Halloween and ‘Alfablot’-‘Sacrifice to the Elves’

Halloween 2022….Rune style reading

True Tarot Tales

Public Domain

What we know of Norse Mythology comes largely from the Eddas, two collections of writings from assorted anonymous writers, dating around 1250 CE.

All Hallows Eve, Halloween or Samhain is a Gaelic custom, not Norse. The Norse peoples did mark this time of year, although in a different way, with Álfablót – the Elf Ritual.

Elves were associated with burial mounds (also known as barrows) as it was believed that they lived in or around them, and more than this, elves were associated with the souls of the dead, rather than fairies in the other sense of the word, as a supernatural entity that was never human.

Rakni’s burial mound, Noway, Public Domain

It is the largest burial mound in Scandinavia, 77 metres in diameter and over 15 metres in height. There are a number of stories associated with it, one associated with a roving sea-King Raki or…

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Reflections in the runes May 2022

May Rune Reading 2022

What are the runes?

The word ‘rune’ comes from the old Germanic, ‘runa’ or ‘runo’ meaning a secret thing, a mystery. The northern peoples saw the Earth, its forces and all things in nature seen as living forces or spirits to be honoured and respected.  The runes were and still are used for psychic readings and advice- divination -or used for magical purposes and good luck – seidr.

Runes were the first systems of writing developed and used by the Norse and other Germanic peoples. These runic alphabets are known as “futharks” after the first six runes (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, and Kenaz) – just as the word “alphabet” comes from the names of the first two Semitic letters (Aleph, Beth).

There are three rune alphabets or futharks: the Elder, Younger and Saxon futharks. The 24-character Elder Futhark was the first fully-formed runic alphabet, dating back, so far as we know, to the first century CE/AD, though it may have been in development from about 200 BCE.

Today we are working with the Elder Futhark, illustrated below.

Via Wiki

Fehu Uruz Thurisaz Ansuz Raido Kenaz Gyfu Wunjo

Hagall Nied Isa Jera Eiwaz Perthro Elhaz Sowilo

Tiwaz Berkana Ehwaz Mannaz Laguz Ingwaz Dagaz Othala

The more specific the question, the more specific and detailed the reading. Here, we have no specific question., so the findings are very general. The reader is looking for the feel of things, the tone, and for challenges, opportunities or guidance contained within the runes selected blindly and at random.

Review -April rune reading

In a rune reading done late March 2022, the runes talked about a highly volatile, tense and unstable month to come in April 2022. 

The reader wrote, “Thurisaz is the Thorn rune, symbolizing the hammer of Thor, the Norse god of Thunder and Thursdays. This rune is known as the rune of chaos, such as we have all been witnessing at extreme levels in recent weeks. Thurisaz talks about ‘thorny issues’- major challenges. It describes or forecasts situations of defence, attack and storms. This may also refer to other related natural events, such as floods or tsunamis in April.”

12-14 April we witnessed floods in South Africa, Kwazulu, Durban, 12-14 April as reported here in the ‘The New York Times’ 19 April 2022:-

Nearly 4,000 homes have been destroyed and more than twice as many damaged in the Durban area after a week of punishing rains and mudslides. The death toll is now 448, with about four dozen people unaccounted for.

Photo by Kathryn Archibald on Pexels.com

Runes, like astrology, like Tarot or card reading, may be used for guidance and advice, for forecasting/prediction or for both. Many readers nowadays use runes purely for personal guidance. The problem with forecasting is, we will not always like it, and what can we do about it anyway? The answer to this can only be that forewarned is forearmed. The forecast may turn out to be wrong. It may prove to be unduly pessimistic, and if we are feeling anxious or depressed, this may only add to the weight of our burden.

The best way to use psychic prediction is to treat is as a hint , see how it fits with your own assessment and gut feeling, and for the rest, time will tell. If a weather forecaster says it’s sunny outside right now, and there is not a cloud in the sky, but the weather forecaster tells us there is a new weather front on the way and it’s going to rain later, we can decide whether or not to go out and if we do, whether to take a raincoat.

Runecast for May 2022

We have drawn two runes for this coming month, Elhaz and Ingwaz, choosing these runes to represent the general tone and dynamic in world affairs and in our personal affairs as well this month.

Such a reading will obviously be general in scope but there are seasons in events, just as there are different seasons in the year. We have times that are quieter than others. Then we have times of mass general turmoil, as with World Wars 1 and 11 for instance, 1939-1945, and these things tend to go in cycles. We are currently in a cycle of which began in 2019 and which astrologers suggest will calm down 2025/2026.

IMG Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

Elhaz/Algiz/Eohl

KEYWORDS: Protection, guardian, awakening, courage, defence, acting on our instinct

The rune on the left, Elhaz the Elk is also known as Eohl or Algiz.

It means The Elk or The Sedge, or even, The Elk-Sedge. The runes were inspired by things familiar in the landscapes inhabited by these various northern peoples. The wild antlered elk was still roaming wild in northern Europe at that time. The sedge is a grass-like plant that grows on wet ground, found in temperate and colder climates.

Here, Elhaz has been drawn reversed (merkstave.) First let us imagine it turned upright. Now you see the ‘antlers’ and you can see that this rune also looks like rather a person raising their arms to heaven in appeal for help, or else making an invocation.

Elhaz is a rune of general protection, very powerful but the power comes from the mind of the person using it to protect themselves or another. It will not remove all obstacles. We cannot and will not always be comfortable and safe in this life. Sometimes we struggle. Sometimes we need to stand up for ourselves and fight our own corner.  We will never arrive at our full power if we always run away from a fight. Viking warriors used to decorate their shields with this rune but some still died in battle. The Vikings did not take this as a sign that the rune had no power, but instead as a sign that this was the warrior’s time to die; that The Norns or Fates had decreed it. It is worth noting, that the Norns, although they scratched our names and destinies in the bark of the World Tree at the moment of our birth, did allow scope for a mortal to change their own destiny, unlike the Fates of Greek mythology. The Norns saw the future in more fluid terms, less a fixed destiny, more of ‘becoming,’ or that which should be.

Personal Reflection

Elhaz reversed is a sign of vulnerability or warns us that we may be making a sacrifice with no gain. Perhaps this month we need to watch out that we are not misled by others or possibly conned out of our money, or made a scapegoat for someone else’s mistakes. Elhaz reversed warns us to pay attention to our surroundings, not to take our own safety for granted, and not to make any big moves too soon in a new relationship. We need to give it more time, and learn more about this person. Everyone makes mistakes. But we must learn from any past mistakes or be doomed to repeat them.

There may be a person to avoid this month or an offer which should be refused. The classic advice applies with Elhaz reversed. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Ingwaz

KEYWORDS: Protection, guardian, awakening, courage, defence, instincts

The rune on the right, Ingwaz is also known as Ing or Inguz. It may look like a simple diamond, as illustrated above. Alternatively it may look like this:

The word Ingwaz means literally ‘god-seed’. This rune, Ingwaz, Inguz or Ing, comes from an ancient god image Ing, which was an older name for Freyr, a later Swedish Viking god of virility, fertility and agriculture, like another famous pre- Christian figure of mythology, The Green Man.

The Green Man, Rochester Cathedral via Wiki

Ingwaz is talking about the earth itself; the planting of seeds, germination and new life. It is talking about fertility, in this case especially masculine fertility. But it may also be talking in a more abstract sense as in, planting the seeds of a new idea.

Ingwaz is a favourable rune of positive action, unity, agreements, and peace, although the situation may require plenty of careful treatment, and enough time and space to flourish. Ingwaz is all about ‘doing.’

 ‘Ing’ is in constant use in modern English as a language participle “-ing” adding action to a verb. We say ‘Go-ing’, ‘Read-ing’, ‘See-ing etc. The addition of “ing” represents action.

Ingwaz suggests a successful conclusion in solving a problem at hand. Ingwaz can signify milestone events, such as a new baby or a new job.  It cannot be reversed. It looks the same right way up as it does upside down so it has no negative meaning unless it is surrounded by negative runes. Here, it has been drawn opposite Elhaz reversed, a negative meaning of danger. The appearance of Ingwaz in this context offers a faint glimmer of hope for diplomatic efforts to bear some fruit in May. But if not, this fiery rune promises a very determined and courageous on-going resistance to attack, wherever it is being waged by one state against another.

Ingwaz the ‘seed’ is by extension also to do with agriculture-food. Looking at Ingwaz in relation to our first rune, Elhaz merkstave, we can see that issues to do with food supplies, shortages and increases in the cost of food will be featuring large in the news this coming month, as Russia’s war on Ukraine affects exports globally, but especially Egypt and Africa.

The danger of Elhaz drawn reversed married up with the vital spark of Ing can mean sudden fiery events in May 2022, such as rockets and missiles, as we are so horrifically seeing, or wildfire such as we have witnessed in New Mexico already this month.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It may also be worth noting that 10 May big bold Jupiter, the ‘Greater Benefic’ an optimistic, generous, benevolent planet in astrological terms, left deep watery Pisces and moved into bold, fiery, hyperactive Aries, where it stays until 28 October 2022. This is big, bold, active energy for good or bad,

Generally, this planetary transit is understood as a positive influence, happening only every 11 or 12 years, although the potential for disruption is self evident. World War 1 and World War 11 both began during a Jupiter in Aries transit, but that also meant of course, a number of such transits in between these events with no war, so let us not worry too much.

Personal Reflection

Ingwaz is a powerfully positive rune in general. It tends to bring an easing of something that has been worrying us. There may be a sense of relief about something this coming month or a sense of excitement, pride or accomplishment for a problem sorted or a job well done, or a new project coming over the horizon.

Ingwaz is a positive rune in relationships, starting a family or launching a new project or venture if that is what we are looking for. It brings a boost of energy, physical and mental.

Ingwaz indicates that this coming month is a good time for home improvements on the one hand, spring cleaning, maintenance and upgrades, and at the other end of the scale, taking into account the challenges in this coming month signified by, Elhaz reversed, do we need to review our safeguarding, home security or our personal security?

In our personal lives, this rune is has a particularly masculine energy. It signifies good times, new love relationships and weddings. We could see that a project starts coming together. With care, discipline and patience, this rune says it will bear fruit.

Further Reading

The New Book of Runes  by Ralph Blum

Futhark. A Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson.

The Runes: A practical Guide to their uses in divination and Magick by Lisa Peschel, published Llewellyn

To discover your personal ‘birth runes’ – your ‘heroic destiny or potential’ https://haquil.com/blogs/viking/how-to-calculate-your-viking-birth-runes

 

Halloween and ‘Alfablot’-‘Sacrifice to the Elves’

Did the Norse celebrate Halloween? Plus a message from the runes for you…

Public Domain

What we know of Norse Mythology comes largely from the Eddas, two collections of writings from assorted anonymous writers, dating around 1250 CE.

All Hallows Eve, Halloween or Samhain is a Gaelic custom, not Norse.  The Norse peoples did mark this time of year, although in a different way, with Álfablót – the Elf Ritual.  

Elves were associated with burial mounds (also known as barrows) as it was believed that they lived in or around them, and more than this, elves were associated with the souls of the dead, rather than fairies in the other sense of the word, as a supernatural entity that was never human.

Rakni’s burial mound, Noway, Public Domain

It is the largest burial mound in Scandinavia, 77 metres in diameter and over 15 metres in height. There are a number of stories associated with it, one associated with a roving sea-King Raki or Ragnar. Skull fragments were found inside it, of a man aged between 20 and 25 but there were no grave goods. The mound has been dated to the sixth century to the time of the great migration after the collapse of the Roman Empire.

It is possible that this chieftain was an ancestor of Rollo, the Norse ancestor of William the Conqueror.

Like the modern Halloween, Álfablót originally marked the general end of autumn, although it may technically be celebrated on any day around this time. However in recent years, it has been predominantly practiced on or close to 31st October (Halloween/Samhain). 

Traditionally, Álfablót almost certainly involved an animal sacrifice, (blood) Records suggest this may even have been a (highly valuable) bull. It was intended as a sacrifice to the elves, asking for protection from the ancestors. Connected with this, the elves were also associated with fertility. 

A chief difference here is, unlike Halloween/Samhain, Álfablót was not a community celebration. It was a private ritual performed at the homesteads. Strangers were not permitted to take part or even watch.

Old Norse Runes

What runes do we drawn this Halloween Álfablót 2022?

Ehwaz The Horse transport, journey progress

Mannaz Merkstave Communication difficulties, trouble with fellow man

Tiwaz Justice, Law and War (spear)

The message is not a cheerful one, I am sorry to say, but it will easily be understood why not in the context of the war in Ukraine and a lot more besides.

One might reasonably say, but the dead do us no harm? It is the living we need to watch for. Well, that depends upon their legacy, and the memories they leave behind. Jewish graves read ‘may their memory be a blessing.’

The rune of mankind has been drawn merkstave. This advice is a downer. In these days of travelling far afield almost at the drop of a hat, don’t be too quick at this time to get on your ‘horse’ and ride off to the lands of ‘strangers’.

Don’t be too quick to share your opinions with your neighbour, or all and sundry.

You do not know what they may be struggling with when you enter their space. Beware of the horses coming to your door carrying strangers. Some will come as friends, and honour us with their arrival. But not every stranger comes as a friend. The history books warn, it is a friendly fool that can’t tell friend from foe.

Why do you travel? What do you bring to the places you visit, for the sustenance of the people who live there?

Who is this that is coming now? Why do they come? What do they seek? What do they offer? Is it a fair just and lawful exchange? Or is this a hunting trip? What is the prey? What is the prize?

This grim counsel goes against our powerful instinct of hospitality and kindness to strangers. But that bottom line was always there, and the runes are reminding us.

The Viking raid on Lindisfarne in 793 sent a shock wave through Europe. But this was just the start of something bigger. What was driving it? In part, changes to the laws of inheritance in Scandinavia, younger sons, now dispossessed of family farms, had to go in search of their own fortunes.

So they did.

The Viking Raid on Lindisfarne

Another way of looking at these runes in terms of comment or advice about the cosmic weather right now, which is, beware of joining the crowd.

Beware of crowds. This, following the tragedy in Seoul where 150 or more people have died in a crush at a Halloween celebration. And the death toll is still rising, following the collapse of a bridge in India killing over 141 people who were celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights.

This also refers to getting into arguments on social media, and avoid gossip at this time. Stay clear of group-think.

The runes here are reflecting the fact that fiery Mars, planet of war, has just moved into the zodiac domain of Gemini, the sign of communications and siblings, and it will stay there, appparently moving backwards or retrograde, until 12 January 2023. There will be spectacular events. One can see how this combination may represent aeroplanes, missiles or indeed any kind of projectile. The threat of a nuclear attack is real, though I haven’t been shown that it will happen.

Contagion travels by the same token, suggesting an inevitable rise of flu and covid cases starting now, at least in the northern hemisphere.

There are many kinds of ghosts. There are the whirling leaves that used to be buds. There are the echoes of the distant past. There are the ghosts of our hopes, not all of which can ever be realized, the grief, the fears and memories of the living.

But Jupiter is returning to Pisces and this brings a promise of good cheer. Even in desperate times we see a Ukrainian soldier rescuing a hamster in a cage, the hamster obliviously running in its wheel. The soldier places it in the back of the truck, returns for two rabbits.

In such moments rests the hope for humanity.

Death is the theme for the season- and this is an unusually tricky Halloween season, caught between the partial solar in Scorpio on 25 October, and the upcoming Lunar eclipse in Taurus on 8 November.

Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

HALLOWEEN

The grey ghosts are shifting.

Mists are lifting on the grey graves

where sandpipers call.

Mountains or clouds,

grey whales or waves

all one under the treacherous sun.

Fishbones are heaped

on the floors of the forest

where the Red Beast crouches

squinting aslant.

Waterbones lie fractal on stones

and frozen meniscus squeaks and groans.

Giant scaffolds loom in carlights 

where Death has swept up

to throttle the Titans,

shaking stiff in their ropes.

Ogres rear in the speeding corner.

White in the phantom night

respectful retainers line the lanes;

skulls and jaws, knuckles, thighbones.

stand to attention.

And the moon is ringed in a saturnine glow.

Dry bones stand tall by hedge and wall,

incorruptible, crack and creak

as the Old Year enters

The Big Sleep

Margaret Whyte 21.11.04

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