A rune a month… (or how I found myself again)
I’ve been holding a lokk-seidr circle for about nine years now. We gather- usually twice a month- to chant (the lokk), and enter an altered state of consciousness (“seidr”), there is usually a drummed meditation or gong bath as well. As the group deepened I started to include an annual weekend retreat, and started earlier in the evening to create space for a little rune-lore.
Then one October, in our weekend retreat, I wrote the 16 runes of the Younger Futhark on bits of paper and we looked at which ones we work with, and those we perhaps were less familiar with.
It was no surprise that the runes I love were very familiar to all- Odin, Freya, Njord, Hel and my favourite Loki. There were some that were known but not that well- Frigg, Jord, Ull, Vidar. There was one that I had consciously avoided- Heimdall, always a blind spot for me. And curiously my favourite rune was almost unworked with by my students- Frey.
My co-host for the weekend looked at our rune montage (Heimdall was on the floor, not the table as we work with him so little). His main surprise was the lack of connection with Frey. I think one of my students said something like “Oh Maddy keeps that rune for herself” What was actually happening was once the students were settled in their journey I would scoot off and chat to Frey- so I kind of thought “we” were working with him, but it was only me.
This was the start of our deep and focused “Rune-a-Month.
Not all my students do everything. Some are too far away to come to in person events, and some enjoy the lokk-seidr but don’t feel the urge to deep dive into rune-lore.
But most months (there have been some adjustments due to holidays or illness) for each month I am:
Leading three lokk-seidr (shaman) sessions. Two in person, on via Zoom. This is a chance to experience the rune/deity. By chanting the sound/name of the deity -woven into the more regular chants we use. I love the chanting, it takes the experience out of the left brain and thinking- and the sound becomes an experience that allows me to better "know" the energy of the rune. And we journey, using guided visualisation, through the rune. Using drum, or gong, or chant to journey to a place in the shadow lands connected with the deity.
The value of this work is not only my own personal experience, but hearing the others in the group as well. The combined experience is fascinating- especially the number of small synchronicities we so often experience.
Teaching based on the rune for two hours. I have no idea why I offered two hours- it is an exceedingly long time to speak! I am focusing on the deity, the associations of the rune. But more importantly how it reflects psychology, how it can be used shaminically, for healing, and to better understand life.
I am teaching my experience, my understanding, offering an insight into my web of understanding. My aim is to support my students in creating their own web of understanding- rather than teaching them associations to recite. I try and illustrate why I have associations- with out creating any sense of completion of definition.
I love the research phase for the month- how a thought or question can send me off in the Edda's, or psychology, or myths- and my notes are all mind maps with complex webs. Sitting down to try and express this in an ordered way is the hardest part of the whole process!
Connecting to the runes on this level has been, and is life changing.
Each month seems to have reflected- on some level – the rune I am connecting with. Maybe it is just that I am more aware of the rune and so I see it reflected in my life. But it feels more- as if I am more fluid, more balanced, more self aware.
The problem with my life as a full time shaman & Tarot reader, and single Mum, is that most of my life is about supporting others. With often precious little time left for understanding myself.
So this project has prioritised reflecting on myself to better understand which ever rune is our current focus. And as I start to look back at a year of “Rune-a-month” I can appreciate what a difference that has made. So to the students who got fed up of me side-stepping teaching rune-lore. And pushed me into my Hel side of “if I’m going to do it, then I’m going to do it with everything I have” I say thank you. I never realised how much I needed this deep-dive odyssey into the runes.