It’s not true that there’s more happiness in giving than there is in receiving. One can’t exist without the other and because of that, they are equal. To accept is as significant and as valuable as to receive. Whenever you hear someone mouth the above phrase, (it’s from the Bible actually) it might be valuable to stop and ask the question, ‘who’s benefiting from such a belief?’ The Gebo rune holds within itself the energy of equal exchange, both the giving and the receiving. For the ancient people of the runes, the act of giving was considered to be noble, highly meaningful. Hospitality often meant the difference between life and death for the traveler or the wanderer. Not only did hospitality need to be extended, it needed to be accepted as well. The acceptance was as binding as the giving. Both acted as a pledge. The essence of Gebo also offers us a great reminder that not everything that is offered in the form of a gift is actually a gift. Take a look around your own life and see how this might show up. Have you ever been given a gift that was something you really didn’t like, didn’t want, didn’t need and would never use? But you still have it. Why? Because you’re being held hostage by the hook that was embedded in the gift. “I can’t get rid of it. My mother-in-law gave it to me and she’d be devastated.” “My brother would really have his feelings hurt if I didn’t keep this.” “My best friend carried this all the way from (fill in the blank) in her suitcase and I would never dare tell her I hate the color.” Such examples might seem trivial but they’re simple examples of instances where the energy of Gebo is out of balance. If you feel obligated to keep something then it wasn’t a gift. And what about the times you’re the giver? I worked with a woman once where the presence of Gebo in the reading had to do with her caretaking of her brother who had cancer. She had actually moved in with him in order to provide care but she was really angry. When we got down to the root of the matter, she was angry because he wasn’t willing to do things around his health and possible recovery in the way she thought was best. What Gebo helped to reveal was that her gift of caretaking was conditional. It wasn’t being given freely because there was an expectation of how he was supposed to behave. It was really hard for her to admit this but she had to become clear about it herself in order to know how to do things differently. Using the energy of the Teiwaz rune which was also present in the reading, I asked her to speak the truth, first to herself. Would she only take care of him if he behaved a certain way or would she take care of him no matter what his choices were? Telling the truth to herself allowed her to remove the hook from the gift. Gain is not possible without loss. Every decision requires that you release one thing simultaneously as you accept something new. This is the power that exists in giving and receiving. Are you bound by it? Are you obligated by it? The giving of a gift can also be in the form of a challenge. Hierarchy, status and pride can be bound up in the giving of a gift. As stated by the rune worker Galina Krasskova: “Gebo is that which demands a price, the energy involved in paying that price, and receiving in exchange. It is the acknowledgement that a gift is indeed a dangerous thing." What are your thoughts on this? Gebo will speak to you when you decide to work with the runes. What sacrifice are you willing to make in exchange for the wisdom you seek from them?