The Road to Runes

January, 2019

The Road to Runes: Isa, Waiting for the Thaw

means ‘ice’ and is associated with stillness, stagnation and
immobility. It is the third rune in the second aett of the Elder
Futhark, also known as Hagal’s aett.

I was pondering a frustrating work problem and decided to see what
the runes had to say. My situation was that I wanted to make a
change, but there was the possibility of a certain opportunity if I
stayed where I was for the time being. It’s that age-old question
immortalised by The Clash: should I stay, or should I go?


drew the rune Isa, which literally means ‘Ice’. Isa is associated
with stillness and stasis. Ice seems to render flowing and fluid
water suddenly still and motionless. It stops things in their tracks,
yet it is beautiful and alluring. This makes it all the more
dangerous, as while we pause, transfixed by cold beauty, we are not
moving forward and completing our journey. Of course, sometimes a
moment of stillness can be refreshing and rejuvenating. But when we
stay still for too long, we become stiff, useless, and even forget
why we were moving forward in the first place.

rune indicates that I am stuck. The work situation that I was worried
about shows no signs of resolving itself anytime soon, and I am left
with the same dilemma; to forcefully break out of the situation or
allow things to take their course, no matter how slow and frustrating
this may be.


the frustration of being stuck is my primary reaction to Isa, Isa can
mean so much more than this. Just as the earth rests in winter before
new growth in spring, so do we sometimes need to let ourselves rest
and be still before our lives get back on track. Isa can indicate a
period of gestation; a time to let things grow and progress
naturally. It could actually be the worst time to change or force
change, as now is the time for rest and letting things take their

represents Niflheim, the cold and misty world of the dead. It is a
place we fear to be; frozen and unmoving, with no chance of life.
This is like real-world stagnation. We yearn to be ever moving
forward, achieving and progressing. Isa makes us realise that
sometimes, events which are outside our control can prevent us from
moving forward, and that we have to accept that and not let that
stagnation prevent us from being the best we can be. Continue to live
our lives, as well as we can, and trust that when the ice thaws, the
water will flow again. Our river will move inexorably towards the

rune seems to tell me I just need to wait, for now. However, I should
keep working at my problem, checking in, being cautious and aware of
new information and changes. I should not let my ego take over but
remain calm and avoid giving in to frustration. If I follow my own
process and stay true to myself, eventually the ice will thaw, the
problem will become clearer and the solution may even become visible.

an afterthought, I drew another rune, which was Dagaz, the rune of
breakthroughs. This gave me more hope, and I’ll discuss this
further in next month’s article. Don’t forget, you can tweet me
@Mabherick if you want me to focus on a particular rune for this
column. Until next time!


the Author:

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

is the author of 
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

Mindful Meditations

January, 2019

Guided Video Mindful Meditation


the Author:

Dubenetsky & Becky Coates, respectively; Writers of the Mindful
Meditations column & Coven Sisters.)

Mindful Meditation is brought to you by Amy Dubenetsky, a
Bodyworker/Reiki Practitioner/Witch based out of Manchester, CT whom
leads group meditations as well.  Amy is deeply involved with
her Coven, Organic Farming, and various Dance Communities across the

her on Instagram and Facebook @bodyandbeyond444.

Door to the Beyond

October, 2008

Rest & Recovery

Last month we talked about action.  In this month’s walk through the Door, we are walking to our campsite, blowing up our air mattress, and climbing into our sleeping bags, in the company of our Family.

There are two things to remember about community action – 1. Always work FOR something, and 2. never do more than you can, which includes resting up.  If you have pagan Family or good friends to rest up with, you get a double recharge over doing it alone.

I’m writing this on a tiny Netbook in my tent.  My closest friend is getting handfasted tomorrow, and I’m “best man”.  The Drum Circle is sounding great; our best drummer, Greyfix, is back after a long absence.  The crickets and tree frogs are adding their music.  There are probably over 100 people here, it’s Friday night, and more are coming in tomorrow.  I’ve given-and-gotten more good hugs in the past 8 hours than in the previous 5 months.  (I haven’t been to a Gathering since Litha.)

Each time I come to a Gathering, my Family comments on how much better (more well) I look than when they last saw me, which is needed feedback; each time I return, my local friends comment on how much more relaxed and recharged I seem.  It’s a great cycle to have going.  I think I’ve mentioned before how this Family has stood by me through times when it was all I could do to lay in my tent and whimper.  By contrast, I am now working two of my own non-profits, putting in time on a third, writing several websites, doing this article, and working professionally as an editor.  This is not being said to puff myself up, but to show you how much improvement is possible, to give you hope in dealing with your own recovery if it is needed.  It was not a rapid recovery – I came to SerpentStone in 1996 after years of mixed rejection and acceptance elsewhere.

There are lots of good Families out there, and lots of local and regional Pagan Festivals.  I recommend finding the “family” gatherings over the “whoopie Wicca” festivals, but that is my choice.  (There is a lower chance of long-term rejection among people who want to be together, rather than those who are looking for a good time.)

Every step along then path was magick.  The magick involved asking for help, finding it, and accepting it.  Wanting to change is the first step, being willing to change comes next, and then accepting the opportunities to change,,, and accepting the length of time it takes to walk the path.  I found my Family 12 years ago; found the people who wanted to start the ALT-therapies4bipolar Yahoogroup 7 years ago; started taking some supplements 6 years ago… and got totally off psych drugs November 5, 2003, almost 5 years ago.  Each step was an act of magick, each step required some amount of faith on my part, and I was not taking these steps alone… but having Family would not have helped a bit if I were not willing to take the risks, to do the magick.

It wasn’t a straight path lined with constant successes; probably far more failures than successes.  I took offense many times when none was intended, and gave offense often when that was not my intention.  Most of the time I was sure nobody could screw up as badly as I was doing… (Ever feel like that?  Then you’re probably bipolar.)  Some people helped me feel like that, but it’s not like I needed a lot of help.  But I knew I didn’t want to feel that way, and kept trying to do better.

There were a lot of setbacks.  I didn’t give up, but I sure took some long breaks before getting my resolve up to try again.  It will likely be just about as hard for you.  (I truly hope some of my readers are ahead of me, and can pat themselves on the back for doing it better than I did.)  “Try, fail.  Try, fail.  Try, succeed.” – A. Low, M.D.

“She changes everything She touches, and everything She touches changes.”  Nobody has the power to prevent Goddess from helping you, and even the power you have to keep Her from helping you is limited.  As the Hindu teachings state, Grace (Anugraha) is unlimited and always available; the only thing you need do is believe yourself worthy of asking for it – and then ask.

I’m aware that perhaps not everyone’s path involves totally discontinuing psych drugs, but be aware that it can be not only possible but quite safe, with help and support.  Part of that support will come straight from Goddess, but it won’t happen if your love of yourself does not eventually catch up with your love of Goddess.  Don’t be hard on yourself along the way, but give yourself a huge pat on the back for each step you take, no matter how small you think it was.  Every step adds up.

And soon you will join me walking through yet another Door:  The door to freedom and mental health.  I will see you next month.