Runes For All

Sharing Knowledge, Ever Learning

The Rede

studying runes for the joy of it

October 28th, 2008

Runes From A Vanic Perspective: Jera

Add to Memories Tell a Friend

 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

October 23rd, 2008

Runes From A Vanic Perspective: Gebo

Add to Memories Tell a Friend

The Vanir are those most concerned with bringing the harvest to its fullness and thus this rune is intrinsically connected to Them. Those deities connected to Gebo are Freyr, Idunna and Sif. Freyr gives his own life essence back to the earth at Loaf-Fest (also known as Lammas) each year, as the sacrificed God. In the act of being cut down, his blood returning to the earth nourishes it and makes it fertile. The secret being that He is again born in the crop the following year. Thus you get the essence of what the saying "The king and the land are one," truly means.   Without the willingness to give in such a manner the land would simply be a hunk of earth, without the consciousness of this mystery the people would simply be eating a bit of grain, it might nourish their bodies but not their spirit. 

Sif also is a deity of the grain; She too sacrifices a part of herself, her beautiful golden hair. Each year it is shorn short so that we may eat and become nourished. Though this does not seem as heavy a sacrifice as the blood which is given by Freyr, it is indeed, for each portion of the body holds a secret; and in Scandinavian and Germanic society a woman's worth was measured in large part by the length and beauty of her hair. This sacrifice shows that Sif is measured by more than the beauty of her hair, but by what she has to offer, and this is the ability to nurture and kindle within each individual that which they value. Sif by nature is a nurturer as can be seen by the way in which She raises a blended family with skill and with patience. If one concentrates on these traits when making bread or eating products of any kind of grain, whether they are maize, or wheat, rye or barley then you can partake of Sif's true gifts and not just fill your belly. 

Idunna also is a deity connected with Gebo, though not a deity of grain; She embodies the concept of generosity with a kind of quiet grace. It is She who raises the trees that put forth the apples of youth and health for the Gods; and it is She who bestows them as well. None can partake of these treasures except that they come from her hand. As has been demonstrated when Thijazi captured Her and tried to force Her to give him one. When he reached for it himself it withered and shrank from his touch.  The relationship which Idunna has with the trees themselves is one which expresses the give and take of Gebo, it is almost symbiotic, with a kind of love being exchanged between them, at least this is what I believe; I believe that the love that is exchanged between Goddess and tree is contained within the apples and this is what causes them to be so potent and to give the years of youth and to restore health to the other Deities. 

Because these Deities do so much for humanity, for the earth, and for the other Gods, They embody the essence of Gebo. A gift for a gift. We, in return must be mindful always that where we put our feet upon this earth we tread lightly and that we leave little trace of ourselves. We must always try to conserve and pay attention not to create more strife in our wake. This is our part of Gebo, to honor and give back in as many ways as we can; Because it is truly a gift for a gift. Our hearts must be filled with gratitude for those things that are bestowed upon us, and where we can help others that too we must be mindful to do. This exchange instead of taking advantage is the essence of Gebo. .

Written by, Ayla Wolffe©2008

Powered by InsaneJournal