Although rune divination can be used with
any type of dreamwork, I am writing about
it's use with the practice of Archetypal Dreamwork.
In ancient Greek and Rome pilgrims traveled to the dream temples of Asclepius. There they consulted the oracles of the dream and upon waking were counseled by the priests of the temple regarding the nature of their dreams. Prescriptions for healing and guidance for addressing life’s issues were then recommended.
Dreamwork and divination have been mutually used to support the path to the awakening of self/soul for centuries.
In archetypal dreamwork we use the guidance of our dream stories and the archetypes to provide insight, direction and a daily practice that transforms into healing and wholeness.
Runes offer spiritual insight through their esoteric meanings and properties associated with the specific rune symbol. With runes there is no sure answer instead the guidance is formed in a poetic richness that cracks open and enhances our intuition. This intuition is the essence of spirit/divine in each of us. Their divination energy is an element of counsel that can be weaved within the fabric of the dream practice. They complement, strengthen, and/or provide additional information that reinforces the work of the dream. When I am confused, uncertain and/or stuck pulling a rune can assist in naming and working with the resistance.
List are a number of ways I use runes to complement my dreamwork practice.
1. I mediate on my dream practice and then cast a rune. With the rune I explore its relationship to the work and how they support each other.
2. I can mediate on the dream, cast a rune and explore how the rune may bring out the guidance of the dream.
3. If I am uncertain or struggling in my dreamwork practice I can ask the question of resistance and cast a rune for guidance.
4. I can use the runes to work with a string of dreams asking questions that relate to the string work.
5. I can use them without the dream practice by asking a question related to my dreams.
Here is an example of how I have used the runes to enhance my Dreamwork.
Most recently I have been in a place of emotional hardship one might describe as a dark night of the soul. After years of longing to move to Vermont I took the leap in an unanticipated way by giving up a much-loved career of 27 years and its financial security. To be true to the circumstances I was not content with the particular job environment but loved the career.
I had expected to feel some emotional turmoil upon arrival but was surprised at the level of fear, anxiety, and depression that surfaced. Bewildered and angry at my state of affairs I retreated into isolation wandering around a desolate landscape of my own making. And in that isolation, voices of shame, guilt, and projection ensnared me into a mentality of poverty. This enveloped me in regret and a sense of destitution that led me to believe I would live the rest of my life impoverished. Feelings of impoverishment continued to be strengthen through worried thoughts of I don’t or can’t have what I desire. This created a snowball effect that increased the resistance to experiencing anything different. I sincerely believed I was right in feeling what I did and there was no way out. In particular the shame encouraged told me it wasn’t okay to ask for help.
It wasn’t until a I performed a simply earth based ritual, worked a rune with the dream below and heard the concerned words of a dear friend that I was able to redirect the destructive path I was traveling.
Although I am still riding my coal car through the dark tunnels of my mine (should this be a song title) I now have moments of reaching the fresh air of the surface. In this recent journey I have more fully recognized the resistance, the destructive/judgmental/unreasoning way of being that arises in me when I am scared and how it can be my undoing.
Dream: I am in a room and two women are there. One is standing next to me and the other sitting in a chair. The one standing up is a teacher and guide. Someone I trust. She says to me I want you to sit in this women’s lap who is in the chair. I am scared and unsure but sit in her lap because
I trust the words of the woman who asks.
This dream came to me as I sat in the upheaval of my life.
The dream is asking me to sit on the lap of the anima, to receive her love and support. The practice of the dream is to be with this love, to feel the fear of that fire that burns in me for love and experience it anyway. The archetype in my dream, the anima represents the love of spirit/divine that will support me through this time of transition. Most of my life I have lived in distrust, not believing I could be loved and not being able to experience love when it is given. Many of my dreams guide me to the love of the anima. In this dream I let myself experience the love and in waking life I deny it. I have lived in the contradiction, that the love I yearn for is what I fear the most. And I resist it all the time by saying I can’t feel it in waking life only in my dreams.
This dream was offered as guidance to practice being with the love of the anima, which would ease my suffering. Unfortunately, I struggled with this practice and needed extra assistance. For this reason I felt the call to work with the runes to assist in the dream’s guidance.
And well it would be because in my despair and the story of the dream, the rune I drew was the Nauthiz. How fitting.
The visual of this rune is two sticks rubbing together to create fire. We desire the fire and we fear it.
There are two aspects to this rune for me. One is need…what is my sacred need and the other is what are the obstacles that keep me from accepting and opening to that need. The need is my desire and my fear.
When I receive this rune I ask myself the question is there an imbalance in my life? Am I stuck in patterns of pathology/shadow that keep me from seeing my light? Am I aware of what these patterns are and how they take me over? There is resistance here, what role does it play? Is there an ever present desire for something more, something that is congruent with my heart’s longing?
This rune is asking me to name and work with the pathology/shadow that is the resistance to realizing my needs. It tells me it is time to mend what keeps me from wholeness. And sometimes the only way to wholeness is through the pain and darkness of past experiences and current behaviors and feelings that have emerged as a mechanism for coping with the hurt.
When I gaze upon the resistance, constraints, hardships, trauma, setbacks and denials with an open mind/heart, without self-judgment I then awaken to the sacred need. Ah there it is what I desire…because I have release the resistance. Now that I have opened to the need, I must acknowledge there is resistance to the experience of that need. This is the insight the rune offers me. In this instance the rune became an instrument of reflection that helped me peel away of the layers of my defiance of love and wholeness.
Nauthiz is a war rune and invokes the wisdom and courage to recognize the resistance, open to what must be done and then to take action.
And so clearly in casting this rune I have been reminded that I am in trauma and resistance to the animas’ love. And in order to heal this imbalance I must acknowledge the pain and struggle of the current issues in my life and accept that there is a way through. I must desire a way through which is also part of my pathology/shadow and my darkest resistance. I have always had a deep knowing of my needs, it is the resistance to experiencing this need (love) that has been my nemesis.
So in order to accept the guidance of the rune so I am open to the practice of the dream I invoke through ritual, the wisdom and courage Nauthiz offers me. I ask to face my resistance and release it so my need for the love of the anima can be experience. And in feeling the practice of the dream homework I can then experience the movement I desire to wholeness.
It is the profound need in all of us to find healing, to acknowledge the stories we carry, rediscovering the true essence of who we are and bring that story into the world.
I use the rune oracle work of Ralph Blum, Paul Rhys Mountfort, and Stephen Flowers to enlist the interpretations.