I am very pleased to be engaging with Norse mythos and legend via art. It’s a healing process for me.
Over the holidays, I cross-stitched the Elder Futhark runes on 14-count Aida fabric with DMC 310 floss (aka black thread!). I did this without metaphysical flourish or blessing. I regret that a little. I could’ve asked Frigga to bless my tools or my work. She’s definitely hinted that She would bless my needles if I asked, and generally, that She approves of my stitching.
I shyly stitched most of this at a Solstice party. I ended up boasting about my knowledge of the runes. I have mixed feelings about this–the Christianity and Canadian politesse that I grew up with scorns boasting, but the Norse love and encourage boasting. In the end, I recited the alphabet, and upon questioning, I recited the name of each rune as well.
The finished piece turned out quite well. I will likely sew brown felt onto the back and hang it up in my room.
This evening, I worked on a collage. I inkedg each rune onto separate pages of my sketchbook, using India ink. I chose to start with Raidho because I impulsively wrote a poem about that rune two days ago. I think I may have channeled a vision into a poem but didn’t notice it right away because I was so intent on the poem.
I’m hesitant to share my runic poetry because I may want to publish it one day. But here is the gorgeous collage:
[image: a collage of images: an illustrated black man guiding a ship, a sticker of a spaceship, the words “a hundred miles”, the Norse god Thor guiding a massive goat, a tree stump, a sticker of a wagon wheel, an inked R rune, a canoe, a steering wheel, a canoe paddle, a butterfly, the words “the procession”, an image of a procession of Japanese royalty, and a young Buddha sitting atop a tiger. You can see the creator’s painted fingernail holding the sketchbook on the left side.]
Here is, at least, my collage. For those of you of a literary bent, you may recognize some influence from LeGuin or Japanese folklore. There is also a photocopied version of a card from the Mary-el tarot. The stickers are, funnily enough, from a Toy Story sticker pack that my best friend gave me.
I am very pleased with the results. In two weeks, I’d like to tackle Ehwaz next as it pairs well with Raidho. Following Diana Paxson’s practice of pairing the runes, I’m going to study the runes in pairs or, perhaps like Alaric Albertsson, in groups of similarity (runes of house, runes of outdoors, plant and animal runes, etc). I’ve ordered two of Paxson’s books (her rune book and her book on Odin) and Thorn T. Coyle’s Sigil Magic: For Writers and Other Creatives with a kind Christmas gift card from my local independent bookstore today (thanks Mom!).
I also discovered Ann Groa Sheffield’s Long Branches: Runes of the Younger Futhark on Lulu today. Even just looking at the Amazon excerpt, I was fucking stunned. She relates the runes to the Sagas! Wow! I’ve never seen a heathen author do that in such depth and detail. Yes, heathen writers often reference the Eddas. But the Sagas? It’s a rarity (at least, that I know of, in my limited readings). I happily put that book on my to-read list.
It’s been a pretty productive holiday, artistic-wise. Huh. That was completely unplanned.
Praise Frigga, goddess of weaving and handicrafts! May her tapestries grace Asgard forever!