Intro to Runes Class: Providence, RI on Jan. 13

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RUNES!

If you’ll be in the Providence area, I’ll be teaching an Intro to Runes class on the evening of Friday, Jan. 13th (😮) at cool local metaphysical shop Ascension NXT.

I’ll cover the basics of what Runes are, where and when they came from, and what you can do with this ancient set of symbols (clue: divination, meditation, rituals, self-discovery). I’ll post again between now and then, but I figured you might all appreciate the advance notice so you make your travel plans… Please feel free to CONTACT me for more details!

Site Upgrade Underway: Tarot Card Meanings Section!

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Site construction underway…

As a sort of public service to site visitors here, I’ve decided to start building in some free resources.  The first order of business under this heading will be to write up and post a list of generally accepted TAROT CARD MEANINGS.

Full disclosure: I was born and raised in the US, and I spend virtually all of my time in the mode of the English-speaker…and this state of affairs definitely informs my Tarot practice.  With that in mind, I’ll be writing up this section based on studies of the three most influential decks in this English-speaking sector of the Tarot world: the Rider-Waite-Smith deck (“RWS”), the Crowley-Harris Thoth deck (“Thoth”), and the Tarot de Marseilles deck (“TdM”).  To be very clear, though, I realize – and hopefully you will, too – that these are not the only decks in the world, and that people who speak languages other than English as their primary tongues may prioritize other decks than these.  No one way of doing things in this regard should ever be seen as “The Right Way.”

My opening entry for this new section just went up today, with more to follow until I’ve covered all 78 cards in a standard Tarot deck.

Once I pass that milestone, I plan to do a similar Resources page that puts forth generally accepted meanings for the Elder Futhark system of Runes, and I’ll put together yet another section to capture some commonly used meanings for the various symbols that comprise modern Astrology (including the Planets, the Signs, and the Houses).

This will all take some time, so please bear with me!  And any suggestions and requests are more than welcome.  Please reach me via my CONTACT page.

Divination Referencing Divination

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If systems of divination – such as Tarot, Runes, or Astrology – can be seen as microcosms of the larger Universe that they peer into, then doesn’t it make sense that these systems themselves must appear somewhere within their own boundaries? That is, if Tarot, for example, does exist in the Universe, and if Tarot is a model of that Universe…then doesn’t Tarot also have to appear within Tarot?

So where does it do that? And where do the Runes refer to themselves? Where does Astrology talk about…Astrology?

Let’s take these one at a time, starting with Tarot. I believe I first saw the following idea put forth by Mary K. Greer in her book, Tarot for Your Self. The notion here is that Tarot captures itself – among other things – within the borders of the High Priestess card.

This conclusion makes fabulously good sense to me, and feels utterly on point, and I feel certain that I would have landed on this same association for myself even if I’d never read Ms. Greer’s book.

As you may know, The High Priestess is a keeper of arcane knowledge. She sits between the polarities of Light and Dark, and of Life and Death, calmly luminous in her twilight, threshold state, just sort of eternally knowing stuff. I like to think of her as the sort of cosmic Librarian who presides over the vast institution where the Akashic Records are kept. She’s the gatekeeper to all wisdom that ever was, is, could be, and will be…and if you approach her with the right mixture of curiosity and respect, she just might share some of her secrets with you…and couldn’t we say the exact same things about Tarot?

Over in the realm of the Elder Futhark Runes, I direct your attention to the P-Rune, the one called Perthro. This is a very mysterious and very mystical symbol. Some Rune scholars hold that Perthro is arguably an intruder into this Runic alphabet, as there’s some evidence indicating that the Germanic tribespeople who employed the Elder Futhark didn’t actually even have a P-sound in their spoken language! And if that’s the case…then what is that letter doing there? Who invited it, and why…? Well…maybe it’s there to contain all the other letters, is one possibility…

Just look at the shape of it. If you were to rotate it 90 degrees in a counter-clockwise fashion, it would look very much like a Rune pouch sitting on a flat surface, with its mouth slightly open, allowing access to the Runes inside. Visually, then, it certainly feels like a Rune that talks about the Runes.

But also consider the meanings that are most commonly associated with Perthro. It’s directly translated most often as meaning either “dice-cup” or “vulva.” The former term indicates an actual prop that was once used in a game of chance played by the people who worked with the Runes back in their pre-Viking day. The latter term makes reference to the external portion of the female genital anatomy…which has certainly been characterized by no shortage of people as a gateway to mystery! These attributions could definitely be seen as compatible with the possibility that Perthro is where the Runes refer back to themselves.

And in more general terms, when Perthro appears in a reading, it’s taken to mean things like magic, secrets, fertility, and creativity. Again, the overall vibe feels very consistent with a symbol that’s meant to embody the Runes themselves as a whole.

And finally, what about Astrology? Where does this particular esoteric science indicate itself? Probably the most commonly held viewpoint on this one would be that if you want to see Astrology talk about Astrology, you look at the very individualist Planet called Uranus, and also at the symbols most closely associated with it, including the Sign of Aquarius and the Eleventh House.

Uranian energy tends to be very unique and innovative, and it can correlate with instances of genius and eccentricity. It can be very progressive and forward-looking. It often operates like a lightning bolt: it builds in mostly unforeseen fashion, and then erupts in a flash of brilliance…quite like the way in which epiphanies triggered by the study of an astrological chart can manifest.

But like I said, Uranus and its associated symbols are the ones that are most often cited as carrying the energetic signature of Astrology itself…but I don’t know that I see the fit here as being quite as terrifically on point as saying that The High Priestess is the Tarot card that talks about Tarot, or that Perthro is the Rune that encompasses the Runes.

It’s my own belief that in the astrological realm, it makes some sense to see any divinatory system as also correlating with the dreamy Planet, Neptune (not to mention the Sign of Pisces and the mystical Twelfth House). We obviously have no standardized and measurable proofs we can consult when assigning these kinds of values to our divinatory symbols, so much of what we arrive at here will be down to personal taste…but I don’t feel quite as ready to say “Uranus is the astrological symbol of Astrology” as I am ready to champion The High Priestess and Perthro as the self-referencing members of their own respective divinatory sets.

But whatever system of divination you favor, if it’s one of those that involves the use and interpretation of a given set of symbols, you can almost bet that one of those symbols will refer back to the very same system of divination that it hails from. And when these are the specific symbols that start to appear for you with some frequency, it could be a sort of uber-message telling you that you, personally, have some special bond with that particular system, and you might do well to dive into it more deeply…

Come learn Tarot, Runes, or Astrology with me!  I offer PRIVATE LESSONS in these systems, and for Tarot, I also offer the 10-session TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE:

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Chiron Return Runes

IMG_4627After my exact Chiron Return happened the other day, and I had the great Odin dream that I posted about, I decided to scatter a few Runes to get some more info. Here’s the result (except the cluster of three in the center had all landed face-down). It looks to me like some seriously metaphysical stuff lies ahead, overall…

Runes are a great alternative to Tarot cards, by the way, and in my own view, a bit underrated in modern metaphysical circles.  They’re purely symbolic — they’re literally letters from the ancient alphabet that was used by some of the various seafaring Germanic tribespeople that we kind of lump together under the heading of “Vikings” — so they lack the pictorial allure of Tarot cards, but they’re also arguably more primal and more user-friendly for anyone with shamanic leanings.  Well worth investigating!

Odin’s Day

IMG_4022It’s Wednesday…so here’s a fun Wednesday fact… Did you know that Wednesday is named for Odin, the King of the Norse Pantheon of Deities? An incredibly complex and compelling figure, Odin is, among other things, a God of knowledge, magic, war, language, and certain aspects of the afterlife. He has as familiars a pair of Ravens, a pair of Wolves, and an eight-legged Horse, and he also has in his possession a magic Spear and an enchanted Armband. A constant seeker of wisdom, Odin gave up one of his eyes as the price for drinking from a sorcerous wellspring of knowledge, and he engaged in a ritual in which he gored himself with his Spear, then hung himself on the great World Tree for nine days and nights, and at the conclusion of this ordeal, the Runes – an ancient alphabet that represented the birth of written language into existence – appeared on the ground below him. His name in Old English was Woden…so, Woden’s Day then —> Wednesday now. Happy Odin’s Day, everyone!

5 Metaphysical Practices for Promoting Safe Travels

"I met a traveler from an antique land..."
“I met a traveler from an antique land…”

As I type up this particular blog post, I’m sitting in a desk chair several thousand miles and three time zones from my home. This transcontinental journey is all about visiting my family, and as I only made the trek a few days ago, I’ve very recently had my travel responses well-stimulated. And while I very much enjoy being in different places and experiencing different people and cultures, I have to admit that I don’t especially enjoy the “getting there” portion of the proceedings. I’m not as patient as I could be with things like waiting in lines and going through airport security, and I don’t love the panic-inducing phenomenon that airline pilots try to defang with the fairly innocent-sounding label of “turbulence.” With all of this fresh in mind, it seemed only natural to draw up a list of a few practices that travelers can employ so as to bring themselves comfort while they’re roaming…

1)  Invoke St. Christopher. Widely recognized as a patron saint of travelers, St. Christopher is believed to help those who are on the move. Petitioning this saint for help before or during travel via silent prayer or even through spoken requests can be an effective travel aid. People also find great comfort and even good luck while on the road if they take care to wear a medallion or carry along a statuette bearing the likeness of St. Christopher.

A smart-looking cairn in the beautiful setting of Lysfjord, Norway (photo by Andreas Tille).  You probably don't need to build your own cairn this high in order for it to be effective, although if you feel like busting that kind of move, the diligence almost certainly won't hurt your chances of success!
A smart-looking cairn in the beautiful setting of Lysfjord, Norway (photo by Andreas Tille). You probably don’t need to build your own cairn this high in order for it to be effective, although if you feel like busting that kind of move, the diligence almost certainly won’t hurt your chances of success!

2)  Build a Hermes’ Cairn. The great Messenger-God, Hermes, was believed by the ancient Greeks to be another patron-figure for travelers. In one of Hermes’ early exploits, he ends up being buried up to his neck in a pile of small stones. This was considered the first-ever such pile of stones, known as a “cairn.” From that time onward, travelers about to embark on any new voyage would pile up stones by the roadside to create small replicas of that original large cairn. The idea was that making this show of devotion and admiration for Hermes would inspire the God to extend his protection to the traveler as they set out on their journeys. Even in modern times, fashioning a small travel-cairn before setting out on a voyage can be an easily accomplished method of asking the Universe (or Hermes himself) to bless the trip, and to keep the traveler safe from harm.

3)  Utilize Reiki. Reiki is a form of energy healing first discovered in Japan by Dr. Mikao Usui in 1922. This or any similar energy-based modality can be harnessed as a means for improving one’s safety and fortunes while traveling. For example, as a Certified Reiki Master, I tend to cope with the aforementioned ordeal of mid-flight turbulence by calling up Reiki and then visualizing the benevolent energy-field permeating the entire plane and everything in it, keeping us all wrapped lovingly in a benevolent cocoon… The practice definitely has the effect of relaxing me, and while I can’t prove that it’s been the sole cause of my consistently safe travels and landings, I can at the very least offer the fact of my continued existence here on Earth as verification that Reiki doesn’t definitively not work in such instances. The same technique can be applied to any vehicle or any pathway that a traveler might select for their various forays out and about.

Raido.

4)  Perform Raido-based Rune-work. Runes are the letters of an alphabet that was used by the ancient Germanic tribespeople of Northern Europe as both the basis of a written language, and as a set of symbols employed in such magical practices as divination and spell-casting. The fifth Rune in this arcane alphabet, which serves as an equivalent to our own letter “R,” is called Raido, and it literally means “Journey” or “Riding.” It can therefore be used as yet another tool for encouraging probabilities to line up with safe and happy outcomes for travelers. As with Reiki, a traveler might use the Raido-Rune during their wanderings: it’s a very simple matter to trace the shape of the Rune onto one’s own palms or chest or forehead with a fingertip, while focusing on the concept of a fruitful journey. Another possibility would be using Raido before setting off on a journey, much as one might build a Hermes Cairn, so as to essentially bless the imminent voyage. For instance, on the eve of a journey, the traveler might etch the shape of Raido into a candle while focusing on that same notion of a successful trip, and then light the candle, allowing it to burn itself out completely, thereby energizing the safe travel notion, and hopefully bringing it into reality.

Yellow Jasper -- you probably don't need a huge slab to make your point with the Universe, though!  A small piece in your pocket while you travel about will do just fine...
Yellow Jasper — you probably don’t need a huge slab to make your point with the Universe, though! A small piece in your pocket while you travel about will do just fine…

5)  Carry Yellow Jasper. Many metaphysical practitioners make use of the common technique of carrying crystals in order to achieve certain real world effects. Different crystals are believed to bring various energies to bear, and the crystals enthusiast can select different crystals in order to achieve their desired results. In particular, Yellow Jasper is a crystal that seems to have acquired a consensus opinion as a stone of safe travels. This crystal is rather easy to find and is also comparatively affordable, and so it makes an excellent choice for someone wishing to improve their odds of favorable travel experiences through crystal work. Even something as simple as carrying one in your pocket or in a bag as you make your way from one place to another can be a very effective tool, but crystals also have the benefit of playing well with other modalities. That is, you might pour Reiki through a piece of Yellow Jasper while you’re en route during a trip…or you could try drawing Raido on that same piece with your finger as you go…or if you can afford it, you could even see what kind of travel results you might net for yourself if you were to build a small Hermes Cairn made solely of pieces of Yellow Jasper!

These are just a few ideas for using metaphysical concepts to improve your travel experiences and to augment your chances for safe passage whenever you’re on the go. Please feel free to share any additional such ideas of your own with me here…and whenever you travel, vaya con Diosas y Dios!

How to do a Rune Reading — Conclusion

Like the circle, the Runes can be deceptively simple, and yet also as complex as life itself...and if you meditate upon either, you can find real illumination!
Like the circle, the Runes can be deceptively simple, and yet also as complex as life itself…and if you meditate upon either, you can find real illumination!

We’ve now covered all of the steps that I run through when performing a Rune reading.  I figured I’d wrap up the series with a summary for use as a handy reference resource for anyone interested in traveling deeper into explorations with the Runes…

I should stress again that this is my own personal process, arrived at after several years of working with the Runes on a daily basis.  Other people will do things differently — you might choose to do things differently.  And that’s all completely fair and legit.  There are a lot of valid methodologies out there, and I only offer mine as a hopefully clear and accessible starting point for anyone who happens upon it in their own quest to learn how to use this outstanding system.

So with all that disclaimer-y language out of the way, here, again, are the major steps in my own Rune reading process:

1)  Use your favorite method for getting yourself sufficiently centered and grounded.
2)  Focus on your question while you mix up the Runes in their bag or pouch, and then select a small handful of them.
3)  Cast them down onto your designated reading surface.
4)  Take note of how many Runes you ended up choosing: a relatively small number may mean that the issue you’re probing into has only a few primary core points, while a larger number of Runes could indicate a more complicated situation with a lot more moving parts.
5)  Examine the overall shape of the scatter of Runes.  Clues here can arise from the way in which the Runes dispersed: are they arrayed uniformly about the space, or did you end up with a few denser clumps and clusters?  And does the shape of the scatter suggest anything to you?  Does it resemble a geometric shape, or more of a free-form blob?  Do the Runes seem to converge to or from a single point, or does it all seem more purely random?  You can then apply the answers to these questions toward the underlying question that you asked at the outset of the Rune-cast.
6)  Evaluate the meanings of the Runes that landed face-up — in my view, these themes will play out in more obvious fashion in the situation that’s being assessed.
7)  Turn over and then evaluate the meanings of the Runes that landed face-down — again, in my own view, the forces symbolized by these Runes will manifest in much more subtle ways than the forces embodied by the Runes that landed with their faces already revealed.
8)  Try to tie all of the individual Rune meanings together into a more cohesive whole as you again refer back to the original question you were asking.  Can you conjure up a workable tapestry of meaning, or a linear narrative…?
9)  Consider the orientations of each of the Runes…  Are they all more or less facing in the same direction (which can signify that the things they represent will be working in a fairly unified and harmonious way), or did they land in a sort of chaotic shambles (which might mean that the underlying situation being scrutinized is also a bit of a messy affair, with component parts that are working against each other)…?
10) If the concept of merkstave Runes is one that resonates with you, locate any Runes that landed so as to be rotated 180 degrees away from you, and then adjust their meanings accordingly (see Part 8 in this series).
11) Similarly, if you find value in analyzing how each of the three Aettir are represented in the spread as compared to the others, this is an excellent juncture for working through that process (see Part 9).
12) Finally, you can translate the Runes in the scatter into their English equivalents, and then try rearranging them into anagrams, to see if you can land on some additional relevant words and phrases (see Part 10).

The Valknut: symbol of Odin, the All-Father, Conjuror and Master of the Runes!
The Valknut: symbol of Odin, the All-Father, Conjuror and Master of the Runes!

Once you’ve made your way through all of these steps, basically in that order…you’ve performed a bona fide Rune reading!  You should practice, practice, practice, but using this template as your guide, you should be able to gain confidence in reading the Runes, and you’ll eventually reach a level of knowledge and skill at which you can modify the process to suit your growing expertise.

I’m considering doing a series of posts in which I offer up my own take on what each individual Rune signifies, but until I get that series up and running, you can also comb the internet for Rune meanings, or you can track down any of several excellent books on the subject.  My own personal favorite is Taking Up the Runes by Diana Paxson.  This is an especially good book because Ms. Paxson not only offers up her own thoughtful interpretations of each of the Runes, but she also summarizes the views of many of the other authors who are regarded as luminaries in the field (in other words, you can start with her book first, and get some sense of what the other Rune authorities say, too, without also having to shell out mega-heaps of dough for all of their books…you can always get those later, if any of them pique your interest).

And there you have it — if you’ve followed this series all the way through to this point, you may not be a true vitki just yet, but you should be on course toward that end!  Please feel free to comment here, or to reach out to me with any questions.  I hope that at least some of you reading this will end up getting as much out of the Runes as I do!

Intrigued by the Runes?  Purchase a Rune reading with me here!