Tarot and Runes Divination

Greetings and welcome to the divination accompanying The Cartomancer Magazine June 2020 Edition available in print and eZine format at https://thecartomancer.com/

This edition includes my article about using runes with tarot (and oracle) cards as a way to add new layers to your reading. While writing the article, the cards and runes in the above image were drawn asking:  “What is the message once this edition is published?”

This reading is very appropriate given the events the world is experiencing at this time. The runes compliment the message of the tarot cards and give a little guidance in how to direct the message the tarot is giving.

  • Tarot: Justice, Knight of Cups (reversed), and King of Cups.
  • Runes: Gebo, Elhaz (Algiz), and Naudiz (Elder Futhark).

Justice is asking us to look for fairness and balance during these times. Fairness to yourself, and balance.  As the first card, it calls for a check of our mindset and to remove what is not serving us.  The rune that joined the reading is Gebo. Gebo is the rune of exchange and gifts. As an exchange, Gebo supports being balanced. A great compliment to Justice as it encourages us to not swing to one extreme or the other. Being informed from multiple resources will provide information from which to help maintain the balance and fairness Justice is encouraging. 

The next two cards are court cards of the cups.  These two address facets of our personality and how we express those on an emotional level.

The Knights of tarot are often referred to as having the active, outward expressions of teen-age energy.  On the go, exploring, challenging the norms, finding their identity. The Knight of Cups reversed here is indicating to calm those energies and be present in your own body as you work to remove what is not serving you. Being too active and on the go can cause us to miss the resources and answers we have that are near us.  Elhaz/Algiz is the rune of protection. A grove or sanctuary. By not being the adventurous, testing the limits “teen-ager”, use this time to pull into your grove or sanctuary. Surround yourself during this time with the things you need to keep safe and healthy.

The King of Cups represents the parental energy of the “father” role. As the later version of the Knight, this is the role of approaching life with maturity and objectivity. Having this follow the reversed Knight, emphasizes the advice to not be making quick, rash, not fully researched decisions.  The Naudiz rune calls us to look at the things we need. Look at the basics and things that are truly needs and not “nice to haves” or wants.

This is one of the things of “adulting” people want to avoid but are necessary to return to at certain times and situations.  This adulting time does not mean we cannot have fun or expressions of wants, but it’s a reminder to be sure to not ignore the most important things we need to take care of during the times and situations you are facing now. 

It is interesting that the two of the tarot cards are from the same suite (court cups) and the runes are also from the same aett, rune row family. The second rune row, referred to as Hagalaz or Heimdall’s Aett, is one that I see as how we address the challenges and needs of our lives in Midgard (mortal plane). 

Naudiz and Elhaz are both seconds -from the first and last of the aett.  What this means to me is that this isn’t the beginning nor the end result. The challenge (Hagalaz) has already occured, now time to look how it affects what we really need. Elhaz is not where we need to stay, after it comes Sowilo which is sun and health.

 So there is more to look forward to. But for now, we just need to “hunker down” a bit and focus on the things we need to make it through.  

Thank you for reading the article in The Cartomancer. Please find The Cartomancer on Facebook and Instagram: @thecartomancermagazine. And at the website: thecartomancer.com.

Follow me on Instagram: @wyrdgifts1 and on Facebook: @giftsofthewyrd

Cards used in this reading are the Giant Rider-Waite by U.S. Games. The runes were made by me on discs of Quaking Aspen.

You’ve Been Runed

Elder Futhark Rune set created by John Hijatt. Made of recovered birch.

Getting Started on Your Rune Journey

In this post we will take a look at brief aspects of beginning your rune journey. W In other posts we will explore the ways that runes interact with our wyrd and how we experience them in our everyday lives. The series to follow will be a way to level-set and gain different perspective on your relationship with the runes and how to engage them in other ways.

First, some basics. There are basically two way of looking at runes: the historical, linguistic study and the magical, divination (often labeled “esoteric”) use of them. There is overlap as there are evidence and references for the concurrent use of historical Futhark/Futhorc runes in magical use, but the way we use runes today for that purpose is definitely a modern creation inspired by texts preserved in the 13th century with evidence from artefacts from centuries earlier.

For some, that may be quite a shock to think that the runes are not an “ancient divination system of the Norse” as they are often described. We know that the Germanic writing system we call the Futhark (most used today is the Elder Futhark for the system encompassing Fehu through Othala/Dagaz) existed and came into being in the way we understand it about the first to second century. There are items with the futhark written on them and showing the form of a writing system. There are also examples of words used in a magical setting written in runes. With the onset of the Viking Age in the 9th and 10th centuries, the rune poems were created and the stories we call the Lore began to be told and were preserved in the 13th century.

The three main extant rune poems used as the foundation for the connection to the mystical energy of the runes are the Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse (Norwegian), and the Icelandic poems. There are other poems that have been found since and certainly many more poems were written over the centuries, but these three are the main “points of contact” for now. But it is mainly from these three texts that we derive the magical and divination use of the runes today.

Runes are described in sections 139 and 140 of the Hávamál as being a secret or mystery that was gained through a shamanic-type journey taken by Odin in a highly intense experience over nine nights.

I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run.

No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes,
screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there.

– Rúnatal, Benjamin Thorpe translation

We find ourselves on a magical mystery tour with the runes that began so long ago but did not end just because of the shift in religious practice. The runes went down, occasionally resurfacing from time to time for brief periods, until they were found again and “taken up” about 40 years ago. The poems add layers of meanings to the runes as we integrate them with our modern perspective which then open portals to traveling on the planes of Wyrd to experience special gifts.

The runes are indeed taken up and ready to share with those who will take the journey to peer down and find them. You can conduct your own meditative journey to meet and find the runes just as Odin did. See what When you have made that connection to the runes and they have presented themselves for you to take up, celebrate that victory with an offering to Odin and the beings who accompanied you, protected you, and guided you on that special quest.

After this success, seek the guidance of the gods who know the runes best to guide and teach you. As the purveyors of magic and sorcery among the gods, the Vanir are our go-to teachers and guides along with Odin. I acknowledge Odin for the example of gaining that work through a deep meditative journey and wisdom. I work mostly with Heimdall to teach me the many layers and nuances of the runes and Freya to properly work with their magical power.

There are many books on runes available today and many people simply use just the key words in an attempt to apply runic power to their practices. But the relationship will not have the real power until the runes make themselves visible to you to take them up. Tread well and carefully as you begin your learning and seek the close relationship with the Vanir (including Freyr as the priest of magic himself) to spiritually guide the magical journey.

As with all spiritual skill building, it is wise to study and understand well the tools and energies with which you are working. Connect with others who have experience and insights as well as reading other resources. Welcome to this wyrdly fantastic journey.

Once you take them up, “You’ve been Runed.”

This article was first published in the eZine: Taufr,A Talisman of the Heidhr Craft – Spring 2020 (March 2020) published by Iaconoagraphy Press. It has been slightly edited to fit this format.

Virtual Spiritual Encounters

Desk top altar set up. iPad screen,representations of the gods; incense and offering; divination tools (runes, scrying bowl), and an offering bowl.
Example of a basic desk top altar for a ritual. Includes items for use during the ritual.

Creating Sacred Spaces Using Online Technology

The world is in a condition of a paradigm change. At the time of writing, travel restrictions, social distancing, cancellations of events, and recommendations for people to stay at home and “isolate” due to the fast spreading Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) have altered the way we are interacting with each other. The silent streets, closed businesses, and people scurrying about to get their shopping with as little interaction with others has created a noticeable shift in the universal energy, wyrd in Germanic practices, that influences how we perceive the realm of spirit.

As people find ways to maintain connection through online resources such as concerts, classes, medical appointments, conferencing meetings, and more, we are maintaining and expanding relationships and connections in creative ways that will last for a while to come. During this time when in-person gatherings and events are suspended, we can take the time to strengthen and build our spiritual community world-wide by harnessing the technology we have to reach out and get to know each other locally and around the globe.

Among these conferencing meetings will be the rise of virtual rituals, light/calming meditations and healings, and divination readings. These subjects have long been frowned upon by many in the spiritual community as inferior ways in which to have a spiritual experience with others, preferring physical interactions. The benefits of virtual experiences is that that participants are able to connect and create meaningful spiritual space with others from local regions to around the world. This is particularly valuable to solitary practitioners who normally have few or no one nearby with whom they can share these experiences on a regular basis.

From the safety and comfort of one’s own home (or garden, park, other natural setting if capability and connectivity allow), we can create a setting around us and connect them together like bubbles of sacred scared space via the web. Let’s go over a few of the ways that we can access these virtual spaces to continue connections with our local groups as well as expanding and including others who otherwise would not have a way to connect in person.

Ritual: This is often a controversial topic as there are some in paganism, including the Druid and Heathen communities, who think that virtual ritual is not effective. They take great pains to deny it has any value and denigrate those who participate as well as the event itself. My experience and opinion are that virtual ritual is a wonderful way to provide a deeply moving and sacred experience for those who cannot do so physically with people they know, trust, and care about.
One of the aspects that will require more attention of participants, is that of focusing on the ritual and avoiding the temptation to multitask and be distracted by activities and events around their location. To help deal with this, I encourage people to fully participate in the ritual, just as if they were attending one in person with a kindred, grove, or circle. Practice the very same etiquette you would at a physical event. Dress for the occasion (as you normally would – or maybe dress up more in your home), don’t type or surf the web simultaneously, set aside the time and space without interruption, and don’t talk or interrupt unnecessarily. Respect the person(s) facilitating the ritual as well as other attendees.

Another way to engage in the ritual is to not be just a virtual observer. It is different to have participants on a screen (either with or without video. Since some are concerned about being recorded, they may turn off video to participate) and to not be in the physical presents of the elements of the ritual. But, by mirroring what is happening with the facilitator with elements in your presence, you can feel more engaged and part of the ritual experience. To do this, the facilitator can send out a list of what ritual tools, offerings, and elements they will be using. Participants can bring similar elements and set up an altar space before them. As something is done by the ritualist, mirror it in your physical space. I think this will help establish a wonderful connection through the cyber realm and also knit the webs of sacred experience to everyone involved, very similar (even if not exactly) to physical ritual events.

Meditation and healings: These can also be very effectively done via a web conferencing platform. Similar to the ritual experience, participants can use the tips provided above to help set their room or space for meaningful experience. The caveat here is that video really should be used so that the facilitator can observe the person. It is also recommended that very deep trance and journeywork should not be done in this manner because a physical proximity is important between the participant and mediator for such deep experiences. For guidance and light calming techniques and healing discussions, video can be an effective way to communicate (just as phone guidance was prior to such advances).

Classes/Workshops: These have been provided for a number of years already with the increase in use and popularity of YouTube. You can find a YouTube video for practically anything that you want to learn or learn how to do. What this possibly expands upon is now creating a live event that your local group can join in from their own homes. With the increase of recommendations to remain away from even small group gatherings, this makes it an effective way to maintain group cohesiveness. It also provides wonderful opportunities to expand invitations to others in the local pagan community who may be interested in learning about your path, but may not have been able to attend because of a private location or fear of meeting unknown people. It also opens the opportunity of bringing in people from further way (such as solitary practitioners) as well as the potential for guest speakers.

Divination/Readings: Finally, we have divination and readings. Moving to a teleconference capability expands upon a communication technique that has been around for meeting the needs of seeking divine guidance for decades. Readings have been given by telephone, chat rooms, messenger, recordings, and letters.

Teleconferencing allows for an interactive experience that includes a way for each to see the other, the seeker can see the cards or oracle tool being used, and interact a little more easily than by other means. The tips above are useful here as well, since we want both parties to be present in the moment and attentive to what is occurring before them.
So we have an opportunity to truly turn a situation from doubt, uncertainty, annoyance, and isolation into one that can still include others and provide a way to share experiences and knowledge (gnosis) and maintain the vital connection of community. Something that is highly needed at all times, but particularly when we are faced with being alone (either physically or on our journey) or facing troubled times.

May your virtual encounters be blessed by the Gods, Goddesses, and beings you work with and filled with many shared experiences.

This article first appeared in Oak Leaves Issue #89 – Summer 2020, a publication of Ar nDraiocht Fein (ADF). ADF.org

Listen to my discussion about online ritual with Robb Lewis of the Ring of Ghosti on episode 36 of Gifts of the Wyrd Podcast.

Program books from PantheaCon convention

PantheaCon 2020: the closing of a chapter

pantheacon program and ribbons

This year marks the final Pantheacon. After 26 years, the organizer of the event, Glenn Turner, has retired and decided to pursue new adventures and experiences that life has to offer.  I wish her the most wonderful journey and thank her and her many volunteer team members for setting up this amazing experience for so many.

My first PantheaCon was actually not one that I attended. In a previous chapter of my wonderful adventures, I was an Irish dancer.  I love Irish dancing and whenever traditional Irish music is played, dance steps that I learned or wanted to learn are moving in my head. Irish music and dance are, magical.

But I digress. My first exposure to PantheaCon was when it was still in San Francisco (SF).  I was in SF for an Irish dance competition (called an Oireachtas for those who are curious) and we were staying at the same hotel that was hosting PantheaCon.  My friend and I wandered through the vendor area to check out the goods offered and saw many interesting people.  This was prior to my pagan and my Northern Tradition experience, though not before I was aware of the gods and goddesses. Little did I think then that a couple years later I would be attending conference workshops and making many wonderful friends over the following 14 or so years.

My years at PantheaCon have been a positive experience. I have met people with whom  I have enjoyed sharing space, exchanging ideas, and continuing connection beyond the PantheaCon space. The con has dealt with troubling occurrences and responded to those issues brought up by addressing and providing redress in following years. I have seen inclusive and welcoming programming and spaces the years that I’ve attended.

The programming included a range of topics over the decades including 101 classes, rituals, panel discussions, workshops, meditation, concerts, and performance. Having such a variety of subjects gathered in one space provided a wonderful collection for people to relate and see how other traditions practiced and interacted with the otherworlds. Among the joys of the event are the variety of ways that people express their style. Hair color from the rainbows, sparkles and glitter, elaborate dress to jeans and tees, and tails, ears, and fairy wings. We’ve seen wizards, sorceresses, elves, fae, animal spirits, and even St. Nick show up as well as the many beautiful spirits and smiles throughout the event.

pantheacon ribbons
Ribbons collected at PantheaCon since 2009

Another of the fun activities was ribbon collecting. To many (especially the children), collecting little 2 x 4” ribbons to attach to the name badge was as much a part of the convention experience as attending workshops. The ribbons were of many colors and had messages from as simple as the name of an organization to clever sayings.

Some of my favorites over the years include:

You’ve Been Runed (this was my ribbon);  It’s the Money or the Honey (my husband’s); Mind the Ginnungagap!; What would Loki Do?; I’ve been Butterfly Mooned; Open the Whale;                My Other Athame is a Light Saber; What would Eddy Do?;    Bad Druid, Now Go to Your Tree;  Take a Liking to a Viking  

Then there were the hospitality suites. These places were spaces provided by groups to facilitate additional learning, introduction, or fellowship around common tradition or themes. The suites also hosted panel discussions, workshops, rituals, and socializing opportunities. As a person of the LGBTQI+ community, I enjoyed connecting with others from the queer community, allies, and people of color throughout the convention and especially within the hospitality suites.

For four years, my husband and I hosted a hospitality suite for divination. We held workshops, shared the latest decks and books from the top publishers, and made way for the divination deck tool swap. It was a lot planning and commitment, but we enjoyed the interaction and meeting some really talented and interesting people.

With this being the last of the con, I focused on the people of PantheaCon. I looked for those that have attended over the years and infuse the convention with their quirkiness, their smile, and their joy.  I spent time with special friends in the vending room who carefully select their products to be the best for the person who chooses to go home with it. Or those who handcraft clothing, jewelry, artwork, drums, tools, books, pottery, and more.  I enjoyed meeting authors from Llewellyn and Weiser as well as the wonderful staff from both companies who come every year from the Midwest and East Coast to sunny California only to spend most of the time inside to meet with attendees.

What I missed this year were the many people who chose not to or could not attend the event. There were less hospitality suites as many chose not to attend, leaving fewer spaces for people to have those inclusive spaces to connect, have fun, and additional opportunities to the regular programming schedule. I thank the groups who did attend and set up those spaces. They were welcome and appreciated.

the last ribbons of PantheaCon (PCon) 2020

As this chapter of pagan conventions draws to a close, another will follow it. A planning committee is already formed and working out details to produce a new convention that will further the needs of pagans for the next season. May it find the grounding, volunteers, and support to continue this valued and necessary need for community building, encouragement to face the world (especially when many are solitary practitioners), and learn about and from other traditions and practices.

To all who have likewise enjoyed PantheaCon, it has been a pleasure to share space with you over the years.  To the future conventions and shared ritual and learning fires, be they in person or virtual – hail!

Follow me on Instagram: @wyrdgifts1 Facebook: @giftsofthewyrd Twitter: @wyrdgifts #pantheacon #pantheacon2020 #wyrdgifts #giftsofthewyrdpodcast #heidhrcraft #runestersofinstagram #inclusiveheathenry

Turning the Wheel book cover michelleiacona.com
Turning the Wheel from Iaconagraphy Press. http://www.michelleiacona.com

The Oracle of Nehalennia

Tarot and oracle decks abound in many styles, themes, and practices.  From traditional images to pop-culture characters, deck creators are tapping into their experiences to bring creative and relevant ways to connect during divination experiences.

Favorite and well-known Gods and Goddesses are often the subjects of decks, individually or as part of a collective. This is an amazing way to learn more about and connect with the different beings of a pantheon, a tradition of spiritual practice, or aspects of a particular God or Goddess that is expressed with the deck. Designers draw inspiration from the myths/stories, personalities, and traits of the Gods to develop correlations to divination responses.

Oracle of Nehalennia cards.The Oracle of Nehalennia is such a deck. This deck is created by Bela Síol with beautiful watercolor artwork by Igor Alexandre about the Dutch Goddess, Nehalennia. The deck has 33 square cards and comes with a full color book that is in English and Portuguese (Síol’s native language). Through this colorful deck, Síol carefully explores the many ways that Nehalennia is known, has revealed Herself today, and how those traits can provide inspirational messages.

Nehalennia is a Goddess known from the southern coastal region of the Netherlands called Zeeland. She was honored locally and by the merchants who came to the regions to transport their goods by sea. Not much has survived about this Goddess by the sea, and she had almost fallen into almost complete obscurity until a storm in 1645 exposed the remains of a temple devoted to Her in Domburg.

Votive Stone to Nehalennia in the Rijksmuseum of Antiquities, Leiden The Netherlands. Image (c) J Hyatt
Votive stone dedicated to Nehalennia in the Rijksmuseum Antiquities, Leiden, The Netherlands. Photo mine.

In the early 1970s near the town of Colijnsplaat, votive stones with inscriptions to Nehalennia were recovered from the sea which inspired more research into this unknown entity. The stones (most of which appear to come from the region of Köln) typically depict a seated woman in roman style clothing with a basket of bread or fruit, the bow of a ship behind her, and a dog seated at her feet. They would have been lavishly decorated and bear inscriptions which generally indicate them as an offering to the Goddess by merchants or ship captains as an offering for safe passage across the sea for their ship and cargo. This would associate her with the liminal coastal region of land and sea, travel (particularly over water), merchants, property, loyalty, and a connection to the sea.

Síol explains that she experienced the presence of Nehalennia first as an unknown being, meaning she did not seek Nehalennia out.  It was only after working with the Goddess closely, that she learned more about Her nature and identity. The cards represent different aspects known about Nehalennia as well as generating divination interpretations to associations with the merchants, sea-farers, and people of the region.

Within the book are very detailed descriptions of the scene on the card and how it connects to Nehalennia directly (such as through recovered lore, experiences of Her followers today, or archaeological revelations) or how other aspects are connected such as with harbors, beaches, shells, etc. The book then continues with possible divination interpretations depending on the type of situation or question from the user.  This can include something as simple as a “yes/no” inquiry, immediate advice on a situation, or personal, mental, and emotional contexts.

When asked about the different context options for the meanings, Síol replied that since there are so many different ways to approach divination with an inquiry and different layers to what is revealed, she wanted to show just some of the potential ways that a card could be interpreted. This helps to explore the other ways the images and connection to the Goddess can be explored and applied in a divinatory setting. The book also includes a few sample spreads created to accompany the oracle.


The artwork is by artist Igor Alexandre who worked with Síol to create bright, colorful images that include classical elements. The bright water color style works well to evoke a connection to the past that is fitting for Nehalennia. Síol commented that during the creative process, she would have an idea for a card and upon communicating it to Alexandre, found out that he also had the same or very similar idea.
The card stock is thicker than regular cards and the square, oversized shape makes them difficult to shuffle (riffling would crease and ruin them quickly). Reading with them, however, is a joy. Knowing the story of Nehalennia and Her connections to the sea and trading brings the divination experience to a deeper meaning.

Check out the interview with Bela on episode 22 of the podcast where she discusses her connection to Nehalennia.  She is also working on other decks for release including The Morrighan and Freya. The Oracle of Nehalennia is available from www.belasiol.com.

Follow me on Instagram: @wyrdgifts1 Facebook: @giftsofthewyrd Twitter: @wyrdgifts #goddessnehalennia #wyrdgifts #giftsofthewyrdpodcast #heidhrcraft #runestersofinstagram #inclusiveheathenry

Turning the Wheel book cover michelleiacona.com
Turning the Wheel from Iaconagraphy Press. http://www.michelleiacona.com


Crafting Yule Traditions with Väntljusstaken

Approaching the Winter Solstice/Yule time generally brings modern-day Heathens a variety of minor (in the scheme of the world-events) conundrum of choices. Most have a background in Christianity which is often considered baggage to be eschewed, something to consider as part of who we are, or somewhere in between.

The relationship with that monotheistic religion prior to moving into Heathenry (or other non-Christian practice) can be considered bitter and harmful, or positive in many ways but just not the path for that individual.

Probably one of the most uniformly celebrated holiday around the world is that of “Christmas”.  Since the beginning of the Christian advancement and conversion practices, the movement has absorbed local pagan traditions, renamed them with Christian terms, incorporated them into the religious liturgy, and created new traditions to coincide with their new faith. As societies and cultures changed with integration and interaction with others, practices adapted to stimulus of new and different ideas. Over the centuries of practice, and as people were born into the faith, the origins of these practices were forgotten and often lost to the mists of Niflheim.

Thankfully,  due to archaeology, writings, and the continuance of traditions from generation to generation, we can begin today to recall some of those origins and attempt to reconstruct what our ancestors may have practiced. Given that this includes a lot of geography, a vast amount of time, and really having only the most minuscule clues resulting in a lot of guessing, surmising, and connecting dots that may not belong together, volumes of books are written about the “pagan” origins of Christmas.

About this time among Heathen groups, particularly on social media, discussions arise about how people celebrate during the Yule season and how they do it in a Heathen way.  The results vary from people taking examples from certain practices (as noted above) and using them as their foundation for a Heathen Yule tradition to those who unravel the traditions from their heritage and Christianity to find the the pieces with which they can form new or revised Heathen traditions to connect with the Gods, Ancestors, and Nature Vaettir (spirits).

Lighting the Sunwait Candles for a Modern Tradition

Vantlusstaken Fehu 02One of those re-purposed traditions is that of the Väntljusstaken (Sunwait Candles) being re-envisioned from the Advent Candles. I discovered this in 2017 from the post of a friend and found the page on Facebook to inspire the growth of this delightful tradition for the entire family.

It takes the premise of lighting a candle for a specific number of days or weeks prior to Christmas eve (usually twelve days) and changes some of the parameters (which are also flexible depending on the individual).  The Väntljusstaken/Sunwait Candles practice came from Swedish traditions and adapted for a meaningful experience.

The lighting of the candles begins six weeks prior to the winter solstice on Thursdays. Thursdays were selected because of a Swedish tradition known as Thorshelg.

“The reason for the Thursdays is that, Thursdays have a traditional significance in Scandinavian folk lore. Thursdays have been the day for trolldom (folk magic) and communicating with the gods and nature spirits long into Christian times,” explained one of the page organizers. “There are accounts as late as the 19th century where the Thorshelg (Thor’s hallow) was celebrated by inviting Thor and Frigga to the house on Thursday night”

She continued to state that other cultures have a specific holy day and that as there isn’t a one day specific to all of Heathendom universally, it makes sense for people to select what works best for them in this “tradition in development.” Some may choose to do the activity on the six Thursdays prior to the Winter Solstice (21 December), some may  choose to do it on the day that the solstice falls upon for six weeks prior – with the final candle on 21 December, some may choose to begin six days prior with the final day on  the solstice, and some may choose another day that is special to them. “I think everyone should feel free to do as they feel most comfortable. We are creating this together,” she said.

The procedure of the event is to light one candle each week until the solstice, recite a poem, stanza, or meditation, and contemplate on the season. For the Väntljusstaken activity, the first six letters of the Futhark (F U TH A R K) were chosen as a sort of runic “guide.” In preparation of the activity, one can select the six candles, carve or draw a stave on each candle (or as part of a decorated base or candle holder), anoint each candle, or address the energy of the runes with the candle. This would be a great activity for families to include their children in a creative activity that can also include storytelling, learning about runes, and strengthening those family ties at this special time of year.

On the chosen night, light the candle while reciting the Väntljusversen poem (available in Swedish, Dutch, French, and German on the page) or one of your choosing that is meaningful to you/your family. The rest of the ceremony is up to you to create to suit  your desires for the winter, Yule, the coming year, etc.  One thing that this author does is to contemplate on the energy of the rune of the week. How does that energy/power influence and interact with my life? How can I harness or observe those influences and recognize them?

At the end of the time, extinguish the flame. At the next week, relight the candle prior to starting with the next until all candles are lit at the end of the process.  Some choose to allow all of the candles to burn down on the final night, sending the energy and intents of the working into the universe. (A note of caution: do not leave burning candles unattended, accessible to children and pets, or around flammable decorations or items.)

Vantljusstaken_Pantheon Skulptor
Sunwait Candles with statues by Pantheon Skulptor.

Väntljusversen poem


Fehu – In the first of sunwait we light
The candle of Fehu so bright
Until the return of the queen of skies
May her beauty and splendor in it rise

Uruz – In the second of sunwait we light
The candle of Uruz so bright
With all that has passed and ahead of us lies
May the passing of time in it rise

Thurisaz- In the third of sunwait we light
The candle of Thurisaz so bright
When the force of winter upon us lies
May the return of spring in it rise

Ansuz – In the fourth of sunwait we light
The candle of Ansuz so bright
In worship of gods old and wise
May the powers of Regin in it rise

Raido – In the fifth of sunwait we light
The candle of Raidō so bright
In yearning for that which never dies
May our longing for new life in it rise

Kenaz – In the sixth of sunwait we light
The candle of Kenaz so bright
A light in darkness again shall arise
May the hope of yule in it rise

For some, this may not work for you for a variety of choices.  In Heathenry, we develop our practices and relationships with the Gods in ways that are meaningful to each of us today. The Väntljusstaken is not a right or wrong way to honor Yule or the Gods.  It is a way to do it.  If you find this is a way that brings joy and meaningfulness to the season, please share your experiences and photos on the Väntljusstaken/Sunwait Candles, Huginn’s Heathenhof, and Gifts of the Wyrd Facebook pages. May your Winter Solsitce/Yule Tide seasons be filled with joy and amazement.

Listen to the podcast about Vantljusstaken which includes a reading of the poem in Swedish and English.

This article was first published on Huginn’s Heathenhof. Though it is less than six weeks to Yule, you can “catch up” by lighting each candle, reciting the verse, and contemplating on the rune that has already passed.

Images used in this article are from the Väntljusstaken/Sunwait Candles Facebook page with permission.