Tag: S. Kelley Harrell

Weekly Rune – Ehwaz

Weekly Rune - EhwazEhwaz – horse – In the year that I’ve written the Weekly Rune feature, Ehwaz has never visited before now. For its introduction, safely fall back on our common understandings of the horse: it is transportation, taking us from one place to another. In that light, the horse allows us access to accomplish what would ordinarily be beyond our capabilities. It works for us, yet despite domestication maintains a wildness of spirit humanity admires and can never touch. In all, the horse allows humans power. It gives us strength greater than our own, and provokes questions of our own domestication.

That’s enough insight to derive compelling meaning for why the horse would visit us at this time. The last few weeks have focused on personal empowerment, encouraged us to be aware not only that our process is happening, but to be actively involved with how it manifests. Where, then, does the horse carry us? What work is it empowering us to journey more deeply into?

Few know that in Nordic mythology the horse was humanity’s fylgia, or “spirit guide,” one who fetches us to wisdom. This totemic image becomes particularly significant coupled with that of Sleipner, Odin’s eight-legged horse, who carried him to traverse the realms of the Yggdrasil–the World Tree, from which he gained insight into the Runes. This movement between worlds, torment of enlightenment, then inability to return to every day life the same hearkens shamanic death.  This metaphor of traveling from the everyday into an etheric expression of it is the original healing story, the ouroboros shamanic narrative we all participate in.

What we need to remember at this time is that initiation is upon us. This time means a piercing of the heart with insight from which we cannot turn away will bring us to a more suitable awareness, that which we crave at our deepest levels. Our travel on the back of awakening is in the process of depositing us on the doorstep of new wisdom.

Let it be. Don’t try to manhandle the rein and control the outcome. This is neither the time to enslave a beast of burden, nor to glide obliviously through scenery without being active in the journey. We are being called to be aware and engaged, to see this journey through to the end. Remember, when the Aztecs and Incas first saw a mounted conquistador, they interpreted it as one animal, a kind of “two-headed centaur. ” [1] While we know the miraculous technology of riding horseback comprises human and horse, let us not forget the animistic bond of seeker and totem. We’re not alone, and we’re not without guidance.

[1]Sagan, Carl. Cosmic Connection, Cambridge University Press, p. 42; 206; 216.
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Celebrate the Small Things – Gratitude

Small Things Photo credit: Shermeee / Foter.com / CC BY

My weekly gratitude post, in the Celebrate the Small Things [ongoing] Blog Hop.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I updated, and it’s been a crazy busy two weeks!

Made blackberry jam and syrup for the first time. Both are pretty yummy!  Also, had success with gluten-free biscuits, totally unrelated to the aforementioned jam…

Lots of writing things happening. One manuscript completed and accepted by publisher. Ball’s in my court, now, to create proposal and perch at negotiation table. Really good success with another manuscript being mostly complete. Also, scheming with a wonderful agent next week about my novel, The Last Snow Moon.

Had a little time with a dear friend that I don’t get to see often right now.

I’ve taught every weekend of June, and had our first Tribe gathering. It’s been really busy, but it’s been so wonderful! My schedule has stayed full, and it’s  just fantastic.

First tomatoes off the vine, and loads of fresh herbs at every meal!

In all, wonderful alliances ahead with special people and projects. No doubt this Solstice week and movement of Jupiter into my sign is stirring up support for cool things ahead.

What are you grateful for this week? How will you show thanks?

This post is part of VikLit‘s blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Participate by following the link and adding your name to the Linky list, then post your gratitude every Friday.  Easiest blog hop ever!

Click here to hop on… the hop, and thanks for coming with me on this journey of self-empowerment.

Photo credit: Shermeee / Foter.com / CC BY

Weekly Rune – Uruz

Uruz - Intentional Insight's Weekly Rune by S. Kelley HarrellUruz – Auroch – I always pay close attention when Uruz turns up in a cast, as something wild is about to happen. Through the Rune story of the last few weeks, we’ve been on this course of taking things deeper, a quiet time of culling resources to support the true self, and learning more about who that is. With the advent of Uruz, we’re standing right at the threshold of impeccably knowing hidden truth.

Ordinarily when Uruz visits, I’d say we’re about to  greet deep personal insight evidencing who we are and what we’re doing in our lives. Emerging from the pattern we’ve seen over the last month or so, the Runes have been telling us this consistently. No news there. However, a component of Uruz that often goes missed in many interpretations is that of seeing Nature’s mysteries. We’re all pretty familiar with the process by which we create ourselves, however active in it we choose to be. Most of us, though, don’t take the time to realize when we’re at a threshold, not just about to step into another expression of self, but being aware of that fact, as we are doing it.

That time is now, and the realization is that we are both the mystery and its wisdom. We are the summation of the work of our lives, and how we carry that into new experiences, all at once.

Take a moment to bless where you are in life at this time. Look back at what brought you here and bless every step, every stumble. When we can look back and see our past without charge, we can move into the mystery of our present with faith. So step on through, and know this new place is the effort of your work, the sandbox of new creation.


Weekly Rune – Othala

Othala - Intentional Insight's Weekly RuneOthala – property – Remember that journey we took with Raidho last week? Well, we did it right!  Over the last few weeks the story of the Runes has been interesting. Three weeks ago we had Dagaz, second to the last Rune – complete connection. Following it was Othala, the “last” Rune, bringing the inspiration to share within that connection. Raidho came along, a celebration of wild cowboy skills in how we move forward, not just to share the connection, but devise how we can take it deeper. So here we are, right back at that very opportunity!  This is why I love the Runes. Such a clear oracle: the story they tell is our own.

This week’s Destination Othala is telling us to look no further than our own backyard for how we can deepen our connection with All Things. Othala is about all things clan, which goes far beyond being related, shared resources, and protection in numbers. To our forebearers, Othala represented a unified spirituality, a community of soul that transcended corporeal boundaries, like time and space. The ancestors remained alive and active, informants of every facet of life. They maintained a voice in the direction of how their descendants carried the line forward.

The memo here is we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, in focusing our life force. We don’t have to feel alone or isolated on our journey deeper into All Things. Take time to explore ancestral roots this week. This could be the literal family tree, or it could be connecting with the nature of  immediate surroundings. It could mean now is the time to be active in determining what roots are put down, how we stretch into manifestation.

Because if we can’t find our connection with All Things in our own backyard, we never really had it to begin with…

Celebrate the Small Things – Gratitude

Small Things Photo credit: Shermeee / Foter.com / CC BY

My weekly gratitude post, in the Celebrate the Small Things [ongoing] Blog Hop.

Had a great family getaway, complete with alligators, sand, revolving sushi, and a distinct absence of sandals and sleep. Very grateful for time away with my loved ones and safe adventuring.

Finished the first part of a series of day job projects with a looming deadline.

Completed a short story, which I’m now stalking before I hand it off to the editor for revisions.

Succeeded at making a Portuguese brown rice, new potatoes and parsley, sauteed tilapia, and tortilla chicken tenders.

Happily gathered the first [tiny] tomato of the season, while enjoying our beautiful yard and garden that we’ve worked so hard on.

What are you grateful for this week? How will you show thanks?

This post is part of VikLit‘s blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Participate by following the link and adding your name to the Linky list, then post your gratitude every Friday.  Easiest blog hop ever!

Click here to hop on… the hop, and thanks for coming with me on this journey of self-empowerment.

Photo credit: Shermeee / Foter.com / CC BY

Weekly Rune – Raidho

Weekly Rune - Raidho, Intentional Insights, Soul Intent ArtsRaidho – travel – In the almost-year that I’ve written the Weekly Runes column, this is the first time we’ve cast Raidho. This Rune has always been special to me as a writer, because it directly addresses how we tell our story.

Many people read Raidho in a very literal context, meaning, a journey between two points, emphasizing the mode of transportation involved, movement across space and time, and everything that occurs between origin and destination. Indeed, the stuff of our most compelling stories.  What is important to understand about Raidho is that it’s about holding a focus over duration, associating a starting point and result with every choice, decision, thought, and deed committed along the way. Are we acting in support of our intention? Are we really making the choices that align us with what we say we want, where we say we want to go? Are we fixed on a precise destination with blinders to the journey, or are we easily taken off course, dazzled by every glittering crossroad?

With Raidho we begin to understand how our choices affect All Things, and how our ability to gently hold focus while changing coordinates on-the-fly informs the story we tell of ourselves, of our lives.

Take some time this week to consider movement, origin, destination, and purpose. Not only is each of these a vital navigational tool in life, they are also allies in how we craft ourselves.


Weekly Rune – Othala

Othala - Intentional Insight's Weekly RuneOthala – property – How telling that last week Dagaz appeared, the second to last Rune, and this week we greet Othala, the final Rune in the Futhark. Dagaz encouraged us to enjoy the fruit of our work, and now Othala instructs us to take that bliss to heart.

Often concerned with what we own, inherit, then pass on to others, Othala is about our center. What sustains us, what grounds us into Nature and All Things, what carries us when all else crumbles. It’s hard to think in these terms when life is going well. Yet how we develop our awareness in the good times is what allows us to make it through the hard times. Holding to discipline amidst bliss can be as challenging as scrambling to know bliss, at all.

Where Fehu, the first Rune, is about wealth, that which must be tended, collected, accounted for, Othala calls our attention to a different kind of prosperity. With this Rune we focus on the value we have created with our time here, that which will go on long after we’re gone. Othala is about the legacy, the one we pick up and do our best with, and the one we leave for others to step into.

That sounds romantic and fulfilling, yet consider what is passing on. Our smile? Our fears? Our wisdom? Our garden? Our wounds? All of these things have legacies, and they do go on without us. The responsibility of Othala isn’t just about finding and sustaining our own joy, but in determining how we pass it on, deducing that we ‘re passing it on.

In truth, when we touch the face of elation, the miracle of experiencing it is one thing. The grace of sharing it is another.


Celebrate the Small Things – Gratitude

Small Things Photo credit: Shermeee / Foter.com / CC BY

My weekly gratitude post, in the Celebrate the Small Things [ongoing] Blog Hop.

Had a great big family weekend, complete with first children’s community rite of passage.

Finished a huge day job project.

Completed revisions on a short story.

Succeeded at making a fantastic gluten-free/gum-free rosemary and sea salt focaccia, also a pan of cinnamon rolls.

What are you grateful for this week? How will you show thanks?

This post is part of VikLit‘s blog hop, Celebrate the Small ThingsParticipate by following the link and adding your name to the Linky list, then post your gratitude every Friday.  Easiest blog hop ever!

Click here to hop on… the hop, and thanks for coming with me on this journey of self-empowerment.

Photo credit: Shermeee / Foter.com / CC BY

The Myth of Teen Violence and Spiritual Paths

What does it take to decode teenage America? How can we understand the confluence of factors behind rising crime rates involving our youth, changing sensibilities toward bullying, and violence in our society? Better yet, how do we inform ourselves and support young people in finding the facts? Every day I read articles asking these questions, and a San Francisco woman has devoted the last few years researching their answers.

2013-05-13-BethWinegarner.jpg A passionate supporter of social causes, a civic voice sounding our shifting cultural landscape, a wonderful mother, and a brilliant writer — meet Beth Winegarner. Creator of Backward Messages, a forum openly discussing social elements that feed violence in teen culture, and the media that perpetuates myths around them, Winegarner doesn’t hold back. She takes on sacred cows that have always clouded adult judgment where youth behavior is concerned — heavy metal, video games, the entertainment industry, and the occult. Her work deconstructs every façade that informs our policy, parenting, and perspectives on teens. Not stopping to just debunk socially accepted truths about teens behaving badly, her platform goes on to highlight the real issues creating problems. Among them she cites lack of mental health support, parenting, and in some cases, healthy social communities.

Having interviewed people from all walks of life to understand what creates the cultural myths of violence surrounding teens, a big trend noted in her work is young people turning from organized religion to earth-based belief systems. According to Winegarner, teens by nature “break away, to seek their independence and try on new things, because they’re in the process of learning who they are.” She noted that often those raised with a specific religion may strike out from that religion simply because it’s been a part of their lives and their families for so long. Teens raised without a specific spirituality may seek one out because they want something new.

Her research revealed more specific drives toward open spirituality than just innate rebellion. Drawing from the work of David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons in their book unChristian, of the majority religion, Winegarner noted that a lot of teens have “lost respect, because they find [Christianity] anti-homosexual, judgmental, or hypocritical.” However, this transition to a nature-based religion only reinforced a seeming turn to the dark side.

Winegarner cites common fear as the base reason that Nature religions are shunned by the overculture, a ‘what-we-don’t-know-will-hurt-us’ reaction. She also states that the presentation of various pagan faiths as scary or harmful in daily news reports and horror movies contributes to confusion around esoteric beliefs, tenets, disciplines, and rituals. Of them she says, “It can be tough to know what to believe.”

Of course, it’s anyone’s guess as to the intentions of such media influences, though their effects often work as deterrents. “You have religious leaders claiming that the Internet makes kids more prone to demon possession just by dint of the fact that it makes information about non-traditional religions more readily available.” That said, she noted that media such as books, films, or TV shows don’t necessarily change someone’s belief system or spiritual path. Her studies showed that while such may introduce young people to new possibilities, they were already open to change.

“I don’t know that they have much of an influence on shaping most teens’ beliefs, though they can be a catalyst in opening them to different modes of spirituality. A book like The Mists of Avalon or a show like Charmed might introduce someone to Wicca as an alternative path worth exploring.” She goes on to say that media certainly can play a role in spiritual change, and everyone’s got their own opinion whether that’s a good thing or bad thing.

In all, Winegarner is breaking into old territory in a poignantly new way. While she realizes the challenges in conveying her work and research, her commitment to redeeming teens and their unique culture are solid. “I strongly believe that there is good in all these so called ‘negative influences,’ and that the kids who seek them out know that. They know exactly what the benefits are and what they’re getting out of their interaction with these things.”

As a result, her view on these influences is more flexible, and her expectations of the overculture more stringent. “We need to stop trying to limit teens or take away the sources of culture, entertainment, reflection, and solace that hold so much meaning for them. When it comes to teens and violence, we need to stop blaming the wrong causes, because that prevents us from being able to stop teens from harming themselves or others.”

Learn more about Beth Winegarner and her publications at bethwinegarener.com. Arm yourself with information at backwardmessages.wordpress.com.

Weekly Rune – Dagaz

Dagaz - Weekly Rune on Intentional InsightsDagaz – Day – If there is a Rune that encourages us to sing and dance, it’s Dagaz. Second to last in the final aett and symbolic of completion of a goal hard-met, this Rune indicates that we haven’t just gotten through or completed the mundane task. We have integrated its consciousness into our own, internalized its wisdom.

Dagaz is about transcendence. Take heart that for this joyful time, the everyday is holy. Bliss is ingrained in everything we do, and we are aware of that fact. Remember the passion of this week. Write about it. Draw, paint, sing it. Make some kind of record indicating the cycle of growth and struggle into blossoming awareness of these last few months, and how they culminated in now, in this feeling of thorough empowerment, release.

Know that at this time we are protected, not just by ever present divinity, but through the complete awareness of our own worth.  With the satisfaction of such completion, we feel strong and powerful, actively part of All Things. When we feel connected to the Divine, all fear releases.

Some Rune scholars argue that Dagaz is actually the last Rune, rather than Othala. With that the closure of the day in mind, remember the perfect ending this last note brings, and find a way to sing it every day.