I’ve been working my way through a twenty-seven night runic initiation. The first nine nights consisted of working through Freyja’s aett (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kenaz, Gebo, Wunjo), but I have now begun working with Heimdall’s aett (Hagalaz, Nauthiz, Isa, Jera, Eihwaz, Perdhro, Algiz, Sowilo). Some would consider nine nights working with those particular runes to be a weighty–possibly even a profoundly negative–exercise. However, I am finding a peace within Heimdall’s runes that I never might have expected.
My ultimate guideline for the study of each rune has been stanza 143 of the Havamal (literally: “Sayings of the High One”; the sayings of Odin, Codex Regius, 13th century):
Do you know how to carve them?
Do you know how to use them to advise?
Do you know how to paint them?
Do you know how to prove them?
Do you know how to pray them?
Do you know how to blot them?
Do you know how to send them?
Do you know how to destroy them?
And within those first four runes of Heimdall’s aett, I have found a “recipe”, if you will, for getting through the more stressful times in life:
- Deity: Heimdall
- Rune of destruction and controlled chaos; of testing and trial which lead to harmony.
- Advises against catastrophe, stagnation, suffering, and pain.
- Proven by accepting those things which are beyond one’s control.
- Prayed: Help
- Sent forth as harmony in the face of opposition
- Deity: Sigyn
- Rune of resistance leading to strength; of delays and restrictions; of endurance, survival, determination, self-reliance, and the will to overcome.
- Advises against deprivation, imprisonment, and distress.
- Proven by standing fast in the face of trials and via innovation born of strength of will.
- Prayed: Overcome
- Sent forth as strength and compassionate endurance.
- Deity: Skadi
- Rune of challenges and frustrations; of standstills and times for introspection and/or turning inward; of holding fast.
- Advises against treachery, illusion, deceit, and betrayal.
- Proven by standing still and seeking clarity.
- Prayed: Be Still.
- Sent forth as stillness and the ability to hold fast.
- Deity: Gerdha
- Rune of reaped rewards and fruitful seasons; of peace and happiness; of cycles and of change; of hopes, expectations, and successes earned.
- Advises against bad timing, conflict, and reversals of fortune.
- Proven by hoping and dreaming; by accepting and understanding the cycles of life in the Universe; by working hard to manifest one’s dreams.
- Prayed: Bring.
- Sent forth as peace and good seasons.
When faced with the stresses of life, it is all too easy to get caught up in them; to cling needlessly to the suffering and pain that they cause (Hagalaz). However, if we follow the example inherent in the runes Nauthiz and Isa, we may learn to turn tragedy into triumph by quieting our minds and hearts, and, as we endure, using the force of our will to fuel innovation. Jera promises that if we do this–accept and understand the cycles of the Universe–we will be gifted with reaped rewards and fruitful seasons.
Last night, as I sang the galdr for Heimdall’s aett, I was gifted with the bind-rune, depicted in the upper left of the image above, as well as the accompanying galdr and prayer. For those among our audience who are not working from a Norse base, I have also included Christian and Celtic-based cognates for the prayer. I hope it will help others have a little less-Monday Monday.
Sigyn, show me how to Overcome;
Gerdha, Grant Peace and Good Seasons,
That Skadi may show me how to Be Still.
Rhiannon, show me how to Overcome;
Taillte, Grant Peace and Good Seasons,
That the Cailleach may show me now to Be Still.
Archangel Gabriel, Help;
Mother Mary, show me how to Overcome;
Saint Ruth, Grant Peace and Good Seasons,
That Saint Elizabeth may show me how to Be Still.