I love this deck! Easy-to-interpret art on the front, descriptions of rune meanings on the back. Nordic wisdom in a simple format. I am amazed. Even I can do it! I never thought I could master the Rune stones. After working with the cards for a little over a week, I now have a working knowledge of their meanings! It's fun to lay them out in order and contemplate the tale they tell. It's healing and useful to practice simple divination readings for myself and others. I never thought I'd become proficient with the complicated runes, but this deck makes it easy!
Years ago, I fell in love with Angel cards.
Then, I attempted Tarot. This Rune puts you on notice that your soul and the universe support the new growth. Reversed: Without ears to hear and eyes to see, you may fail to take advantage of the moment. The negative result could well be an opportunity missed, the weakening of your position.
It may seem that your own strength is being used against you. For some, this Rune Reversed will serve to alert, providing clues in the form of minor failures and disappointments. For others, those more deeply un- conscious or unaware, it should provide a hard jolt. Reversed, it calls for some serious thoughts about the quality of your relationship to your Self. But take heart. Remember the constant cycling of death and rebirth, the endless going and return. Everything we experience has a beginning, a middle, and end, and is followed by a new beginning.
There- fore do not draw back from the passage into dark- ness. When in deep water, become a diver. This Rune is on the side of Heaven, the Unknowable, and has associations with the phoenix, that mystical bird that consumes itself in the fire and then rises from its own ashes. Its ways are secret and hidden.
Deep inner transformational forces are at work here. Yet what is achieved is not easily or readily shared. An integrity is involved that may be masked, disguised or secret. After all, becoming whole, the means of it, is a profound secret. On the side of the earthly or mundane, there may well be surprises; unexpected gains are not un- likely. On the side of human nature, this Rime is symbolized by the flight of the eagle.
Soaring flight, free from entanglement, lifting yourself above the endless ebb and flow of ordinary life to acquire broader vision — all this is indicated here. This is the Rune of question. Another of the Cycle Runes, Perth signifies an intense aspect of initiation. This Rune is concerned with the deepest stratum of being, with the bedrock on which your fate is founded.
For some, Perth means experiencing a psychic death. If need be, let go of everything, no exceptions, no ex- clusions.
Nothing less than renewal of the Spirit is at stake. Reversed: A counsel against expecting too much, or expecting in the ordinary way, for the old way has come to an end; you simply cannot repeat the old and not suffer. Reversed, this Rune puts you on notice to call in your scattered energies and con- centrate on your own life at this moment, your own requirements for growth.
More important, this Rune counsels you not to focus on outcomes, or to bind yourself with the memory of past achievements; in so doing, you rob yourself of a true present which is the only time in which self-change can be realized. You may feel overwhelmed with exhaustion from meeting obstruction upon obstruction in your passage. Yet you always have a choice, you can see all this apparent negativity as "bad luck" or you can recognize it as an obstacle course, a challenge pecu- liar to the initiation you are presently undergoing.
Then each setback, each humiliation becomes a test of character. When your inner being is shifting and reforming on a deep level, patience, constancy and perseverance are called for. So stay centered, see the humor, and keep on keeping on. The necessity of relating to severe constraint is its lesson. Its positive aspects represent the limitations we di- rectly cause ourselves; its negative side attracts limi- tations from people around us. Both are equally diffi- cult to handle.
The role of Nauthiz is to identify our "shadow" areas, places where growth was stunted, resulting in weaknesses we project negatively onto others. Try not to take this world personally, this Rune is saying, work with the shadow, examine what inside you magnetizes misfortune into your life. When you are able to look upon this Rune with a smile, you will recognize the troubles, denials and setbacks of life as your guides, teachers and develop- ers.
The need for restraint is unquestionable here. Drawing this Rune puts you on notice that there will be holdups, reasons to consider your plans carefully. Only remember: your dissatisfactions are not unrea- sonable, because there is work to be done on your 80 8i self. So take it on with good will and show persever- ance. This is a time to pay off old debts, to restore, if not harmony, at least balance. So mend, restore, re- dress. When fishermen can't go to sea they repair nets.
Let the constraints of the time serve you in righting your relationship to your Self. Be mindful that rectification comes before progress. And once again, consider the uses of adversity. Reversed: When something within us is dis- owned, that which is disowned wreaks havoc. A cleansing is required here; in undertaking it you fund a will and strengthen character. Begin with what is most difficult and proceed to what is easy. To control your anger, to restrain your instincts, to keep your faith firm — all this is at issue here.
Modesty and good temper are the essential blessings at such a time. As part of the Cycle of Self-Transformation, Nauthiz is the great teacher disguised as the bringer of pain and limitation. It has been said that only at the point of greatest darkness do we become aware of the Light within us by which we come to recog- nize the true creative power of the Self.
It embodies the need to share, the yearning to be desired, a search after similarities. The completion of beginnings is what Inguz requires. It may mark a time of joyous deliverance, of new life, a new path. A Rune of great power, it indicates that the force is available to achieve completion, resolu- tion, from which comes a new beginning. Above all, completion is crucial here. It may be timely that you complete a project now; if so, make that your first priority.
Perhaps a difficult state of mind can be re- solved, clarified, turned around. The appearance of this Rune in a spread indicates that you must fertilize the ground for your own deliverance. All things change, and we cannot live perma- nently amid obstructions. With deliverance comes the release from tensions and uncertainty. The period at or just prior to birth is often a dangerous one. Now it is time to enter the delivery room. Movement involves danger, and yet move- ment that is timely leads out of danger. This Rune signals your emergence from a closed, chrysalis state. Prior to "breaking out" you may be required to free yourself from a rut, habit or relationship; to free yourself from some deep cultural pattern, some ac- tivity that was quite proper to the self you are leav- ing behind.
Another of the Cycle Runes, Inguz counsels preparation.
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Being centered and grounded, your space cleared of all unwanted influences, and seeing the humor, you are indeed prepared to open to the Will of Heaven, and can await your deliverance with calm certainty. At the same time, we develop in ourselves an aversion to the conduct that brings us into stressful situations. There appears to be blockage in your path, but even a delay may prove beneficial. Do not be overly eager to press forward.
This is not a time or situation in which you can make your influence felt. Patience is the counsel Eihwaz offers. Nothing hectic, no acting needy or lusting after a desired outcome. This Rune speaks to the difficulties that arise at the beginning of new life. Often it announces a time of waiting: for a spring to fill up with water, for fruit to ripen on the bough. Perseverance and foresight are called for here. The ability to foresee consequences before you act is the mark of the profound person. Avert anticipated difficulties through right action.
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We are not doers, but we are deciders. Once our decision is clear, the doing 84 85 becomes effortless, for then the universe supports and empowers our action. Receiving the Rune Eihwaz you are put on notice that through inconvenience and discomfort, growth is promoted. This may well be a trying time; cer- tainly it is a meaningful one. Set your house in order, tend to business, be clear and wait on the Tao, the Will of Heaven. In tran- sit and transition, shifts in life course and accelerated self-change, it is important not to collapse yourself into your emotions — the highs as well as the lows.
This time offers ample mental exercise and stimula- tion. New opportunities and challenges are typical of this Rune. And with them will come trespasses and unwanted influences. Algiz serves as a mirror for the Spiritual Warrior, the one whose battle is always with the self. The protection of the Warrior is like the curved horns of the elk, or like the sedge grass, for both serve to keep open space around you. Remain mindful that timely action and correct conduct are the only true protec- tion.
If you find yourself feeling pain, observe the pain, stay with it. Don't try to protect yourself from life or pull the veil down and escape by denying what is happening. You will progress; knowing that is your protection. Be thoughtful about your health and alert not to add weight to the burdens others are carrying. If you see fit to become involved with peo- ple who are "using" you, stay conscious of that fact and take responsibility for your own position; then you can only benefit.
And yet regardless of whether your enterprise prospers or suffers, do not be con- cerned: you may not win, but you will never lose, for you will always learn from what takes place. Tem- perance and courtesy are the sinews of this Rune's protective powers. It also promises nourishment, from the most worldly to the sacred and Divine. For if the ancient principle "As above so below" is true, then we are also here to nourish God. This is a Rune that calls for a deep probing of the meaning of profit and gain in your life.
Look with care to know whether it is wealth and possessions you require for your well-being, or rather self-rule and the growth of a will. Another concern of Fehu is with conserving what has already been gained. It urges vigilance and continual mindfulness, especially in times of good fortune, for it is then that we are likely to collapse ourselves into our success on the one hand, or to behave recklessly on the other.
Enjoy your good fortune and remember to share it; the mark of a well-nourished self is the ability to nourish others. You may have to sit helplessly by and watch while what you've gained starts to dwindle away. Observe what is happening. Examine the negativity from an open perspective and ask, "What lesson do I need to learn from this in my life? Reversed, Fehu indi- cates that doubtful situations are abundant and come in many forms and guises. You are being put in touch with the shadow side of possessions. Yet all this is part of the coming to be and passing away, and is not that which abides.
In dealing with the shadow side, you have an opportunity to recognize where your true nourishment lies. The term of travail is ended and you have "come to yourself " in some regard. The shift that was due has occurred and now you can freely receive its blessings, whether they be in material gain, in your emotional life or in a heightened sense of your own well-being. This is an alchemical moment in which understanding is transmuted from knowledge. The knowledge itself was a necessary but not sufficient condition; now you can rejoice, having been carried across the gap by the Tao, the Holy Spirit.
Joyousness accompanies new energy, energy blocked before now. Light pierces the clouds and touches the waters just as something lovely emerges from the depths. The soul is illuminated from within, at the meeting place of Heaven and Earth, the meeting of the waters. There is a new clarity, which may call for you to renounce existing plans, ambitions, goals. Reversed: Things are slow in coming to fruition. The process of birth is long and arduous, and fears arise for the safety of the "child" within.
A crisis, a difficult passage — even if brief — is at hand. Consid- eration and deliberation are called for, because light and shadow are still intermixed and doubts and scru- ples might interfere with joyousness if not under- stood as timely to your growth. So stop your anxiety and ask yourself whether you possess the virtues of seriousness, sincerity and emptiness; to possess them is to have the tranquility that is the ground for clar- ity, patience and perseverance.
Seen in its true light, everything is a test. And so, focused in the present, sincere toward others and trusting in your process, know that you cannot fail. This Rune Reversed is a useful meditation. It applies to any activity or endeavor to which you are com- mitted. Receiving this Rune encourages you to keep your spirits up.
Be aware, however, that no quick results can be expected. You have prepared the ground and planted the seed. Now you must cultivate with care. To those whose labor has a long season, a long coming to term, it offers encouragement of success. Know that the outcome is in the keeping of Providence.
Jera is a counsel to persevere. Remember the farmer who was so eager to assist his crops that he went out at night and tugged on the new shoots. There is no way to push the river; equally you cannot hasten the harvest. Be mindful that patience is essential for the recognition of your own process, which in its season leads to the harvest of the self.
You are free now to receive, and to know the joy of non-attached giv- ing. Kano is the Rune for the morning of activities, for seriousness, clarity and concentration, all of which are essential at the beginning of work.
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The protection offered by this Rune is that the more light you have, the better you can see what is trivial and outmoded in your conditioning. In relationships, there can now be a mutual opening up. You may serve as the trigger, the time- keeper, through your awareness that the light of un- derstanding is once again available to you both.
Recognize that, while on the one hand you are limited and dependent, on the other you exist at the perfect center where the harmonious and beneficent forces of the universe merge and radiate. You are that center. Reversed: Expect a darkening of the light in some situation or relationship. A friendship may be dying, a partnership, a marriage, some aspect of yourself, an old way of being that is no longer appro- priate or valid. Receiving this Rime puts you on no- tice that failure to face up to the death consciously would constitute a loss of opportunity. Kano is one of the Cycle Rimes.
Reversed, it points to the death of a way of life invalidated by growth. Reversed, this Rune calls for giving up, gladly, the old, and being prepared to live for a time empty; it calls for developing inner stability — not being se- duced by the momentum of old ways while waiting for the new to become illuminated in its proper time. Al- ways the battle of the Spiritual Warrior is with the self. Funding a will through action, yet unattached to outcomes, remaining mindful that all you can really do is stay out of your own way and let the Will of Heaven flow through you — these are the hallmarks of the Spiritual Warrior.
Embodied in this Rune is the energy of discrimi- nation, the swordlike quality that enables us to cut away the old, the dead, the extraneous. With this Rune comes the certain knowledge that the universe always has the first move. Patience is the virtue of this Rune, and it recalls for us the words of St. Augustine that "The reward of patience is patience. Here, you are asked to look within, to delve down to the foundations of your life itself. Only in so doing can you hope to deal with the deepest needs of your nature and to tap into your most profound 95 g6 resources. Associated with the Rune are the sun, yang energy, the active principle.
The urge toward conquest is prominent here, especially self-conquest, which is a lifelong pursuit and calls for awareness, single-mindedness and the willingness to undergo your passage without anxiety and in total trust. When Teiwaz comes in response to a question about romantic attachment, it indicates that the rela- tionship is both timely and providential. The bond is to a partner with whom you resonate; there is work for you to do together.
If the issue relates to your devotion to a cause, an idea, a path of conduct, the Warrior Rune coun- sels perseverance, although, at times, the kind of perseverance called for is patience. What are your priorities? How are you using your energy? Teiwaz is a Rune of courage and dedication. In ancient times it was this glyph that warriors painted on their shields before battle.
Now, with more refined ener- gies in play, the same symbol strengthens your re- solve in the struggle of the Self with the self. Reversed: The danger is that through hasty or ill-timed action energy leaks out, is spilled away. If an association is short-lived, do not grieve, but know that it has fulfilled its span. Matters of trust and confidence are at issue here, and with them the au- thenticity of your way of being in the world.
There is a risk of collapsing into your emotions or of behaving recklessly. This is a Rune of powerful 97 energy. Reversed, it calls for having a serious think with yourself. Examine your motives. Are you trying to dominate another? Are you focused on outcomes rather than on the activity for its own sake? This is not a matter on which to seek outside advice. Keep your own counsel. Through consulting the Runes, you are consulting the Self, which is the action proper to a Spiritual Warrior.
The growth may occur in affairs of the world, family matters, one's relationship to one's Self or to the Divine. This is a "leading to" Rune in that it leads to blossoming and ripening. What is called for here is going into things deeply, with care and awareness. This Rune is con- cerned with the power of influencing development and with the flow of beings into their new forms. Its action is gentle and penetrating and pervasive. First disperse resistance, then accomplish the work.
For this to happen, your will must be clear and controlled. In regard to the issue, your motives must be correct. Any "dark corners" should be cleansed; this must be carried out diligently and sometimes with expert help. Modesty, patience, fairness and generosity are called for here. Do you possess these virtues? Once resistance is dispersed and rectifica- 9 8 99 tion carried out and seen to hold firm, then through steadfastness and right attitude, the blossoming can occur.
Reversed: Events or, more likely, aspects of character, interfere with the growth of new life and life process. You may feel dismay at failing to take right action. But rather than dismay, what is called for here is diligence. Examine what has taken place, your role in it, your needs, the needs of others. Are you placing your wants before the needs of others? Strip down until you can identify the blocks to growth in this situation. Then, penetrating gently, imitate the wind. You may be required to fertilize the ground again; but through correct preparation, growth is as- sured.
Ehwaz is a Rune of transit and transition. There is about this Rune a sense of gradual de- velopment and steady progress, with the accompa- nying notion of slow growth through numerous shifts and changes. This could apply to the growth of a business or to the development of an idea.
A relationship also needs to undergo changes and transformations if it is to maintain growth and life. Personal moral effort and persevering steadfastness are called for when you draw this Rune. Let it be said this way: "As I cultivate my na- ture, all else follows. From Bronze Age artifacts we find the sun linked to the horse; the horse both symbolized the sun and was regarded as drawing it across the sky.
Here, this Rune is saying, you have progressed far enough to feel a measure of lOl safety, of surety in your position. Now, it is time to turn again and face the future reassured and pre- pared to share the good fortune that comes. This last, the sharing, is significant, as it relates to the power of the sun to foster life and illuminate all things in its light. Reversed: Movement that appears to block. This Rune Reversed puts you on notice that an op- portunity is at hand and should not be ignored.
Be certain that what you are doing — or not doing — is timely. There are no missed opportunities; we have simply to recognize that all opportunities are not for us, all possibilities are not open to us.
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If you are feeling at a loss, unclear about the need to act, con- sider what is timely and appropriate to your nature: the opportunity at hand may be precisely to avoid action. Remember that what is yours will come to you. Unseen powers are active here, creative and fertile powers of Nature. The attributes of Laguz are water, fluidity, the ebb and flow of tides and emotions, careers and relationships.
It fulfills our need to immerse ourselves in the experience of living without having to evaluate or understand, it speaks to the desire for comfort and the satisfaction of emo- tional needs, the lunar side of our nature. For while the sun strives for differentiation, the moon draws us toward unity and merging. This Rune often signals a time for cleansing: for revaluing, reorganizing, realigning. A Rune of know- ing and psychic power, it may call you to study spiritual matters in readiness for deep self-transfor- mation.
For a man, success now lies in contacting his intuitive knowing; for a woman, in attuning to her own rhythms. A Rune of the self relating rightly to io3 the Self, it signifies what alchemists called the con- junctio, or sacred marriage. In fairy tales, it is the end where the hero and heroine live happily ever after. Reversed: A warning against overreach, exces- sive striving; a counsel against trying to exceed your own strength or operate beyond the power you have funded to date in your life.
This Rune Reversed often indicates a failure to draw upon the wisdom of instinct. As a result, the intuitive side of your nature may be languishing, leaving you permanently out of balance. What is called for now is to go within, to honor the receptive side of your Warrior Nature. Drawing it indicates a pressing need within the psyche to break free from constricting identification with material reality and to experience the world of archetypal mind. Hagalaz is the Rune of elemental disruption, of events totally beyond your control.
Although it has only an Upright position, it always operates through reversal. When you draw this Rune, expect disrup- tion of your plans, for it is the great "Awakener," although the form the awakening takes may vary. Perhaps you will experience a gradual feeling of coming to your senses, as though you were emerging from a long sleep. Then again, the onset of power may be such as to rip away the fabric of what you previously knew as your reality, your security, your understanding of yourself, your work, your relation- ships and beliefs.
Be aware, however, that what operates here is not ultimately an outside force, not a situation of io5 you-at-the-mercy-of-externals. Your own nature is creating what's happening, and you are not without power in this situation. The inner strength you have funded until now in your life is your support and guide at a time when everything you've taken for granted is being challenged. Receiving this Rune puts you on notice: you may sustain loss or damage — a tree falls on your home, a relationship fails, plans go wrong, a source of supply dries up.
But you are forewarned and, therefore, encouraged to understand and accept what occurs as necessary, called for in your deeps out of a pressing need for growth. There is nothing trivial about this Rune. The more severe the disruption in your life, the more significant and timely the requirements for your growth. The term "radical discontinuity" best de- scribes the action of this, another of the Cycle Runes, at its most forceful: the universe and your own soul are demanding that you do, indeed, grow.
The journey is the soul's journey. Moreover, the ap- proach of that which is above and that which is below is realized from inmost sentiment rather than through the force of circumstances.
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It is a suitable preamble, in particular, to healing. Raido is another of the Runes in the Cycle of Self -Transformation. Inner worth mounts here, and at such a time we must remember that we are not intended to rely entirely upon our own power, but instead to ask what is right action. Ask through prayer, through addressing your own knowing, your body knowing, the Witness Self, the Teacher Within. Once you are clear, then you can neutralize your refusal to let right action flow through you. Not intent on movement, be content to wait.
While you wait, keep on remov- ing resistances. As the obstructions give way, all re- morse arising from "trying to make it happen 77 disappears. As always, the journey is toward self-healing, self-change and union. You are concerned here with nothing less than unobstructed, perfect union. But the union of Heaven and Earth cannot be forced. Keep within your limits. Regulate any excesses in your life.
Material advantages must not weigh heav- ily on this journey of the self toward the Self. Trust your own Process — that is the essence of this Rune. Keep on cutting away illusions. Stand apart even from like-minded others; the notion of strength in numbers does not apply at this time, for this part of the journey cannot be shared. Innermost feeling, spontaneously expressed, is the only right action now.
This Rune urges you to undertake your journey, your quest — and if you have already begun, to continue. Reversed: Receiving this Rune Reversed puts you on notice to be particularly attentive to personal relationships.
A Guide to Icelandic Runes
At this time, ruptures are more likely than reconciliations. Effort will be required on your io8 part. Keep your good humor; whatever happens, how you respond is up to you. The requirements of your process may totally disrupt what you had intended. Hoped-for out- comes may elude you. And yet what you regard as detours, inconveniences, disruptions, blockages and even failures and deaths will actually be rerouting op- portunities, with union and reunion as the only abid- ing destinations.
The Spirit of Transformation guards the gate of the personal world, looking out as well as in, symbolizing the abiding urge to transcend the limits of the little self. The gateway is at once a portal and a frontier between Heaven and the mun- dane. Arriving here is a recognition of your readiness to contact the numinous, the Divine, to illuminate your experience so that its meaning shines through its form. Thurisaz is a Rune of non-action. The gateway is not to be approached and passed through without contemplation.
Here you are being confronted with a true reflection of what is hidden in yourself , what must be exposed and examined before successful ac- tion can be undertaken. This Rime's strength lies in its ability to wait. This is not a time to take decisions. Deep transformational forces are at work in this next to last of the Cycle Runes.
Your entire life lies behind you and below. Before you pass through, pause and review the past: the learning and the joys, the tests and tribulations, all that it took to bring you here. Bless it, and release it all. For in so doing you reclaim what is truly yours — your power in the uni- verse.
Step through the gateway now. Reversed: Correct conduct is based on right at- titude. If, indeed, you are undergoing difficulties, re- member that the quality of your passage is up to you. Be certain that you are not suffering over your suffering. Once again, consider the uses of adversity. Hasty decisions at this time may cause regrets, for the probability is that you will act from weak- ness, deceive yourself about your motives and create new problems more severe than those you are at- tempting to resolve.
Impulses must be tempered by thought for correct procedure. Keep still and collect yourself, wait on the Tao, the Will of Heaven — nothing else is timely now. Do not attempt to go beyond where you haven't yet begun. Enforced contemplation is the essence of this Rune Reversed. Drawing it indicates a quickening of your development. Yet even when the growth pro- cess accelerates there will be halts along the way to reconsider, to integrate. Take advantage of these halts.
Drawing it marks a major shift or breakthrough in the process of self-change, a complete transformation in attitude — a degree turn. For some, the transition is so radical that they no longer continue to live the ordinary life in the ordinary way. Because the timing is right, the outcome is as- sured although not, from the present vantage point, predictable. Rely, therefore, on radical trust, even though the moment may call for you to leap, empty- handed, into the void. Confront and vanquish your refusal to let right action flow through you.
In each life there comes at least one moment which, if recog- nized and seized, transforms the course of that life forever. With this Rune your Warrior Nature reveals itself. If Dagaz is followed by the Blank Rune, the magnitude of the transformation might be so total as to portend a death, the successful conclusion to your passage. A major period of achievement and prosperity is sometimes introduced by this Rune. The darkness is behind you; daylight has come.
However, as always, you are put on notice to be mindful not to collapse yourself into the future or to behave recklessly in your new situation. A lot of hard work can be in- volved in a time of transformation. Undertake to do it joyfully. You may find yourself entangled in a situation to whose implications you are, in effect, blind. You may be powerless to do anything except submit, surrender, even sacrifice some long-cherished desire. Be patient, for this is the fallow period that precedes a rebirth.
Positive accomplishment is unlikely now. There is a freeze on useful activity, all your plans on hold. You may be experiencing an unaccustomed drain on your energy and wonder why: the chill wind is reaching you over the ice floes of old outmoded hab- its. Trying to hold on can result in shallowness of feeling, a sense of being out of touch with life, out of phase. Seek to discover what it is you are holding onto that keeps this condition in effect, and let go.
Shed, release, cleanse away the old. That will bring on the thaw. Usually ha requires a sacrifice of the personal, the "I. Submit ii4 and be still, for what you are experiencing is not necessarily the result of your actions, your habits, but of the conditions of the time, against which you can do nothing. What has been full must empty; what has increased must decrease. This is the way of Heaven and Earth. Odin and the Aesir gave these three gods a prominent place among them.
Kvasir was so wise that he seemed to know everything.
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Kvasir travelled throughout the world teaching people of his knowledge. However, two dwarfs, named Fjalar and Galar. Tired from his continuous lecturing, the dwarfs killed the Vanir. The two dwarfs poured Kvasir blood in Odrerir , which were two vats and a pot. The vats were also called Bodn and Son. By mixing the blood with honey, the dwarfs brewed the mead with special power. The mead allowed anyone who drank the mead to acquire knowledge and magical skills in poetry that come from Kvasir's memory. The mead became an invaluable source of divine wisdom, and it was called the Mead of Poetry.
One day, the dwarfs gained the company of a giant named Gilling, as they sailed along the coast. When the boat capsized, Gilling fell into the sea and drowned. Gilling's unnamed wife grieve for husband's death. The dwarfs tiring of the wife of Gilling's constant and loud grieving, tricked the widow to join them in a boat, where Galar killed the widow with a millstone.
The giant Suttung hearing of her mother's murder, captured the two dwarfs. Suttung only spared and released the dwarfs, when they offered the giant their precious mead. Suttung knew of the magical properties of the Mead of Poetry, took the Odrerir home in Hnitbiorg. The mead was kept in a cave at the mountain. Suttung wanting the mead, all for himself, placed his daughter Gunnlod to guard the mead. Odin learned of the mead, set out in disguise as farm hand and called himself Bolverk, to gain the mead.
Odin worked for Baugi, the brother of Suttung in return for a drink of the mead. Odin worked the field for winter and summer, completing the work of nine men. Baugi, who also wanted a drink from the mead, agreed that Bolverk Odin should be paid, but Suttung refused. Odin tricked Baugi into boring a hole through the mountain, using Odin's auger, called rati , hoping to get to the mead.
Once the hole was made, Odin transformed himself into a snake and crawled through the hole. Baugi realised he had been tricked, try to kill the snake Odin , but failed. In the cave, Odin found the giantess guarding the mead. For three nights, Odin slept with Gunnlod. Each night, Gunnlod would allow Odin to take one drink of the mead.
Odin took only one draught, but he completely drained the Odrerir in the first night, then the vat Bodn in the second night. On the third night, Odin drained the second vat Son in one draught. Then Odin flew out of the cave, in the form of an eagle. Suttung seeing the eagle, transformed himself also into an eagle and gave chase. The Aesir had containers ready at Asgard. As Odin flew over the containers, he spat the mead into the containers. To escape Suttung, Odin spat the rest of the mead behind him.
Anyone below the two birds, would receive their share of the mead, whether they were Aesir or mortals, and became skilled in poetry. In the Havamal "Sayings of the High One" , Odin recorded the time he spent learning the magic from runes. Havamal from Poetic Edda translated by Carolyne Larrington. On the windy days, Odin was hanging from the branch of Yggdrasill, the cosmic World Tree, with a rope around his neck. He was also suffering from a wound that was pierced by his own spear Gungnir.
Odin remained there for nine days and nine nights. And in the next line , Odin learned nine mighty spells, from his grandfather Bolthor, as well as drinking from the precious mead from Odrerir see Mead of Poetry. The number nine was also significant, in term of symbolism and magic.
From lines , he not only speaks of carving the runes, but also of sacrifice. It was believed that you could only learn the magic spells from the runes if you were dead. And since it was he who wanted to learn the runes, a sacrifice was needed. Odin paid the sacrifice himself. Which is why he was hanging with a hangman's noose around his neck, so that is why Odin had acquired the name — Hanga-tyr "god of the hanged".
The ninth night coincided with the festival of May Eve April 30 , otherwise known as Walpurgis' Night, where Odin mastered his ninth and final spell, which the hanged god ritually died. During this final night, all light were extinguished with his supposedly death. It was at this time that chaos and the spirit world reigned supreme and the witchcraft or sorcery is most potent.
Related The Runes of Odin (The Runes Saga Book 1)
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