I was browsing Pinterest and found a post featuring a Rune Chain crafted for home protection & goals. I thought it was a really innovative way to use runes as decor, especially the combining of runes into multi-meaning symbols (kind of like sigils). I am very interested in how people create tools and objects that ‘hold’ their intent, and this seemed like such a wonderful idea that I had to see if I could make it work for me. I am so pleased with how well it turned out!
In the original post, the author was very thorough in laying out all of her steps, so I won’t cover that again. The part that interested me most was the actual crafting of the runes and how they were combined, so that’s what I am going to focus on in my post.
Here’s a disclaimer that I feel like I should probably make: I am in no way a rune-work expert. Other than a couple of classes I’ve attended on runes, and a couple of craft days where I made sets of runes, that’s about the extent of my knowledge. They’re not a thing that I use terribly often, though I have gone through phases in the past where I’ve been more interested in using and working with them.
That said, I really like them: the having of them and holding and handling of them. I like the way they’re shaped and formed, and find them incredibly visually appealing. I like them for their simplicity and their complexity. On the surface, runes are a fairly straightforward type of tool. They can be used to create words and text, or cast for their divinatory meaning, or used on a daily basis as a meditation focus or ‘wisdom/warning of the day’ type of practice. On a deeper level, runes carry ancient memory and meaning. Using them ties the practitioner to an ancient history, and sometimes that connection is felt more than others. I like divinatory tools with more than one meaning, and runes fit that profile. To some degree, the interpretation of the runes – be it a single drawn rune for the day or a casting – is left up to the practitioner to interpret. Those interpretations vary according to so many factors, and it is that kind of personalization of practice that appeals to me so very much. That’s why this project spoke to me with such a loud voice!
I spent some time looking up the meanings of various runes, and deciding on words, meanings and aspects of their meaning that I liked. As I wrote and doodled, I found runes that worked well together or complimented each other and worked out how I wanted to combine them. Once I had a few that represented the main ideas I wanted to bring to life in the chain, I drew them in the order I planned to arrange them in on a piece of paper. Then I created a word cluster for each of my created symbols, which helped me decide what aspects I wanted to draw on, and how the runes worked together to create a specific or more focused meaning.
To start with, I created a rune symbol that combines ‘Algiz’, ‘Eihwaz’, and ‘Jera’. I really like her concept of ‘binding runes’, but I tweaked her meaning a bit; rather than a rune that reinforced the symbol above it, I chose to create a binding rune that reinforces the entire chain, and is repeated throughout it as a central feature. My binding rune pulls on the parts of the runes used throughout the chain to ensure that the goals expressed in the chain are reasonable, and that the efforts we put into realizing them are matched with the strength to see them through. There’s a protective/defensive element as well; to protect our home and family, both physically and spiritually.
I made my chain with 6 binding runes. I began the chain with it, and ended it with a binding rune, to reinforce the intent and purpose of the chain. The binding rune is also between each rune and the next, to reinforce the strength of will and restate the intent.
The second rune (and the next to the last rune) is the most complex. I am calling this the ‘marriage rune’. It’s another type of binding rune, and holds space both in the beginning and end of the chain. My husband and I celebrated 18 years of marriage (and over 20 of coupledom) the first week of August, and our marriage is the platform from which every other aspect of our home and family are built upon. It is the stable base that serves as the foundation for every aspect our lives. It is the thing without which our family would not exist, and is therefore absolutely central to anything else that will happen in our home. From that perspective, this is perhaps the most important rune form in my chain.
The runes I chose to create this symbol are ‘Ehwaz’, ‘Mannuz’, ‘Dagaz’, ‘Gebo’, ‘Wunjo’, ‘Ingwaz’, and ‘Othala’. Combined in this way, the symbol draws on the individual aspects of each of the runes used to create it to reflect the importance of, strengthen and protect our bond and union as the touchstone of our family, as well as calling on the elements of the individual runes that speak to home life, communication, harmony and joy.
After the binding runes and marriage rune, there are three focused runes, intended to reinforce the values we favor in our home, and what we want for our children, separated (and reinforced) by the binding rune between each of the three focused runes.
The first, I call the ‘prosperity’ rune. It is made up of ‘Fehu’ and ‘Uruz’. There’s an element of good fortune and luck tied to this one, but also the wisdom and vision to make sound investments and financial decisions. There’s a fair amount of self-direction as well, and since independence and leadership are two things I value for my children, I think that makes for a good combination to represent prosperity in both a financial sense and generally-in-life sense.
The second rune, I’m jokingly calling the ‘upward mobility’ symbol, and is made up of ‘Raido’ and ‘Kenaz’. In reality, it would probably better be described as the ‘self-actualization’ rune. Raido is traditionally the ‘travel’ and ‘protection in travel’ rune, which works for my kids’ futures as they’re getting to the age where plans for college and embarking on their own journeys outside of our little nuclear family are imminent. More than that, though, I am calling on the ability to see the right move and make it, and the power that is inborn within them (and in all of us) to shape our own futures into happy and successful ones. I very much want both of my children to find their calling – to find the thing or things that make their souls happy. I want them to find their unique rhythm, and their place within the rhythm of the world, and thrive there.
The third symbol is my ‘strength and endurance’ rune. It’s made up of ‘Pertho’ and ‘Nauthiz’. Pertho calls again on being able to determine your future path, and Nauthiz for self-reliance, strength and endurance. Though I am not ashamed to call on good fortune and blessings, I know that a happy life isn’t just handed to you; it takes work – and often a lot of it. Along your path, there are adversities that help shape you into the person you will become, and help you see yourself more clearly; to become who you are ultimately meant to be. Mental illness runs in my family, and it is with a realistic eye that I recognize that my children may also struggle with mental health issues, however much I hope that they escape them. Strength sometimes means accepting weakness and asking for help; endurance means recognizing when you need to stop or slow down so that you can rest and regroup before continuing on. It is those qualities that I call on in this symbol, for my children and for myself.
Finishing the chain are the marriage rune again, and the last binding rune, to seal the chain and reiterate the intent and purpose of it.
Last week (last night when I started this post) was the Full Moon in Aquarius. I took my oracle cards out, my moon journal, and my rune chain to cleanse and charge it under the light of the full moon, with palo santo and sage to smudge. It was such a pretty night; fresh from rain all day, but a clear sky towards the evening. Afterwards, I hung the chain on the back of our front door, so it’s visible every day as we come and go.
For the ‘D’ prompts at the Pagan Blog Project, I decided to write about diversity in the pagan community, and also about divination. Since the Project is supposed to take two weeks, with the same letter for two weeks, and I am coming in late in the Project, I am combining both of my topics into one post.
I will probably write again about divination as a separate topic in the future because it can be such a lengthy one, but for the purposes of this post, I am going to limit the topic to what I have experience with or interest in rather than re-capping the many divinatory methods.
To start with, I wanted to write about diversity within the Pagan community. In my area, the word and concept of ‘diversity’ often gets met with the stink eye. There are all kinds of old hostilities in this area – from racial to class/economic, from political to parental, from educational to religious ones. When you make it known that such things do not matter to you, or that you recognize that such mindsets exists but that they’re not ones you subscribe to, it creates its own kind of tension in some circles.
I am most fortunate in the circles I run in refrain (for the most part) from getting mired down in such limiting world-views. The communities that I have chosen to surround myself are like-minded in that they value the different viewpoints and ideas that other people’s paradigms bring to the table. Though my personal views are my own, I can absolutely see how they’ve shifted over the years, from education and research, to simple exposure to a broader range of people, culture and ideas, and I am so grateful that they have. As my experiences have shaped me, so have they shaped my views – from everything to what religion I claim to how I raise my children, to what I believe is just and moral and Right ™.
Perhaps one of these groups I am most grateful for is my local Teaching Circle – the diverse group of Pagans that I meet with regularly to learn and discuss religious ideas and concepts with. I also belong to several other Pagan Communities that I met online and have met with in person over the years. Among my local communities, I have learned from traditional Wiccans, Eclectic Pagans with various flavors (secular, Celtic, Buddhist), Asatru and Druids. I’ve been a part of a couple of circle groups – some of which have fit and others that I look at now as a learning experience.
One thing that I haven’t encountered much in my personal experience has been the ‘more Pagan than thou’ attitude that many in the Pagan community have talked about. Oh, it exists – I know it does, and I’ve seen and felt hints of it here and there, but anytime I have come across it I quickly divorced myself from association with those people. The resulting community that I live in is peaceful, harmonious and diverse. I have created around myself the community that I wish to be a part of. This is true for many parts of my life. In my parenting and educational communities, my friendships – all are made up of people whose lives, styles, values, and world-views I respect, admire, agree with or aspire to manifest in my own life.
Two quotes that I thought were fitting on the topic of diversity are:
Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.
Before we can change direction, we have to question many of the assumptions underlying our current philosophy. Assumptions like bigger is better; you can’t stop progress; no speed is too fast; globalization is good. Then we have to replace them with some different assumptions: small is beautiful; roots and traditions are worth preserving; variety is the spice of life; the only work worth doing is meaningful work.
The next part of my ‘D’ prompt is ‘divination’. I’ll be honest – my favorite form of divination is the tarot. I have tried scrying, my pendulum doesn’t like me all that much and I am interested in palmistry and astrology, but the tarot feels like home.
I have something of a collection of cards. My best-loved deck is the Medieval Scapini Tarot by Luigi Scapini. It is based on the Visconti-Sforza Tarot with a similar style, but Scapini wasn’t familiar with the traditional symbolism of the Rider-Waite decks and so the cards do not fit that model. Reading them requires effort and familiarity with the deck that is hard to get from books.
I’ve been reading from this deck for years now, and as much as I would like to claim expert-level handling, I am not as familiar with the cards as I would like. I am currently going through Tarot for Yourself by Mary K. Greer with my Circle; we’re still working through the introduction and meditations on personal cards. I also found Learning the Tarot Online to be helpful, especially if you’re totally new to tarot.
I also have a couple of other decks – the Goddess Tarot comes to mind. I used to read from this deck quite a bit, but I started getting (for lack of a better term) ‘bitchy‘ readings from it. I tried cleansing it, but it still gives me attitude when I use it, so it’s pretty much been put in storage. I also have a couple of other decks that I have never used (I just liked the theme), and a couple of decks that I found at the local $1 store to craft with.
I haven’t closed the door on other divinatory methods, but I do feel like people generally have a talent in one or a few areas. I have a friend who is *amazing* with the pendulum. I have yet to see her pick one up that doesn’t respond to her. Another friend reads Oracle cards (which I am anxiously waiting for Amazon to deliver to me). I have an interest in tea leaves and have several books on palmistry (but I’m more interested in how the lines change over time – I’ve been taking readings on the kids for a while now… it’s neat to see things manifest and change!).
I’ve had fun with crafting; I made pendulum boards for myself and some of my Circle Sisters for Yule. We made pendulums during one class and scrying mirrors during another. Here’s one of the boards I made:
I have Looked into the future during rituals, and have occasionally read for others, but I primarily read for myself. I don;t always lay out full spreads; sometimes I pull a ‘card of the day’, or for the week to meditate on.
What are your preferred method(s) of divination? How often do you attempt to See into the future?