Taurean Magic and The Runes Talk Bull

Taurus the Bull

Purists might complain that I am mixing up two or more separate histories and traditions, and so I am, but I make no apology for it

The Tarot, the Runes, western tropical astrology, eastern sidereal or Vedic astrology etc etc arose from distinctive cultures arising in distinctive landscapes at particular latitudes, looking up at the visible skies of those latitudes, and correlating celestial events with seasonal and other events at ground level.

Obviously there is going to be considerable variation between the iconography of these different symbolic systems used in divination and prediction, but there’s still a great deal of common ground, going all the way back to the Sumerians and long before that.

Bull worship in one form or another has had its place in every polytheist culture where bulls have formed part of the natural landscape.

Tarot ostensibly has its origins as a cultural artifact of fourteenth century northern Europe, but derives out of much older cultural traditions arriving into Europe from Turkey and going way back to the ancient civilisations of the Indus; the Persians, Babylonians and Sumerians.

Tarot uses the Hierophant card in directly correlating the zodiac sign of Taurus the Bull with priesthood and established religion as a general principle.

Popes issued edicts known as Papal Bulls.

The Runes on the other hand, are an alphabet associated with proto-Germanic culture both Scandinavian and Anglo- Saxon.

The Norse, we know, went travelling and trading throughout the Mediterranean and it has been suggested that the ancient Norse alphabet, the runes, derives in part from Greek.

The runes however, which began as an alphabet but were also used in shamanic practices as a symbolic magical system, reflect the landscapes they came from

You’ll notice they are made up entirely of straight lines, designed to be carved into wood, or on bones or stones.

A Tarot deck has pomegranates. The runes have a thorn and a yew tree.

Today marks the start of the third and final decan of Taurus the Bull; a fixed Earth sign, spring in its full flowering, season of wild cattle calving.

Once upon a time the spring equinox occurred a little later than it does now, owing to the movement of the constellations in relation to Earth – an effect called precession, so that one upon a time it was Taurus, not Aries, that was understood as the first sign of the new astrological year – the ‘alpha’ sign represented by the Hebrew letter ALEPH.

In the rune alphabet system, the 24 letters or glyphs of the runic alphabet, are both letters to do with cattle and specifically, bulls.

Here is that FUTHARK alphabet are again:

These letters are F and U ,the first two, top left

It sounds a bit rude…short for, well, you know, ‘Eff You.’

And maybe that’s not so much of coincidence as it seems. Synchronicity and all that.

But let’s take a closer look at these ‘bullish’ letters

Fehu

The first letter of the old rune alphabet signifies wealth,but technically means cattle and specifically, domesticated cattle. The Norse peoples measured wealth in cattle, and this rune denotes wealth earned through hard work and tenacity. There is no good quick buck. There is nothing quick and easy about looking after cattle.

The modern English word Fee is derived from this ancient proto-Germanic root

Fehu

Fehu is about effort. This rune won’t help you or me one bit with winning the lottery. But imagine you are job hunting, or need a business loan.

You could if you felt so inclined ask Fehu to help.

We have other words too, based around the prosperity and virility of bull symbolism; bull markets and bullion.

The idea is not as archaic as it might seem.

The Charging Bull of Broadway, Arturo Di Modica

The bull statue was created in the aftermath of the stock market crash of 1987. Wiki says that Di Modica spent $360 000 to create the Bull, which was cast the bull in bronze in a Brooklyn foundry.

“Having arrived penniless in the US in 1970, Di Modica felt indebted to America for welcoming him and enabling his career as a successful sculptor. Charging Bull was intended to inspire each person who came into contact with it to carry on fighting through the hard times after the 1987 stock market crash. Di Modica later recounted to art critic Anthony Haden Guest “My point was to show people that if you want to do something in a moment things are very bad, you can do it. You can do it by yourself. My point was that you must be strong“-Wiki

The Bull was not commissioned apparently, and was installed without authorization, as something of a guerrilla act. The NYPD duly took it away but there was a public outcry, and it was reinstated in a new site, two blocks away from the stock exchange and seems to be an indefinite fixture.

People sit on it and rub its nose and horns – and other bits too, all of which are now shinier than the rest of it.

They rub the bull for luck.

Read more about this story HERE

To ask for Fehu’s magical protection, help or energy, draw or paint its rune, or carve it, carry it in your pocket, say its name. Speak in 3’s or 7’s. 9 is considered especially powerful for luck work. And when the desired effect materializes; well, it was down to your own efforts, but still…beware of hubris. Don’t neglect to say thank you to the ‘Everything That Is’.

There is a world of difference between having the wind behind your sails or not, and that is what luck work, or talismanic work, – so-called magic – is about.

Lining yourself up so that you have the right wind behind you.

Some years ago Senior sprog, then a vet nurse, had just returned from some years living and working away. She was depressed and desperate for a new job, and then she got the offer of an interview with a vet.

I put Fehu on the case big time, and she was offered the job right away, and that made the most enormous difference to a lot of things.

Now, here’s the thing before someone shouts at the screen that this is just plain daft.

She got that job on her own merits. Of course she did.

But it wasn’t my first experience with Fehu. And having the best experience or the best qualifications is no guarantee of getting the job, as I discovered working in the recruitment industry. The CV may well get them the interview but that takes the candidate only so far. Now they have to stand out at interview. They have to feel like a good fit for the individual employer who has to like them, and above all feel confident that they can work with them.

When it comes to these subjective aspects, the best candidate in the world has no conscious control whatsoever. That’s where the luck aspect comes into it.

There is always a gap.

I have had occasion to thank Fehu on other occasions. You could always give it a go. There’s no rule says you can’t. Just remember, these are very ancient human algorithms, and not to be commanded.

They demand respect.

Uruz

Health

Uruz, the second letter of the rune alphabet means physical power, primal strength, and it is inspired by that powerful wild animal, the auroch; predecessor of the first domesticated cattle as represented by Fehu.

Cattle were domesticated about 10 000 years ago, migrating into Africa about 5 000 years ago, and the auroch lives on in the genome.

Hitler got his scientists on to it,and tried to bring them back, but succeeded only in creating a mightily dangerous and bad-tempered animal, let free to roam and terrorize the forest inhabitants of Poland. Though that was at least partly the plan in any case..

Auroch. Lascaux Caves

Touching once again on the Taurean connection, The auroch were hunted during their annual migration starting April and May – Taurus season.

A hugely dangerous business.

Auroch burger anyone? There is the auroch.

Who, me? Would you look at it? Just look at that Fehu-cking thing?!

Yeah. So let’s go get him then. Because -auroch burgers!

You first. I just turned vegan.

Is has been suggested that the siting of Stonehenge marks a significant spot on an ancient auroch migration route.

The bones of auroch have been found there, and Amesbury may have been a sacred hunting ground before the site itself was built around 5000 years ago.

Uruz

In luck work it may be used the same way as Fehu; write it, carve it, carry it in your pocket

Say its name (pronounced Oooo-Rooooz) asking for a surge of extra strength or stamina, or to request health and healing for yourself or for another, after an injury or illness.

There we have it. Two practical applications of Northern European bull magic

Toro!

Words and symbols. That’s all it is on the face of it. Something and nothing. The matching piece of this magic puzzle is not a missing piece.

It is you

Says this Taurean subject.

Until next time 🙂

Or perhaps I should say ‘moo.’

Bringing in Beltane…Magical May Eve

Today, 30 April marks the beginning of May Day celebrations, ushering in the month of May, the festival begins at dusk on 30 April. These celebrations were, and to many are known as Beltane, and is matched by its celebratory European counterpart, Walpurgis Nacht or St Walpurga’s Night in Germanic tradition.

The month of May is named after the Greek goddess of spring and new abundance, Maia, (also called Flora) the oldest of the seven sisters known as the Pleiades. Maia was the mother of Hermes (Mercury.)

Flora, or Maia by Botticelli

The name ‘May’ has been used in English since about 1430. Before this time the name of this month was spelled Maius or Mai. The Anglo- Saxons called it Tri-Milchus because all that lush new grass meant cows could now be milked three times a day.

May Day has its roots in astronomy, celebrating the halfway arrival point (at least approximately) between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It has been celebrated in the British Isles and through much of Europe as a fertility festival since the Dark Ages, and probably before that, with many stories and superstitions attached.

Like Halloween, May Eve and May Day is a magical time of year, liminal, when the veil between different worlds and realities is thinner than at other times of year.

This is a time for ghosts but this is also the time of year when folklore suggests you are most likely to meet a supernatural being from the realm of ‘faery.’

Such an encounter might be friendly, but probably it won’t be. Such encounters are dangerous and are best avoided – or you may never be seen again. Do not, whatever you do, go to sleep on a fairy hill at any time, but especially not on May Eve or May Day. Especially beware of going to sleep under hawthorn bushes.

Beltane

The two greatest Celtic festivals were Samhain (Halloween), marking the start of winter, and Beltane (April 30/May 1) marking the start of summer.

Beltane ‘the fires of Bel’ began as an ancient fire festival celebrated since at least the Dark Ages if not long before. The celebrations began at dusk on April 30th when great bonfires were lit to welcome the height of spring now associated with the zodiac sign of Taurus the Bull, representing the fertility of spring in full bloom.”Traditionally,” writes Glennie Kindred (in Sacred Celebrations), “all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. This was the ‘balefire’ or the Teineigen, the ‘need fire.’

Bel or Belenus (Celtic: possibly, Bright One) was a deity associated with pastures, meadows and animal husbandry and other agriculture. He was a fire god rather than a sun god as such, though the sun was used as a common motif in religious imagery.

The cattle were walked between two bonfires in a symbolical purification ritual, to be protected by the smoke from Bel’s fire before being put out to the open pastures for the summer.  Bonfires were lit on sacred hills too, and the smoke was considered a magical blessing on the fields, animals, and community, and was also supposed to maintain a fragile balance, keeping up a smokescreen, literally, between the human and faery realms.

The Christian church made several attempts throughout history to ban May Day festivities because of its overtly pagan nature and “lewd” context as an open celebration of male and female sexuality and fertility ‘a heathenish vanity generally abused to superstition and wickedness.’ 

May Day meant drinking and fighting, another reason for the church’s disapproval, but this in itself harks back to the ancient traditions of the sacrifice of ‘The Green Man’ – a mythical figure representing the eternal battle waged between summer and winter, feast and famine. Many pubs in England are still named The Green Man.

In Padstow, Minehead and some other places in the UK, mischievous hobby-horses (‘osses) roamed and still do roam the streets in search of unsuspecting young ladies to ‘carry away’ for nefarious undisclosed purposes.

Image: Morris dancers with hobbyhorse up to no good, Richmond embankment,1620

Men disappointed in love would make straw men representing their rivals and stick them on bushes. These depictions were needless to say, often deeply unflattering, and fighting might well follow once they were discovered and identified and the maker was known.

May Day harks back to the ancient traditions of the sacrifice of ‘The Green Man’ – a mythical figure representing the eternal battle waged between summer and winter, feast and famine. Many pubs in England are still named The Green Man.

The Puritans banned it altogether under Oliver Cromwell but Charles 11 brought it back into custom after the Restoration.

Recorded evidence of Maypole Dancing goes back at least to the 14th century, the texts suggesting the custom was very old even then, although the dance as we know it today, so pretty and decorative, children dancing in village squares, is probably an innovation of the Victorians, rather than ancient tradition. The maypole is generally assumed to be a phallic symbol, but the Norse had another story for it, connecting it to ancient tree worship. This connects the British with the Germanic tradition and before that, a shared proto-germanic culture which is part of the common root culture in British life even today.

Walpurgis Night/Walpurga’s Night

In the Germanic tradition, Walpurgis Night, on April 30th, is a moon festival sacred to the goddess Freya.

“Walpurga” is another one of Freya’s names. The re-dedication of the holiday to “St. Walpurga” was a later Christian addition.

Freya (Old Norse, Freyja, and “Lady”) is one of the pre-eminent goddesses in Norse mythology, also known as Freyja or Frigg, but almost certainly the same deity. She was the goddess of love and beauty in Norse mythology, the goddess of marriage and family and a great prophetess – a seeress. She taught her husband Odin how to read the runes, and like Odin, had a darker aspect as a patron deity of war and death in battle.

Freya wears a cloak of falcon feathers and a magical gold necklace called Brísingamen, and rides in a chariot pulled by two cats with a sacred boar called Hildisvíni running alongside. The boar is not present in this picture, and the cats, it has been speculated, were two male kittens found by Thor. Their mother had abandoned them apparently and he took them and gave them to Freya. We understand the kittens were grey-blue in colour, and it has been speculated they may have been Russian Blues. I can’t be the only one who would like to know how Freya taught them to do this….but she was after all, a mightily knowing goddess, and clearly a cat whisperer extraordinaire.

The Maypole dancing which so upset the Church and especially the Puritans with its overt phallic symbolism, and the associated misbehaviour by the time the dancers had downed a few drinks, comes down to us from the rites of spring dedicated to Freya.

The maypole originally represented a living tree, in particular the giant ash tree Yggdrasil, the great “world tree” of Norse myth, linking the nine worlds of the Norse cosmology including Asgard, land of the gods, heavenly world, Midgard or the earth and Hel, the underworld.

“Ygg” means terrible. The image and Music below, suitably ominous, is shared with permission from composer Sam Marks. It was on this tree that Odin chose to hang nine days and nights, thirsty and fasting in exchange for the knowledge of the runes. The Norns sit beneath it and when every new person is born, carves their names into its bark…and with it, their destiny, although this can change. The Norns will allow us to rewrite it, unlike the destinies woven by the three Fates of Greek mythology.

Yggrasil Music by Sam Marks

British  May Day Folklore…bringing in the May

I washed my face in water

That had neither rained nor run

And then I dried it on a towel

That was never woven or spun

  • The rhyme suggests go out barefoot very early on May morning, wash your face in that magical dew (or late snow) Your complexion will instantly improve.  Let the wind and sunshine dry your face and you’ll have good luck all year. Well, you can if you want to….depending on the weather, very early morning this time of year can be utterly wonderful
  • Bringing in ‘the may’ is considered lucky, and means gathering cuttings of flowering trees for magical protection of the home. Bring in branches of forsythia, magnolia, lilac, or other flowering branches. Decorate the doorway to keep unfriendly fae and other spirits away.
  • Make garlands or decorate a basket or a ‘May bush’ with flowers and coloured ribbons. This would often be a hawthorn bush but it doesn’t have to be.
  • If you need to move a bee hive, May 1 is a traditional day for doing it, hopefully clement for the bees.
  • Turnips are traditionally planted on May 1. Plant now, lovely mashed turnip later. What are you waiting for?
  • Fishermen expect to get lucky with catch on May Day.
  • It’s a powerful day for spell-casting…any spells to do with bringing in health, wealth, and abundance. Light a red or pink candle for love or passion…but be careful what you wish for, and it is unlucky to try and take what is not rightfully available to you.
  • Traditionally less lucky is to get married in May. But not to panic if you’ve got the date already booked. The writer of this article was born May Eve, Beltane and got married in May – 28 years ago this May- and has had mixed luck in life like all of us, but so far is still married.

Until next time 🙂

Candle safety

Never leave a candle unattended

Snuff candles out with a spoon rather than blowing on them

Tea-lights can melt certain surfaces e.g., TV’s. Use heat resistant surfaces.

Light candles at a safe distance from curtains etc

Heat rises. Be careful of leaving candles on shelves with other shelves above them.

Zero Intolerance: Don’t Fool With The Fool

medieval pic larger
Katie-Ellen, resident at True Tarot Tales

When I draw The Fool card in a reading, the Major Arcana card numbered Zero, or in some decks numbered 22, it may classically signify good news; a birth, a welcome opportunity, a fresh start of any significant kind. I drew it this very day, for a client who is not just moving house, but changing a way of life, and it is absolutely the right way to go. It suggests taking a chance, a leap of faith. Reversed, it cautions against hastiness. You need time. You need more information. You need to think, properly think, or you will do summat truly daft.

But the Fool has other, darker associations, as fools and jesters and solitary wanderers always have, in western culture. There are good reasons people are afraid of clowns, the jokers in the pack. The Tarot’s Fool is the Joker in a pack of ordinary playing cards, and means the same things, if you are using playing cards to read with.

The Fool represents that which haunts all margins and borders.  The  ‘outwalker;’ that being. force or agency, which observes and may, given opportunity and sufficient reason, may find its way in to where you do not want it.

There is another Tarot card, more often cited in association with Odin, or Odin-esque associations. This is The Hanged Man, Major Arcana number 12. Odin hung upside down on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for 9 days for knowledge, and for a world view gained through a changed perspective.

But The Fool card, Trump 0 of the Major Arcana, contains something as frightening as it is innocent, not only birth and opportunity but something not quantifiable, as real as it is unreal, a ‘thusness’ or haacceity more implacable than Death.

Google Definition:

haecceity
hɛkˈsiːɪti,hiːk-/

noun

PHILOSOPHY
  1. that property or quality of a thing by virtue of which it is unique or describable as ‘this (one)’
    • the property of being a unique and individual thing.
      “he has a paramount concern with haecceity, the thisness of things”

Zero is a something as well as a nothing. Even leaving the philosophical questions aside, and they are bogglers, without 0, as without 1, there is no binary, and no digital age.

The Fool

Zero draws the Number of the Fool
But only fools will fail to fear
The oddly smiling one who walks alone
Magician, outland, dawn and dusk
Fleeting, glimpsed by tree and mere
Where ripples lap without a breeze
Or single casting of a stone
Zero, Odin’s one remaining eye
His other traded for all kenning
Out-with the knowing of the Norns
Nine days he hung considering
On Yggdrasil, the great ash tree
But Life is flux, and, unfulfilled
Does Odin walk abroad with Men
Entranced, he follows their technology
Their blindly restless struggles to get free
Refusing that their final liberty
Is in their choice of sacrifice
Their ultimate expression
In their direst of necessity
Insatiably, dispassionate, he watches, waits
And sometimes smiles, but has no tears
For what might dim or blind his sight
Of conjurings and reckonings with Fate
The new born come, and dead depart
His scouts of Thought and Memory
Twin ravens, Hugin, Munin, fly
Through Odin’s questing, flaming Eye
The singing echo-chamber of The Gate.

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine's photo.

Towering Tuesday

 

Recently, there was a sudden death in the extended family circle. Not close to me, personally, but untimely and deeply sad, and I’d been seeing the Tower card for early June, ever since the end of April and had been holding myself slightly in readiness for unwelcome news. The Tower delivered more bad stuff after this sad event, and it’s still on-going, very sadly but it also did another job, to do with timing.

I asked the Tarot, what day of the week will V’s funeral be held?

I drew The Tower card and said to Il Matrimonio who’d asked. ‘I think it will be on a Tuesday.’

The Tower card corresponds to Mars, god of war, who is Tyr or Tew in Norse mythology, and Tyr gives his name to Tuesday. This ultimate warrior lost his hand in binding the great wolf Fenris, who threatened to eat the world.

Tyr fighting fenris

Four days later we learned the funeral will be held on Tuesday 1 July.

Tarot and timing is notoriously tricky amongst readers, but there are a number of ways of having a stab at predicting when a thing might happen using the cards.

A dominance of Swords and Wands cards indicate now, soon or quickly. A dominance of Pentacles and Cups cards indicates later, gradually, delays.

Days of the Week correlations:

Monday The Moon card
Tuesday, The Tower (Tyr’s/Tew’s day)
Wednesday, The Magician (Odin’s/Woden’s day)
Thursday, The Wheel of Fortune
Friday, The Empress, Friday (Freya’s day)
Saturday, (Saturn’s Day) The World card
Sunday, the Sun card.

Until next time 🙂