I have now crossed the rift between the study and holistic use of the first 8 runes from the Elder Futhark, the first aett. During my time thus far as an apprentice of the Galdragildi, I have witnessed some profound self-transformation, through study of the curriculum books, and practical integration of Fehu through Wunjo.
The magical interjection of performing a rune draw I would consider the most important and most perceptive altering technique I have gained from runic ritual. Before joining the gild, I was quite a skeptical character with most of my knowledge of the world stemming from materialistic science and rationalistic philosophy. I had no inclination towards divination or drawing lots, using tarot or crystals, etc. I suppose it was only in the last three years that the spiritual aspect of life became really a part of anything I did. Having the resources of an entire curriculum of hundreds of rare books and articles to read, and many gild specific rites involved, automatically let me pursue a sentiment I had been doubtful about before. That is, the mythological narrative layered upon a life firmly grounded in what I only experienced with direct knowledge. I do believe I gained a lot of revelatory insight after my first rune draw. It came at a time when my lover had left me, and I used the runes that I crafted myself, to instigate my darker shadow consciousness, the sub-awareness that I had started to trust in more to reveal and choose what was then Right for me. Naturally I felt inclined for a session of meditation during the draw, and ended up taking Thurs blindly from the pouch. A couple months previously I had taken a couple hours a night, in solitude, to meditate on each rune that I read about in Edred Thorsson`s guide book, and then write a short personalized account of what I thought they meant and represented to my own subjectivity, along with a short few verses of prose about each runic aspect. Returning to these notes, where I had included the ideographic meaning, and metaphysical symbolism, the :ᚦ: page mirrored exactly how I was already thinking and dealing with the situation. It also gave me very powerful rede as to how to carry out my own actions to move forward. Essentially, this rune was the thorn which I felt inflicted by, and the way to progress was to uphold my higher self, keep the peace, but also use defense lest the harmfulness of the situation became worse. I analyzed each rune lightly after this from my book, which still remain relatively unchanged, and of all their esoteric values, it was ᚦ alone that emanated any kind of truth to me in its explanation. This was a special example of my first real divination with the runes, so inevitably I felt on a high, as if it really worked. A few weeks later I had the instance again of drawing a rune that dealt with my feeling of isolation, discomfort, fear and anxiety from being in a very intimidating place. When I was given Wunjo ᚹ, it was the same thing. Again I felt that only this rune resonated with me properly, and I continued to think about it and facilitate it in my conscious mind and will for several weeks after. A second instance proved it was not mere coincidence. A third, some period of time later when my spiritual direction and divinity awareness was weakened, I felt to be unprotected, unsafe, and without communication to Odin, the gods and goddesses. ᛉ Algiz became present then in my lot, and was the very axiom of my gild initiation rite, and my spirit lit up. The communication aspect was extremely strong, and I did experience a sense of belonging, and protection from a higher entity. I could not then express any doubt for the divination portion of Asatru and was already well out of the murky parts of my heathen path.
Many times while undergoing my everyday activity, which at the time I was working in a tree planting camp, I would chant one of the runes that I felt particularly strong that day. The galdr, while I had done this is quiet meditation before sleep was entirely different in an active way. If for instance I was chanting Berkano, and giving a spiritual penance for the mother goddess by planting seeds in the earth, I found the quality of my work became better, and my mood was more lively and less distracted than without the chanting. Galdr became a way for me to use the rune as a foci for deep contemplation but also for manifestation, and propagation. It multiplied itself the more I did it as my technique got better. Galdr has been something I really like to do when I feel there is a lot of space to fill with the tones, or to act as a primer for deeper and more effectual magic (but of course, an integral part of it). The concept of trans-personalization as well, such as using my body to become one of the deities. Recalling the myth of THOR smashing the earth with his hammer and creating fertility in the barren areas. This became me, in the clearcut, with my shovel, hitting in the soil several thousand times a day, and each time a hole opened in the ground, a tree planted in its place. Carrying on the work of the giant.
I also managed a daily routine of hailing the day with DAGAZ each morning, doing Likstadhr and Runenmudra, and repeating the Odinic Oath each and every day of waking, no matter what kind of schedule I provided. Having structure and ritual involved with the mundane entitled me to create a more purposeful existence while I carried out all my other deeds. I began to truly enjoy doing these daily practices, because it nourished some positive traits that I had noticed within myself, like self-discipline, and worship.
Living in a society often perceived at face value, or wherein you are expected to perform, and provide at a certain level was a philosophy that I rejected very early in life, however I had always held on to certain behavioral traits that I deemed `noble`or truthful. The Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru; Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self-Reliance, Industriousness, & Perseverance. I took these on like axioms of my attitude as a heathen, and the fact that I could engage with the kin of the gild who also served for these fundamental traits was very special. As it was very difficult to meet others out in the world who still kept these codes alive, and were real about them, it was cathartic to have the trust in at least a small group of them who did. This in turn, issued me a new state of living.
I believe now that I also fully understand the primary tenet of the Odinic self sacrifice after reading many scholarly and trusted texts on it with different viewpoints but further on how I relate to it, and transfix my own ODIN into the myth for practical living. I now also understand the roles of the most important gods and goddesses in the Asatru pantheistic tradition and their archetypes of what Jung called Man`s symbols. This was ultimately a way for me to transcend the purely scientific and anthropological knowledge I had yearned about deities and their counterparts, and instead fused them as vectors of creation or different phenomena I observed and experienced all the time anyways. Layering on a more fantastical ontology to the method in which I survived, and perceived or interacted with things around me. Through the filter of the divinities like Freya and Baldur.
I am very fond of the parallels I notice between the Teutonic and Germanic ideals and those of the Indic traditions. As I find several others of the members are also interested in the Aryan/Hindu paradigms and even the stories that are involved contain a lot of the same sentiments only translated slightly differently from the viewpoints of different folk in a different age. Ygg’s empowering tree as my central core and the Nine Realms are perhaps the most intimate to me as an individual within the gild. The tree, like a fractal that perpetuates itself, and grows to make strong branches, and the delicate but beautiful representation of the organic life of the tree relating to my physical presence here on earth. And the deep psychological relatives between Yggdrasil and different states of consciousness (the crown as being closer to spirit, the roots clinging to the matter of Midgard, etc.) I have felt my own tree grow, and bud, and stretch and provide life for other sentient beings all the while giving it all the food it has needed to stand amongst other trees.
Although these apexes and victories are not without some ignorance and struggle. I still yet find difficulty with Seiðr techniques, the evolution narrative, and perhaps making successful taufr. Though these are things I have greatly expanded upon in my personal awareness and praxis, they have been murky aspects throughout the first aett. Predominately, the early work of my apprenticeship has been of positive conclusions to answers I have sought for in life, and an upwelling of wisdom passed from my ancient ancestors of proto-Europe. I do go about now truly thinking in a radically different way, of how might one of them deal with a situation, or where would they get their food, or what kind of relationship would they have with their kin, and it causes me to be inherently more aware of my past, while trying to make sense of what I have in the present. I feel connected to ideas and traditions intrinsically apart of me, yet formerly forgotten. And have already even impacted the lives of some friends, demonstrating and teaching to them the ways of heathenism and the runes. This is in my eyes, the highest gift I have received from being apart of the Gild.