Friday, April 16, 2010


The wheel of the year, the cycles of the tide, the phases of the moon,  the circling of the planets and the turning of the galaxies, the slow progression of the generations as we move from descendant to ancestor - all these things are encompassed in the rune Jera. Jera is simultaneously permanence and transience. It reminds us that the only constant is change, that we may never step in the same river twice, that the home we come back to after a long absence is not the one we left behind. But it also reminds us that if all our gains are transitory, so too are our losses. That which is gone will one day return, and the fields which lie barren beneath the snow will awaken once again to life with the spring.

Jera is one of the runes which cannot be inverted: like a circle, it has no top and bottom and always lands upright. While it symbolizes cycles, one will need to look at the nearby runes to determine whether those cycles will bring reward or misfortune.  Its interpretation also depends more than many runes on the querent's reaction. Jera involves things going on around you and within you. If you respond to those changes in an appropriate fashion, you will do well: if you ignore them or try to fight against them you will get swept along in the current.

This is not one of the faster-moving runes. The changes represented by Jera are generally slow and steady, but they are also inevitable. One cannot make the summer last beyond its days or keep away the winter: you can only take advantage of the good weather and prepare for the bad. Jera reminds us that we are part of a larger system that operates on its own schedule.  We will do well to remember that the universe does not revolve around us: rather, we revolve around the universe.

Jera reminds us "this too shall pass." Its opportunities which it brings must be plucked quickly lest they wither in the field. Its difficulties can be overcome if you can hunker down and outlast them.  Like time and the tides, Jera waits for no one.  It can teach us the folly of attachment while also reminding us to seize that which is precious and to hold on to that which we will need for the lean times ahead. In some ways Jera strikes me as a very Buddhist rune. It reminds us that what is here will one day be gone and that that-which-is must pass into that-which-was. But it also teaches us that this very impermanence is what makes it so precious.

For magical purposes Jera can be useful when you need to let go of something and move on. It can also be used to call in overdue debts or to bring a project to its final fruition. If you are stuck in a situation and unable to move forward, you can use Jera to break through the blockages and carry you through to the next phase of your life. (It will not function so quickly as Thurisaz might in this regard but it will be considerably more gentle for all concerned).  Meditating on Jera can help diviners to spot recurring patterns in their divination tools and in omens around them.  Finally, it can give a slow but terrible power to a bind-rune, putting the full force of time and the tides behind your request.