The Ice of Change

On Runes, Solidarity, and Not Being Okay

“what didn’t you do to bury mebut you forgot that I was a seed” — Dinos Christianopoulos, 1978“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.”— Mexican Activists, 2013

It’s okay to not be okay.

I know I’m not the first person to type or say these words, but this week? I’m repeating them for myself.

Times are rough. Really rough. Folks are freezing in detention camps, on the streets, and in their homes. People don’t have enough food. The pandemic still holds us in its grip.

We all know these are perilous times. Well, except perhaps for those insulated by so much wealth they can avoid seeing anything beyond the golden latches on their doors or their trips to Cancun.

That said, together, we’ve done our best. We’ve done well. We’ve helped each other. We’ve made countless pots of soup. We’ve wiped noses. We’ve figured out how to work online, or get through endless holds with unemployment. We’ve kept our children fed, somehow. Gotten some exercise. Binged some television. Maybe even read a book or three.

But dealing with rolling wave of disaster after disaster with no end apparent?

It’s hard, my friends. And I’m feeling that this week.

One morning, after meditation and prayer, I puled a rune. I wanted insight. Some advice, maybe.

Carved into the wood, was a sort of H shape. Hagalaz. The hail stone.

“Shit,” I said, as a first reaction. “Thanks.”

While that “thanks” was tinged with a sarcastic “thanks a lot” it also led me to ponder what pulling that rune might mean.

We are, of course, in the midst of massive ice and snow storms in much of the American continent. The rune is partially a reflection of that.

But Hagalaz not only signals the ice of destruction that lays waste to crops…

Hagalaz is not only “the sickness of serpents”…

Hagalaz is also “the coldest of grains” and a reminder that the ice will melt, and water the fields, so something new can grow. In its other form, which looks like a cross hatched, simple snowflake, it is said to hold the seed of creation within the heart of destruction.

I often relate Hagalaz to the Tower in Tarot. Some have said we’ve been living in the Tower for a long time.

The old ways are crumbling, struck by lightning. We tumble through the air, not certain when, or if, we will ever land.

“We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old.” — Solidarity Forever

This week’s reminder of the seed of creation embedded in the center of destruction reminds me that:

Within ourselves, we have the power to destroy.

Within ourselves, we have the power to create.

We are—right now, if we choose it—seeding the possibility of a better new world that can and will grow from the charred and soggy rubble of the old.

Every action we take that says we still believe in one another…

Every poem written and song sung…

Every time we say “no” to the machinery of greed and oppression…

Every meal shared…

Every hard conversation had…

Every defiant facing off with eyes mirrored behind shields and visors, tasers and guns…

Every dream and vision spoken out loud…

Everything we love and act to protect…

All of these are seeds.

So yes, these are the worst times I’ve lived through—and I’ve survived some very bad times, and acknowledge that others have not survived. But the bad times I’ve lived through? They were all leading up to this. They were all part of the long, slow, shaking of the Tower crumbling, and the hailstones hitting.

And all these years, those I love have been frantically planting seeds.

Times are bad. It’s okay to not be okay. But please know, that even in your worst struggling, and even on the days you might give up, seeds are being planted, everywhere.

You are not alone.

We are all planting and germinating, and nurturing together.

February, 2021

 

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