Sowilo

Yesterday’s emotion was a surprise. It also came on at the same time that I fell sick with a cold, no doubt from entering into this motel room where I’ve been for two days. Last night I thought I would drown in my own fluids.

Before I went to bed, however, I drew a single rune. It was Sowilo. I opened up my copy of Taking up the Runes. I was perplexed. I didn’t feel radiant, victorious, full of life. What was I missing? Paxson notes that there could be an element of a guiding principle, clarification, or change after a period of stagnation. All of this makes sense when thinking of Sowilo, or the Sun.

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During Faerieworlds, the morning of the day that I saw Wardruna play and met her, I had drawn The Sun in the tarot. This didn’t occur to me last night when I drew Sowilo before bed. But it occurs to me today.

Today I started out tired from a night of sleeping in a lousy bed, noisy motel, and a head cold. But I got up and moved about my day, teaching the class that I had, and continuing on. Out of the blue I got a text from a friend, asking how I was. I gave a brief synopsis and was given encouragement and love. But as the day progressed, I felt better. It was very much like the Sun warming a frozen field.

Lunch time I went to a nearby shopping center and calmly walked through the sunshine, feeling its rays warm me. I caught my reflection in the mirror of a shop. I was standing tall, straight, and gave off an image of someone that was assured and calm. I looked inward. Yes, I was. I harbored fears that I had been rejected for my flaws and ugliness, but I could feel the deepest part of me, glowing bright and strong. As I walked along the sidewalk, from shadow to sunshine, I noted how the sunlight warmed me instantly. I reveled in it. I wasn’t thinking of Sowilo at this time, but thinking of it now in this writing, I am reminded that snakes will lie in the sunshine to warm their core temperature. This part will become clear below.

Eating a sandwich and contemplating, I noted an image that I had given her the day prior. I told her that I had deep beliefs about myself of ugliness and unworthiness and that these could be triggered easily by the slightest perceived rejection. However, I could see that these were not my core beliefs. They were predominant and strong and everywhere in my inner psyche, but they were not core. My core belief was that I was amazing and heroic. An image that comes to mind is of a small tree that has a root bulb underground. The root bulb is white and shining. Surrounding this tree is a rather large bramble berry bush, tangled thorns everywhere. The roots of this massive bramble completely surround the root bulb of the tree. If one went looking into the roots of the tree it would appear, from all angles, to be the black roots of the bramble. How would one ever see the true roots?

As I recalled this image, another image came to mind. I recalled one of my favorite cartoons of my childhood, Sleeping Beauty. But truth be told, I do not recall 99% of it. What I do recall with a sense of awe and wonder, even now, is the scene of the black thorns surrounding the dragon.
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Strange as it sounds, I’ve never looked upon the dragon or Maleficent as evil in this cartoon. Ever. I was happy with the retelling of this tell with Maleficent. Sitting there, eating my sandwich, with this image of the dragon and the black thorns in my mind, I wondered at the amazing treasure that was within the thorns. It is customary for people to interpret this scene as tribulations the Hero faces in life. That to achieve some goal one must slay the dragon. But I had a much different feel of it now, a different appreciation for the dragon. The dragon was protecting it and it WAS it. The entire area was the psyche defenses against hurt and the dragon was protecting the Anima within. The Animais key toward individuation. The dragon was not something to be destroyed or championed against, but it was a guide through the thorns because the dragon was of the same acting defense as the thorns. They all worked together to protect that which was within.

Another image came to mind, that of a snake, calmly gliding through the roots, up and down from surface to the shining white bulb. The snake was a guide. The connection between snakes and dragons in myth is everywhere. The great wyrm, often seen as something to destroy by those hungry for power, was now seen as a protector and guide. Of course the image of Níðhöggr comes to mind. Níðhöggris the dragon/serpent gnawing on the roots of Yggdrasil as well as corpses of the dead in Hel. Not a very good image. Yet the dragon in Sleeping Beauty is also fearsome. What dragon isn’t? I am reminded of the philosophy of awe and how part of the requirements of awe is the presence of larger than life and of destruction.

But something else dawned on me at that table. The dragon, the thorns, all of it was me. I recognized the imagery at a young age, it stuck with me, and it came out as I tried to describe to another that which I held as most dear, and that which protected it. Black thorns isolate, something that I am prone to do when I feel rejected and unwanted. The dragon was itself very fearsome, frightening, and something that people felt they had to destroy. But in facing the dragon, seeing it, perhaps this fearsome nature within me that caused people to flinch and turn away, could be the means of gaining access to me. Or perhaps not. I don’t know.

Another image that comes to mind is the idea of the kundalini serpent, energy that moves up and down one’s spine. I am not versed in this mythos, but this image does come to mind. Interesting that the shape of Sowilo also looks like a serpent.

I felt better the rest of the day. No, not better, I felt like my self. I was calm, sure of who I was, steady, and able to be my self. I felt open to her again, but more than that, I felt open to her not being with me, for acceptance of what she is, and acceptance of if she chose to do (stay or go). I felt a calm strength fill me from within. I felt the steadfast acceptance of one’s fate. I have my desires still, my hopes, but I am accepting of what may be or not be.

Back in my room at the end of the day I took out my book again and looked up Sowilo. It talked about the rays of the sun, but there was also the idea of the lightning flash. The author added that lightning is a mutual attraction between the Earth and the Sky, that lightning, though it appears to move from top down, the part that is most visible is from the ground up. That’s where the magic is. Sowilo is the rays of the sun (feminine in Nordic myth), but understanding it as lightning, it is the connection of heaven and earth, the connection of male and female, and of power. I do not interpret this male/female connection as a sign that we are getting together. Instead I interpret it for myself as a reconnecting of my higher and chthonic selves, of contact with my Anima, of movement along the path of individuation, of growth and power, and fullness of being.

I am filled with gratitude. I am over my ex. I have seen that I love is indeed possible. I’ve seen that another person, seemingly the most perfect example of an Anima for me I’ve ever seen, can look upon me with desire and love. My fate, with her or without her, or another, I await with a calm, steadfast resolve. I feel assured in my self. I know that I’ve acted with honor. I know that beneath all of my defenses lies a worthy heart, capable of such great love for another, a treasure, if they but don’t shy away from the dragon.

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