I’ve been reading a book about Norse Runes. I’m very excited to start making and using my own, but since I’ve already got two tarot decks that I’ve still not mastered, I think I may try something a little different with the runes so I don’t get too caught up in the trappings. Since Oak is sacred to Thor, and Thor is the ruler of Midgard (where we find our home in the cosmos and Yggdrasil), I thought it’d be cool to make a set of runes from dried oak leaves. It says in the book that the traditional ritual for using runes isn’t merely reading the symbols, as it is for tarot cards. The whole process is a sacred ritual: conceiving to make them, finding the material, cutting, burning or carving the symbols, singing, whispering or chanting and ritualizing the creation of EACH rune (in essence, singing them alive), “loading” or staining the runes, interpreting the runes, and then at the end, destroying them. Eventually, I’d love to make my own set of actual wooden, metal, stone or bone runes to use again and again, but for now, I like this idea of using the oak leaves. That way I can follow the exact ritual, and then either burn them when I’m finished or send them floating into a body of running water. It is said that blood is the best substance for staining runes. Indeed, the most powerful substances on Earth are menstrual blood, semen or vaginal fluid, and saliva. Curiously, it is also considered part of the magic to sit upon an animal skin which is thought to create an entry into another realm or sacred space. Sex, death, blood, bone, breath. All play into creation, and therefore, connection with deity. Some may be creeped out by the thought of using blood in spells, and I believe one must be very careful including their own DNA into spells. In doing so, one is entering a bond they must be ready to live up to. I’m not sure I am ready for that, but always it is in the back of my mind. Then again, the very act of contacting deity is no light matter, either. Best not to enter into such a conversation flippantly.
I have had no experiences with specific deities, other than my mysterious voice that I’ve heard in meditation that I can never recall its language, though I understand its meaning while I’m in ‘the zone’ and that it is speaking directly to me. I had one meditation where a Norse goddess appeared to me, though she communicated nothing, she just showed up and then disappeared. When I read about deities and spirits, I can sort of grasp their nature, their flavors, their essences. I guess I believe in different consciousnesses, and that gods and goddesses are actually the consciousnesses of our ancestors. I believe that everything in the universe and cosmos at large is alive, and has soul. Everything is made up of everything else. And death is just another form, not an end. Sort of how sugar changes its form when cooked; it’s still sugar, but its form is no longer the same as it was. I also believe in angels and different entities and spirits, though I’m not sure how it all relates in the grand scheme of things, just that when I reach out, I find things of all sorts. I’ve learned I need to just go with the flow, keeping my mind as open as possible.
For a long time now, I’ve been reading and studying and thinking thinky-thoughts. There are certain principles that I’ve been starting to slowly grasp, though I find it difficult to shape into words. I feel like there are certain, specific means a person can use to gain knowledge, power, and wisdom in a cosmic sense to use in order to make their lives better, and furthermore, for the betterment of humankind. Things like ceremonial magic, Psalm magic, healing, herbalism, potion and incense crafting, the magic of Solomon’s Seals, astrology, Granny magic, Kabbalistic magic, hoodoo, runes…the kind of magic that uses very ancient and powerful tools or methods left to us in order to harness and direct the power of gods or ancestors or chaos or whatever. In my belief, this is exactly what these tools were meant for us to do. (However, some greedy snitches are so egotistically dangerous they shouldn’t be messing with this stuff, but whatever, I don’t deal in moral judgements or karma.) It’s been hard for me to fathom this stuff as I feel our modern minds have completely lost the point. But some have tapped into the veins of the divine, can hear its pulse, can taste it sweetness, can hear its call. To these people, I am very grateful, for they have helped me gain more knowledge, they’ve helped me uncover my hidden path, if not the final destination. To the divine, I am grateful for it opening my cosmic eyes. If it weren’t for the original prodding of my psyche and cosmic messages, I would not have searched any further. In all this reading and seeking, I’ve sort of grasped the idea and belief that we are all veins in the bodies of the gods, or as I see it, blood in the body of the Universe, droplets in the Well of Life. We all have divine blood flowing in our bodies, and that blood is filled with powers we have a birthright to harness. To use our Will, but also Faith in ourselves, to shape our own reality. This part of it is no more complicated than Positive Thinking, Law of Attraction, Auto-Suggestion. Putting away the habit of reading things literally, and start to explore the world of symbolism and metaphor, for that is truly how mythologies teach us. So annoyed am I by people taking parables from the Bible, or any other mythological tales, literally. They are stories, symbols and metaphors for concepts that are beyond our mundane reckoning. Overestimation is a slippery slope too often teetered upon in contemporary religion.
In my meandering, roundabout way, this brings me to my original point which was runes. I like the concept of pathworking, or the mental exploration of a landscape, theme, concept, tarot card, rune, whatever. I have found this practice to be extremely difficult for me to do. It’s hard to tell if it’s my normal, human guttural fears that are preventing me from practicing this stuff successfully, or the walls I built into my psyche when I was being treated for PTSD, or plain old lack of practice. I’m certain I’ve spoken of this here before, but to reiterate, I worked with meditation, deep-breathing, and cognitive behavior therapy to train myself to stop the runaway train that is the post-traumatic psyche. It was a painfully slow process, and part of it was stuff I learned from my therapist, and part of it was a conscious decision on my part to “bury” the trauma. I guess I liken it to graves inside my mind. The grave of the young girl who died during those dark days, and the grave of the humiliation I experienced. Humiliation has to be put to bed, it HAS to. To focus on it, to let it in, to hold onto it, is to keep your mind ever in the trauma and the powerlessness of a victim. I had to quell it, I had to find it a place to lie undisturbed. Well, in working with the deep places of the spiritual mind, the darkness must be faced. There is no turning it away. Part of why I think I stagnate is because I am unwilling to dig up those places, those graves I made so long ago. Sigh. But the thing is, I’m not sure I need to tackle this stuff if I’m working with something as specific as runes. If I had this very specific focus, perhaps I could walk around the graves for now, learning and finding strength in other places before I really have to wrestle that great beast. There’s another part of me, the rebellious part, that says, “This is all bullshit. You didn’t bury anything. Nothing died, you just grew. You learned, you moved on, you morphed into another shape of yourself, and you have the power and the right to explore anything you want to. Let the grass grow freely in the landscape of your mind, containing the bright and shadow that is present everywhere. Let the sun and moon rise and set. Face the light and dark equally, and embrace them both for what they are. Let yourself be free.”
Hmmm. Perhaps it’s my fear of freedom that halts me.