Monday, December 13, 2010

Forces to Bring Change!

Art is the child of Nature; yes,
Her darling child, in whom we trace
The features of the mother's face,
Her aspect and her attitude.

--Longfellow

I just had to share this quote that I got from an email last week as I work with ideas of symbol as story. I have been working on a manuscript that deals with Michigan's Sanilac Petroglyphs (pictures etched in stone) and their interpretation and also rereading some Rudyard Kipling stories on how symbols as a written language tell their own story.  
Snow Runes in the Trees

   
I wanted to finish up what I started in this
blog with the last set of the runes. As you
look outside I'm sure you will see a few of
these without much trouble!
After our snow and ice gift yesterday we
were left with beauty and treacherous
conditions (beauty and chaos).
Here now are the 2nd Aett of runes, the
Forces to Bring Change.
 
 
Hagalaz - "hail", the seed of ice, is disruptive and causes change. Protect home and barn with this one as it staves off astral attacks. I imagine ice and hail sliding off the slanted roof, and being safe and sound down below.
Nauthis - "need", go within and bring forth personal inspiration. A rune to stop incoming attack or a warning that maybe something unacknowledged needs to be attended to. (As the letter Y it reminds me to ask myself Why? in help in remembering the meaning here.)
Isa - "ice", frozen a time to slow down, to stay the same, freeze things or another's actions means to stay in the present situation, but can also be destructive by not allowing needed movement. (I think of this one as an icicle-which also brings caution while walking under!)
Jera - "year", harvest time, cyclical rune of reward, a gentle flow of change (year) not a fast pace. (I see the balance of the seasons in this one, almost like a chain link or two hands holding the year.)
Eihwaz - "yew" the tree of life, eternity, world without time. A rune that says GO FOT IT! The rune of the Hunter, searching for person, place, thing, job, home. (To me, this runic tree branches at the top and roots below createing balance.)
Perth - "dance", secrets and hidden knowledge. Rebirth and childbirth. Evolutionary process. A GREAT changes is about to take place. (I see this a a bowl, pot or cauldron where cooking takes place.)
Algiz - sign of negation, the protective rune is the elk staghorn and shield. Need I say more?
Sowilo - SUN! inspiration from divine source. Message needed to accomplish a goal. Kind of a light bulb going on, Aha! moment which can be a slap in the face or wake up call. (Looking like Harry Potter's scar this lightning bolt could be a ZAP! in the right direction.)
 
Pictures tell stories and the letters of the alphabet and runes are no different. Especially after reviewing sketches, notes and past writing on the petroglyphs I have found wonder again in those ancient drawings. Who made them and what were they trying to say? Much is left open to interpretationa dn imagination.
We all leave our stories whether in rock, tree, paper or electronically to pass on meaning.
 
In Kipling's story where Taffy and her father create the first written language (they illustrate a story as a message that gets them into trouble), they they take those early drawings and simplify them into symbols which hold sound. The story is one of sweetness and imagination as they work out each sound.


Often just trying to interpret my grandaughter's drawing is pretty much the same. Sweet, imaginative and pure in meaning--even with rhinestones!

Books and art are windows that take us into another world and illustration is the universal visual language that helps us understand customs and people!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Forest Speaks to Those That Listen

Preparing for the winter storm that is supposed to hit--meaning keeping a sketch journal handy and doing a little pre-holiday shopping. The wind is blowing through the pines out my office and it's beginning to rattle the window. Ah, Michigan winter, how vital. A good time to reflect and to reacquaint myself with the first runes.

With my last post having to do with this mystic "air mail", I thought that I would go ahead and drop in the 1st Aett of the runes. These ancient divination runes are called the Elder Runes or "futhark".

This past week the rune, Gebo, is an 'x' that marks the spot. Coming to me at different times throughout the day, I thought I should review this message from my creative unconcious! Gebo, the gift rune, is that of balance and partnership. Use to enhance an exchange of data, ideas, or feelings, whether between two opposing or agreeing forces. As an air element, it moves swiftly in many situations. Honor self-sacrifice (give and take) to have harmony. The crossed twigs do give a feeling of balance and also partnership.

Fehu - is the female rune. The cattle goddess of fertility meaning new beginnings, wealth and possessions. (I have a sketch of this rune with a woman raising her arms to the sky to help me remember its message.)
Uruz - the auroch rune symbolizes the glacier and ice, a rune of determination, fertility and strength. (If you look at this rune it does look like a glacial wall of strength. And I must say that a glacier would be determined in its movement.)
Thurisaz - Chaos! a rune of forces of oppostition. Negative balance in the scales of nature. The shadow self of each person or deity. A rune of fire. (A good way to remember this one is perhaps a guillotine sliding downward--just a suggestion :)
Ansuz - wisdom and occult knowledge and god rune. Known as Odin's rune (the All Father of Scandinavian folklore who hanged from the world tree, upside down, and gained the knowledge of these runes, this language of the forest). This air rune signifies sacred breath and highest vibration.


"Green Man" (Odin-The One-Eyed Norse God) by Lori Taylor
Raido - makes things go, a rune of movement and horseback. In charge and in motion to control particular situations. A pathway to travel. The fire element of the beginning of new projects. (Another rune that has made it to the forefront lately.)
Kenaz - is the fire pit, the torch or bowl of light. (Pretty easy to see the symbolism here and light is pretty easy to interpret.)
Wunjo - Joy! Pleasure, fertility, gifts and light. (One can imagine this rune design as a torch or light or perhaps that triangle-like blade at the top before it falls and becomes the rune of chaos, Thurisaz :)

It's been fun to find these runes and drag out my old sketchbooks and recall the pictures I drew of each to help me remember their meaning. I find that with chaos comes balance (see above), something that has hit home closely with me and my family lately--let's face it, that dance of chaos and balance never ends! Yet, through this season of decreasing light, we still burn brightly as we make or purchase gifts to lift hearts and spirits. So it's only natural that Gebo has hopped into my mind and re-minded me of that give and take in order to stay in balance.

And so it is with light, joy and fire we go inside to stay warm recharge our batteries.  We have loaded up the groceries and the firewood and now we wait. (There is an excitement to this first real snowfall!) After the snow begins to cover the brown of the past years growth, we know that that brown will compost and fertilize bringing new life in only a few short months.

May you keep your fire burning through this energy consuming time and enjoy the quiet moments!
(Rest up, next week's runes are the 2nd Aett, forces that bring change!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Language of TREES! Going Within

'Tis the season--to go within. Nature does this going within--naturally! Animals migrate, hibernate, or adapt to the winter season, so why don't we? At a time to conserve our energy and go within, most people are stepping out and the holiday shopping, cards, baking and general running around has folks in a dizzy spin.

This is a time, especially after our first snow, that I slow down and go inside. Because of this going within time it becomes a time that I get air mail, or himmelsbrief ("letters from heaven"). The black and white, or I should say, the gray and brown and white world outside is silent and stark. Trees bare of leaves are interesting and form interesting shapes. It is easy to see how Germanic folks saw runes so readily in trees, especially in the winter months. (I recently saw an art exhibit in Canada where the artist used twigs to spell words.)
Because of my love for language and art, it is easy for runic signs and symbols to catch my eye during the day. I draw down the ones that seem to speak to me. For years I have tried learning runes and it seems every winter is when I am drawn to them. As an artist and writer, I am drawn to the stick shapes, meanings and the idea of a magical alphabet and language that the subconcious mind delights in taking note of. Runes have an interesting history and there is lots written on them. The runes above are the 3rd Aett that deal with human nature and conditions.

Lately, Dagaz and Ehwaz have popped into my mind as I kept running into them during the day. What was my mind trying to tell me? Dagaz (Day) is the rune of the end of a cycle or era, a new day's promise of something better or new by bringing light and transformation into a situation. And Ehwaz ((horse) is the horse or warhorse rune that can bring people together (or split apart) but means you better take control of a situation and create links of goodwill.

To me, runes are the language of trees especially if you look outside. This week I began work on a boreal forest wildlife series of paintings, a large boreal forest piece in addition to a Avian Alphabet/Rune Card set. At a time after book manuscripts were sent out I finally got to play with some creative projects that had been set aside. Hopefully, I will have time in the next few months to complete these. During this quiet time, I review the past year, I create and I listen, to the subject, the medium, the message as it comes out in word and symbol.

During the holiday hustle and hubbub, watch the frozen outdoor world around you for messages in shadow and symbols that appear from nowhere. Collect them in a sketchbook or simply take note of them. They are fun greeting cards from within!

Tiwaz (Tyr the sky god) -Justice! Invoked for courage, honor, bravery in a difficult situation.
Berkano (Birch) -Maternal rune, patron of mothers, children and women's mysteries. Emotional and physical security.
Mannaz (Man) -The people rune. One of cooperation between people for beneficial end.
Laguz (Lake) -Sorcery or sending thoughts. Visualize some in dream time to talk with on an issue honestly and lovingly.
Inguz (Ing god of fertility) -Vessel of creation, doorway to astral world.
Othala (Possession) -Traditions, values, the light of knowledge is carried on.