I recently did a reading where both Cweorth and Ear appeared. The question they asked of the young man sitting with me was, what do you need to burn in your life this fall and what do you need to bury?
He gave me permission to post the poem he wrote, after our session.
You may wish to explore this question in your own life as well.
When things have come to an end, no longer serve us, no longer bring us joy or satisfaction, they need to be returned so their energies, their essences, their particles can be reused to bring forth something new. This is neither bad nor good. It just is.
Leaves fall from the tree when they're done.
So don't think you need to burn or bury only those things that you consider negative or bad.
The wisdom is, how to let go of something when it's finished so something new can grow.
Burn or Bury
warmth in the chill
death and the kill
pile it all up
dig deep and toil
some need ignition
some require soil
Winter demands loss
life requires Winter
collect all the crops
Nick Xavier, Freelance Writer, World Traveler 2018
*Photo of burning newspaper by Elijah O'Donnell on Unsplash
Perhaps we need to ask Surt what he has in mind at this time as things are heating up again on the earth. What new creations will arise from this global warming? To be sure, we humans have played our part in what’s unfolding but perhaps Surt has now taken over and is fanning the flames. He may even have a special agreement with Kari, the North Wind that we humans aren’t privy to.
This is the power of Cweorth, a fire so hot it burns the flesh away from bone leaving only ash.
In the end, which is also the beginning according to the stories, the cyclical destruction of the cosmos will be led by Surt. It was fire in the beginning and it will be fire in the end.
Kenaz is the fire inside.
Nauthiz is the fire brought forth from necessity.
Cweorth is the fire of what must be, destruction and creation occurring at the same time.
Do you carry any of Surt’s bloodline? It shows up in interesting places. Laufy knows. She gave birth to Loki who carries the bloodline of his fire-giant father Farbauti. Sometimes it’s quite evident in humans who are glass blowers, fire fighters or blacksmiths.
In the end the gods will be consumed.
In the end Surt will remain.
In the end there will be fire because fire cannot be destroyed.
There are some things in life that need to be buried, offered up to the earth where they’re slowly broken down and used.
There are some things in life that need to be burned, quickly consumed, smoke rising up, leaving only a pile of ash.
When you develop a relationship with Cweoth, as well as the rune Ear, you will learn to know the difference.
Our Northern European ancestors lived in a harsh, unforgiving world where it was dark and cold almost half the year. They revered the gods and spirits of the land. They honored and respected fire because it was essential for survival. And in fact it still is, even if we in modern times have forgotten that. We are arrogantly disconnected from it, perhaps even forgetting about the necessity of its presence.
When was the last time you honored the spirits of fire when you flipped on the light switch, adjusted your heater's thermostat or enjoyed a bowl of steaming soup?
Fire is never still. It creates through destruction and in that destruction smoke is released. The earth breaks things down slowly through rot and decay. Fire breaks things down rapidly to the smallest of particles.
Some ancient cultures have stories about how humans stole fire from the gods. Not so for us of the Northern Traditions. Fire was always a part of our world. In fact it is part of our creation story.
Fire is alive; we can never master or contain it. And just like the ocean, we must never turn our back on fire nor take it for granted.
Two runes that are intimately connected with fire are Nauthiz and Cweorth.
Here are the poems I wrote for them. They are part of the collection of my 33 original rune poems found in my book the (un) familiar.
'summoned by need
gaunt from starvation
from the cave
you are a hungry rune
fueled by bitter necessity
fierce with determination
sparks ancestral memory
ancient fires ignite'
it is you
fire of Surt
who consumes the gods
in the end
your concern is
what must be
burn my flesh away
leaving only ash'
A great resource of information about Spirit Work In The Norse Tradition is the book Neolithic Shamanism by Raven Kaldera and Galina Krasskova. Chapter 7 The Red World is about the spirits of Fire.