The task of the runes is to open up these layers of fate, to unravel the complex threads and show us how we have arrived where we are. It is here that we find the true meaning of the term 'wyrd'. While our own English word 'weird' is derived from this term, the concept it embodies is more potent than the simple notion of something that is strange or bizarre. One's wyrd is that which has been created by what is laid down (orlog) in the past.
The Runes are Teachers
The runes are teachers. They disclose the true nature of past action, urge courageous self-honesty in facing the issues and then offer the gift of choice and change through powerful insight. Through the runes, we glimpse the web of the three Sisters and discern something of its pattern. Thus we can begin to undo the knots and tangles and retie the threads to bind a new and different path. But, in doing so, we must know and understand the forces in the greater web for we are all part of a much larger pattern and we all have a path to walk within it.
There is not just the wyrd of the individual, the creator, but also that of the group, the community, the planet and the universe, the co-creators. This vast sea of consciousness is the divine principle, that which transcends the individual, be he animal, human or god. More than two thousand years ago, the runes were evolving in a culture that understood the essential paradox of existence, the balance of personal power through self-mastery with surrender to the greater pattern. For the Teutonic peoples, the greater pattern was the web of life, the web woven by the three Sisters that even the gods must heed and obey, for they are bound within it just as are we mortal folk.
The Loom and the Web
The Sisters at their loom, weaving the swirling fibres of chaos into order, then surrendering their fabric to the winds of heaven that return the pattern to primal chaos... The Sisters call us endlessly to the dance of life, the passage of death and renewal through rebirth. Here we find a primal image of spiritual understanding. Here, in the ceaseless weaving, we discover the pattern of the Wyrd in a moment in time and take our next steps. Then, in the next moment, the Wyrd has shifted for we have shifted and so we move on.
The Fabric of Life
The runes are not simply a fortune-teller's tool, they are the hammer and diviner of the Wyrd, part of a system of spiritual belief that is older than Christianity and as complex and beautiful as Hindu or Buddhist thinking. It is a system that embraces reincarnation and rebirth, that holds the web of life as central and sacred, that is steeped in a magical tradition where responsibility for one's own acts and destiny is the core of existence.
When you use the runes you don't just read the future, you participate in its creation by linking with the past and building on past effort or even changing your path or destiny. When you draw the runes, you draw water from the well of magical power, the Well of Wyrd. When you cast them, you give yourself to the web of life and its ever-changing patterns.
Here endeth this remarkable article by Neil Giles on the magical tradition of the Runes.
Back to the start of The Runes