“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.  Marcel Proust

In 1983, my boyfriend gave me a set of Viking Runes. By that time we were a few years into our relationship, and it was typical for him to go on about ancient secret societies, Stonehenge, Mystic Christianity, Druids, Kundalini yoga, TM, Gnostic teachings, Freemasonry, the I Ching, the Dead Sea Scrolls, peyote rituals, Native American Shamanic vision quests, auras and chakras, etc. etc. To be honest, most of it was way over my head, but it did serve to fertilize my already burgeoning interest in esotericism. (More on that in my next post.)

Algiz – Protection

The Runes had an unusual but compelling smell, the kind you savour in one long inhale, and they were pleasing to the touch, smooth yet rough all at the same time. I quickly discovered that they provided uncanny insight and guidance when seeking counsel on various issues, especially during times of difficult personal challenges. Over a thirty year period, I consulted the Runes sixty-seven times, with gaps as long as seven years in between.

The last time I took them out was in early 2013, after my uncle Red’s funeral. I was exhausted and burned out after a frenzied decade of serving on multiple committees and boards for various arts organizations. Out of twenty five possible Runes, I pulled Sowelu from the pouch that day. Not surprisingly, it counselled that this was a time for recharging, regeneration, and that it might be necessary to retreat, “… a voyage inward for centering, for balance.” This was a confirmation of what I already knew in my gut.

In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left you. Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist

More recently, I’ve been studying the Tarot, which is a more complex system of counsel and tapping into the subconscious. In fact, today’s blog post was originally titled, Tarot, where I wanted to share a eureka moment I had this week about newly revealed layers of meanings in some of my artwork – symbolism which I had previously been completely oblivious to. For example, I realized that my painting, Song of Ages, which I conceived partially as a visual ode to grieving mothers, was also an unmistakable variation of the Empress (Mother) in the Thoth Tarot Deck. (More on that in my next post.)

So… as in Proust’s perceptive quote above, my most recent studies have resulted in seeing with new eyes, and as a lifelong seeker of wisdom and clarity of vision, the pursuit of fresh eyes has always proven extremely useful while navigating the complexities of living and loving. The real nexus point of the journey toward now began many years ago, and it involved a boyfriend and the gift of Runes.

The Book of Runes, by Ralph Blum

Photo credits:  Michelle LaRiviere

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