Spirit Fest Rune Workshop and Readings

SPIRIT FEST • Saturday November 10th • 9:30 am to 4:00 pm • Institute for Spiritual Development, LOTUS CENTER located at 41-45 Dietz Street, Oneonta, NY • Includes six free workshops, readings, and energy healing by several talented Psychics, including myself, and Energy Healers • There is no admission fee, and the Psychic Reading fee is $25/15 minutes • Also available is metaphysical shopping and Raffle Prizes! Proceeds to benefit ISD.

To schedule your readings with me in advance, please call (518) 947-0645 or email: susan@nornirscorner.com

For a preview of my free Workshop from 1:00 – 1:45 p.m., please read below!

I wanted to give you a preview of my workshop. The talk has a long title: “The Norns, Scandinavian Goddesses of Fate and Destiny, the Norse Tree of Life and Worlds, and the Wells of the Tree.” The topic is largely about emotional healing and includes how the Worlds of the Norse Tree of Life relate to the Chakras and other energy systems we may already be familiar with. The Wells of the Tree correlate with human bio-physiology and how we psychologically process emotion. I expect to give you some insights during the talk on emotional healing.

2013 was a year of revelations for me. The Runes “downloaded” themselves to my understanding. The Nature Spirit (or Angel of the West Kill) that flows behind my home introduced me to the Norns, Scandinavian Goddesses responsible for overseeing the “Weave/Web of Wyrd” (the fate and destiny of humanity). They guide me in understanding ways of energy work. Soon afterwards, the Death Goddess, Hela, made contact with me. Heimdall, the God who guards the Rainbow Bridge (Bifrost), and watches for the Ragnarok to blow the Horn at the End of Time, took a dive down my Universal Energy Core and hooked me up to the Norse Tree of Life and Worlds, Yggdrasil. Since then, I have been upon an intense journey of intuitive meditation and substantiated research to support that intuition, which I am working on a book about.

I hope to see you there! The time of my workshop is 1:00 – 1:45 pm. To schedule your reading with me, please call (518) 989-6428 or (518) 947-0645 or email me. Scheduling in advance will guarantee your opportunity for a Reading with me!

 

Perthro and the Well of the Norns

Another viewpoint on Perthro:

The Old English Rune Poem reads "[ Lot box ] is always play and laughter among bold men, where warriors sit in the beer hall, happily together." Neither the Old Norwegian Rune Poem nor the Icelandic Rune poem address the Rune. Consequently it is often interpreted as the Rune of Chance, Gambling, and Luck.

However, I was studying Runelore, by Edred Thorsson, in preparation for a Rune Talk workshop. More specifically I was hand copying the list he provides in the Appendix (see p. 204-205) for the Anglo-Friesian Futhork, and I noticed the similarity in the drawings, and alternate drawings, of Runes numbered 14, 21, and 32, scratched below:

Rune Perthro Variations
Perthro - alternate interpretation

 

When I noticed that the shape of the Frisian drawn stave for Rune 14 Perthro, and Rune 21 for Lagu, water, was the same, I realized that in olden times Perthro probably stood for the Well of the Norns, or Urdr's Well located in Asgard where the Aesir meet at their lawgiving. This would give the Rune Perthro its current interpretation of chance, luck, and mystery, but what was lost was the Rune's original connection with the Well of the Norns. If this was indeed the original interpretation, the meaning could have been lost along with the traditional practice of women's mysteries, which were probably associated with the mystery of the womb and childbirth, around the time of the Romans conquests when the influx, migration, and intermingling of peoples disrupted old customs and introduced new ones. I have included Anglo-Frisian Rune 32 because of the similarity of the shape and the fact that the Rune's name, Stan, means Stone.

Quote from the Younger Edda, "...the norns, that dwell in the fountain of Urd, every day take water from the fountain and take the clay that lies around the fountain and sprinkle therewith the ash, in order that its branches may not wither or decay. This water is so holy that all things that are put into the fountain become as white as the film of an egg-shell. As is here said: An ash I know/Hight Yggdrasil;/A high, holy tree/ With white clay sprinkled./Thence come the dews/That fall in the dales./Green forever it stands/Over Urd's fountain. The dew which falls on the earth from this tree men call honey-fall, and it is the food of bees. Two birds are fed in Urd's fountain; they are called swans, and they are the parents of the race of swans." (Snorri, Chapter VII, V. 16

This passage from Snorri's Younger Edda supports my idea when I consider that the Rune itself looks like a cup, pot, or can turned on its side to pour or release water. The connection to Stan/Stone seems equally obvious to me because earth contains water. Earth and water are two elements that mingle in order to provide the chemistry necessary to life.

Water also provides a metaphor for the changing states of the Soul, and the presence of the swans at Urd's Well are a clue to the involvement of the Valkyries that ride to choose the slain for Valhalla. Only those who had lived lawfully would be chosen for that high estate - another clue given by the presence of Urd's Well is by the Thing and that the Norns are responsible for overseeing Ørlög, the Norse word most akin to karma, fate, destiny.

 

How I Met The Norns

Excerpt from Chapter One of The Goddesses of the Nitty Gritty: Called to the Well of Soul

On January 23, 2013 I undertook a study with the Runes as presented in Kenneth Meadows’s book Rune Power. By February 19, I had meditated with the Runes on a daily basis, and the Runes had imprinted themselves into my third eye in a remarkable way. I drew a Rune before sleep that night: It was GIFU, divine gift.

I slept restlessly. Around 2:00 a.m. I came fully awake, and I sensed the Creek Woman summoning me to the Mesa. I sat down in the dark, as it is easier to “listen.” She talked to me about the heaviness of water seeping into earth around rocks: the striations of earth and of ice through which one can know the very ages of things long past. The Creek Woman is a very old being. At a later point she told Alan and I that she is an Elohim that assisted the Creator in the shaping of the world. On this night, she showed me the Catskill Mountains when they were newly folded into their forms and rocks fell from the sky with their making. She spoke of glaciers and the inexorable advance of Ice, Ice as Maker. Earth and water are very dense, very heavy, and yet water can be light as rain, light as air. Water forms the life giving rain, yet can cause death by drowning. Water rising as vapor into clouds – riding the clouds – is another way to shaman journey.

Suddenly, the Creek Woman brought me the Norns. I could sense their great age, as old memories, or old archetypes. They sat with me around the Mesa. Urdr, of advanced age appearing, sat to my left in the West. Verđandi, of middle age appearing, sat across from me in the North. Skuld, of youthfulness appearing, sat to my right in the East. When they came in, they brought with them the night’s full moon energy, and it was with the moon’s energy that we worked. Energy flowed between us rabidly like the shuttle of a loom. Our speech was telepathic, yet much was known without words through the energy that flowed between us. The Norns tossed the shuttle one to another and then again to me. I was given the opportunity to ask these Ancient Ones things that weighed most heavily on my heart. The energy passing between us reflected the pattern of What Was, What Is, and What Is to Become.

The Norns represent Time in the Norse Cosmo-vision. Urdr, with her great age, represents that which is Past, from which the threads of the Present have been woven. Verđandi has charge of the Present. Perhaps the Present holds the greatest potential for conscious choice, because here lies our moment of choice: Now. Skuld, the youthful one, holds the future, and the power of cutting the threads of fate, and she rides with the Valkyries, as does the Goddess Freyja.

At the time the Creek Woman brought me the Norns, I was concerned about maintaining right relationship with someone dear to me. I asked the Norns what part I could play to influence the situation, and GIFU appeared. My best influence would be via the pathway of partnership and love. Right then, a serpent coming from the south raised its head hard against me, and I understood that symbol to reveal the opposition that was coming at me. I had the work of acceptance and forgiveness to do.

The scene shifted, and I was above the Mesa as if I were a giant being looking down on New York City. I saw the Twin Towers. It had been twelve years since the Towers fell, yet dark times remained on the city. I saw armies, powerful armies, blanketed by the black despair of human sleep. Again the scene of blackness descending upon New York City, and when I asked whether this was to come, I was told, “It may be.” It seemed the action against the Twin Towers in 2001 sparked the blackness in human hearts again and again, one act of violence leading to a retaliation leading to another act of violence in a cycle that never stops. Humans give hatred their power instead of love.

This breaks my heart. I understand the emotions that lead to retaliation, yet rising above anger and despair is all that can break this cycle of repetitive violence. We are what we choose to be, yet any real change can only happen individual by individual. In the face of the darkness that enslaves my species, I have no greater personal power than to live with as much love as I am capable of carrying. This I promised the Powers I sat with this night that I would do.

The scene pulled back from the despairing visions of the City, and shifted back to where I sat with the Norns. The Norns and I sat together quietly for a while as I absorbed all I had been shown and told. Then they guided me through weaving new potentials for these situations. Spinning the energy of the full moon counterclockwise, I sent my loved one the energy of the Rune GIFU, and over the darkness that had descended on New York City, I sent the healing energy of Reiki contained in the potency of the Rune INGWAZ.

I thanked the Goddesses and they reminded me to be vigilant with my light so that I don’t lose my way. I vowed to toss nine coins into the creek the next day to represent the exchange of energy and knowledge. Before they left, I asked if there was a way to neutralize the negative energy of my enemy, and I was shown INGWAZ: containment.

I developed the habit of taking my emotions to the Mesa in prayer. I had been praying hard for resolution to a difficult situation involving other people. Most specifically, I had been praying in the way that I thought things should go. The Norns dropped in, and Verđandi commented, “The crows fly to the Well of UNSEEING.” I knew of Odin’s Ravens, Hugin and Munin, meaning Thought and Memory respectively, so I asked, “Thought and Feeling?” Urdr said, “Yes.” She warned me that when I pray in the way that I had been, I usurp other’s boundaries with my own ideas of the way things should be resolved. When Urdr said this, I realized that my own wants and expectations were getting in the way of true and open communication with the other people involved.

Throughout the rest of that winter, other lessons would come in that were not always comfortable. I had to see myself as I am, and no longer hide my shadows from myself. Among these were reactive patterns of anger and resentment. I understood that I would need to revisit and recapitulate my past in order to experience a true present, and the Runes acted to guide the process. JERA and RAIDHO showed up one day to indicate that progress cannot be rushed. Rather it is a cycle that will take place at the right time.

Gloria, a dear friend from Reiki Master class, has experienced a symbol she names CARDUOM – a cross with a spiral contained within the circle. This symbol links the heart directly to God through the path of suffering, and is very powerful. However, the concept of suffering has to be understood in the right way. It is not to suffer like a martyr. Rather to understand Gurdjieff’s concept of conscious labor and the practice of intentional suffering.

The Goddesses told me in a dream that KENAZ is the Opener. KENAZ is the shaper. It is the blacksmith and life is the forge. I am not without power, because how I choose to respond to events shapes the tempering of my soul. Very little comes easily; I have to fight for what is right, and I often feel sad and tired. One day I asked how I could clear the negative energy that accumulated from my interactions with people with whom I yet had unresolved issues. I was shown that SOWELO could break apart the negative energy, HAGALAZ would clear that energy away, and that ALGIZ can be used to connect with and protect the vulnerable. OTHILA confirmed that by the security of law and order to protect and cherish family is my right. MANNAZ reveals that the divine human in me meets the divine human in others, even when events aren’t so great. As long as I remained open and willing to face events, things could meet resolution.

Five days after the Creek Woman first brought me the Norns, Urdr told me a story: In the long ago, humans had fallen far, far from the stars of their origin and needed to find a way back. So she and her people divined symbols and meanings of the symbols to help the Nordic people find their way back to the stars. URUZ is like a great storm suddenly parting into calm and there you see the Aurochs standing. THURISAZ took form when a man pricked his finger on a rose bush and invented the knife. She laughed. She said the entire Cosmology evolved from natural life in practical application. So they developed the Runes and left them for the man to find: Odin.

At midnight of another sleepless night six days after the Creek Woman brought me the Norns, I arose at the hour of GIFU succeeding into WUNJO, and felt an inrushing presence building around the four sides of the Mesa. The sense of love and presence was very strong. I began to hear an INVOCATION:

ALL THAT IS, ALL THAT WAS, ALL THAT WILL BE

We are the women of all times reading the Wyrd for

husbands, lovers, sons and fathers.

ALL THAT IS, ALL THAT WAS, ALL THAT WILL BE

With that, the Presence of the Norns held me warmly in circle. I am awed and humbled, because I know that I am in the presence of an aspect of the Divine Mystery.

OTHILA

OTHILA

The name Othila is derived from the root word for “noble” or “prince.”[1] This idea may hark back to the earlier Runes suggesting the blood of the god in the people, especially that of the ruling class, including the idea of sovereignty. The Othila Rune itself is a combination of the Ingwaz and Gifu Runes, indicating the inheritance we acquire through the bloodline, our genetic code, the DNA.[2] Traditionally families held the land that supported the clan, and they were willing to defend this land with their blood and their toil. The old mystery relating the blood to the soil speaks to the relationship of the king to the land. The king held the hamingja, or the luck, for his people, and when the luck stopped, the king was considered unlucky, and became sacrificed. The blood spilled through battle and sacrifice sanctified the land for its people. Othila relates to one’s relationship to the land. So the Rune Othila has also become the Rune of the family estate and real property. It further represents the virtues of loyalty, troth, and frith toward one’s family and one’s country.

The Othila Rune deals with real property, estates, landscapes, ancestral lands, family and clan, and what we have inherited from the ancestors through our essence, genetic memories, our DNA, and the attitudes, beliefs, and karmic matters that have come down through the family lines. The original interpretation came down from the days when our ancestors held their lands through the generations, so Othila also relates to one’s relationship with the land. This would be especially true for farmers and those who depend in some way on the land for their livelihood. It can have any of these meanings in a reading, depending on the surrounding runes. If Othila shows up with Ansuz, Tyr, or Jera, for example, it might relate to a Will, an estate settlement, and/or legal problems with same.

Othila is a Rune that one can use to meditate on the Ancestors. I have used Othila and Raidho to practice “bloodwalking,” a technique taught in Raven Kaldera’s book Wyrdwalkers. This is a trance journey that involves going inward rather than outward. I tend to follow my own heartbeat, and let it’s drum sound carry me backwards. Kaldera describes other ways of going about this. Any of these ways are advanced techniques.

 

The third ÆTT is about humanity in the world. The masculine (Tiwaz) and the feminine (Berkano) principles cooperate through partnership (Ehwaz) and social groups (Mannaz) to contain and order (Ingwaz) the activities of the group (Laguz) throughout the day (Dagaz) and hold their own place (Othila) for those activities necessary so the group can survive and thrive.

[1] Freya Aswyn, Northern Mysteries & Magic, p. 85

[2] ibid., p. 85

DAGAZ

DAGAZ

Dagaz means day, and encompasses the complete twenty-four hour cycle of day and night. To the ancient peoples, the day began in the evening, and included the liminal times of dawn, noon, and evening twilight. So it is that Dagaz measures one complete rotation of the Sun. The ancient peoples thought that the Sun moved from east to west during the daylight time, and from west to east under the earth at night. This may seem naïve to modern people, but when we realize that the ancients built many standing stone structures that measured the marvelous exactness of the winter and summer solstices, we must credit their ability to calculate the seasons of the year from their close observations of nature.

Dagaz is a Rune of conscious being and conscious becoming. The process of awakening consciousness, or becoming enlightened, is really the struggle between the sleep of conditioned thought and the fresh creative forces pushing us from the subconscious to wake up into Wholeness. Sowelo, the Rune that stands for the Sun, is the Rune of Wholeness, or becoming that which you already are. The Sun and the Moon are the two stellar bodies that relate most closely to Dagaz because of its inclusion of both daytime and nighttime. Because of this feature, Dagaz is also a Rune of opposites and that which lies inbetween the polarity – as the twilight lies between the two sides of the day.

Dagaz represents the ancient law of three, the duality of the polarity, and that which they become upon blending.[1] We see this triune law reflected in the trinity of ancient goddesses; the trinity of Odin, Villi and Ve; and even the Christian trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Writer Raphael Pattai, in the Hebrew Goddess, expressed the opinion that originally the Holy Ghost was the female aspect of Father, Mother, and Child. The best example for this expression I have found is the Valknut consisting of three intersecting triads, one of which represents the affirming force or creative force, and is made up of Odin, Villi, and Ve; one of which represents the destructive or resisting force made up of Hela, Fenris, and Jormundgand; and the triad of Being made up of the Norns Urdr, Vernđandi, and Skuld.

The point is that Dagaz, being a Rune of opposites and what lies between them, is a Rune of transformation. The transformation can be conscious, it can be one thing becoming its opposite thing, or the transformation can be a complete breakthrough to a new understanding. The knowledge you had before has been transformed by the fire of the being of life experience, and has now become understanding.

Dagaz includes consciousness, unconsciousness, and the subconscious that lies between them. It helps to understand that we are born with essence – that is our hereditary proclivities, tendencies, and so on depending on what has come down from our ancestors. We acquire education and intellectual factors that may or may not agree with our essence; the development of essence usually stops around the age of seven when children are subjected to formal education. The struggle for awakening then, must take place with the growth of essence through resistance to conditioned thought. The result, after years of struggle and self-study, may be an awakened human being. This has been simply said.

When Dagaz shows up in a reading, look for oppositional factors, the potential for transformation, or a breakthrough to a new understanding.

[1] Gurdjieff calls this law the Triamazikamno, and defines it as the lower blending with the higher, or the higher blending with the lower, to actualize the middle.

INGWAZ

INGWAZ

Ingwaz is a Rune of masculine fertility and gestation in terms of things waiting to come to full fruition as the seed waits in the soil for the appropriate conditions for growth. There is also the concept of sacrifice (as the sun god is sacrificed at the autumn equinox to return with the spring), or as the end of the seed is the birth of the plant, and the abundance of plenty.

There are two ways to draw Ingwaz, one as a simple square of containment and the other as two X’s stacked one upon the other. The latter symbol suggests two Gifu runes, symbols of giving and receiving, implying that with Ingwaz there is a dual exchange. Ingwaz is a Rune of the divine twins Freyr and Freyja, the Vanir twins, who were their selves thought to have been conceived by another pair of twins, Njördr and Nerthus.[1] In some ancient cultures marriage between brother and sister was socially acceptable.

The intimacy between twins suggests to me of the divine hermaphrodite; I claim responsibility for this interpretation. My reasoning is that the Vanir gods and goddesses were credited for their special magical gifts and abilities that come from higher mind. I believe the divine hermaphrodite represents the sacred marriage in which the male and female aspects of an individual human being (either man or woman) are fully actualized and operational. Man is incomplete without woman and woman is incomplete without man: the polarities of male (active polarity) and female (receptive/passive polarity) combine to form the higher mind in an enlightened person, regardless of their physical sexual orientation.

Another thought I had was that the two X’s of Ingwaz might stand for both the gift (Gifu) and the need (Nauthiz). Nauthiz offers the gift of itself in revealing the action that must to be taken to escape the difficulty it presents, as the enclosure of Ingwaz contains the seed in the soil until the proper time for its growth. The gift and the need accompany one another.

[1] Freya Aswyn, Northern Mysteries & Magic, p. 80

LAGUZ

LAGUZ

Laguz has been defined both as “lake” and “leek,” from the Norse words laguz and laukiz. Traditionally it relates to flow (water seeks its own level) and protection (the leek in Norse thought holds protective qualities). The shape and its mirrored image form the Ehwaz Rune, which relates to emotion. In this case, water is the esoteric analog for emotion. Thus Laguz can relate to deep emotional matters and matters of the subconscious. Consider too the transformational capacity of water, which can manifest as liquid (water), solid (ice), or gas (water vapor), changing with the seasons and the heat of the sun. Emotions run freely here, as opposed to those that are repressed or blocked, as is the case with Isa. This Rune might also turn up advantageously in a reading, as in the case of things being “in the flow” of natural or correct timing. When inverted, its meaning is totally opposed.

MANNAZ

MANNAZ

Mannaz is the Rune of humanity and all that is encompassed by humanity – the descent of man from the gods; the family structure, social status and social structure; the attitudes that family, friends and enemies hold toward one another; individuality and the self; consciousness, morality, the intellect, and invention; and the capacity to work cooperatively together for the benefit of the community. Mannaz deals with the group, whereas Ehwaz dealt with a partnership with a single person. Mannaz, drawn as the Rune for Joy (Wunjo) with its mirror image speaks to the pleasure people take in one another. No person is an island; the ability to survive and thrive require mutual interdependence and understanding.

Northern mythology contains more than one story of how humanity came to be descended from the gods. In one tale, Odin and his brothers gave Ask and Embla life; Odin blew the breath of life into the first human beings. In another story, Heimdall, a son of Odin, journeys to Midgard, guests with three married couples, sleeps between them as their guest, and each wife later gives birth to his sons, thus imparting the blood of the gods into the human race. Each son was believed to have inspired a social class – the warriors, the crafters, and the farmers. Mannaz is therefore a Rune that inspires cooperation between people in the community for the benefit of everyone in that community. In this it has a connection to the Rune Raidho.

Receiving this Rune in a reading can mean cooperation, compatibility, mutual understanding, teamwork, or conversely the development of the self in relation to one’s higher purpose. If Mannaz arrives inverted, it can mean that the group attitude is hostile toward the questioner, self-delusion (the things one does not wish to see), depression, suffering, immorality, or even mortality.

EHWAZ

EHWAZ

Ehwaz is the Rune associated with horses, movement, loyalty and trust, emotion, and the partnership between horse and rider. Those who have worked with horses know that horses are emotional creatures, reacting instantly and instinctively to feelings of fear or comfort, pleasure or pain, associating movement with emotion. Scientist Candace Pert discovered the molecules of emotion, centered in the body. The way we feel about things, the things we want and desire – these are all motivational factors in how we move about our life. My Gurdjieff teacher used to say emotion = e + motion. Knowing what motivates you will get you energized to get moving on it.

Horses and travel correlate the Ehwaz Rune to Raidho, which corresponds to the travel of the heavenly bodies across the sky, to travel by horseback and by horse drawn wagon, and in this modern era by car, train or plan. The relationship of Ehwaz and Raidho to the path of self-evolution is illustrated by the old teaching story of the carriage, the horse, the driver, and the passenger who rides inside the carriage. In this tale, the carriage represents the physical body, the horse the emotions, and the driver as the intellect. The horse is yoked to the carriage by its harness (as emotions are centered in the body), and the driver directs the attention of the horse through the reins. However, to accomplish a real aim, the development of the master (the passenger in the carriage) is necessary to direct the driver. Otherwise all three would be going in their own direction: the carriage would not move, the horse would be freely following its own emotional whims, and the driver would be down at the pub drowning his boredom in beer. We can see these aspects of self in our body, our emotions, and our intellect. When these three aspects of self are united through consistent practice of intentional sensation, the fourth aspect develops – the master.

Ehwaz is the ultimate Rune of partnership between two beings: horse and rider, a married couple, a business partnership. Honest communication is essential for the harmony of such partnerships having a common goal. Edred Thorsson relates Ehwaz to the power of the twin gods, and goes on to say that the horse in Germanic thought is related to mans’ “fetch” which easily travels between the worlds of Yggdrasil.[1] When I consider the shape of the Rune, it is the mirrored image of Laguz, which means flow. Laguz, coming later in the third ÆTT, is a symbol for water, which always seeks its own level. When honest communication stops, like water becoming ice, partnerships falter and break apart.

Ehwaz in a Rune reading is usually a positive indicator of events moving in a favorable direction with correct motivation, but if inverted Ehwaz can mean one’s emotional energies are scattered and unfocused, causing one to spin one’s wheels needlessly in any endeavor. Look to the health of partnerships or any endeavor wherein you are working with another person in a common goal.

[1] Edred Thorsson, Futhark, location 1195 kindle edition. The “fetch” is related to the astral body; see GNG definitions.

BERKANO

BERKANO

Berkano often comes up for me as a protective Rune in galdr-song, and it does this in the role of the protective mother. Berkano is a feminine Rune connected to motherhood, pregnancy, birth, nurture, nourishment, shelter, new ideas, new beginnings, and related life changes such as weddings, funerals, or coming of age. I believe Berkano also to be associated with the Disir, the Matronae, and the Norns, including the group of women souls (and birth planners) who help the Norns with the work of overseeing ørlög. The Disir are strong matriarchs within the ancestral line of Norse clans, and they have also been associated with the Valkyries, Norns, and Vaettir, or land spirits. The Matronae are mother goddesses, appearing in groups of three, worshipped in areas of Germania, Eastern Gaul, and Northern Italy that were occupied by the Roman army from the first century to the fifth. These beings represent the female principle in her fullest empowerment.

In pre-Christian and pre-patriarchal times, women managed the tribes and the villages while the men were away at hunting or war. The Nordic women were practical, efficient, productive, and expedient. They had to make all the hours of the day count for taking care of children and the elderly; the animals who supplied meat, milk, and wool; the crops which would be needed to eat through the cold months; and the washing, spinning, and weaving of the wool and flax into the clothing for the kindred. The point is that women of those times were as respected and as capable as men in any area of life, and that women are not less now, nor should have ever been so regarded at any point in history. In fact women were stronger, as it was their role to bear life, and this they did without the modern advantages of hospitals, pain medication, or cesarean section.

When Berkano shows up with Perthro it is indicative of the women’s mysteries. Ancient ways of feminine initiation included birth and birthing rites; coming of age for young women upon the first menses; there were gender specific rituals that were used by the gythia (priestess) for those women who accompanied the men to war or on the hunt; and marital and death rites. Death was a fact of life for the Northern peoples; they considered women who had born living children to have come near the realm of death and returned. Women held a special power to work with the spirits through the practice of seidr, galdr, or shamanism. [See GNG Definitions] These powers would have been used to nurture the livestock and crops, calm the powers of life threatening storms, locate animals for the hunters, and as charms for good luck and protection put into the weaving of clothing and the processing of food.