It’s a dark, cold night. The fires are lit in the hearth of the mead hall. Straw and reeds are strewn on the floor and dogs wander about looking for scraps of food. The long, heavy benches are drawn up alongside the scarred and worn oak tables. The game board is laid out. You have your pieces and I have mine. We each know the rules. You can sit there and ponder, strategize, calculate and project, even imagine what it is you think I will do, what move I will make, but at some point you must reach in the pouch and gather up the dice and then roll them. You must take action. You must we willing to play the game. And then, only then, will you know what moves to make and then, only then, will you be able to see the unfolding because as you make your moves then I too must make mine and both of us must step into the realm of the unknown and into the game of life. And so we begin.
Pertho is the rune of chance, of birth and beginnings, of something coming forth from the pouch that is the known as well as the unknown. Look at her shape. She’s the woman crouching in childbirth; she’s the pouch that holds the dice that are rolled in the game of life.
The things that are known are the board, the pieces, and the rules. But we can’t just wait for the unknown to be revealed. We must participate in the play.
Spirituality isn’t just about being serious. It’s inseparably linked to our creativity and our sexuality.
The gods want us to play with them, to join them in the long halls, noisy, loud, boisterous, with all the smells and tastes and the sounds and sights of life. They want us to play with them, knowing that there are no guarantees, no assurances of what the roll of the dice will unfold or reveal or how the pieces will be moved.
Our spirituality must be playful and risk-taking. It’s detrimental to our wellbeing to get caught in pious, trite sayings, such as, ‘it must be your karma’, or ‘you must have chosen this thing so you could learn a lesson’, or even worse, 'it was God's will'.
I always wonder why it is that these supposed lessons we have to learn are always about suffering or pain or struggle. Have you ever heard anyone say it must be a lesson you’re supposed to learn when things go really well for you or your life is incredibly wonderful?
Our lives aren’t just a predetermined set of events. No, we play the game of life with the gods and it’s our participation with them and our willingness that determines and changes the outcome over and over again. Yes, there are threads of Wyrd that have been spun and woven before us but we get to spin and weave our own threads into this tapestry creating our own patterns.
For me, this is Pertho. The rune of chance. The rune that reminds me of the Nornir. She sits by the well in the roots of the World Tree. She was there before the gods. She knows what cannot be changed and she knows what can. Even the gods must consult with her prior to handing out decisions or decrees.
I follow Pertho down into the dark, into the earth, into the roots of the tree.
I follow Pertho down to the well, to the waters that hold the ancient wisdom of the runes.
I follow Pertho down to learn what I need to know about my willingness to roll the dice and to take a chance.
It is she who plays with you as you roll the dice with the gods, in the mead hall, on those dark, wintery nights, when the dogs doze and warm themselves in front of the fire.
Are you willing to roll the dice? Are you willing to play?
The gods demand both play and sacrifice.
Let Pertho take you down to the well.
title Photo by Amaury Gutierrez on Unsplash