Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ehwaz

As the Ice Age ended and the Agricultural Revolution commenced, hunters began mastering the arts of animal husbandry.  Sheep, goats and cattle were domesticated for their milk, meat and hides. But the relationship with horses grew especially close thanks to a quirk of equine anatomy - a gap between their front incisors and rear grinding teeth that allowed for placement of a bridle and bit. This meant that horses could be led, directed and even ridden.  Plough horses changed the face of farming, while charioteers and nomads on horseback raised and destroyed empires.

Ehwaz, the horse-rune, often speaks of movement. If Raido is the journey, Ehwaz is the means of transport. This can be as literal (a new vehicle, for example) or metaphorical (i.e. a job which requires extensive travel or even relocation). It can be called upon to move past blockages and to take you away from unpleasant situations or places. But it is a rune which must be directed and controlled, lest you find yourself riding a spooked horse. Ehwaz can provide you the means of escape, but it will be up to you to take the reins.

An equally important aspect of Ehwaz is domestication. Equestrians cannot overpower or outrun their steeds: they must maintain control through the right mixture of firmness and gentleness.  Where Mannaz speaks of partnership between equals, Ehwaz is about the relationship between the tamer and the tamed.  This rune can be used for domination works in the same manner as Hoodoo formulas like Bend Over Oil and Commanding Incense.  (But be careful, lest you find yourself trying to control a bucking bronco).  It can also be used to tame unruly aspects of your own psyche: those suffering from addiction or anger management issues take note.  Meditating on Ehwaz can help us understand the deep mysteries of dominance and submission, concepts often misunderstood in a culture which privileges - in theory if not in practice - "equality" and "freedom."

Odin rode through the Nine Worlds on Sleipner, his eight-legged steed. Ehwaz can also be called upon for spiritual journeying. Combined with Wunjo, Ehwaz can be a powerful tool for inducing ecstatic states: in conjunction with Chalc it can become a steed to carry you on your quest.  Much as horse and rider become one unit, Ehwaz can help you to achieve unity with the Divine. This may be as direct as possession (which is called "horsing" for a reason). It may also be a more subtle but no less profound surrender to the Will of the Gods: Ehwaz can help you to take up Their bit and bridle and allow Them to lead you where you need to go.

If you are overwhelmed and need to call in the cavalry, Ehwaz can be very helpful.  Conjoined with Uruz, it can become a rampaging herd which tramples everything in its path.  With Thurisaz it can strike with the devastating force of a knight's lance: with Ansuz it can send a message and establish communication behind enemy lines.  It can add speed and force to a bind rune, sending your spell galloping toward its goal.  It can also be used in glamour workings to make you appear like a "knight in shining armor" or an unstoppable armored charger.  Like the horse, Ehwaz can offer assistance in many different situations.

While it is important to consider the runes which appear in a reading in total rather than as isolated bits of data, it is especially important to do so with Ehwaz.  Ehwaz is about the joining of two entities into one. The runes which surround it will tell you who is riding the horse, the destination toward which they ride and the obstacles which stand in their way.  Ehwaz often marks an outside force or person coming into play: the surrounding runes will tell you whether the mysterious stranger brings good, ill or some combination thereof.