runic new year

Happy New Year! Today is the first day of the New Year on the Runic calendar.

Our secular New Year is an arbitrary date, an artifact of history and custom associated with the Gregorian calendar; the Runic New Year, on the other hand, is earth-based. On the circular Runic calendar, this day is 23½ degrees from the Winter Solstice—a measure which, if you will recall from grade school science, corresponds to the tilt of the earth’s axis.

This is the first day of the fortnight in the year ruled by the rune Isa, which literally means “ice.”

The runeform is like a sans-serif capital letter “I” and recalls the form of an icicle. The nature of the rune’s power is as fluid water becoming resistant ice.

Just as flowing water literally freezes to an icy stop, the rune signifies a cessation of apparent progress in the cycle of transformation. Isa traditionally reflects the principle of static existence, inertia, and entropy. Isa is thus associated with death. However, as the story of Lazarus reminds us, the appearance of death can be deceiving.

When you behold a glacier, it is a mountain of ice that seems to be lifeless, permanent, immovable. But you’d be woefully mistaken if you were to build a house upon it. Your “mountain” is actually a river of ice that’s moving slowly, irresistibly, towards the sea. Were you to site your house on a glacier, the ice would exert a constant, relentless force against the walls, and eventually even the strongest walls would buckle and tumble down. When Arctic sea ice surrounds a sturdy ship, it can crush the hull in its jaws.

Until yesterday, construction progress on our house had been frustrated by the presence of a derelict bus we had inherited with the property and which served for a time as Paul’s dismal “bedroom.” It was parked under the roof in an open area we intend to make into two guest bedrooms. Not only were our construction plans frozen by this immovable obstruction, but our plans for the entire property were, too. How can we provide spiritual hospitality if we cannot make our guests comfortable?

Yesterday, after several expressions of interest and unfulfilled promises by others, our friend Robert came up to Estrella Vista and hauled the bus away. It will become a chicken coop on his property.

We didn’t plan it this way, but the removal of the bus happened on a runically appropriate day. Now we can begin pushing against remaining impediments to our goal: the need for money, labor, and materials (including water). I have no doubt we will succeed in time.

Yet we must be careful not to inadvertently overreach. Ice is easy to misjudge. Ice can form slyly and silently, sealing up open waters overnight. It can bridge an inlet with a sheet so thick and hard that people can drive their trucks on it. Yet ice should never be fully trusted. It can prove to be thin, soft, and treacherous where, beneath a dusting of snow, it appears safe. Unwary travelers may be thrown down on its slippery surface or fall through and be lost without a trace.

Beauty is part of its allure. As the Old English Rune Poem says:

 Ice is very cold and slippery.

It glitters clear as glass, jewel-like;

It is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to behold.

Ice is deceptive. An iceberg, for example, shows only one-ninth of its true mass above the surface. The rest is dangerously hidden below, a hazard to shipping.

According to author Nigel Pennick, this deceptive quality establishes the rune’s polarity as female. (Does this statement also establish Pennick as a misogynist?)

The wisdom of the rune reminds us the potential is present in ice of its melting again and becoming liquid. According to the esoteric tradition of the North, all ends and begins with ice.

This is the first day of the Regenerative third of the solar year cycle. Thus, the wisdom of the rune and of this day promises hope for the New Year.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Foreigner performing “Cold As Ice”

2 Responses to “runic new year”

  1. 1 Abe
    November 28, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    wow, the bus…. a chapter of Estrella Vista is now closed. So many memories with that bus.

    I hope you guys let the guy know that that engine only has 70K miles on it, and runs really good. The body and other things have issues, but the engine is a bullet-proof Ford V-8 460, same age as I am. We always kept it around for that, cause the engine alone is worth almost $1,000 these days.

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