Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Crafting the Runes: Jear

From the Haindl Rune Oracle

Summer is a joy to men,
when God, the holy King of Heaven,
suffers the earth to bring forth shining fruits
for rich and poor alike.

Jear, the rune most symbolic of peace and plenty.  Though the Anglo-Saxon rune poem devotes a fourth of the lines describing it to the Christian God, the Icelandic and Norwegian rune poems give the same basic idea without describing God at all.  They all describe the idea of plenty, or having more than you need to survive.  The Icelandic poem says, "boon to men, and good summer, and thriving crops," while the Norwegian poem invokes the story of Frothi, a great king who upheld a long peace for his people (though it was later ended by his own greed).  And yet the rune itself does not translate to 'plenty'.  It instead translates as 'year'.  I think this, taken together with the notes about summer and the story of Frothi, paint an interesting picture of this rune.

Though the poems talk primarily about plenty and good fortune, and I think this is a large part of the rune's meaning - in Northern Europe, there can be no summer without first there being a winter.  This rune describes the whole year; how plenty comes and how, like in Frothi's story, plenty also goes.  It is great while it lasts, and as the Anglo-Saxon poem describes, it is helpful to rich and poor alike.  But eventually the year turns, and this peace and plenty are no longer available - there are times we must make do with what we have.

In divination, or in using runes for magic, I think it's fair to say this rune is mostly positive.  However, it's also good to be aware of the possible connotations; like the yin-yang symbol in Chinese culture, the rune Jear seems to carry the seeds of its own opposite.

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