A is for Runes

A starts off quite a few runes, ones that I particularly enjoy. So lets begin

Aethel – while different rune sets may spell this rune differently, I prefer this spell. It reminds of certain pagan scandinavian government practices called the Athling, the meeting of all people in Iceland to discuss law, property and punishment for people. It was in fact at an Athling that the icelandic people chose to become Christians, back in the day, and afterwards, abolished the Athling. Go figure.

But anyway, Aethel. Aethel, to my understanding of runelore, is the rune of home, homeland, and family, expressed in the form of the family property passed down from generation to generation, and so it also connects in deeply to the ancestors. Your ancestors, usually and specifically the ancestors of blood. Of course, living in the 21st century, sometimes knowing your ancestry and ancestors can be difficult, as families are now widely scattered over great areas, and you don’t always live within a few miles of your cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and it seems far more people are having children later in life, rather then earlier (although it still happens) children may not be old enough to remember or meet grandparents, or even great grandparents. With that in mind, it can also signify what I like to think of all your ancestors, whether it’s from a spiritual tradition, or your adoptive family, or a connection based on skills, background, culture or subculture, many many things that make up the web of life, that unite us in a chain or connection that goes back to the very beginnings of the cosmos. Some might even call that link the river of blood, symbol of the blood of humanity, but also the blood of living things that evolved to become us, and that river even flows on to what the world and it’s inhabitants might become. Ancestors.

Ac – An Anglo-Saxon rune, what I see as the beginning of the 4th aettir, Ac means Oak, and of course, ir refers to the Oak tree, that mighty and revered tree that many people admire, adore, and in some cases venerate. This rune belongs to a body of runes that are different trees, which to me suggests some kind of importance to trees and people’s relationship with them, as well as perhaps some kind of tree cult.
Part of my understanding of Ac, from the it’s meaning of Oak, is the idea of endurance. Some of the oldest and mighties of trees are often oak trees, that have stood of centuries, if not longer. Even in some areas they are called Grandfather Oak. It’s also surprising how different oak trees can be from environment to environment. While most oak trees are deciduous, in California (where I live) there is the California liveoak, an oak tree that never loses it’s leaves, much like evergreen trees, but yet, it’s an oak. It does that because of the mediterranean climate. But like many other oaks, liveoaks live for very long time, get quite large, and seem to be able to take a licking and keep on growing. Thus, endurance. The ability to sit tight, and hold on, and weather time, and drought, and storms, and to keep growing, not to wither, or falter or fade.

Aesc – in the 4th aettir, this rune follows right after Ac, and is also a tree rune. In this case, it’s the tree Ash. The only ash tree I’m familiar with is the shamel ash, but there are quite a few varieties, and they are all wonderful trees. They can grow quite tall, and it seems, be very leaf and make great shade trees. Interestingly enough, the rune poem associated with Aesc, seems to comment on how high the grow, and that is the key thing I notice when working with Aesc, namely that it reaches up to heaven. In some of the lore of World trees, Ash is often mentioned, along side the Yew, and of course Oak. My as all those trees make appearances in the runes, I see them as showing different aspects of the world tree, that cosmic center and pillar which supports all things. The Ash is the heavenly side, the side reaching up to sky, connecting with the upper world, and the powers that dwell there. With Aesc, we can scale up to meet them, or they might be reaching down to knock us on the head and get our attention. Of course, when that connection is broken, all hell can break loose, as we run around, not thinking things through, not acting from a place of Wisdom, or Compassion, and we might pretty soon make a big mess of things.

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