A Very Pretentious Title: Lost Teachings of the Runes
Does the title of my book imply that the book holds the lost teachings? Or does it perhaps merely posit the idea that there are lost teachings and therefore invite the reader to go on a personal search?
My original title was Beyond The Horizon, Beneath Our Feet.
The publisher didn't like it, didn't think it would sell.
The publisher had the final say, so Lost Teachings it was/is.
Just wondering, pondering.
Observations and variations on a recent review of the book and subsequent comments.
Adherence to and reliance upon what is historically written holds value, and yet at the same time it can be quite limiting and myopic, not unlike depending solely upon the Bible for our understanding of history.
History is always a matter of perspective, often written by the victors, often second-hand accounts related by observers, not participants and in the case of spiritual matters, non-believers.
It is prudent and wise to guard against the tendency of monotheism so prevalent in Odinism. Our ancestors were animists, polytheists. To be sure, Odin speaks to some sharing what he knows, and is that not his personal interpretation? Hela speaks to others, from a different place, from her perspective.
As ancient, sentient, vibrational beings, the runes speak for themselves, sometimes through the gods, sometimes through the giants. But why would we believe that it is always necessary to have an intermediary? Sharing our own personal and unique experiences may not be a cause for confusion but rather encourage others to value and explore more deeply their own relationships and connections.
And is confusion a problem or a benefit?
Were the rune poems written as memory aids?
Does their order or sequence serve the same purpose?
Asking different questions allows for seeking different answers.
Perhaps the answer is the question.
…Runes you will find, and readable staves,
Very strong staves,
Very stout staves,
Staves that Bolthor stained,
Made by mighty powers,
Graven by the prophetic god,
For the gods by Odhinn, for the elves by Dain,
By Dvalin, too, for the dwarves,
By Asvid for the hateful giants,
And some I carved myself…
(excerpt from W. H .Auden & P. B. Taylor Translation of the Havamal)
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.
Equal And Extreme
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?
Blood Sacrifice and An Eye
Odin went to the Tree and supposedly he hung there, without food or drink, and then he stabbed himself with some sharp instrument. A blood sacrifice? For what purpose? To gain the runes? To save the world? Not unlike the story of another male god who hung on a tree and got stabbed.
We women can go to the Tree and have access to the Wisdom that is guarded by the Nornir, in the Wells, in the Roots. We don't have to stab ourselves to bleed. We do it naturally; it is our nature. Our bleeding is the Source from which new life emerges.
And why would Odin offer up one of his eyes to gain Thought and Memory? Did he not know that we see with our mind's eye and remember with our hearts?
What's Being Created?
Life is the ebb and flow, the in and out of the tide. It’s the Os rune. It's the Isa rune. It’s freeze and melt, destroy and create. Instead of placing our fear-based focus on the changes taking place, perhaps ask instead, what’s being created? What will emerge this time as the fire melts the ice? It’s happened before. It is happening now. It will happen again. Life emerged from the chaos of Muspelheim and Niflheim coming together. Land is created when the volcano erupts, destroying everything. Ice melted in the past. It filled the great aquifers. That’s why we call it glacial water.
As the ice is melting, more and more runes are being revealed.
What Happened To The Cow, Audhumla? Did a Catholic Monk Write Her Out Of The Creation Story?
My popular class The Runes Revealed is being offered for the first time as an online option. One of the unique aspects of the work I do with the runes is my questioning of the commonly held beliefs about the runes and the misplaced focus on Odin. This male-centric view of the runes and Norse mythology is blatantly evident in the Norse creation story.
Are you willing to explore this story, read against the grain so to speak, and view it through a different lens?
Here is the introduction to the course, The Runes Revealed - an (un) familiar journey.
Register for the class now.
You are about to embark on a journey with the runes.
This online course is divided into 11 sessions. Each session focuses on 3 runes.
Traditionally, the runes appear in a sequence. However, if you imagine them to be part of a circle, there is no beginning and no ending and what that means for you is that you can work with the sessions in whatever way you choose.
You may face challenges and obstacles along the way. You may get discouraged, overwhelmed or frightened and consider giving it up before you finish.
You will be asked to question things you believe about the runes as well as things that are customarily taught about them.
You will be asked to question things you believe in general and then question whether these beliefs are truly yours or just an accident of your birth.
Some of the information here may feel controversial or confrontational.
We need that. We need to step away from the blinding light of higher consciousness in order to see the wisdom that is held in the darkness of the roots and well.
There is no right way or wrong way to do the course.
Do it at your own pace, fast or slow.
Do it when you feel like it.
Do it when you don’t feel like it.
Take time to answer the questions.
Take time to find new questions.
If you begin to see rune shapes that you don’t recognize, draw them as best you can and write them down. Don’t ignore or discount them. There are countless numbers of runes, not unlike the stars in the sky. So far, we are familiar with only a few of them. Trust that it is possible that new runes are being revealed to you. When you see them or feel them, make note of when you see them, in what context, and observe what was happening around you.
Create altars for the runes as you work with them and come to know them.
Look for them.
They will begin to show up in your life, in strange as well as familiar places.
Cracks in sidewalks.
Shapes in clouds.
Scratches on the furniture.
Ice crystals that form on you windows.
Look at them through different eyes. Take off the distorted lenses of patriarchal interpretation, in history, in academia, in archaeology. Read between the lines and go against the grain. Remove them from the grasping clutches of Odin and see what is missing. What were they, where were they, before he came on the scene. The runes were there, long before Odin came forth.
Imagine them as multi-faceted crystal shapes that hang suspended in the great void. Draw them. Make madalas with them.
Create designs. Try using graph paper.
See how they form and inform each other.
Don’t limit them by imagining they are a mere alphabet to be used to write your name. See them instead as the signatures of primal, powerful, complex beings that have much to teach about life and creation and death and destruction.
Soften your gaze and see them as they were, woven into the Web of Wyrd by the great Nornir.
When you have a question or want to learn more, don’t go first to a book. Take the time instead to sit in silence, and perhaps in darkness, with the runes and see what they have to show you, what they have to tell you.
You can learn about someone by reading a book but to truly know someone, you must communicate with them yourself.
Create altars for the runes as well as for the multitude of beings who exist in relationship with them.
If a certain rune is calling to you, consider marking it on your body and living with it for awhile. Or make a piece of jewelry with the rune shape and wear it.
Create a set of rune flags, perhaps by painting their shapes on fabric and then hang them over your porch or doorway, or in your window instead of Tibetan prayer flags.
Drum with them and the ancestors. Create your own rune song.
Look for artists who make art that honors the Northern Traditions and buy from these artists.
Become conscious and aware of rune wisdom and look for ways to live in harmony with it in your daily life.
Live with them. Live in relationship with them.
Invite them in. Let them know they are welcome in you home.
Reclaim your heritage.
Heal the ancestral grief we all suffer from because we have forgotten the great spiritual traditions of Northern Europe.
I am available to work with individuals privately, either by phone or in person. If you’d like to schedule time with me, send an email.
I will respond to your request, usually within 48 hours.
Ingrid, the Rune Woman
Changing Lives With Ancient Wisdom
For more information about the class and to Register, click here.
Memory is a powerful thing. Without it, we don’t know who we are.
The cup holds many things and when it’s full to overflowing, do you partake of it all or do you partake and then pour out the rest?
Sigyn’s cup catches and holds the venom that drips on Loki, caustic and punishing. Even the smallest droplets burn her hands and when she leaves for only a moment to empty it, Loki writhes in pain.
There are the bowls that hold the Mead of Poetry, made from honey and the blood of Kvasir who was formed from chewed berries and the communal spittle of the gods.
There is the Cauldron of Aegir where the beer for the gods is brewed. There are containers that hold the blood of warriors and containers that carry the blood of sacrifice.
There is the gilded aurochs horn filled with the fermented liquid carried by Freya, she who receives the dead into her hall Sessrumnir, found on the field of Folkvangr and it is from this gilded horn we all must drink in the sacred marriage of death.
What are the contents of your mead cup? Who holds it for you? Or do you carry it yourself? And when it’s full, do you drink from it before you pour it out? Or are the contents something other than liquid?
To remember is to honor. To honor is to offer something up.
I stand on the mound pouring out an offering to the gods, an offering given in exchange. The endless cycle. The skeletal remains of ancient sea creatures compressed by the weight of ages form chalk and chalk fertilizes the earth where the crops grow and we are fed. We are blood and bone and we return ultimately to the ancient seas that nurtured the sea creatures that became chalk.
Looking at Calc you might see, instead of the upturned container, the three roots of the World Tree Yggdrasil. Others do. Each of the three roots grows into a different well, Urdarbrunnr, Hvergelmir and Mimisbrunnr. At some time in the far distant past, which is also the future, did Calc contain something valuable and sacred that was poured out into the wells that water the roots that water the tree? And if so, what was it? And where did it come from? Was it the contents of your cup?
Pouring something onto the ground nourishes the ancestors as well for that’s where they’re buried. How do you honor your ancestors and their memory? How do you feed the World Tree? What are you willing to pour out when Calc appears among the runes?
title Photo by Amaury Gutierrez on Unsplash