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Growing with the Runes.
Many a publication has been written about the Runes. Many valuable tomes are available for whomever may wish to expand their scholarly knowledge of these entities. I am going to diverge from the academic interpretation and analysis of the Runes: there are many more qualified than I to do that.
I plan to offer my interpretations, and experiences with the Runes, but most important of all, directions for the reader to discover her or his own path to uniting with the Runes.
As many have said the Runes are much much more than an alphabet. They have sounds, they have literal meanings but it is their spiritual- life meanings that I seek to expound upon. The path I seek to lead the reader down requires that he/she learn these rudimentary facts about the runes. I do not discount the importance of this process but I do feel it is necessary for the readier to already have a firm grasp on the underlying facts so that they can follow along and eventually blaze their own trail to understanding.
Odhin spent nine days on the tree to bring the Runes to us. This sacrifice is for naught if we fail to realize the necessity of personal investment in our use and interactions with the Runes. His Runes are His. My Runes are mine and Your Runes will be Yours. This is similar to our interactions with each other as human beings. While many of us may interact with the same physical person each of these are different: we know a different person. For example the Police Officer who pulls you over for a busted taillight, to you, is an Officer of the Law. To another he may be an enemy, to yet another he may be a husband, a father a friend, a comrade in arms and so on. He is as many people as he encounters in life plus he is himself. No one truly knows him: he may confide somethings about himself to a friend or confidant but only he knows himself. Similarly, the Runes are the same physical symbols to all of us. We may all agree and know certain things about them, Many secrets have been revealed and shared but the only full and deep knowledge of the Runes can only come from the Runes themselves. We can only gain that knowledge from direct interaction with them.
As many people do, when I first felt the calling of the Runes, I devoured every publication I could upon them. I learned their symbolic meanings and prescribed methods of interpreting them . I fabricated my own set of Runes and set about reading them. I carved them into items I cherished and worked them into spells. Most of this was a learning process. I applied the things I had learned about the Runes in a cookbook manner. Little by little I began feeling my own connection with them. I began hearing their messages as communicated directly to me and not interpreted through the instructions of predecessors. I made friends with the Runes.
So how do I make friends with the Runes? you ask. My sincere answer is;" I don't know". Why are you reading this then? Because, while I may not know the exact path you must take to gain the confidence of the Runes, I do have some expertise in methods towards finding that path. As I have found mine so must you eventually, find yours.
Will this be easy or quick? It was not for me. It took many many years. It may take you longer or it may take you but a day. I cannot say. All I can do is guide you to the path. You must walk and navigate it on your own.
Ok, I know by now, if I haven't already lost you you must be thinking "so does he have anything useful to say beyond the blah blah you must walk your own path spiritual platitudes?" Yes I do. please bear with me because, I truly believe that, platitudes as they may be, these truths are fundamental to learning what I mean to share.
Very well; making friends with the Runes. What, would I say, should be your first step? Your first step requires a fundamental change in your frame of mind regarding the Runes themselves. To be able to get to know the Runes we must first acknowledge that the Runes are not merely symbols. They are living entities: they have to be befriended. I am not saying that they are human. They are, however, sentient. Treating them as such is essential to truly becoming "friends" with them. This may seem like a trivial, abstract process. It is however an integral part of what we seek to do. We cannot go one step further without this mindset being absorbed and truly felt.
The importance of this beginning can be found by answering to yourself the following questions.Would you open yourself up to someone who looked at you as something other than human? Do you reveal your secrets to someone who looks down on you, to someone who doesn't respect you? Its probably safe to say that you would not. The Runes act, in this respect, very much like we do.
Now that we have internalized the knowledge of the Runes being sentient the trail-head of our path should be much easier to locate. We can ask ourselves how do we befriend a sentient being? The easiest way is to analyze how we have done this in the past. Assuming we have made a friend or tow in our lives lets really look at how the process unfolds.
First of all we came into contact with one another. Either we were introduced or we met by chance and introduced ourselves. Our studies of the Runes can be perceived as an introduction. Someone who is familiar with or friends with the Runes has introduced us to them. We have studied and acquired the knowledge our mutual friends have imparted to us. This knowledge though is made up of someone else's experiences to us it is a superficial knowledge of them. We have yet to have any of our own true experiences with them to build our knowledge of them on.
The Runes, though sentient, are not human like us. We have to take this into consideration when getting to know them. It is similar to befriending someone from another country who has been raised in an extremely different culture from our own. We must then not only get to know the Runes themselves. but the context in which they exist.
When we meet someone we get to know them by interacting with them. We observe how they act, we listen to what they say and we interpret these things in the context of a mutual frame of reference. If they are from a different culture they may do or say things we do not understand or that may seem "wrong" to us. To truly get to know them we need to place our interpretation of our interactions with them into the context of their culture. Sometimes we may know that their actions are dictated by a diverse culture. Sometimes they may react differently than we because of individual experiences. All of this must come into play if we truly want to become close friends with a person. It is something we learn to do, it is something we are taught now we have to extend this learning to the Runes.
The Runes are magickal creatures. They are from a time and a world so vastly different than our own that references can be very difficult. How do we then get to know them? We have a dialog. We ask questions. We assert our respect and our intent. The process isn't fast. In fact it is slow and sometimes frustrating because we speak a different language. Just as we slowly learn to understand our foreign friend so must we do with the Runes.
To get to know the Runes then it is not sufficient to merely study other persons' works on them, We must slowly and deliberately develop our own relationship with them. To do this we must interact, first hand with them. I would begin by making our own set of Runes.
Make your own Rune set
To interact with the Runes personally we have to have a set of rune-staves. The best way to acquire one is to make it ourselves. Be it with wood, stone or some other material meaningful to us, making our own staves is a very important step. The Rune-staves we create will be our bridge to communicating with the Runes themselves. Performing each step of this creation as deliberately and purposefully as possible will demonstrate our dedication, respect and intent to the Runes. It will show how we truly desire to communicate with them.
The staves are not the Runes themselves; they are a representation of the Runes. They are a pictograph of each Rune's fundamental essence. Just as our names cannot describe our essence to a stranger so the Rune staves cannot tell us all about each Rune. When we get to know someone their name becomes representative of so much more. This is true for the Runes.
Working meditation on the Rune
While making our rune-staves we should think about each line we draw, about each Rune. We need to think about what we have learned about them from others and be open to what we feel while doing this. The Runes will tell us if we have something right or not. We will feel it. We should visualize the Rune in our mind's eye as we perceive it before we transcribe it to our medium. This ascertains that the Rune is directly connected to us in mind.
Give the Stave a piece of yourself.
While making our rune-staves it is important to impart something of ourselves into them also. For these are our means of communication with the Runes so they must have an equal part of ourselves as they do a part of the Rune they represent. As we work on the stave, after we have inscribed the Rune's symbol we should think of how our own lives are affected by the general concept the Rune depicts. While we work on Gebo, for example, we should think upon what gifts we have been given in our lives and what we have given of ourselves. Think about specifics: let the Runes know you by sharing moments of your life with it. Moments directly related to them which they are most apt to relate to.
Bloody the Runes.
As I have mentioned the Runes are magickal creatures. They are raw meaning, visceral basic elements of life. Meanings that are so profound yet so ubiquitous as to be within reach of every man. Yet as Odhin gave of himself to gain the true knowledge of the Runes, so must we show our willingness to sacrifice of ourselves for this wealth. The Runes best understand gestures of a similar raw visceral nature.
It is a common practice to bloody a set of rune-staves to connect it to ourselves and as an offering to the Runes themselves. I personally believe this to be an essential practice. by feeding the Runes of our blood we make a covenant with them. We commit to them as we request they do to us. This is on such an elemental level that it needs no words nor outside thought.
As with blood, other bodily fluids can be utilized to connect us to the Runes through the staves. By simply kissing them each time we communicate with them we impart a piece of ourselves. Our sexual fluids are also a very powerful gift to the Runes. These are a gift of continuity, of desire, birth and growth; also an elemental connection well worth making.
After we have constructed our rune-staves, with all that entails, it is important to continue to build on the foundation we have now built. I find that interacting with the Runes on a daily basis, at a minimum, is a good platform for building a good relationship with them .
In whichever way it is best for you, interact with your staves and communicate with the Runes by asking them to tell you something. You can utilize a standardized Rune spread or pick one Rune for the day to communicate with. No matter how you do this you should make sure to express your sincerity. Many people who seek the Runes are knowledgeable of how to create a sacred space by either formally casting a circle or mentally bringing ourselves to peace. These are good ways to formalize and focus our interactions with the Runes. If you are not familiar with such actions I recommend that you seek this knowledge.
When reading a Rune spread try not to be too literal. Examine the feelings each Rune shares with you as you read it. Spend some time with it. Apply it in the context of the conversation you are having with the Runes. Remember that when you draw the runes for answers you must always consider the question, the real question, when interpreting the answer.
What I mean about the 'real question' is we must consider what we are actually thinking when we are asking a question of the Runes. If we formally ask the Runes "will I find a lover?" while thinking about a particular person as this lover then the answer will be about that person and not about a generic lover. As with magick the more focused we are the more precise the answers will be. The more effectively we will communicate with the Runes.
See the Runes
Yet another manner in which to interact with the Runes is learning to see the Rune forms in the world around us. A cloud, a tree branch, the shape of a rock... learn to recognize these signs. Close your eyes, ask a question and the open your eyes and see the Runes.
The Runes will show themselves to you when you are attuned to them. When seeking them in nature it isn't like looking for animal shapes in the clouds. With the Runes, once you are known to them they will be sharp and evident. This is just another way to make them a part of your everyday life.
The most critical concept to understand about the Runes is their sentience. This dictates the proper ways to interact with them. Treat them like friends and you will become close to them. True good intent is important. Persistence and understanding also are needed.
The path to the Runes is a long one, a lifelong one. it is not a Saturday afternoon hobby. If you have the correct mindset and display your intentions well to them. You will find a unique relationship that will support you throughout your life.