Rune Magic Lesson (Brightstave Hagalaz)
Sometimes a change of perspective is all we need to see new roads towards the calling of our souls. Perspective is everything in magic. Change the orientation in your mind and change the outcome of your magic. For many years, I bought the lie that the reason my spells didn’t work out exactly like I wanted them to be was because the Norns don’t let us have everything we want. That I have some kind of predestined fate and I’m not supposed to be too happy because the universe needs balance. Such a nasty little murkstave, that thought! Nihilism never served any good endeavor. It only seeks annihilation and since I am not in the mood to be destroyed, I needed to rip out every Nihilistic thought in my mind garden in order to see Causality around me more clearly. Weeding is a daily process, but I will tell you, pulling out that murkstave of Hagalaz has been liberating!
Our world does exist in balance, but what goes on in our hearts and minds is our choice. We don’t have to accept unhappiness, self-hatred, or bitterness. We are not obligated to suffer for our magic or for our Gods. Life will always throw you curveballs. This world is filled with people who have given up hope and love. There will always be people who will try to steal, rape, and destroy you. People you love will perplex you and possibly disappoint you. These things are bound to happen, but how you build the magic in your mind and in your heart is ultimately YOUR choice.
Choice is everything in magic. We choose actions. We choose feelings. We even choose paradigms and archetypes to learn from. Choice is the sword of every warrior and every magician. How we choose to react and experience this world determines who and what we are. It sets us on a course for our future. Our choices build our Wyrd. When we interact with others, it’s not just what we say that determines our future, but how we think and whether we accept their perspective into our mind. We don’t have to buy into other people’s perspectives. We can live in another world than they do. I for one, refuse to live in a world that limits my pursuit of love and compassion for the souls of mankind. I have had many people try to convince me I am mad for nurturing the souls of others, but I believe that it is the light in our souls that keeps us alive as humans. I, for one, love humanity. I love Our Great Mother Planet who mated with the Sky Father and created LIFE. That living magic hums and vibrates in every living being on this planet. It is what makes your heart beat, your breathing response, and your brain activity that now is reading the words I have written. Every single part of you is imbibed with the magic of LIFE. Every cell, every thought, stems from the interaction of your physical body interacting with your spirit. That connection is paramount in preserving and strengthening. I am still a novice at this magic, but I know in my heart, that supporting the divine in people is key towards helping them become more vital, aware, and powerful people.
I, for one, do not want to see humanity crumble and fade in corruption, apathy, and nihilistic sickness. That is why I spend most of my day passively observing myself as I go about my day. I have a Watcher Self that I cultivated. It is an archetype of every teacher I have encountered and not just magic teachers. My Watcher is a mental Frankenstein’s monster of every Math and Philosophy teacher, Spiritual teacher, Martial Arts teacher, Yoga teachers, and personal mentors and friends. I feed my Watcher bright Hagalaz energy, so when my teacher corrects me, inside my head, I listen to its wisdom in gratitude. My Watcher is always there. Sometimes I don’t want to listen to my Watcher and then I get hurt and my Watcher is there to tell me exactly why I got hurt. My Watcher never judges me though. It wants me to be strong and navigate well around danger.
I have been lucky enough to meet some incredible teachers in the last year. Wise and noble warriors and magicians who have infinite patience and unconditional love. I am not judged for being headstrong or making mistakes, merely loved and educated as to why I hurt myself. They have shown me the Brightstave of Hagalaz. The harsh lessons that help break down the things in our lives that limit us. These powerful teachers are my heroes and friends and I am so thankful the Gods have sent me their way.
Another aspect of the brightness of Hagalaz is the value of the freedom of choice in others. Freedom is a harsh teacher and many of us have been taught the Murkstave of Hagalaz though fears of uncertainty and danger. The murk of Hagalaz seeks to bind and control others, to break their wills and resolve. Let me share a personal story:
I rent a little cottage in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a small little house with a garden and a tree out back. I have an altar in my garden and I have made friends with the tree and the spirits who live there. It’s just me and my two little tomcats. I feed birds and sometimes my cats eat the birds. There are snakes and possums and raccoons and mice that come to visit me, and we are all wonderful friends. I leave offerings for the Vaettir. I make bread and my old crusts always go to the land. I feed the roots of my tree with yeast and mead and wine. We are like one big happy family in my little cottage home. My landlord is a nice guy and he doesn’t mind that I’m a Heathen witch. His mother, on the other hand, lives next door and she does not like me. I smile and send her blessings, but she sees me and scowls. She does not like that I let the grass and the weeds in the garden grow. She does not like that I drum and sing to the stars. She does not like that I laugh and play with the butterflies when they come to drink from the flowers. She likes her TV shows and her yearly cruises, and she is angry all the time. I sometimes sing blessings through the fence at her sweet dog. He is this big shaggy Newfoundland that likes to run up on my porch and lick me. I love hugging him. My neighbor does not like when I hug her dog. She frowns and grabs him and walks away.
So, my poor landlord is burdened by his mother who hates me. He has now said that I must cut down some of the beloved bushes that house the butterflies and the preying mantis. I want to be able to be mad, but it is his house. He owns the property and I must respect his wishes. It is the oath and agreement in the contract I made. This is reality coming to me and I have the choice, I can become bitter and angry about it or I can learn. Like the Tao says, life is like a reed in the wind, able to bend, so like a reed or willow tree I will work around this. I will not let them steal my happiness. I will cull some of the bushes and I will send blessings to the Vaettir. I will work as mediator between land and human. I do not want to lose my humanity for the land, nor do I want to lose my love of the land for humanity. A balance must always be struck. This, my Watcher tells me.
I have seen all too often, people sacrificing their capacity to love themselves for their beliefs. I have seen good people betrayed and maligned in our communities because no one took the time to understand them. Bright Hagalaz shows us that freedom of being ourselves can sometimes be uncomfortable for everyone. True love allows for people to be who they are without losing ourselves in the process. I am not an angry person, by nature. I am happy and fun loving. I am insanely curious and brave. I also won’t let anyone steal that heart of mine, no matter who they are. I like me, and I will not let anyone change me.
The beautiful thing in this is when I start protecting my heart, I start valuing the free hearts of others. I don’t seek to change people. It is not my goal to proselytize the world to be like Christina. That would make for a very boring world. My goal is to guard and respect my own individual spiritual and emotional freedom and respect and act accordingly to the choices of others.
So, the lesson of my landlord. I have a strong feeling that I may not be in this place for long. That will mean, when I leave, the Vaettir will not be happy with the new tenants and they might find that the consequences of their spiritual ignorance and cowardice will cost them dearly. Me being me will be their consequence for ignorance. In all fairness, I know what’s coming for them and I feel much sympathy. We cannot save people from their own ignorance. All we can do is work on ourselves and those who choose to understand us.
My Watcher has taught me, never help someone unless they ask and so I watch these things unfold and I tell secrets to the neighbor dog and I whisper to the butterflies. Life adapts. It always does.
If us humans want to survive, we will need to adapt, as well.
The Murkstave of Hagalaz is fear birthing circumstance that buries and breaks the living heart of a person.
The Brightstave of Hagalaz is bravery birthing the circumstances that act as karma for others and self, so everyone can grow and learn.