We all eventually hang on the barbed arms of Ear and we must all smell death, the dire necessity, the outcome of life, over which we have no choice.
Even those who eat no flesh eventually must come to know that in the end they will be eaten. All things live because of death. Our bodies return to the ground so they can be consumed, broken down into the elements and then be reused to grow the food that feeds all things living.
There is no rank in death. We may be remembered for what we’ve done during our lifetime but in the end we are of no importance other than to feed the earth.
Ear is connected to Othila who reminds us that the land feeds us the bones of our ancestors. Ear is often referred to as the rune of the grave and the grave doesn't give anything back.
It’s the rune of the slow process of breaking down.
It’s the rune of the end result, which is also the beginning.
Ear speaks to us of Hela, she who is cold and objective, she who is often considered unfair and uncompassionate. Her appearance, her very form which is half alive and half rotting flesh, reminds us that she does not hold with any kind of denial around death.
It’s still a common practice in the United States to embalm bodies prior to burial. It's a costly process that uses large quantities of toxic chemicals that eventually leak their way into the ground. Embalming makes the dead body presentable, and odorless and delays the decomposition of the corpse. In some ways it’s a trickery, causing the living to imagine the person is only asleep, thus prolonging the denial of death. This rune may appear to challenge your beliefs and attitudes around the treatment of your physical body once you die.
Does denial of the effects of death cause us to be out of harmony with Ear? Does this denial feed our desire to retard or somehow prevent the natural process of rot and decay?
Are we afraid to look at the natural face of death?
Some things need to be burned.
Some things need to be offered up in high places so the birds of prey can peck and tear and eat.
Some things need to be buried.
Sometimes we lay the body out on the kitchen table so to speak and forget that it's supposed to be buried. Ear will remind us.
When was the last time you dug deep down into the earth, below the topsoil to the place of burial?
What hangs on the barbed arms of Ear?
What have you been forced to offer up to the earth?
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title Photo by Amaury Gutierrez on Unsplash