When I teach the runes, and when I consider them, there are two important concepts I try to tell my students. First is that the runes tell the story of history, and some of the events through history, from creation through Ragnarok. It can take years to see this story, and I still haven’t gotten all the pieces together.
But what I perceive to be more important is that the runes have relationships to each other. As with the virtues, where I discuss the relationship between each of the virtues, the same is also true for the runes. While everyone rune doesn’t have a clearly relationship with every other, there are other pairs, that when we consider them, seem to fit together.
One of my personal favorites, and one that comes up commonly is the relationship between
If we look at the Anglo Saxon rune poem of the first, we read:
Riding seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors
and very courageous to him who traverses the high-roads
on the back of a stout horse.
and on the second one we read:
The horse is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors.A steed in the pride of its hoofs,
when rich men on horseback bandy words about it;
and it is ever a source of comfort to the restless.
So we see that both of these poems are about horses, and travel. However, as I read them there’s an important distinction. In the former, we’re talking about the utilization of the horse for utilitarian purposes, as opposed to the latter where the act of riding the horse itself is a matter of pride.
So what does this mean in a reading?
If this rune is drawn, this rune indicates to me that there is a journey, either physical or spiritual that is going to happen, or if in the first position in my layout has happened. It was the destination that was important, not the process of getting there. Its kind of like driving to the store and getting groceries. You’re not particularly concerned, other than from a mechanics standpoint, about getting to the store. You go to the store, you buy groceries, and you drive home. You’ve got your groceries and you’re now happy. The driving was incidental to the goal.
On the other hand, if this rune is drawn, the destination is no longer the important part, its the experiences during the journey. That are important. As we read the phrase “A steed in the pride of its hoofs.” We see that there isn’t a concern for the destination, just pride in being on the journey. So if this rune is drawn, when consider this journey, it’s not the conclusion that’s important, but what was learned in the process.
Now some individuals would say that to focus on the former (destination) concept is not experiencing life. I’d argue that there are some situations where the destination is important, like getting to the store, while there are others (such as a vacation, a class where you are learning a lot) the experience is what is important, and success of failure in reaching the destination may not be as important.
I’m somewhat reminded of this concept when I consider the transition of education over the last 100+ years. Particularly with the age of online education, we’re seeing an increasing focus on the destination (a degree, certification, etc.) and less on the experience and learn? We bemoan the fact we see high school graduates who cannot read and do math, or college graduates who can’t think their way out of a box. Why is this? Because we’re focused on the destination rather than the experiences through the process.