Saturday, September 20, 2008

Night Road

Inside of wind-driver,
horse-hoof rider,
A height to wood and tangle flies this ghost:
A ghost in that bird-shelter, deer-shelter,
Serpent home among the hidden:
To the hollow tree this fetch has flown
And into his darkness, into the ground.
To the dark-way, the Hel-way wide
And dim, flying by the thunder, the horse deep sound
Pounding hoof-waves, a shudder in body's cloak
Taken down to shadow's home, uncounted leagues.

And lo, an unlit forest deeper, earth-blue,
And the long wind-limbs of night-caller,
The shadowy flutter of mouse-bane's wings
To shake the earth of the bones,
To rumble in body's rivers,
This is the bath of evening-howler's strong power.

And visions in the dark rise to sealed-shut eyes
Dreams so strange and far from sleep, and yet more:
The wind of rushing to lich-home's bed
From the deepest places of the world to awake,
Yet the midnight-beak comes again:
To fill heart's hall with powerful breath
To make swift the spirit of Gods in me
To establish me again, by pact, in his company.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Harvest of Life-Force: Crafting a Bindrune

"Shaved off were the Runes that of old were written,
And mixed with holy mead,
And sent on ways so wide;
So the Gods had them, so the elves got them,
And some for the Wanes so wise,
And some for mortal men.

Beech-Runes there are, birth Runes there are,
And all the Runes of ale,
And the magic Runes of might;
Who knows them rightly and reads them true,
Has them himself to help;
Ever they aid,
Till the Gods are gone."

-Sigrdrifumol 18-19
(Bellows Translation)

* * *

A few days ago, I found myself in contact with a very nice lady from the holy isle of Britain, who was seeking to create a meaningful Bindrune for herself. Her ultimate goal was to create a Runic symbol to tattoo onto her body, for the purpose of reminding herself of the hard times she had recently endured (and triumphed over) and for the future purpose of calling forth the powers she feels that she needs to live a better life.

I have been a student of the Runic Mysteries for many years, and to this day, I am a practicing Galdrman- a man who daily invokes key Runic powers through meditation, chanting (galdrar) and other devotions. I wanted to help this fine lady, and after fainings to the Lord of the Runes himself- the Allfather Odhinn, I was able to bring my experience to bear on the task, and create both a Rune-row and a Bindrune for her, which will sorcerously serve her purposes.

I got her permission to share the process of this powerful work here at Cauldron Born, and so I will now write a post regarding the many dimensions of this ancient brand of sorcery, beginning with some background material, and moving through the many levels of consideration that result in the mighty crafting of a Bindrune. It was a powerful and good experience for me to be able to do this work.

Before I begin, a tiny background primer on the Runes themselves is needed. Despite rampant misunderstanding and misuse by well-meaning but misguided new-agers, the Runic system remains one of the most popular systems of magical symbolism in the modern Pagan world. When one really sits down and studies the inner mysteries of Runology, they discover that Runes are far more than simply magical symbols, to be grabbed and used for this purpose or that.

The Runes, all together, are expressions of a total cosmology- literally the entire power of the Nine Worlds that encompass all things, and they are a sacred language which speaks of the shaping, maintaining, and destructive powers of the Gods and of Fate itself. They are expressions not only of the "seeds" from which the World-Tree itself grows, but the language used by Allfather, the Master of Sorcery, to create the Worlds. They are powerful beyond estimation, to those who comprehend their deepest forms.

That people underestimate the Runes is by far the greatest danger faced by uninitiated people who try to use them. In the Icelandic sagas, we are treated to stories revealing the dangers of using the Runes without knowing them well enough.

In Egil's Saga, we are shown a story wherein a sick woman was made worse by a man who tried to heal her with a Runic talisman- but his knowledge of the workings of the Runes was very sloppy, and it took the hero Egil destroying his talisman and making one that actually worked to spare her. I give that portion of the story here:

"While they sat at meat Egil saw that a woman lay sick on the daïs at the ends of the hall. He asked who was that woman in such sad case. Thorfinn said she was named Helga, and was his daughter; she had long been ill; her complaint was a pining sickness; she got no sleep at night, and was as one possessed.

'Has anything,' asked Egil, 'been tried for her ailment?'

'Runes have been graven,' said Thorfinn; 'a landowner's son hard by did this; and she is since much worse than before. But can you, Egil, do anything for such ailments?'

Egil said: 'Maybe no harm will be done by my taking it in hand.'

And when Egil had finished his meal, he went where the woman lay and spoke with her. Then he bade them lift her from her place and lay clean clothes under her, and they did so. Next he searched the bed in which she had lain, and there he found a piece of whalebone whereon were runes. Egil read them, then cut the runes and scraped them off into the fire. He burned the whole piece of whalebone, and had the bed-clothes that she had used hung out to air. Then Egil sang:

'Runes none should grave ever
Who knows not to read them;
Of dark spell full many
The meaning may miss.
Ten spell-words writ wrongly
On whale-bone were graven:
Whence to leek-tending maiden,
Long sorrow and pain.'

Egil then graved runes, and laid them under the bolster of the bed where the woman lay. She seemed as if she waked out of sleep, and said she now felt well, but she was weak. But her father and mother were overjoyed. And Thorfinn offered to Egil all the furtherance that he might think needful."

-Egil's Saga, Chapter 75

The Runes and Cosmology

The word "Rune" means "Mystery" or "Secret". Each of the Runes is a secret, a mystery of Nature itself which manifests to our senses in many ways. One of the ways they manifest is in the shape of the Rune that we can see: the actual symbol. Another way is in the sound that is associated with that symbol or form. But these two "levels of manifestation" are only the very tip of the iceberg; they go down so deep as to reach that place that even the Allfather says "the wisest themselves do not know".

Every single natural force or phenomenon- including Gods, human beings, animals, plants, the sky, the earth, you name it- they are all expressions of Runic mysteries. And this system doesn't end there: the Runes, as we know them today, in the order we have them in their alphabetical form, are a sacred text- a key to understanding how the sacred cosmologies and mythologies of our Ancestors form a cohesive, dynamic portrait of how this world really works. I will explain in detail soon, but for now, it is enough to realize that the process of nature, the arising and falling away of the Nine Worlds, and every detail of every life, is part of a dynamic flow of Runic power.

Our Ancestor's sacred myths about the creation and shaping of the world-order are themselves secondary to the Mysteries of the Runes that underlie these sacred and powerful processes. It is the Runes that are expressions of the "highest reality", or should I say, the "deepest, most essential reality of creation and transformation". Myths are secondary expressions of these mysteries that must be understood and experienced in ways that are apart from them, though ultimately sprung from them.

Allfather suffered death on the World-Tree, so that he could lay aside his lesser self, and enter into the timeless space of the Greater Self, and plunge his consciousness into the dark void of Hel at the roots of the World-Tree, to see what forces actually lay behind the world of the senses. He saw, in the mightiest imaginable vision, the Mysteries themselves, these strange powers, that gave rise to all things. He came back to life to share these discoveries with the Gods and mankind- but he could not bring back the full and pure essence of what he experienced.

His Godly mind had to transmit these Mysteries to Gods and Man through symbols and other expressions- and thus, the Runic Symbols as we know them came to be. This is their mythical origin, but it tells the truth: No being can experience the Runes in their true, pure form by simply hearing about them from another, or seeing the shapes that somehow "express" them.

We must do as the Allfather did and plunge ourselves into the void of utter darkness and depth that lies at the roots of all things, to really see what Odhinn saw, to experience what he experienced. Fortunately for us, the Rune-symbols give us doors to that experience. In meditation, and in singing the sacred songs and sounds that belong to each Rune, we can reach that place, but it is the work of a lifetime to achieve such wisdom.

When people look at the Elder Futhark, the Elder Rune-Row, they sometimes wonder at the ordering of the Runes. We are so used to alphabetical systems beginning with "A B C" that it makes some wonder at why the Rune-Rows begin with "F U TH A R K". The first six Rune-symbols or letters in the Rune-Row are, as I said, F, U, TH, A, R, and K. This is not an accident. If one is aware of the cosmological story, the sacred creation myth, given in the Eddaic literature, the Rune Row suddenly makes a deep, penetrating sense- and again, this is not an accident.

In the Creation myth of the Eddas, at the beginning of the cosmos-cycle, only a great Void- Ginnungagap- existed, and on its outer reaches were the polarized regions of Fire and Ice. It was this fire that was the first "impelling force" that started the process of cosmogony. This fire, active and fierce, melted some of the ice from the ice-region, and sent rivers of yeasty water into the Yawning Gap. From the interplay of these two forces, two beings arose from the ice and water: Ymir, the greatest and most powerful Giant, who was and is the sire of all Giants, and Audhumbla, the great Cow who nourished Ymir with the warm milk from her udders. Ymir began to sire giants from his own body.

Audhumbla did more than transmit life to Ymir and his offspring and sustain them: she liked the "salt-block" that arose in the deep, and from it, she helped to lick free (or manifest) the first God, who married one of the Giant offspring of Ymir, and sired the second God, who, through his own marriage, gave birth to Odhinn and his brothers. Odhinn and his brothers- members of the race of Gods who were intelligent, wise, and powerful, could not stand the company of such dark, oafish, and savage beings as the giants, so they went to war, slaying mighty Ymir- and the flood of Ymir's blood nearly wiped out his giantish offspring.

Odhinn and his brothers then tore Ymir's body to pieces, raising them up and creating the World from the parts of his body. With these primordial natural materials, the Allfather and his kin used their divine creativity to shape the cosmos-order. They shaped it in accordance with the Fateful pattern of "rightness" which governs the manifestation of all things. This pattern is innate in the structure of the universe itself. From Ymir's blood came the rivers and oceans, from his flesh the earth, from his hair the plants and trees, and so forth.

The giants who survived were forced to the "outer reaches" of the newly-created and ordered world, but they strive forever to invade the regions of order to destroy what the Gods have done. Thus, a conflict is set up between the intelligent ordering forces of the world, and the savage powers of chaos that forever threaten the world. It is the task of the Gods- and their kin, human beings- to work for the order and maintenance of the world, though one day, as Fate would have it, the order that was begun must collapse and the entire cycle must undergo regeneration.

After the Gods created the world-order, other beings arose from the interaction of the many parts within; from the earth and the natural world, still full of the primordial fire that was there at the beginning, the Vanir Gods arose- from Earth herself and Njord, the God of the Oceans. On the coast of a primordial ocean, Odhinn himself discovered two rotting tree trunks- an Ash and an Elm- and from them, he shaped the first man and woman, breathing his Ond, his immortal spirit of inspiration, into them; and thus, this Gift of the Gods onto natural genetic material was the origin of mankind. After that time, there was a "golden age", a period of harmony in the newly formed world.

What follows later is too long a tale for me to go into, but I am stopping here to show how the first Eight Runes in the Elder Rune-Row are telling the same tale.

The first Eight Letters are "F, U, TH, A, R, K, G, W". They are the Runes Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kenaz, Gebo, and Wunjo.

Fehu means "cattle", "livestock", or "fee, money". It is associated with the "mobile wealth" or "mobile power" that drove the ancient society of our Ancestors- Money and wealth, as represented by cows and livestock. To the Ancestors, you weren't really gold-rich until you were livestock-rich, for in those days, wealth wasn't just a matter of piles of money. It is wealth that gives people the power to go on expeditions, build, create, and acts as the impelling force behind a society. It is no accident that fire happens to often be gold in color- for gold and fire, or fire and wealth, have a vital connection.

Fehu, in the Rune-row is first for the same reason the fires of Muspelheim were the first impelling forces that drove the process of the creation of the cosmos. Fehu is the mystery that we experience when we experience having wealth, energy, fire, and motivation. Even sitting before the crackling flames of a fire is an experience of this Rune, but also of the raw power of the primordial flame which drove the universe-process forward. The Rune-shape of Fehu looks like the horns of cows, and again, this is no mistake: it was a cow that also appeared first, along with Ymir, in the Yawning void.

Uruz means "Auroch" or "ox", but also "drizzle". It refers directly to the "next phase" of the creation myth, in which the great World Ox-Cow Audhumbla arose. In the myth, the interaction of melting ice and fire caused a rain or drizzle, as well as rivers of yeasty, slimy water, to appear in the void. The Auroch is a now-extinct giant bovine creature which once lived in Europe and other parts of the world; it was, in a way, Audhumbla's closest living cousin.

The deeper mystery is this: this Rune refers to the mystery of mighty, vast strength of life that gives rise to the further motion that creates: Audhumbla is a great, primal force of shaping that rushed through the void, spilling forth the essence of fire in her warm "milk" to sustain the first life-forms, and which acted on the "block of salt" that floated there, eroding it, and revealing new forms within the world-pattern, including the first sentient forms of life: the Gods. It takes mighty strength to do this; this Rune is the Rune that channels that strength, for health and the purpose of well-shaped ends. Like the Auroch, it is stronger than any other land creature; it is savage and powerful.

As you can see, the Runes are, in fact, matching with the creation myth. The next Rune, Thurisaz, is the Rune of the Giantish races- it means "strong one, giant" or just "giant" in Old Norse; but it also refers to a "thorn", the natural injuring force that protects plants. The power of the Giants, and their race emerging at this point in mythical history, is represented by this Rune, but the natural destructive power of this Rune is also wielded by the Gods, particularly the God Thorr, and used to protect mankind and the world-order. The next Rune in the row after Thurisaz, which shows the birth of the Giantish races, is Ansuz- the Rune whose name means "God"- and this is the stage of creation in which the first God arises from the natural processes that are playing out here. From this Rune-mystery comes the Aesir-Gods, of whom Odhinn and his Brothers were the first.

The Rune that follows this is Raidho- the Rune of "Riding" and the Chariot-Way, which refers to the Solar-Chariot and its ordered path through the sky. This is the Rune of "Right Order"- it refers to the Order of things that the Gods created from the chaotic natural material of Ymir's Body. It is the Rune of the Right Ordering of the World, the emergence of the World-Order. The next Rune, Kenaz, the rune of controlled fire (fire within the ordered world can now be controlled to willed ends, safe from its original, giantish primordial and dangerous form, which was powerful enough to throw the cosmic process forward). But it is more than this; it is the life-fire within the body of nature, and within all living beings.

It is a Rune of fertility and sexuality, and thus, one of the special Runes of the Vanir-Goddess Freya- and in the myths, it was she who came first to the Halls of the Gods, from the Vanir family, and began the somewhat uncomfortable interactions they had to undergo together before the two families resolved themselves to one another. It is, in a way, the Rune of the Vanir-Gods, and represents their emergence, as well as another stage in the cosmic development.

The Rune that follows this is Gebo- the Rune whose name means "Gift". This "gift" refers not just to the institutions of reciprocal giving that unite human and Godly society, but of that precious Gift that was given by Odhinn to mankind- the Gift of an immortal spirit. This Rune shows us another part of the unfolding of the Cosmos, as in the myth: the creation of Humankind. And the Rune that follows, Wunjo, is the Rune of "joy" and "pleasure"- the Rune which shows the harmonious interaction of many parts, all working together in rightness. It represents, in the cosmological story, the "Golden Age" before the turnings of Fate led to the darker interactions that began the movement towards strife and the eventual destruction of the world, the Gods, and the world-order.

Now, from this short walk through the first eight symbols of the Rune-Row and the sacred myths, we can see why the Runes were ordered as they were. They are telling a cosmological story: the story of all that has happened, of all that is happening, and all that will happen. If I were to continue on with the next eight Runes, and the next Eight, you would see what I mean: the entire row tells the story of the creation of the world, of the emergence of human societies and the struggles of the Gods, and of the final ending of things, and the regeneration of things. The Rune-Row is sacred for many reasons, but the main reason is because it reveals the entire Shape of Things.

The "arrangement" of the Runes in certain orders is the deepest magic, because by taking certain Runes and making a row of them, a being- God or Human- is manipulating the hidden pylons of nature and manifestation, towards a willed end. Allfather arranged the Runes to create the world.

Crafting a Bindrune

We know that Runes were used by the Ancestors for sorcerous reasons. We know that tools and weapons and other things had Runes carved onto them for the purpose of endowing them with magical or Runic power, to increase their effectiveness, but more than that, to place these tools within a deeper cosmic framework of hidden yet constantly developing and acting power, thus empowering them.

Instructions for using Runes to empower things are found in the Eddas and in other writings. The Magical powers of the Runes are praised in other places, and examples of them being used, in various forms, to bring about healing and even cursing are also found. But before one can "use" Runic powers to bring about what appear to be "changes" in this world, before one can use them to perceptually influence twists of Wyrd-threads and Fate, one must understand them on a deep level. I have touched on some of the deeper levels above; the truth is, one should not really attempt to "use" Runes until they have meditated on the symbols and made some progress towards penetrating into the wordless mystery behind each Rune.

As I said before, this is the work of a lifetime; but even moderate progress can be made by a person who is able to go beyond their need to explain everything and simply "move into" the mysterious space of the Runes a short distance. The Runes cause deeper changes in a person who opens to their mysteries than can be explained. But an empowerment certainly happens, and it affects everything in that person's life.

When one has made such internal transformations, one can begin to approach the Runes with an eye towards creating Rune-Rows and Bindrunes. A Rune-Row is an arrangement of Runes, in a straight line, sealed closed with a bar running along the top and bottom of the Row, bringing those Runes together into a cohesive statement of Runic power. A Bindrune, on the other hand, is all of the Runes of a row merged together into a single symbol. Both Rune-Rows and Bindrunes have the same sorts of affects and power, though the Bindrune can show hidden relationships that may not be so obvious in a Rune-Row.

The purpose of any practical Rune-work will be to affect some short or long-term change in a person or in the world. What the Rune-crafter is doing is working with the Mysteries of the World and of Fate, to create an entity of Runic force that naturally attracts certain situations or outcomes to itself. That it does so has less to do with the Rune-crafter and more to do with the innate mystical nature and power of these Mysteries. Of course, one cannot rule out the importance of the human craftsman whose Godly gift of imagination- a truly divine element- acted in conjunction with the timeless and primordial mysteries. Every Rune-creation is a re-enactment of the primordial creation of the world by Odhinn. Thus, all Rune-sorcery is a sacred affair.

One of my greatest complaints about new-agers who toss Runes around carelessly is that they are being disrespectful. The Runes are not toys, nor just a cheap "divination method". You can't read one book on them and then imagine that you are a master of their secrets. They are profoundly merged with the religious structure of Asatru, and thus, only people who have devoted themselves to the Gods and to the Mysteries of our Ancestors can truly "work" with Runes on a successful level. Others are simply lacking in the necessary internal realizations, the necessary respect, and will end up hurting themselves or others, most likely.

When one desires to create a Bindrune or a Rune Row, one must take into account the end that is willed, and must understand the Runes well enough to know which of these powers, or combination of them, will serve to most likely be sympathetic to those aims. Then, one must take into consideration the Runic numerological system- and understand what certain tallies and numbers mean, in the working of things. Finally, the Runes must be carved and colored in a manner that empowers them, which channels the full power of the Runes into the creation.

Historically, as well as in the modern day, most Rune-work is used to produce talismans and carvings on various stone and wood surfaces, like houses, doorways, posts, etc. Pieces of wood that are worn around the neck or carried in leather bags on the body of the person who needed the talisman are the most common practical manifestation of this art. They can also be carved, scratched, or painted onto horns, cups, metal items, and the like.

My client in this work had already been using and experiencing the power of the URUZ Rune. She had recently recovered from an illness of the mind and body, and was looking to create a Rune-Row or Bindrune that symbolized not only her initiatory triumph (she took it as initiatory, as an important milestone in her life) but also which would channel the power of health, both mentally and physically, and good life-outcomes within the structure of the unfolding of her life, into the future. She didn't say this, but what she is looking for is a harmonious increase and development in Hamingja- the luck-force that manifests through all of our genetic and ancestral/spiritual bloodlines, and which gives rise to our mental and physical health, as well as our luck in life-situations.

She wanted health, strength, vitality, but all of it to manifest slowly, over time- not all at once. This is a life-long creation she was asking for, and so, I have done just this for her.

I selected five Runes which would create the Rune-Row, the statement of power, that I was attempting to manifest. I selected these Runes:

These Runes are, in order: HAGALAZ, FEHU, URUZ, LAGUZ, and JERA.

No detail of this operation is meaningless. I selected these five because of the statement I was trying to express, correlated with their own meanings, but I selected five because five, in Runic Numerology, is the number of ordered time and space- a powerful invocatory formula. What this young lady was asking for was a power to emerge within the world-order, in an orderly fashion, in a harmonious way over time.

But this goes further- the number five doesn't simply have a meaning; it also refers to the fifth Rune in the Elder Rune-arrangement: Raidho. Raidho is, as I explained earlier, the Rune of the rightful ordering of things, of the emergence of the world-order within the boundaries of rightness. It is the constantly transforming and emerging "order" of this lady's mind and body that I wish to affect, and so, the number five is connected to that, mystically, on more than one level. And most importantly, it is connected by a Runic power which governs order in harmony.

Now, to the Runes I selected. I started with Hagalaz for a very important reason: Hagalaz is, by far, one of the most powerful Runes in the entire system, when it comes to manifesting things that one needs or desires. Hagalaz is the Rune-Mother, the ninth Rune, and thus, the Rune that rules over the emergence of form out of force. Hagalaz shows the entire structure of the universe- there are Nine worlds after all; it was nine nights that Odhinn hung from the World-Tree to gain the knowledge of the Runes, but more than this, if one takes Hagalaz in her younger form- the form I have above in the Row I created- (it looks like a snowflake) one sees the "Hex-sign", the ultimate symbol of the mysteries of Gothic sorcery.

This Rune is the "Mother" of all the others because one can take that symbol, connect her ends with straight lines, and see the primordial "block" or world "seed-crystal" that Audhumbla licked to bring forth all things. From that symbol, you can create any of the other 23 Runes!

The mysteries of Hagalaz are too many to write here, but I chose it because it begins the Rune-row with the atmosphere of magical manifestation, of the power to bring anything into being, but only in accordance with the cosmological pattern. Thus, Hagalaz is also a very protective Rune.

And what do I call first out of this magically charged sphere of potential? Fehu. I call the power of the world-impelling fire/energy forth, to give this Rune-row "forward motion", to empower it towards completion. But there's more here; Fehu is also the Rune that manifests what we call Hamingja, or Luck-force, ancestral power that impels family or ancestral lines forward into activity and interaction. Hamingja is protective and lucky for each human being, and increase of Hamingja means increase in personal power and fortune. This Rune doesn't just add fuel to the Rune-Row; it brings forth, from the Rune-Mother Hagalaz, good protection and luck for the client within the harmoniously developing framework of Hagalaz.

So next, I call forth Uruz. The atmosphere is set, and from it, comes the fiery forward motion of development, and into what does it develop? Uruz- strong, powerful vital energy and health for the client. We've reached the center of the Rune-Row, and now, at this peak point, a change takes place. Within the manifesting atmosphere that has sent forth world-fire and luck-force into creating vitality and health, a secondary manifestation is asked: Laguz.

Laguz, the 21st Rune in the Rune-Row, is actually quite related to Uruz; Rune-Master Edred Thorsson points out in his book "Runelore" that by the laws of Skaldcraft, Uruz became connected to the concept of Aurr, or "water". And this Rune Laguz- which is fourth in our Rune-Row, is the Rune of the "Lake" or Water, the body of water, lake, or sea. It refers to the frozen waters of the icy-region which melted into the primal rivers and drizzle, and which contained (after being empowered by the primal fire) the seeds of all life.

Thus, Laguz is a Rune of life-force and vital power as well, but not quite like Uruz is. Whereas Uruz is strong and outwardly manifest, Laguz is quieter, deeper, more dealing with the deep places of the mind (think the latent vitality of the subconscious mind). In Laguz's form "Laukaz", it means "leek"- a growing plant, growing and developing, growing organic force.

Laguz refers to the vitalizing, developing force within the mind-body complex, the blood, the "life from water" whereas both Fehu and Uruz are related to the "life from fire". To mix them together alone may cause a conflict, but to place them both within a Rune-row ruled by Hagalaz is to make them both merge and develop harmoniously, constrained by the Rune-mother, and impelled by Fehu's fire.

As an aside, this lady desired that her Bindrune show a "badge of passage", a reminder of what she had endured, and mark a new beginning- and Laguz is the Rune to do just that, as the ancient ritual of "Vatni Ausa"- the sprinkling of a newborn baby with water, to initiate it into the Clan- is tied to this Rune's mystery. It is a Rune which shows rites of passage, births, deaths (the dead must cross the waters to the next world) and even "deaths" of transition in this world, like initiations.

The last Rune I chose was Jera- the "year" Rune, which also refers to the "season" and the "harvest"- it is the Rune whose "arms" making a spinning wheel shape, showing the motion of the cycles of time, of seasons. It is a Rune whose power, last in the Row, receives the Runic spell I have created and places the discharge of its power within the natural cycles of time.

Together, this Rune Row summons forth to manifestation the power of world-fire and Hamingja to increase the vital health-power in the mind and body of this woman, and make it develop in harmony with the world/mind/body pattern, and to mediate its powers into her over the natural cycle of time and seasons that will make up the rest of her mortal life.

One might think that this was the end of our considerations of this Rune-row, but we still have one more important consideration: a deeper layer of numerology. We know that there are five Runes in this row, and we know what "five" means on two Runic numerological levels. But now, we must add up the numerical values of each Rune in the Row to see if we haven't accidentally created a Row that will backfire on us or not work as we hoped.

Hagalaz is the ninth Rune; it's value is nine. Fehu is the first Rune; it's value is one. Uruz is the second Rune; it's value is 2. Laguz is the twenty-first Rune; it's value is 21. Jera is the twelfth Rune; it's value is twelve (and, as the Rune of the cycles of time, it represents the twelve months of the year!)

Together, these Runes total up to 45. And that, dear friends, is 9 times 5. It couldn't be more perfect: Nine, the most sacred and powerful number in Runic numerology, which gives power and force to any purpose, and five- the number I decided on initially, which represents the manifest ordering of space and time. Nine times five, and the power of nine gives Her strength to the entire row. Superb!

So now, this Rune-row can be used, once it has been empowered and brought to life. The process of doing that, however, is a far more complex subject; and this woman's purpose is not for a talisman or a carving that needs to be charged and colored according to complex ritual procedures, and bound to her by name- it is for a tattoo. While this Row, if tattooed, won't have nearly the same power as it would if made into a talisman, it will still have power- the simple shape of these Runes and their arrangement has power- it does affect things on a subtle level, and the more so if it is tattooed onto her body in a permanent way.

Now, I started all of this to create a Bindrune. Now that I have the Rune-Row, and it works on every level, I can create the Bindrune. And so I have. Here is the Elder Form of the Bindrune:

And here is the "curvilinear modern" form:

Let us focus on the Elder Form. As you can see, the Rune-Mother, Hagalaz, is the central Rune. This is powerful; the entire Bindrune is a field of her power, and on her limbs, we see the powers we wish to manifest. Beginning at the top, we have Fehu; to both sides the vital empowering Runes of Uruz and Laguz, and at the bottom the "receiver"- Jera, who will mediate these powers over time to the owner of the Bindrune. Notice that Jera on this Bindrune looks like a square; this is because, for the purposes of Bindrunes, I always use Jera's Anglo-Saxon form, which is a central line with the two "arms" of Jera merged on it, looking like a diamond. It is still Jera; it is NOT the "Ing" Rune, and the intention and knowledge of the Rune-inscriber would have to be kept on this fact.

I have named this Bindrune "Harvest of Life Force". To make the name powerful, I like to look at the phonetic sounds of the Runes involved- in this case H, F, U, L, and J (the J making a "y" sound) and pick a name that uses those sounds. H- F- L; Harvest of Life Force. This is also what the Bindrune does; it distributes a harvest of life-force, health, and harmony to the client.

I'd say I was going to end now, but before I finished this work, I discovered something very amazing and powerful about this Rune-Row and its Bindrune: It can be doubled, and the numerology still reveals a working pattern! This is uncommon in Bindrunes and in Rune work in general, so I knew I had to include this alternative here.

If one takes the Rune-row I created, and "doubles" it, that is, leaves the Hagalaz Rune at the center, and places the same Runes on the other side of her, making this:

One has gone from five Runes total in the row to Nine- the most sacred number, which, while maintaining the original meaning and purpose of the Row, now makes it twice as powerful. "Doubling" the Runes in the Row gives them a doubling of power- they partner with one another now to increase their force. And, if you add up the numerical values of all nine Runes, you get this:

12 + 21 + 2 + 1 + 9 + 1 + 2 + 21 + 12 = 81

And 81 is what? 9 times 9. The most powerful possible numerological combination-outcome for any Rune Row or Bindrune. "Harvest of Life Force" therefore has two forms- both in its Row-form, and in its Bindrune form. Here is the "doubled Bindrune":

And here is its curvilinear modern form:

I love looking at the doubled Rune-row, seeing that Hagalaz in the center, radiating out the spell in either direction, with such great power. It is important to note that some Runes in the Rune-System as a whole are dangerous, unless mitigated by combination with other Runes, which channel their force safely. This is why a deep working knowledge of these powers is needed, lest we end up with the sort of situation we saw in Egil's Saga! Harvest of Life Force, however, is both powerful and safe, though its power in its "doubled form" is greater than in its natural, singular form, and not as stable in manifestation, as the numerology behind it moves away from five, and totally towards nine. But Nine is likewise a "forming within stable framework" number, so the danger is mitigated. And nine is a very powerful number for manifestation. It is the Rune-Mother.

I wish the user of this Bindrune great luck and success in all she does. I encourage everyone who reads this, who is interested in learning the deeper mysteries of Runology, to join the Rune Gild, whose website can be found here:

And Hail the Lord of the Runes, who guided me in this process! Hail Harvest of Life Force! Reyn Til Runa!