Rune Study: Berkana

Berkana: Birch

Bjarkan Video

This might be one of my favourite runes…Her energies are so beautiful, protective and powerful. This is the rune of becoming; embodying the maternal goddess energy. The shape of the rune speaks volumes, taking the form of a pregnant mother’s breasts and belly. The peoples of the North experienced the cleansing and protective powers of birch trees. Groves or circles of birch were viewed as very sacred and safe place; a secret sanctuary when one needed it most.

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Introduction to Bindrunes (Bandrùnar)

When working with runes, harnessing the energies of more than one rune to apply them to a specific task, is sometimes very desirable. We can accomplish this by making what is called a bindrune. In Old Norse, this is called a bandrùn.

One can use any combination of different runestaves and bind them together into a single symbol. When doing this, it is important to be in your vé, a sacred space for magic work. This can be any sacred space to you, and can be indoor or outdoor. It is really up to you. When you have decided what rune energies you want to accomplish your goal, sit down with a pencil and paper and draw out the runes. Then, put them together in a way that looks good to you. They do not need to be put together in any specific way, as long as they are connected, they will become a bindrune, after they are consecrated.

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Herb of the Month: Saint Joan’s/John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

June 24th is known in the Christian Tradition as Saint John the Baptist’s Day. The plant, Hypericum perforatum, was named after St John because it was used to “chase demons away”.

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Herb of the Month: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

In May, we who live in Southern Ontario, have lots of sunny days, the warm south winds carrying the warm air that opens the blooms of Spring. One of my favourites of these is Dandelion.

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Herb of the Month: Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara)

Coltsfoot : April Herbal Focus

So, as we walk through the woods in April and early may, we can see small yellow flowers that look like dandelions, but have a scaly, reddish-brown stem, and no leaves present. This amazing flower, that likes moist, shady places like the edge of a forest, is called Coltsfoot, or it’s Latin name, Tusilago Farfara.

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Healer, heal thyself!

I have been recently involved in a Women’s Healing Circle, hosted by a local Native Outreach and Resource center.  The experiences I have had there, the welcome I received from the wonderful women there, has been beautiful.  I am so grateful for the openness of my sisters there, even though I am not an Indigenous Canadian.  We meet weekly and hold a ceremony, talking about what we are each working through that week, what we are thankful for, and learning from one another.

One of my sisters who has described one of her gifts being healing others, said something interesting to me one week.  She had been feeling sick, and overworked, and expressed that she wished someone would help her heal, for she couldn’t heal herself, only others.

This confounded me.  I assumed that healers following their traditional approaches, with access to their ancestral wisdom, would know that they could indeed heal themselves.  It has been my understanding ever since coming across teachings like that of Susun Weed and the Wise Woman Tradition, that Wise Women have the ability, and the obligation to heal themselves and others.

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Rune Study: Isa

Isa: Ice (Old Norse)

It is winter here, and the lesson I am focused on right now is Isa.  Isa’s energy is quiet and pensive.  It represents a time to be still, focusing inward, and patiently awaiting the right time to act.  Patience is hard for me.  Really hard.  But I know that good things come to me when I wait patiently for the right timing to present itself.  I am planning a garden this year, and Isa is teaching me much as I begin this process.  Patience as I wait for the right time to plant a seed, and as the seed begins to grow in its own time.

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Gardens and Growing Up

I have had a close relationship with plants my whole life. I have a distinct memory of being a small child, maybe 5 or 6 years old, and playing in my grandmother’s backyard with my cousin, who is only a few months younger than myself.  We were making a magic potion on the cinder-block “stove” that we had made with some other rocks and a block that was hanging around back there. We pounded and crushed a handful of weeds we had gathered from the yard; some clover, grass, dandelion flowers and leaves, and plantain leaves and seeds.  We mixed some water in to the “potion” and when I was picking more plants to add to the mixture, I cut my hand on a blade of grass. I applied some of the “magic potion”, and to my amazement, the pain was instantly gone.  My skin began to knit itself back together much more quickly than ever before.  Without knowing it, I used one of the most wonderful healing “weeds”, Plantain.

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Herb of the Month: Cedar

Cedar – March Herbal Focus

An Elder describes the power of Cedar

This month I would like to share the Wisdom of my friend Cedar.

Cedar is a very powerful, beautiful medicine. In the Indigenous Tribes across North America, cedar is highly valued for its healing properties.  On the medicine wheel, cedar is in the west.  It is used to open us to healing our past, forgiving ourselves for “mistakes” and opening to new energies and experiences.

The cedar I am familiar with is classified as white cedar.  Some people also use red cedar (which is another name for a species of juniper) and that is not the cedar I am referring to.

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