According to Celtic legends, if February 1st brings bad weather, then the Winter Goddess Cailleach is sleeping and Spring will arrive early. However, if the weather is mild, then the Winter Goddess is out looking for firewood, ensuring a longer duration of Winter. So, dress warm, grab your snow shovels, and let us all revel in harsh weather today! Good Imbolc to all!
All things, whether sentient or (seemingly) insentient, possess an essence or a “spirit” within and around them. If you hold a stone tightly and close your eyes, you will sense a connection between your heartbeat and the “rhythm” of the spirit within the stone. In Rune work, this would apply to the Raido (ᚱ) rune. If you approach an ancient oak (or any other old tree) in the forest, you will feel undeniable connections and energies emulating from within it and its’ spirit can be accessed, communicated and interacted with. Once you recognize the spirit within everything, you will see how life starts to slowly connect and form one large, organic cosmos of interconnected spirit and matter.
Bodies of water, groves, and mountains are held in especially sacred light within our minds and they have undoubtedly immense power and essence within them. Each stream, river, lake and piece of land has its’ own personality and habits. We build connections and relationships with these environments and habits just as we do with the people we surround ourselves with, and the ancient man developed beautiful and passionate relationships with the landscape, its’ habits and the spirits of those landscapes. These days. people can easily relocate and move; more than likely their blood hasn’t yet built a connection to the soil because they haven’t experienced it for very long. I think this would apply to most people in America save the Native Americans.
It takes hundreds, if not thousands of years for organic relationships to be established between the soil and the blood of the people inhabiting it. The ancient man was locked into the cycle of his environment, as if his own body and mind were attached to its events and happenings. The patterns that were experienced outside of man were mimicked internally and recognized as one cycle. Time existed as an eternal and endless circle, not as a linear phenomenon with beginning and end. This recognition of patterns (and cycles) established the foundation for “religion” or Paganism/Animism.
This bindrune is used to invoke Loki and associated powers. Carve this into wood, stone or bone, and place it anywhere on your altar with an offering bowl in front of it. Offerings to Loki commonly consist of coins, stones, and knotted ropes. The bindrune consists of the name ᛚᛟᚲᛁ and can be used as a conduit for quick connections to Lokian forces. Most Pagans are shy to working with Loki, but I have found it very useful at certain times, as Loki can be an archetype for indomitable freedom and individuality.
This radial incantation is a spell to invoke the Solar Eye of Odin. It consists of a central Sun with four protruding (ᚦ) runes at each cardinal point, symbolizing defensive forces and cultivation of the sorcerers willpower. Additional defensive (ᛉ) runes have been added with four rotating (ᚨ) runes symbolizing the eternal cycle of the ancestral spirit. This is my personal rendition of the eye that Odin retains, representing our “solar” awareness.
According to the myths, we can equate Odin’s eyes to the Sun and Moon. The Sun of course being the eye he keeps, and the Moon being the eye he sacrifices to the Well of Mimir. This Well symbolizes darkness, mystery, and occult knowledge; a place that all Odinists must sacrifice half of themselves to in order to achieve the Wotanic state.
Etch this symbol into wood, stone, or bone to enhance Odinic visions and forces during meditation and ritual. This bindrune can also be worn as an amulet or drawn in blood or ash on the forehead; serving as a third eye to gaze into the divine. The swirling wheel of ancestral time exists here and all that has come to pass can be accessed through the cosmic Solar Eye. This bindrune can be used to enhance control of the Will and serve as a conduit for vision quests.
For most people practicing European Paganism, the goal is not merely to worship and pray to the old Gods, but to embody them and entwine their forms within us. We should strive to avoid the worship of external deities and instead become them through the emulation of their archetypal expressions.
An example in the most basic sense:
-To be a successful farmer, naturalist and Lord of the Land, one is to embody Frey.
-To be a successful sorcerer, artist and eternal student of wisdom, one is to embody Odin.
-To be a strong and fearless protector, one is to embody Thor.
These Gods personify and preserve different aspects of the ancient European mind and culture. Although they have evolved over time, they will always represent core concepts within the patterns of nature and the psyche of the folk.
Not only do we associate the forces of nature with many different deities and spirits, but each one also possesses an endless repertoire of names and “faces” associated with it. These faces are simply different expressions of the God-Power representative of the deity in focus. We see this in the lengthy list of titles for Odin, including Draugadróttin, Gaut and Grim. These titles do not refer to different deities but rather a different face, form and focus of the God we are choosing to emulate or venerate. In the same respect, we see the title and focus of the Gods change with culture and time, as the Odian archetype from the North seems to be yet another altered face and form of the original Wōdaz or Gaut incarnation.
In the word Wōdaz we see that the Odinic force was thought of as an adjective, a way to describe a specific phenomenon, state of mind or being that intoxicates the emulator or practitioner. This personification (or effect) would inspire (or require) a certain state of rage, madness, frenzy and obsession to invoke. When we look at what these forces have in common, one observation is that they are all required in the act of creating and unlocking the highest forms of the self; the unwavering and untamable “Odian” self through a supreme invocation of madness.
The reason why Odin is renowned as a war god is also reflected in this hyper-form of rage and obsession. Through many means of ancient sorcery (such as Galdr and Utisetta) the warrior ascends to a realm of complete and total awareness and focus. Time is slowed down dramatically and stormy forces begin to rise within. This gives birth to a wild flare of intense energy and aggression; a substantial power brought about by an internal means of transformation. In this state, the warrior can achieve things that a normal man cannot and fight with unhinged ferocity.
Eventually, it seems that the Norse took this “Wōdaz” concept and formed it into a more tangible and external “Godlike” force that could be consulted, worshipped, and interacted with. In other words, the act of achieving Wōdaz (madness/obsession/frenzy) was turned into a deity and noun termed Odin or “the frenzied one.” The adjective took on its’ own archetype due to the potency of its’ characteristics, demonstrating further its’ effectiveness in the transforming of the practitioner, solidifying the concept in an objective form.
When we look at the name Gaut, we see a Gothic verb meaning “to flow out of.” This seems to reflect the early stages of the Indo-European migrations when the people came “flowing out” of the Eurasian Steppes during the decline of the last Ice Age. This title seems to be more ancestral in nature, as “Gaut” was said to be the origin of the Goths or “Gauts.” Whether this term correlates with a single originating ancestor or is a term used to describe how the entire Proto-Germanic population came “flowing out” of the North is to be speculated. Either way, this title should be held in particularly high regard, as the Gothic language is one of the oldest recorded languages in this family.
To conclude this short anecdote, it is important that we do not let monotheistic, omnipotent, Zoroastrian/Abrahamic concepts plague what it means to venerate the Gods within our blood. Strive to unlearn those false and foreign concepts about what a God is (or should be) and rebuild the spiritual identity locked within your ancestry and DNA. Our cultures were unique, complex and created during the primordial ages of human development when our relationship with nature was still abundant and flourishing. They were undoubtedly more sophisticated and powerful then the watered-down concepts they “feed” us in school and in mainstream media. This applies to Paganism of all cultures and forms, as all our Gods have been painted in this way to ensure the systematic destruction of our advanced cultures and identities. Our distinct and organic histories are entwined within us; in our Gods, cultures, language and ancestors. We must hold these things in the highest respect and venerate them fully to ensure our spiritual health, freedom, and strength.
Unlike we are raised to believe in the modern world, time is not a linear phenomenon, but a circular one. It exists indefinitely, without beginning and without end, spinning like a wheel around us. The Swastika is a symbol of this endless cycle and a mirror of its’ pattern. It can be seen in the seasons, in the stars, and in the cycles of the ages. It is a sign of power, of eternity, and of the sun.
Some cultures revere the Swastika as an omen of good luck or good fortune, such as in Asian or Native American cultures. Others view it as a solar icon and a depiction of the cycles of time, such as the Indo – European “Horse Cult” tribes of Eurasia. In the North, it was usually associated with the god Thor, symbolizing the hammer and cosmic order. Almost every culture around the world has their own form and function of the Swastika shape, with a fairly small range of meanings (usually overlapping) between them all.
It’s curious that this symbol would show up so often, in all cultures and ages. No other symbol can grasp this kind of usage on such an organic, widespread, and global level. It is clear that the symbol holds enormous power, for even just a glance of it can arouse interest, mystery and awe. Unfortunately, we’ve had our relationship with this symbol destroyed by modern history and the systematic destruction of true learning, but I don’t think it will ever be suppressed fully. It still appears in all religions and spiritual practices, in some shape, form, or function.
Whether you use a Sun-Wheel, a Swastika, a Kolovrat, or any other thing associated with these, you are almost always going to have an overlap in meaning. Ironically, the Swastika is one of the only things all humans have in common with each other, and it is very much associated with peace, luck, and the attraction of good fortune. Perhaps this symbol can bring us back our individual power and heal our collective species, creating a new Golden Age of human greatness.
This symbol should never inspire fear or thoughts of evil. It has never and will never be associated with those concepts. Modern perspectives, ignorance and projected hate have baptized this symbol in taboo and darkness. If we allow this symbol to die, we may lose one of the most powerful and unifying concepts within the human psyche. It holds our entire history in its’ grasp and holds the memory of the circular layers of time that we inhabit; reminding us to worship the most important of our stars, the Sun.
Hurnaz is the Germanic form of the god Cernunnos, Lord of the Wild. There is some speculation as to the form and function of this god throughout history, ranging from being a simple god of commerce to being the leader of the Wild Hunt. However, from my understanding and experience with Him, I’m convinced of His role as a wild protector and progenitor of nature; a spirit of freedom and vitality. Some related concepts, ideas and gods would include Pan, Herne the Hunter, Mercury, Satan, Freyr and even Odin.
Hurnaz is a wild and masculine deity. He is indifferent to human affairs, unless His domain is in jeopardy. His domain includes the forest and all of its’ inhabitants; everything from the roots and leaves to the soil and blood. The animals, trees, and all the fruits of the forest belong to Him, bending at His will. The more respect we show His domain, the more freedom and bounty we attain within it.
Offerings to Hurnaz are reciprocated with protection, abundance, and rejuvenated spirit. Venerating this force directly combats stagnation and sloth; igniting the wild and robust nature within. His energy is of wild and chthonic quality, causing an Odinic like frenzy within the inhabitant; a hunter’s awareness and focus. In this hyper-aware state we are able to achieve things we might not be able to otherwise, such as enhanced vision, speed, strength, clarity and focus. These enhancements are all fruits of this power, hence His veneration as a shaman and hunting god.
Offerings to Hurnaz and the forest spirits may include:
Blood – to activate the spirit and open a medium of communication.
Animal remains – to return the fallen spirit to Hurnaz in exchange for future abundance in hunts and foraging.
Wood/Stone/Fungus – to offer organic material to the soil and animals; also to enable more objects to be inhabited by the spirit of Hurnaz.
Meat – to honor the carnivorous spirits of the forest, the natural hunting spirits.
Seeds – to honor the vital and fertile forest; to appease the spirits within His realm.
Nuts – to please the spirits of the land and encourage new growth.
Fruit/Herbs – to appease the land spirits and promote future fruit to flourish.
Feathers – to promote movement and motion of the spirits; allowing flight and a wider perception.
Present your offerings where you believe Hurnaz to be existing. This location can be a stone, tree, idol, grove, or simply the forest region in its’ entirety. State your business in His realm, and what your intentions are with His woods. Once you have been granted access to your desires, recite your prayers or galdr to enhance connection and protection, then carry about your forest business without worry.
Once you have established your sacred space to Hurnaz, and once you have connected your spirit with that of His and the forest gods, the woods will become your church. Here you can easily slip between the veil of worlds and into other layers of reality. The more often you visit this place, the deeper you can explore the boundaries of the spirit; for it is in our true nature to dwell within the woods. These sacred grounds will heal your ailments in this claustrophobic and chaotic world; guiding you to a place of wisdom, peace, and strength.
Experiencing and deciphering the language of nature is the most divine act, and as we learn its’ language we in turn unlock the secrets to our very own existence. The functions of nature mimic the functions of the body, mind and soul. The more balance we achieve in this Triskelion of realms, the quicker we can achieve a state of Eternal Awareness. May Hurnaz and the spirits of the forest bless you on your journeys.
Jera represents the harvesting of your previously cultivated endeavors and energies. Whether that be physical, mental, or spiritual energy, it is the reaping of what you have sown. Jera shows you that your hard work has paid off; a feeling of accomplishment that should bring celebration and confidence. Jera represents patience and allowing things to come into fruition in due time; paired with hard work and determination.
Jera is a symbol of happiness and peace, a beacon of prosperity and success. It allows us to bask in the rewards of our efforts and feel hopeful for the future. We are given confidence and hope each time we complete a cycle upon the Earth; reaping rewards as we carefully master its’ patterns and habits. This act of harvesting provides the strength and will to trudge through the rough winter months of the year, which closely follow the final harvests.
Jera (and the harvest cycle) is shown by the sowing of crops, the maintaining of their growth and health, and the reaping of their benefits. It represents the breaking open of germinated space that has been cultivated to fruition. Jera is a rune of natures patterns, symbolizing a pivotal moment in the year when we make our last stand with the sun against the draconian winter. Jera is our final chance to prepare ourselves for the season of darkness.
Jera represents a release of internalized energy. When we’ve carefully maneuvered our ideas internally (with scrutiny and confidence), we can finally allow them to come forward and be released. Jera is the breaking of that closed internal space; a release from the internal realm. Jera is an external propulsion of force towards your goals and the harvesting of your mental, physical, and spiritual labor.
The Earth is alive, and its’ cycles of death and rebirth are also mimicked within us. As much as we harvest physical bounty in the fall, we also harvest metaphysical and spiritual bounty along with it. Like the falling leaves, we must also fall and wither. We must “die” with the sun and maneuver the realms of darkness; awaiting our triumphant rebirth in the spring!
Ansuz is the rune of Odin, the rune of the ancestral spirit. This rune can be used to invoke divine knowledge, wisdom, and messages directly from the Gods or ancestors. It acts as a compass by guiding you to the wisdom of your bloodline. Focus on insight and communication with the past when meditating with this rune, listen to your innate wisdom. Remember that the answers to most, if not all the things you need or want to know, already exist inside of you, and are waiting to be unlocked.
Ansuz is the rune of words, speech, and communication. It represents the development of language, sound and the raw mechanics of verbal communication. Clarity and potency of thought are things to always consider and strive for, and effective application of speech when communicating thoughts should be valued and practiced. Our use and knowledge of language is a divine gift, and we must honor it to the fullest potential.
Ansuz teaches us to be intelligent and sagacious, to be open to council and seek advice from those who are wiser. Consider all advice given to you from those whom are older and/or more learned. Consider it a gift that they are willing to pass their knowledge and experience on to you. We must remember that learning anything is hard work and takes time; therefor, knowledge is a form of infinite wealth and abundance. Accept new ideas into your life and consider it a blessing; sometimes words and ideas can be worth their weight in gold (physically and metaphysically). Never disrespect the Elders and always hold their wisdom in high regard.
Ansuz represents the passing of the Breath of Life along the ancestral line. It is the gift from your ancestors (Odin) to you, and through you to the next. Ansuz symbolizes our direct ancestry to the Gods themselves, and is a pathway to the endless memory of the Blood Well. We are directly descended from these Gods of old; men and woman who immortalized themselves as the archetypes of humanities expression. Ansuz is our means of communication with them and their story, the history of our blood and immortal soul.