There is a great dragon-serpent coiled around the roots of the World Tree. Dwelling in the darkness. Gnawing at the roots. Drinking from the wells. She is intimate with death, its beauty and necessity. She imparts to us the wisdom of rot and decay, of composting, of allowing and acceptance.
There is an eagle and a hawk who dwell high in the branches of this great tree. Theirs is a far-seeing vantage point. They are birds of prey. They look for something to kill. They are birds of death.
Nidhogg gnaws the roots to keep the tree alive.
In death, our bodies feed the earth so life can continue.
This is the wisdom of the corpse eater.
This is the wisdom of the tree.
This is the wisdom of the earth.
Nothing lives unless it feeds on something that was once alive.
Life continues by consuming death.
It's a beautiful cycle, a violent cycle, a gentle cycle, a necessary cycle. It is a cycle of loss feeding gain.
A cycle of endless return.
We come face to face with this cycle and with the corpse eater as the Great Wheel turns and we move into autumn.
Innsaei is a multi-layered Icelandic word meaning the sea within, to see within, to know your self and to see from the inside out.
There is a thought-provoking documentary on Netflix of the same name, InnSaei. In it, Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir speaks about the noise that surrounds us, this distraction we call entertainment, as blocking our connection with the earth and our connection with each other. The noise of the outer mutes the sound of our internal intuition. Not only have we lost silence. We have lost our appreciation of the necessity of silence. We are afraid to be to be alone without noise. Perhaps Innsaei can best be experienced through silence.
There are rune beings closely woven together with earth, air, water, fire. Who is the rune being most closely connected to the blood of women, menstrual blood? It is through this mystery we all come into life. Has the existence of this rune, its shape and form been forgotten or hidden?
Blood moves through all of us.
We have a certain fascination with the blood of warriors, battle, and death.
We are entertained by tales of hungry vampires drinking blood.
But what about the life blood that flows each month from women’s bodies? It is a connection we all share, yet we hide it, ignore it, or pretend it isn't there.
Surely there is a rune for women's blood, a rune that connects us with this potent, primal being, giantess, goddess, that cannot be ignored and does not go away. She is intimately connected to life and death.
The runes are numberless, not limited to the few popular ones we know. What shape and form does the rune of women's blood take?
Glaciers Melting • Volcanoes Erupting • Wildfires Burning
The forces of nature, of life, are bigger, stronger, older and wiser than we are. They are the Giants. Jotunn, of Norse myths. Primal and raw. They cannot be bound, tamed or controlled.
And yes, we are powerless. We may play a part, a very small part, in some of what's happening on earth but such things have happened before and will continue in the future and we are powerless.
To truly understand this, all we need to do is place our garbage dumps in the path of a lava flow and in a matter of minutes all they things we have taken from the earth are consumed by fire, recycled and returned, forming new land.
This is the age-old story of the battle between the Gods and the Giants. The Gods want to rule, control, invade and conquer. They do so at our own peril.
We humans and the Gods are of no concern to the Jotunn. They are not evil, savage, hostile or barbaric. They are neither moral nor immoral. Their concern is only for what must be.
They are not enemies of life. They are part of endless cycles of destruction and creation.
So as the volcanos erupt and the fires burn and the ice melts may we be in awe of the creation as well as the destruction.
If you wish to know more about these raw, primal beings, then go to the Runes and listen. They have much to say.
Ingrid, the Rune Woman
Wise and Irreverent
Check the home page for upcoming rune classes.
Ancient Art Of Hand Tattooing
Hand tattooing refers to the art of putting ink into skin, not onto. It's the ancient way, machine free. It's perhaps more personal, more intimate. And it's a method that returns organic body marking to its tribal roots.
Yes, we are all tribal. All of us. We all have our heritage grounded in the rich, life-giving soil of the earth; hence we are also indigenous.
I am a tattooed woman who walks the earth. The permanent markings on my body tell a story, connecting me with my ancestors, those who have gone before. On my father's side my roots go back to the Picts, a tribal confederation of people who lived in Northern Scotland long before the Romans or the Christians invaded the land. It is believed that they marked their bodies with beautiful symbols and designs. Perhaps they were permanent tattoos. Perhaps they were merely painted on. Perhaps by connecting with them as ancestors we can find answers.
In rune lore it is said that the Berkana rune should be carved upon the wrists of a woman in labor to ease the birth of the child. Perhaps such markings were a form of tattooing.
I'm traveling to California this month to meet with a woman who does hand tattooing. I have been shown, by my ancestors, the images that will soon mark my skin, becoming part of my story, my legacy and my history.
Tattoos are and were part of a visual language. They tell stories. They guide. They protect. They remember.They form a part of the cultural and religious heritage and history of humans throughout time.
Even though tribal tattooing has been declared illegal at various times in history, mainly as a result of missionization, it has not been possible to eradicate the practice altogether, However this rich, organic method of communication is currently endangered, not because of laws but because so many indigenous cultures continue to be destroyed and die out,
Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year.
Yes we know it's summer but why do we call it solstice?
Because for several days around this time of year the sun rises at the same spot on the horizon and the sun sets at the same spot on the horizon.
The ancients spoke of this experience as 'the time when the sun stands still'.
It's all about perception, isn't it. What do we see? What do we observe? What do we experience. We see the sun rise. We see the sun set. The earth doesn't move, does it? We experience movement through our bodies and what we see is that the things above us in the sky move. Things in the day sky and things in the night sky.
This observation is so powerful, visceral, experiential we still speak of it with the same language used by our ancestors. Solstice.
How often has it happened to you that someone in power and authority, or someone who professes to know more than you do, tries to convince you that what you see, observe and experience is not true?
Forget all the jargon, the convincing arguments, the scientific measurements, the instruments, the text books, etc.
Reconnect with nature, the earth and life around you and allow yourself to know that what you experience is true, perhaps not for others, but for yourself.
Solstice. The sun stands still.
Photo courtesy of James Pritchett - unsplash.com
That's the literal translation of the word Equinox. And there are two of them each year.
One in the spring and one in the fall, when the sun is overhead the equator and the length of daylight and darkness are equal.
The extreme happens at the time of the Solstices.
In winter the Solstice is the longest night.
In summer the solstice is the longest day.
The farther north you go, the more extreme this difference becomes.
Our native Northern European ancestors divided the circle of the year into two parts.
They were either going into the dark or going into the light.
Winter Solstice at about December 21 is the longest night and from that time forward the days begin to lengthen.
Going into the light.
Summer solstice at about June 21 is the longest day and from that time forward the nights begin to lengthen.
Going into the dark.
So to celebrate Spring Equinox is to mark the half way point between Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice.
Once we reach Summer Solstice, the Great Wheel will turn and we will begin, again, to go into the dark.
This eternal dance is beautifully expressed in the shape and the meaning of the Dagaz rune.
Are you afraid of modern technology that uses Bluetooth?
Are you afraid of the runes?
It’s pretty likely that any of us who use modern technology such as mobile phones, laptops, printers and digital cameras take advantage of Bluetooth technology and would be able to easily recognize the Bluetooth logo.
However, not many people know that the Bluetooth logo is made up of runes.
Most people’s knowledge of runes is limited to movies, TV series and video games about the Vikings.
Or worse yet, they only know of them as symbols of modern hate groups, such as white supremacists, skinheads, and neo-Nazis and of course the Nazis of Hitler’s Germany.
Sadly we know very little about these simple yet powerful symbols from heathen Norse/ Scandinavian and ancient Germanic history because Western civilization has been obsessed, for far too long, with classical antiquity with its focus on the cultural history centered around the Mediterranean Sea, ancient Greece and ancient Rome.
There is a gaping hole in our education about the rich heritage of our Northern European ancestors.
The Bluetooth logo is in fact a bind rune and was created with that intention by the men who developed the technology. What they bound together in this runic symbol are the initials of a 10th century Viking king, Harald Bluetooth. It is made up of one form of the rune Hagalaz and the Berkana rune.
Should we fear the symbol because it contains runes?
Should we refuse to use the technology?
Symbols are powerful, visually and energetically. They can be used to promote good as well as harm. How many people use the symbol of the cross? It carries a varied history, one that is tied up together with violence, hated and oppression, as well as love, kindness and fertility.
Are we afraid of it?
Should we be?
A bind rune can be any shape that is created when two or more runes are linked together to form a pattern or a symbol.
If you look closely at the Bluetooth logo you can see that it contains more than just two runes: Hagalaz, Ior, Bekana, Gebo, Isa, Laguz, Raido as well as numerous Kenaz runes.
What else might be bound together in this bind rune that is said to represent a Viking king?
Instead of being afraid of the runes, why not take the time to learn more about their origins and their historical, and cultural significance for the indigenous tribes of Northern Europe, before the Vikings and before the Romans.
If you’re interested in the runes please contact me for information about classes, workshops, online courses and private readings.
In reading Gylfaginning I’m intrigued by the combining of the words yeasty and venom. So I scry the internet and learn that the word yeast is Germanic in origin and of course it is the word for the thing that is used in brewing beer and making bread dough rise and it also means spume, foam, ferment, agitation, to be covered with froth. Gylfaginning tells us that there are eleven streams that collectively make up Elivagar (Ice Waves) that finds it source in the wellspring Hvergelmir which is one of the three wells hidden in the roots of the world tree.
It also says that yeasty venom hardened upon these streams and became ice that played a part in the origin of the giant Ymir and the filling of the great Void, Ginnungagap.
Continuing to follow the trail, I discovered that the word venom has its roots in the word venerate, which finds it way back to Venus, which is more than a planet and a goddess. Venus originally meant physical desire and sexual appetite.
Venom is also a word with connection to the Latin venenum and it doesn’t just mean a poison. It can also be a magical herb or potion.
In another place Gylfaginning says, “So many serpents are in Hvergelmir with Nidhogg that no tongue can tell them.” Is it possible that these serpents are the source of the venom spoken of as being yeasty? They all dwell in the roots of Yggdrasil, down there where the wells are.
So why do we automatically think that the yeasty venom is poison? Could it be instead a foaming, frothing, agitated, fermenting magical potion that played a part in what emerged from the coming together of the fires of Muspelheim and the ice of Niflheim?
Fire and ice are joining hands again at this rhythmic time of global warming. What magical event will occur this time when the yeasty venom is activated?