and as such I don’t know a great deal about them other than the very basics. I thought it might be fun if we learn together, so here we go.

My new runes are Elder Futhark, a Germanic alphabet of 24 runes named after the first six runes listed, which are Fehu (F), Uruz (U), Thurisaz (Th), Ansuz (A), Raidho (R) and Kenaz (K).

Although runes are heavily associated with Norse culture, they have actually appeared throughout Europe and across the British Isles, found in inscriptions ranging from curses to gravestones to plain, old-fashioned graffiti. The Elder Futhark is thought to be the oldest of the runic alphabets, and possibly the ancestor of later runes. Each rune has a name, a sound and is associated with something specific. For example, the straight-line rune is called isa, it sounds like ‘I’ and means ‘ice’. Runes were obviously used for writing, but these days are generally used as a divination tool. This suits the very word ‘rune’, which means ‘mystery’ or ‘secret’.

Like all forms of divination, meaning will differ from person to person. Fehu literally means cattle, and also wealth. This makes sense to me, as from a Celtic mythological perspective, which is where much of my study lies, cattle were wealth, and status, so the two terms could almost have been interchangeable. However, to another individual, wealth may mean something completely different e.g. money, jewels, job security, happiness, a big family; wealth is a very subjective term. This is why we have to be open minded in divination, as it’s easy to simplify, or apply meaning where we want to see it, rather than where it truly lies.

Anyway, rather than starting at the beginning and giving a detailed explanation of what each rune means, I would rather try them out and see what they have to say to me, even as a layman practitioner. I learn best by doing, so let’s see what the runes have to say today!

This is a three rune lay out. You start by meditating on your question, or of course, you could be focused on someone else’s query, if you were to do a divination for another. The first rune I pull should relate to my current situation. The second rune should focus on the challenging aspects of this; any obstacle that I might encounter. The final rune should indicate a solution or alternative path.

With permission from a friend who knows I am starting out on this divination journey, I focus on a query for them, which is relationship based. I won’t go into details, for obvious reasons! So, let’s see what runes we get.

 

 

The first rune is Algiz, which makes a ‘z’ sound and means ‘Elk’. The rune is associated with courage, protection and warding off danger. It may indicate the person is in a situation where they wish to do something outside their comfort zone, and are working up the courage to do so. The rune appeared in an Old English poem which told us that the ‘Elk Sedge’ was a plant who would wound all who tried to take a grip on her. Maybe this is an indication that the holder of the elk rune is not open to relationships at this time, or should perhaps open themselves up to the possibility of getting close to someone, if that’s what they truly want. Also, this could mean that the holder of the rune is very protective of themselves, due to having been hurt in the past.

 

 

The second rune I pull out of my rune bag is Ingwaz, which sounds like ‘ng’. The rune is associated with the god Ing who may also be Frey although there is some debate about this. Ing is associated with seed and fertility, and can literally relate to pregnancy when the rune appears in matters of relationships. However, the conception of things is not merely literal, and can also mean that something new is about to be created; a new situation is about to come to light, which may drastically change what is happening now. Ingwaz can mean that great inspiration is coming, or a fantastic opportunity. It is also associated with good health and motivation, so could indicate that life generally is opening up more doors. This may not sound like a challenge, to say this is supposed to be the challenge rune, but if the rune holder is stuck in a rut at the moment, to suddenly have so many options before them may be overwhelming. However, this is a positive rune, and any stress and pressure caused by these new situations will ultimately lead to something good. This rune is known to repel negative influences in your life, and provide protection.

 

 

The final rune is Jera, a ‘Y’ sound (J in Germanic languages) which means ‘year’ or ‘harvest’. I’m immediately excited to see a harvest rune pop up straight after a seed rune, as this seems to indicate that whatever seeds are sown in the challenging phase of the rune holder’s situation will come happily to fruition. This rune is all about the results from earlier efforts, and how good things don’t happen overnight, but are the result of hard work and determination over a period of time. Success will come, but it may take longer than you think. Jera indicates that even if you don’t see it now, your desires are coming to you naturally and harmoniously with the world around you, and it’s important that you keep working towards what you really want, and being honest with yourself about what your goals are. It also indicates that you have the power to change things you don’t like in your own life, and to not be afraid to do this.

 

To summarize this for a shorter reading, I could say that Algiz suggest the rune holder is in a difficult place emotionally, Ingwaz is telling them that many, perhaps conflicting opportunities are on the horizon, and that Jera is saying that if they figure out what they really want, or which of these opportunities is the best for them and work towards that, there is nothing stopping that goal coming to fruition. All in all, this seems like a really positive reading; I hope my friend thinks so! I’m excited to learn more about the runes, and next time, we might do a slightly different cast, to look at the different ways the runes can be used in divination.

*All images copyright Mabh Savage 2018.

***

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.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

Click Images for Amazon Information

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