Whenever I feel lost or need a little guidance, I consult my trusty bag of runes without thinking twice. I chant them when I need to centre myself, and I wear them like battle armour when a daunting task lies ahead by drawing them on my arms or legs with a humble ballpoint pen. They ward off unwanted visitors and energies from my windows and doorways. Runes are as much a part of me as the air is. My love for them compelled me to make my own set from pebbles I collected over the years, and I love them dearly.
It isn’t easy to pick a favourite from the bunch, but I feel that Elhaz or Algiz resonates with me the most at this point. Elhaz is the final letter in the runic alphabet, also known as the Futhark. It is the protector, the great Elk that governs the element air. Elhaz is known to safeguard people and their homes by casting a shield against attackers of a physical or spiritual kind. He gives you a firm conviction and gives you focus on your task ahead.
Every great Nordic tale needs an epic soundtrack, and finding the right sound is critical in creating artwork with powerful spiritual associations. Of course, I turned to Scandinavian folk music and tumbled down the rabbit hole until I found myself soul-deep in the black metal liquid vocals of Myrkur. I’ve seen the exact sound of my spirit, and it sounds like a Nyckelharpa with the echoes of a herding call. The more I listened, the more I imagined Elhaz as a living entity in the shape of a Wapiti, with its horns reaching up into the branches of Yggdrasil (the tree of life), and becoming actual branches of an Oak tree. Tree and antler are indistinguishable from each other. Gold adornments bleed through the graphite. His body is shaped like a Bonsai tree with hind legs ending in a curl of smoke. The eyes are a trinity in the shape of a woven knot reminiscent of the Triple Horn of Odin. He stares at you with youthful amusement and is but a visitor called forth from another world.
Elhaz is the type of creature you can find on the edge of dreams, in the thick mist of mountains, and within the sacred lines of a rune stone.
Children of the Kings (två konungabarn)
There were two noble children of the kings
Who exchanged their vows
And the one who will break it
Will live in great unrest
There was an old witch
Who overheard them talking
“I want to destroy their love
If I may live that day”.
And the duke got ready and sailed
And the billow hit him in his chest
But when he was sinking
The light in the lantern ceased burning
The young maiden asked her father
“Near the little green river
Am I allowed to go for a walk
Near the little green river?”
“It’s enough I give permission to go for a walk.
Near the little green river
Wake up your younger brother
He can well go with you”.
“What will my brother do there?
He doesn’t understand much
He shoots all little birds
That go along his way”.
And the young maiden went for a walk.
Near the little green river
And there she saw a fisherman
Who was fishing on his boat?
“Good day, good day to you fisherman
Good day to your boat
Have you seen a nobleman
Floating on the blue waves?”
“His socks were made of silk,
His shoes were with golden buckles.
And I would never think.
That I’ll see a corpse smiling”.
And the young maiden took the rings off her hand.
And golden chain off her neck.
And gave them to the little fisherman.
Who lead the boats forward