THE BLOG
09/22/2014 06:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Weekly Rune: Eihwaz

Eihwaz -- Yew -- Do you see the pattern we're in? Three weeks ago, Eihwaz visited, followed by Raidho, then Raidho reversed. We've been on a journey through our shadowlands, and this week we're nudged to draw a conclusion about it.

Eihwaz is a Rune of death, a fact of life which can't be avoided, as this stave cannot be reversed.

To recap, the 13th and middle Rune in the Futhark, this stave represents the turning point. It is the point at which self meets self, and authenticity is revealed. As it is symbolized by the yew, which is both sweet and poisonous, so its teaching will either make or break us -- likely both. What is significant about this stave is its emphasis on self. While the evergreen yew can be sweetly enticing, its seed is deadly, which made it a perfect toxin tipping arrow points in battle.

At this time, what is most imperative to understand about Eihwaz is its connection to the Yggdrassil, the World Tree, which Odin scaled and hung from, to learn the mysteries of the Universe -- the Runes. When we read about Odin's ordeal, it's always in a neat, tidy sentence: "Odin hung from the World Tree for Nine Days and learned the Runes." But what does this really say about what he went through, and what he did? What does it convey about his experience? Maybe it was horrific. Maybe it was fantastic. Likely, it was both.

How would you feel if you hung from a tree for nine days? What tree are you hanging from now?

Ordeal has its place. In Western culture we don't talk much about sacrifice for self truth, but when have you ever made a huge stride without ordeal? It's not about there always being a down side, or struggling to find the silver lining. They are in separable. Knowing this is what liberates us from being overwhelmed by either. It's also what helps us to keep moving, and see initiation through to the finish.

Do you have to hang from a tree for that insight to occur and instill meaning? Must you suffer? The thought of suffering for awareness makes most of us cringe, yet many of us are in the throes of an ordeal without giving it the credit of being what it is.

Realize it, and move on.

This week the job ahead is to complete the journey, derive meaning from it, and carry that meaning into changed living. We cannot see our true selves and remain the same.

We can't stay in the tree. The whole point of the journey isn't the glory of experiencing the tree, but bringing the experience back home.