Wunjo is often called the rune of joy, perhaps the joy of perfection, or bliss. It can also be associated with ecstasy and magical joy giving rise to the question, are there different kinds of joy? Or is joy just joy? Is there a difference between states of joy and ecstasy, and madness? Can we come into relationship or alignment with Wunjo through the use of sacred plant medicines, things like mushrooms and fermented tree saps? or perhaps even drugs? Can we connect to Wunjo through states of ecstasy or bliss attained by dancing, drumming, fasting, sex? Would some of these methods be deemed more spiritual, more sacred than others, and if so why? How might you view the presence of Wunjo in a reading? Joy can come from blessings and abundance. It can be experienced alone. Joy can come from of being part of a family, clan or tribe. But when it is it brings along with it the obligations and responsibility of community. I find in readings sometimes that the lack of joy a person expresses is tightly woven together with their unwillingness to accept the obligation and responsibilities that go hand in hand with the joy that comes from being part of family or community. What are your own experiences with this concept and the Wunjo rune? Have you ever struggled with the desire to experience joy as part of a relationship, individual or group, and an unwillingness to accept the accountability that goes along with it? Wunjo can also connect us with the joy of the Otherworld or Afterworld. To the ancient Norse, the world after death was considered a place of great joy. The halls where the dead ate and drank were light filled and it was from these places the dead gave attention to the well-being of their kin or clan. Have you ever connected joy with the dead or your relationship with them as your ancestors? As I am writing this I am sitting outside in Portland, Oregon. It's a summer evening almost 9:00 and a breeze is blowing. I'm reminded of Wunjo. To me it looks like a small, triangular flag at the top of a flag pole. Even the slightest breeze will cause the flag to flutter. Even the slightest breeze will cause a change in the weather. When you feel Wunjo move, even if it's ever so slightly, do you consider that there might be a change coming in the weather or climate of your life?
Runes - hand painted on linen using beet juice
This is an original art piece by Kristie Maren Williams of Awakened Roots
So many descriptions of Laguz connect it only with soft, flowing, gentle, feminine energy but to get caught up in that way of thinking is to be deceived. It's an imbalance of Laguz. It's true that water is all of those things and it's also just as true that water is raging, destructive, powerful enough to gouge out the Grand Canyon and wash away entire cities. Fluffy White Light New Age thinking dishonors the elemental potency of the runes. All of the runes at all times hold balance. Water is gentle and it's destructive. Water is life giving and it kills. It's not necessary to worry about whether the rune is reversed, inverted, upside down. When a rune is present, it always carries all of its truth. When you want to connect Laguz to emotions, then fluffy thinking could perhaps cause you to judge some emotions as being good and some as being bad or negative and thus miss the opportunity to acknowledge what you're feeling and connect with it. What happens to you when you judge your emotions? Whenever I'm connecting with Laguz this question always bubbles up, is there a rune for salt water? Our Northern European ancestors were surrounded by salt water. They were sea-faring explorers.They had gods and goddesses whose homes were in the ocean. They gave personal names to different kinds of ocean waves, calling them collectively the nine daughters of Ran and Aegir. Where's the rune for salt water? Do you feel its absence? Do you feel its presence? More than 70% of the surface of the earth is covered with water and over 90% of that is held in the oceans. Our bodies are about 60% water. Our lives are Laguz. We begin life in the water of our mother's womb. We come forth from that water at birth. We lived in water but once we come forth from it we can no longer live in it but it's impossible for us to live without it. Laguz, you are life giving and death dealing. As an element water can exist as liquid, gas and solid. It takes the shape of the container it's in. Because of its natural ability to dissolve things, it rarely exists in a pure form. Shapeshifting Laguz.
you are lake and well stream and fen the waters of my own body shape shifting Laguz deceptive destructive life giving I dare not judge all rivers flow the ocean refuses no one
Are you breathing or are you being breathed? Os makes me think of such things. When I was a little girl and I got really upset with my mother I’d threaten her with these words: ‘well, then, I’m just going to hold my breath until I die.’ She’d smile and say, ‘go ahead and try it. It won’t work.’ So even if I fainted and fell over, I'd start to breathe again. Was that because my ancestors weren’t finished breathing me? Life on earth, as a human, separate from your mother, begins with an in breath and ends with an out breath. At the time of birth does one of your ancestors decide to breathe into your new little body and inspire you? And then continue breathing you until the moment of your death. Do you stop breathing or does your ancestor stop? Os also speaks to me about the waters in an estuary. Is the water of the river being pulled by the ocean or is the river pushing its way in? And what about the dance of turbulence and chaos that swirls around when the tidal waters rise and fall? These questions often take me to Laguz so I listen to that sound of that rune as well. Our breath is also the way we speak. When Os appears in a reading or shows itself in other ways, do you ever ponder the power that exists in the connection of your breath and the spoken word? Is it true that once the word is spoken it can never be returned? The story of the Mead of Poetry is the story of how the gods fashioned an exceedingly wise man from their own spittle. It’s the story of how this man Kvasir came to be killed and how his blood, mixed with honey, formed a divine mead that inspired all who drank it. And it’s a story of how even more beings lost their lives because of the greed that surrounded desire. Do you create with your breath and words or do you destroy? Do you share the poetic mead fermented from god spittle and blood?
you breathe me Os the in and out of all things will you share the poetic mead fermented from god spittle and blood once the word is spoken it can never be returned
There's danger in concealment. Most of us don’t think of that. We more often think of hiding as a way to be safe or protected. But it’s all about perspective isn’t it? Because it depends on whether you’re the hunter or the hunted. This dynamic seems to show up quite often in rune readings where Algiz has decided to appear. Here’s one of the stories I tell. The stag hides in the brush or undergrowth, unseen by the hunter but it can’t stay there indefinitely. At some point it must get up to find water and to feed. So it stands in all its glory, head held high and the hunter may still be there and then again he may not. There's a risk in being seen but the guaranteed outcome of staying hidden is death from thirst and starvation. Where in your life have you hidden, perhaps to keep safe or to go unnoticed? What’s going to happen to you if you stay there and don’t risk standing up, in all your glory, arms raised so you embody Algiz? Is it time to be seen? My experiences with this rune often take me to the reindeer. They have what I call in the rune poem a 'tine before the eyes'. A tine is an end point of an antlers and in reindeer it's often compressed into a shovel shape that protrudes from the brow line, usually on the left side. They use it to dig in the snow to find food. Humans have followed the migrating herds of reindeer since the beginning of time. When the weather changes, reindeer turn and walk into the wind, in the direction the wind is blowing. They migrate to find food and they migrate each year to safe places to give birth. When the Algiz rune appears it might be a good time to question which way the wind is blowing in your life and as the Sami people say, to look at life through the eyes of the reindeer. Where might they lead you to be fed and to give birth? Can you feel the sexual energies present in the Algiz as the Kenaz rune moves up and down the Isa rune and the Isa moves in and out of the V? Male and female. Both wear the mighty antlers.
Algiz of the antlers tine before the eyes embodied in my upraised arms I ask am I the hunter or the hunted in danger and protected I follow the herds across the ice This original rune poem by Ingrid Kincaid was first published in her limited edition, handmade rune book (un) familiar.
Do you know who you are? Do you know who your people are? Do you know where your ancestors are buried? These are the questions Othila asks. We’ve lost our connection with ancestral home. We have wandered far and wide, sitting at the sacred fires of many strange and foreign traditions and we have forgotten where we come from. Many of us suffer from inherited ancestral grief. Most people are quite surprised when I say to them that Othila reminds us that we eat our ancestors. They birthed us and fed us and they still feed us through the cycle of death and decomposition and return to the soil. Imagine living on the land in one place long enough that you were born there and eventually died and were buried there and that your body returned to the earth so the earth could produce food that would feed your offspring. That’s how we carry Othila in our bodies. Those of us with Northern European ancestry are threshold people. We suffer from inherited ancestral grief. We haven’t lived long enough in the Americas to call ourselves natives and yet most of us couldn’t return to Europe and call home the places where our indigenous ancestors lived. What we carry in our bodies however is the DNA cellular memories of who we are and working with Othila and listening to the sound it makes helps to reactivate those memories as well as reconnect with our own indigenous ancestors. Ancestry is important, not in the way of superiority or comparison but in the way of diversity and the vital place that diversity plays in the vibrancy of life here on earth. I come across so many people whose primary focus and conversation seem to be about past lives and so often these lives were supposedly lived in places really foreign to that person’s ancestry. I question why it is so many who claim knowledge of past lives also claim to have been someone famous or special or belonged to a group that has been singled out in history. Does anyone ever remember a past life that was just ordinary and day-to-day? Did everyone sit at the feet of Jesus or sail on a boat with Cleopatra or die during the burning times? Why not follow the threads of Wyrd back through our ancestral lineage? Perhaps Othila can lead you back to Mimir ‘The Rememberer’ ancestral giant who remained so still he grew into the mountain of stone. Mimir, whose head was severed, from whose mouth the waters of the Well of Wisdom pour forth. What would Mimir ask you to offer up in order to remember who your people are? Odin had to give one of his eyes so he could see differently and who knows, maybe that wasn’t enough.
Othila I carry you in my body you have fed me the bones of my ancestors unto you I offer up the blood legacy for future generations held in the memory of Mimir
Hand painted set of rune flags. Offering up prayers to our own ancestors, using our own traditions.
Rune wisdom works on a deep and low vibrational level so it resonates with your bones and your body, reminding you of what you already know, not just in your mind but in your whole being. When you work with the runes you'll be affected, no matter what. How greatly you allow this deep, ancient wisdom to affect you depends upon your own willingness to listen and act upon what's being uncovered. What wisdom do the runes have for you? You can schedule a reading either by phone, email or in person.
Life is wild, nature is wild, we are wild. Creativity comes from the place of wildness. And we don’t have to be in the wilderness in order to be wild. The rune Uruz carries the very essence of wildness. When we're always trying to tame the wilderness, civilize the savages, control and manipulate nature, when we lose our connection to the earth, the elements, our bodies and our sexuality we create such an imbalance in life we actually face extinction. Some of us might even die from boredom or hopelessness. Being domesticated and civilized often means playing it safe, living life in a way that’s acceptable, predictable, conforming. I compare it to the life of a milk cow that stands in front of the dairy barn. She’s safe, she’s fed but she’s being milked to death. In order to keep producing milk she has to be bred over and over again and as soon as she gives birth her calf is taken away so she won’t bond with it. Perhaps it’s safe and predictable to be a milk cow but there’s a huge price to pay. Does your job or career milk you dry? Does it separate you from your own creativity? What would it be like to take your chances and be wild and free? When Uruz appears in a rune reading it often carries with it the question: where in your life have you sacrificed your freedom and your wildness in order to feel safe and be accepted? It asks that you take a long hard look at your life and tell the truth. Uruz can be identified with the might aurochs, an enormously grand species of wild cattle that once inhabited Europe and the northern reaches of Scotland. It actually survived into the mid-1600s. It became extinct because there was no longer any place for its wildness. Many popular spiritual practices actually discourage wildness, either by implying or stating that spirit is better than flesh, that we must transcend our bodies, and aspire to states of high vibration that take us away from the earth and all its beauty. There are spiritual practices that teach that there’s something wrong with the earth and being human, that we’re only here to learn lessons and interestingly these lessons seem to come to us only through pain and suffering. Do you live somehow disconnected from the earth because you believe you’re from someplace else and you’re always be trying to get back to wherever you think you came from? Try instead to come back into harmonious alignment with your wild free creative sexual energy, reconnect with the wisdom of Uruz and avoid the extinction of your amazing glorious human self.
It’s time. The great wheel has turned. What needs to die, be harvested, right now in your life so that something else can live?
The rune Jera carries the wisdom that is present in the earth at the time of harvest, the wisdom that reminds us that ripening cannot be rushed, nor can it be delayed. The word ripe implies completed growth beyond which the process of decay begins. Current efforts to artificially ripen fruit such as melons and tomatoes with ethylene gas result in food that is tasteless, unsatisfying, and possibly toxic. Have you tried to force something to ripen? Harvest is a time of discernment, of paying attention, to life, to the seasons, to circumstances. Perhaps you have tilled the soil, planted, watered, weeded. Perhaps you are wanting to gather from nature’s bounty. But there are things in life over which you have no control, no matter how much you wish, no matter how positive you are, no matter how much effort you put in or how much worrying you do. Winter never comes early. Spring is never late. These are just expressions we humans use to speak about our personal experience with or memory of how things have been. Jera reminds us that the turning of the wheel is part of a cycle over which we have no control. We all must learn to value both the rest and labor held within the wisdom of the seasons. Threshing is done to separate. Grain is threshed to separate the kernel from the stalk. Both have value. Both are necessary. It takes wisdom to know the difference. What might be the significance of a story in which Loki, who is often called the Trickster, cuts the golden hair of Sif, an earth goddess who was consort to a thunder giant? Was her hair grain? Was it time for it to be harvested? Did Loki play the role of Jera? Was Thor, the storm-god consort of Sif, angry at the turning of the wheel? How could something growing from the earth be replaced with something forged from metal mined by dwarves from the depth of the earth?
In the Great Primal Void, Ginungagap, the place from which all life springs, the spark of creativity was manifested when the fires of Muspelheim and the ice of Niflheim drew close together. Chaos ensued.
And from this chaos the sacred was revealed in the form of organic manifestation.
Chaos is a prelude to creativity according to Matthew Fox. In his book creativity - Where the Divine and the Human Meet, he states, "creativity happens at the border between chaos and order."
This is the wisdom held in the Fehu rune. Creativity always arrives hand in hand with destruction. Energy coming into form is always in motion. A great imbalance occurs in life when we imagine we can hinder or obstruct this movement.