Runes From A Vanic Perspective: Jera
Jera, literally translated means year, and if there is one thing that the Vanir are associated with it is the phases of the year... As we have seen, Spring is associated with Freyja, Walpurgasnacht is Her night, and with Freyr, as folk dance about the Beltane pole. Summer is associated with Loaf-Fest, and with the sacrifice of Freyr to the land, Harvest is connected to Sif, Autumn has the joy of apples and Idunna, and Winter with Skadi and with Ullr. The Vanir live in the land and reflect the seasons over and over in a myriad of ways. But Jera is more than this; it is about personal cycles as well. It is about the journeys we take that carry us in our lives that heal us and bring us new growth.
To me Jera is one of the Runes associated with Healing because it measures out time, and it takes time for true healing to actually occur. Healing is a long term process, whether from a physical, emotional or spiritual perspective. In times past, our remedies came from herbs and other plants, as well anyone knows... And it took time for them to grow; you couldn't just go to the market and purchase an aspirin or any other particular medication. Each plant had to be harvested in its proper time of year, at the height of its potency, dried and stored, marked so that the healers knew when it would continue to be the most effective. Today, many of our drugs are still being discovered first as natural remedies and then the base chemicals are recombined in laboratories, this gives us the advantage of suspending time's influence upon the materials themselves; But no matter whether the medications are given to us as little bitty pills or as teas or in tinctures, healing takes time.
When we look at the paths of our lives, we can see certain cycles repeat themselves over and over again, sometimes positive and sometimes negative; but they repeat giving a kind of rhythm to our lives until we figure out why we do what it is that we are doing and we change. This too is an aspect of Jera, allowing us to look about and find the things along the way that are co-dependencies and those that are strengths, allowing us to break out of abusive cycles. Jera can be used in combination with counseling to strengthen new, positive habits when working on your own self-esteem and deprogramming negative messages that have been part of a past you are actively trying to leave behind. But you have to work toward that end constantly in order to set a new cycle in motion.
I associate Idunna with Jera because of the fact that the apples from her trees gave such youth to the other Gods. When the Gods aged as terribly as They did and Idunna was returned to Them, She was able to reverse the aging process bringing each of the Gods back to their ideal age; this in fact was healing. Plus, there is a complete cycle of growth that comes in the raising of the trees to the point where they can give the apples to begin with. It is the cycles of seed, sapling, tree, apple that represent the various parts of the year in a sense though stretched over a much larger period of time.
Because of how intimately Jera is involved with the various aspects of healing, I associate Jera with Eir and whenever I blot Her I always sign Jera over the drinking horn as I dedicate it to Her.
Written by, Ayla Wolffe©2008