Thursday, January 30, 2014

Crafting the Runes: Nyd

From the Haindl Rune Oracle

Trouble is oppressive to the heart;
yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men,
to everyone who heeds it betimes.

'Nyd' - translated above as 'trouble' - is also often translated as 'need'.  Being in need of something can be a weight on a person's heart, especially if it is something essential like food or shelter.  In my opinion, the later part of this stanza is probably an amalgamation of Christian concept of "joy in suffering" and the more Heathen idea of "necessity is the mother of invention".  Though we may occasionally find ourselves in need, that is also when we may find a great strength - almost like the adrenaline that rushes through veins when faced with a threat, need challenges us to rise to the occasion and find a way to solve that need.  This is not to say that those who don't fulfill all of their own needs are failing or somehow lesser - this is why humans live in communities, so that we can help one another when needed and receive help in turn when we are in need - but the trying is important.  To paraphrase an ancient Greek ideal: "the Gods help those who help themselves".

This rune also refers to the concept of the Need-fire, both through its name and its shape.  The need-fire is one kindled by friction, either wood on wood or a rope on wood, and is considered most effective when all other fires near it are put out.  It is lit in times when the community is in great need, especially in farming communities where animals are often threatened by outbreaks of disease.  The flames are believed to purify the animals, and so two fires are made though which the animals can be driven.

When this rune comes up in divination, I often see it interpreted as a bad omen - but I tend to see it as an indication of something that is missing or needed in the person's life.  This can be a positive thing if the need can be identified and subsequently fulfilled, though it will often require some effort to fulfill the need.

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