ᛏ biþ tacna sum healdeð trywa wel.
wiþ æþelingas a biþ on færylde.
ofer nihta genipu næfre swiceþ ᛬᛫
It is one of the signs, it holds trust well
With princes. Forever it is on a journey
Over the obscurity of night, it never deceives.
The Rune Poem says Tiw is one of the signs, a tacn, a token. This is the first clue in the riddle. A sign is a clue to something as well; signs symbolize in shorthand something else. A letter in an alphabet is a sign that means a sound and sometimes a whole word. The color of a light hanging over a road is a sign standing as evidence of broader meanings, covenants of mutual trust, expectations of behavior. And signs can be signs for signs, like these: 💰, 🐮, 🌹🌵, 😉, 🛣, 🔦, 🎁, 🤑, ⛈, 💔🆘👂, ❄️, 🌱, 🌲🪦, 🎮, 🧬, 🌅, 🪧⭐⚖, 🌳🔮, 🐴, 🫂🪦, 🌊, 🛒👋, 🏠, ☀, 🌳🌰⛵, 🌳😇👊, 🏹, 🦫, 🪦. These are signs in nested levels of scale. … More
During the height of the Roman occupation of Britain, Britannia was as Roman as anywhere else in the empire: filled with flourishing walled market towns distributing goods to and from all the other parts of the Mediterranean world, the culture a mix of Roman and local, all gods welcome. This was the secret sauce in the Roman recipe for empire, everybody got to keep their deities. Delicious. Some gods were adopted by the soldiers and traveling sales teams who moved the most from place to place, others got yoked to a Roman deity, two gods pulling the weight for one: interpretatio Romana Tacitus called this practice whilst naming a pair of gods living in a sacred grove somewhere along the Oder River between Germany and Poland. According to the Roman interpretation these deities were Castor and Pollux but maybe they were some version of Nerþus who was maybe Ing who maybe became Freyr and … More
The Rune poem names two gods: Tiw and Ing. Three if you count Os which means god and describes Odin. If we set aside all the sacred trees, and we shouldn’t, we still have one more god mention: the holy king of heaven in the Year stanza, who must be the Christian god, unnamed. This Christian incursion into a poem full of non Christian deities, two named right out loud in answer to their stanza riddles, sometimes poses a different kind of riddle for Christian readers and translators. Perhaps duty bound to exalt their own, they often determine this is a Christian poem written by a Christian poet who would never allow heaven’s king to share an equal stage with other gods. This was a preference undoubtedly popular amongst Christian poets writing in Old English back in the day, so I can see the impulse. But I am here to encourage the … More
The yew is absolutely massive compared to us, so much weight shooting up, lengthening, drooping back down to plunge into the earth, travel, shoot back up and do it again: swoop up into sky, fall back into earth, swim forward, break through waves into sky and flip back under again. This tree is a fish, moving so slowly through thousands of years in a single life span, we never see it happen. We think the yew stands still. We can trust it will always be there. God knows how the yew sees us. An irritant? An itchy parasite flaring up from time to time? We move so fast we must be itchy.
Maybe in our separate time scales we are nothing to the Yew? The Yew has been quite a lot to us though. We’ve met under it for important reasons for centuries, in the rooms it makes looping its branches into roots underground. The … More
Mars and Tiw share a day. They might also share a symbol: ♂︎ ᛏ. The earliest symbols for Mars the planet were of a pointed spear, or a spear with a shield drawn as a circle with a line running through it. We still use a shield and spear to mean Mars. He is a warrior like Tiw, both recognizable by their weapons, forever on a journey over the obscurity of night.
The dark obscures everything and restricting one’s travel to only daylight hours can be limiting depending on latitude and season. To travel by night successfully you will need light, which you will not have much of. Endeavor to take your journey during the full moon or bring a torch.
Beware of torch blindness. You will see more clearly by it, but you will not be able to see as far. Beyond the light all else will appear far darker than it would have without it. Use a torch if you want to see the ground beneath your feet, do not use one if you want to see what is coming for you.
Things will go dark, obscuring your vision. It’s difficult to navigate when you can’t see your way forward, but chin up. You are being guided. There is somebody who will never deceive you. You’ll see the signs. You can trust this one well.
Alveolar dental: tongue along teeth, gums too. Stop and start the air flow. Let your voice stay out of it.
Carve an arrow. Point it to the stars.
There are three kinds of apostrophes, grammatical don’t you know, botanical (when bits of protoplasm and such gather on plant cell walls adjacent to other plant cell walls, the more you know) and rhetorical. O reader did you know, the meaning of apostrophe that came first and the one I’m on about today is the rhetorical one?
The word apostrophe comes from Latin and Greek words that mean to turn away, a turning. It’s when the speaker or the writer stops everything and words directed at an audience turn elsewhere. Where to? To people not in the scene, to an object maybe. O tree, hear my words and tell me my fate! Or a concept. O language, you never stop you slippery Proteus! It’s a turn from the reader but also a turning of the reader. Turn this way. Follow me here. Listen to me say things that you can hear to something or somebody … More