Meeting my Runa: Be the Tree

After my experience receiving symbols from Grannus, and then finding the Rûnâ online, I knew I wanted a proper set of Rûnâ to work with, but hesitated moving too quickly on getting a set. I had only been practicing GaulPol for two months.

Even with the pandemic on, I figured I could make my own set from something I had at home, a training set of sorts to get used to each runa. One of our grocery shipments had an incredibly sturdy piece of cardboard in it, so I cut that up and drew on the Rûnâ, leaving space for me to scribble meanings on.

I took up the meanings so quickly though, I didn’t need the space for notes. I have worked heavily with the Elder Futhark runes and the Greek alphabet for divination purposes before, and with some similar meanings for the Lugano alphabet, it made the pick-up go very quickly.

So, it was time to commission a set then, right? Again, I hesitated though. I am not used to events moving super quickly in my spiritual practice, and now I’d been doing this for… three months. I don’t even think that’s a blink of a god’s eye.

But I figured, hey, there’s a freaking pandemic on. So who knows where I’ll be or what state of health I’ll be in even next month, especially with a public service job (where we just let the public back into the building yesterday). Might as well put in the work while the going is good, to lean on the support if the going gets bad.

So I reached out to Michael, the one who introduced me to Grannus in the first place, to commission a set of Rûnâ. He does great wood work, and has a very good feel for energy. I let him pick the wood for the set, and he went with red alder.

The set came in last week, a pleasant surprise after a rough week at work! I hurried through some chores before sitting down to meet it, as I knew I would be in some different headspace as soon as I got my hands on it.

When I first met Grannus and picked up my little mouse buddy Lu to work with, just touching Lu would take me back to the grove Grannus and I first met in meditation. My experience with this Rûnâ set was very similar.

I have slept with the bag of them in my hand every night. I physically am having a hard time being separated from them. They feel incredibly intimate to me.

Taking all the pieces in hand, I leaned back into my seat and closed my eyes. My whole body felt light as a feather, and a forest came into view. The trees were in a stunning array of reds and yellows and light greens – this was sometime in the early autumn for sure. Deer paths with evident sand streaked through a sparse undergrowth, mostly covered in leaf litter. The sun came through the canopy at a mid-afternoon angle, and the air was dry. It seemed very much like a wooded dune environment along Lake Michigan, where I grew up.

I was trying to determine what I was. I was obviously standing in the middle of this, but not in human form. The lightness of my physical body felt like it translated over. I was large in some way, but not taking up much space. This was a sensation of being tall. If I was tall, how was I NOT taking up much space? I should be like a giant!

I had become a tree. I thought in the moment I might be the red alder tree my set was cut from. Upon further research though, I believe this is only partially correct. While the energy definitely felt like the tree my set was from, the biome red alder trees occur in is one I am entirely unfamiliar with. A member of the birch family, it grows along the West Coast of the US, and is specifically common in the Pacific Northwest, somewhere I have never been. It grows quickly, making it a nuisance to logging, but is great for conservation efforts, as it establishes quickly and fixes atmospheric nitrogen with its roots. However, it is intolerant of shade and likes to be crown dominant, crowding out conifers around it.

The clearing I was in was definitely something I would encounter locally, here in the Midwest. I was not crowding out or dominating the canopy, but rather was tucked in with other trees. Based on the leaves on the ground, I think the tree I was specifically was likely a maple. This is an interesting case of localization, in which the experience translated into my syntax for my understanding, as I have never been to the Pacific Northwest (though I would like to someday).

I felt the air moving slowly in my branches. I felt the dryness of my bark in the mid-afternoon sun. I felt the heat not only of the sun and the air, but of the earth in my roots. I was lithe and strong. I knew I would be coming here to this woods when I worked with the Rûnâ, and that each piece of these woods could and would speak to me and through me.

I enjoyed the feeling, but I was slowly morphing into something else. My awareness slowly curled up on a branch, and it took me a minute to figure out what I was becoming. If I was curled up on the branch, what did this? I was not covered in fur. A snake wasn’t exactly right either.

A cloak of feathers was being placed on me one feather at a time, and eventually there were enough of them that I noticed it. I have a long history of working with birds, very specifically red-tailed hawks with Apollo, but I felt more corvid here. I was not large enough to be a raven. Visions of woodpeckers also briefly danced in my head.

I am still discerning exactly what I was at this point. I work with so many birds, so this may take some time to unpack.

Next, my awareness slid down the truck of the tree slowly, almost lovingly, until I was curled up in the roots. I was impossibly small, very light again, warm and heart beating rapidly. My namesake mouse, tucked up in the roots, peering out into the woods.

Finally, my awareness slid away from the maple tree, and I was in a fallen log nearby. This was easy to figure out, as I peered out of the end of the log, and twitched my tail. My fur matched the color of the autumn leaves, as a red fox vixen.

I felt the clarity of the vision beginning to blur at the edge of my vision, so I knew it was time to let it go. I came back into myself, but I was OUT of it the rest of the evening, in a very pleasant and lingering haze that is here now that I recall everything as well.

A few takeaways:

  1. Animal familiarity: Hawk, corvids, woodpecker, mouse, and fox are all animals I’ve worked with before. Obviously, these energies are a good medium to convey meaning to me. This surprises me not at all, as if you saw the vast number of stone and stuffed animals lying around my house and asked me about any of them, you would get a long and meaningful bit about how I work with each of them.
  2. Liminality: I want to go back to how I thought I might be a snake, and how I moved from creature to creature. This is another animal that I have a history of working with, again related to Apollo, and also an animal that I associate with a cycle of rebirth. Going between life and death, or going between states and realms seems well-conveyed by this snake traversal, and very liminal to me. It really seems to emphasize that I am going somewhere else, or drawing from somewhere else, during a reading. It also reminds me of Sirona’s energies. I’ve been working with her heavily, both in tandem with and separately from Grannus.
  3. Localization: The setting and animals used in this visualization were all familiar to the part of the world I’ve grown up in, however the original feeling of the wood used, red alder, still came evidently through to me. I greatly appreciate the Otherworld translating to my understanding of things, while still maintaining its original intent. It fascinates me how nuanced this felt. My intuition really has sharpened the last half a year or so to be able to pick up and preserve this cue. I know past me would’ve been clumsy and confused by this.

So, first impressions: this set is both incredibly intimate to my experiences and speaks my language, and it is tapped into the Otherworld loud and clear. The former I believe comes from how exceedingly right every step I’ve taken down a Gaulish path has been, along with the fact that I know the physical creator of the set. The latter I believe comes with the blessing of the Dêwoi I am working with, and with the sharpening of my own intuition over the last half a year or so (so much crystal skull work, I cannot stop adopting them, please send help).

Overall, I am exceedingly pleased with how these turned out, and I cannot wait to walk the path with them by my side!

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