©2022 Michael Raven

time to delve
deep into
shadows & caves
slip into woods'
hallowed hollows

time to dig dirt
lift lichen stone
ride fierce winds
& drink of deep pools
dream harder alone

time to open dolmen doors
& to shift betwixt
eldritch planes
breathe outré
& write new songs

24 Meditations and —

©2021 Michael Raven

Twenty-four runes reflected on. Huh.

I hadn’t really thought about going about writing about each rune as I tried to get more intimately familiar with the meanings until I started doing it. Then, it seemed an obvious thing to do and continue doing. Pick the next rune, read up on the meaning, write up an interpretation on the meaning after considering what was said about it, write the name and find the public domain image for it, and hope each rune started to stick better than when I read my first book on the subject.

Did it stick? Some of it did, although I’ll admit that Freya’s aett is already basically a lost cause with respect to recalling the names and the meanings after some twenty days since I last looked at any of them with any kind of intensity — and yet, I find myself being remarkably surprised by what I do recall when I dig into the runes for other reasons.

My little poetic reflections are probably not directly related to the meaning — and intentionally so. As I looked up each rune for the day, I used a number of sources and it became clear that interpretation was highly individualized and dependent upon not only the sources used to develop meaning, but on the focus of each author’s sensibilities about the matter. Even tarot has that issue to some degree… People will have some generalized agreement about the core concept, but almost no one seems to agree terribly much about the interpretive elements of each card. It is the same with runes. In fact, one of the authors I consulted explicitly stated that rune meanings and interpretations are highly individualized as the runesmith uses each rune and begins to apply meaning to each rune. In that spirit, I will admit that’s probably what happened with me. Each understanding was influenced by those events and relationships around me and, while I mostly stuck to the overall concepts when I wrote my reflections, those interpretations were highly malleable.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

Such is the nature of a shamanic approach to various mystical paths…

And, if nothing else, I do approach the spirit world with a irreverence for ritual and concrete systems, preferring a more flexible and fluid approach. That probably is influenced by the Taoist concept of the rigid versus the flexible: in a strong wind, tree branches will break and, in fact, trees are subject to uprooting when they are most inflexible and rigid; it is the bamboo that moves with the strong wind, offers up little resistance and is generally spared such things. Or, as Bruce Lee famously said: “Be water, my friend”.

I dislike rigid, purist interpretations and application of anything. I find that tying yourself to rote ritual and strict definitions of concepts is a foolish way to approach an everchanging and fluid world. Thing must change, have some give, or they will eventually break.

So it was with my approach (is my approach) with runes. My own interpretations are wrong inasmuch as they do not follow strict interpretations handed down by dusty scholars who actually know little more than I do about the matter and are making up the bulk of what something means based on informed conjecture on the shoulders of those, yet older, dusty old scholars who came before them. Such is the way of things when you adopt a reconstructed belief system that was blasted out of existence over 1000 years ago. We don’t know for certain (or even remotely, honestly) what our forebears believed. We can only surmise, and that is colored by the very systems that were intent on destroying the cultures of people it encountered. It seems egotistical in the extreme to assume we know beyond a shadow of a doubt what any symbol might or might not mean. So why try to codify such things when you can never know how correct you attempts to codify are compared to the reality of times long past?


So… what do I do now with these runes?

While I actually was all about getting ready to cast some runes after this exercise, I have second thoughts about that. I generally think the runes are rich enough to begin investigating deeper. Rather than doing spirit work with the runes, tossing them and reading them as past/present/future (which is counter to what the Northern Tradition implies about the nature of time and wyrd), I think it might be more interesting to toss them and select pairs and meditate on the interrelationships of the two selected, then write some micropoetry about that relationship. Not only will it start to reinforce the names and generalized concepts behind each rune, but then it gives me an opportunity to delve into relationships. And, by adding the element of chance into it, I am offered the opportunity to explore the impact of wyrd on the results of the toss. What does the interwoven nature of the universe say tonight? That, ultimately, forces the learning curve forward a bit and gets me to think outside of a rigid system.

So, I think I’ll continue this little experiment on the site, see what comes up on a daily basis and keep it short. For those of you who seem to enjoy my earlier experiment with runic reflection and meditation, I hope you continue to star my posts. For those of you less enthusiastic, I do promise not to take up too much of your time with this thing.