Ehwaz – horse – In just over two years of The Weekly Rune Ehwaz has only visited once. As a result, I find it deeply informative that it presents itself at this time. Concerned with all things totemistic, transportational, and trustworthy, this stave is about getting ready for the ride.
With Ehwaz, it’s fitting to examine all the ways in which the horse as a being and archetype touches our lives. It is beast of burden to humans, indicating that it works for us, and one hopes that despite hierarchy in that paradigm, the relationship is built upon care and respect. To humans, horse for a long while was how we traversed long distances, which we’d otherwise not be able to do, or would take a great deal more time to do. In both of those ways that horses are meaningful to humans, there lies a deep bond, a trust that embodies the ability to be transported to something beyond ourselves, and to experience a return to our own wild.
Where this synergy really takes meaning is curious. In Old Norse mythology the horse was humanity’s fylgja, or “fetch,” one who leads us to wisdom. This connection calls to mind 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, the keys to the Multiverse.
Read that last sentence again, and think about what it really describes. In the Northern shamanic tradition is the path of the ordeal–a journey through physical provocation (usually involving pain, fear, certainly sensual deprivation) so that the soul can release from the mind and complete the work it needs to. Ordeal is always with purpose, likewise is its outcome.
The little trip Odin took through the wyrd was the greatest ordeal of his life. He sacrificed himself to himself, to acquire the mysteries of All Things, not just for himself, but to pass on to others, so that they don’t have to endure such an ordeal.
But guess what? Odin’s sacrifice doesn’t mean we don’t have our own ordeals. His resulted in giving greater tools for managing our ordeals. No one can walk our ordeal(s) for us. Sooner or later, we have to face our sacrifices and consider that we won’t get the wisdom we need from sitting on the couch.
Such is the transformational journey Ehwaz calls us to prepare for, now. This is the time of initiation. The emphasis at this time is gathering what is needed for the journey. Just as attempting to find enlightenment without actually changing anything in our lives is fruitless, so is launching into change without preparation.
What’s coming will be big, and it will be wanted, though likely not comfortable. Take the time now to gather reserves. Call in the guides that can best help and support. Pull in the resources needed to stay focused, healthy, and disciplined. Be in community that facilitates soul change. Through the day, practice mindfulness, recall the support in the Nature Spirits and Ancestors.
Ehwaz presents us with the knowledge that the journey is coming to us. It’s our choice to be prepared.