One of the most intriguing, and at times, infuriating, things about studying the runes and their ways is the mystery; due to their terse nature, the length of time, and the ways of skalds, who would change the names and the times of stories to better suit their particular audience, there are few sources we can consult that can offer any absolutes. Everyone from scholars to dedicated Heathens to dabblers to sociologists have their own interpretations, built up from tantalizing hints and their own perceptions. It is a truly pagan system, in that everyone is free to work within their own notions and values (though there is a growing movement among Heathens demanding a more rigid paradigm, which I hope fails), and no one (or, at least not everyone) is being told what is the right and the wrong way to be a heathen.
In some of the old runic traditions, the old year has ended and the new year begun; it may seem unusual to those of us accustomed to the Gregorian calendar to begin the new year in the middle of summer, but this is one reflection of the continuous cycles, with the various dates changing as the centuries pass. My Pagan Book of Days, a treasure trove of data, has the year ending with Daghaz, a rune of completion; since this calendar has the year in half-months, at this point we’ve reached the end of the 24 character Futhark cycle, even though there is no compelling spiritual reason for the year to end now. One of the things we still have to work to understand is the ancient concept of cycles; in our 21st century world, we think we understand cycles, with our concept of “something ends, something else begins” but I think we still haven’t gotten our minds really around the flow, the idea of one thing being part of another; we’re too quick to compartmentalize, to codify, to say ‘This is that, period.” It still is hard for us to truly understand how the runic cycle works, with the essence of one slowly and gradually being converted to the other.
The new runic month is Feoh, a very positive rune, symbolizing wealth, prosperity, and accomplishment, and sacred to the Vanir, specifically Frey and Freya; no surprise that they are associated with summer, they are sky gods, gods of the plenty that comes from the sun and the rain, as Frey rides his golden boar across the heavens. Feoh is also very feminine, recall that the sun in the Northern tradition is female, not male. The oh-so-wise Kathy of Enchantments opined that for Northerners, the sun is softer, seen less, more of a feminine nurturer than the harsh, blazing sun-rays-as-arrows of climates like Greece and Rome.
Speaking of the sun, today is also a day that honors Petosiris, a high priest of Thoth and astrologer, who did much to understand the movement of the stars and planets, and who tried to make that knowledge available to the everyday folk, who could not read or write, so as to help them guide their lives. The Egyptians marked the important festivals, the length of the night and the years, by the risings of the sun and moons, but this was used for architecture and calendars, and Petosiris felt that all folk could benefit from knowing favorable directions, and when the time was right for endeavors like marriage and business. We may not find Daily Horoscope columns very dignified, but Petosiris was one of the sages who first looked to the stars as a guide for humanity, and thus is honored. His tomb was a place of pilgrimage well into the days of the Muslim conquest of Egypt, when the Muslims, like their Christian counterparts they claimed to be sooo different from, destroyed it, along with anything else thatdid not agree with their simple-minded religion.
So walk in the sun, today, my Kin, and give blessings to the Vanir, who give us so much good, and give blessings to the mortal minds of men and women like Petosiris, who help us better understand the dance of the spheres.