Sunday, November 10, 2013

Crafting the Runes: Rad

Riding seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors
and very courageous to him who traverses the high-roads
on the back of a stout horse.

The above stanza taken from the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem is one of the more interesting I've read since embarking on this study.  This rune is usually characterized as one of the simpler ones: the translation is "to ride", which often sees it telling of travel, journeys and transportation.  But reading through the various rune poems leads me to believe that this simplicity is rather deceptive.  Consider the Norwegian Rune Poem, which says "Riding is said to be the worst thing for horses", or the Icelandic Rune Poem, which specifically mentions that although "Riding // joy of the horsemen // and speedy journey" it is also "and toil of the steed".

All of these poems have something in common: dual perspectives.  In the Anglo-Saxon, the two perspectives are those of someone indoors, not having to actually face the danger of riding a horse; and that of someone on the back of a horse, taking dangerous roads with a potentially less-than-reliable animal.  The other poems reveal exactly why the horse may be slightly dangerous - while riding can be great for those doing the riding, the animal that has to carry that person is working very hard.

So while this rune is most obviously about travel, riding, and our modes of transportation; I think it's worth considering in a reading that this rune may be trying to show another side to the story.  Consider an outside perspective, perhaps one that is normally overlooked or brushed aside.

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