Things have been rather amazing with the coven these days. Our HPS Z. is well-settled in her new home, and our HP Y. has moved with his partner to the American South where they are beginning to thrive. W. was initiated into the first degree this year. X. down in Oregon took the second degree when he came up to Tacoma for the South Puget Sound Pagan Pride Day at the start of October, and T., our first degree in Oregon, is coming out of her post-divorce hiatus. And I’ve been cleared to take second, provided transportation arrangements and health holds up for everyone.
But since I’ll be taking second, Z. and Y. have decided I should start leading circles for the group, a thing that both thrills and terrifies me. I had my first attempt at it with our Esbat this month on the 7th. Prior to that, W. and her husband invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them, and our discussions of what we wanted the year to hold and what we wanted to accomplish with the group naturally morphed into us creating a fairly novel working: a prosperity spell based off of a calendar “rune chain.” What this string of runes essentially does is tells the story of how our upcoming year will progress financially. I had gotten the idea for a rune chain from Marietta at Witchy Words, who made one to help ward her new home and–as far as I know–is the one who came up with the concept in the first place. Once we had all agreed on a prosperity working and I showed W. and her husband a picture of Marietta’s chain, the working just fell easily into place.
Last year, a cedar tree on W.’s property had been damaged in a storm and had to be removed, but before the tree got chipped up, her husband took a limb and cut it into disks and dried them out with the idea that he’d eventually turn them into a rune set of his own, and he had oodles and oodles to spare. That left W. and I to figure out what runes we wanted and what we wanted them to represent. Eventually, we decided to constrain this working to the course of a full year and view the chain as a calendar marking what steps towards increased long-term prosperity we would attain at certain points in the year. Since the Esbat we were performing the spell on fell on a full moon between Samhain and Yule, we decided to treat this spell as a sort of Wiccan “New Year’s Resolution” and framed our year around the eight Sabbats. Therefore, we’ve got eight runes divided into two six-month intervals, one where we set the stage for increased growth during the time when sunlight increases and one where we reap our harvest as sunlight decreases.
This is basically how we envision the story of our financial year unfolding:
YULE, Fehu: We start the story with a good, solid introduction. This working is about material prosperity, so we start off by focusing on the rune of wealth: fehu. Fehu is about wealth accumulation through judicious investment of resources—cattle, for instance, are only going to be healthy and multiply if they are well-cared for. Our challenge for the period of Yule is to determine what we need to “care” for our “herds”.
CANDLEMAS, Berkano: By the time the wheel turns to February, we should have been able to identify what we need to care for our nascent prosperity and are ready to seriously nurture it, if we haven’t already begun to do so. Berkano is the “Earth Momma” rune; the ever-young birch tree; pregnant. Our challenge is to do what we can to protect and nurture our financial goals. Flood the market with job applications, put in overtime and a good face with the boss. Whatever we need to do.
SPRING, Elhaz: At this point, the protective nature of nurturing our financial goals shifts from a maternal one to a magical one. Elhaz sets up a blocking barrier, keeping the influences that would impede our goals at bay. Got an application out in the marketplace? It will keep all the niggling things that slow down that process away. Starting a new job? It will keep all the “newbie” slip-ups minor. Whatever impediments may arise, Elhaz will see you through them. Our challenge is to be attuned to what can block us, and actively work to overcome them.
BELTANE, Bind Rune: By the time Beltane rolls around, the energies surrounding Fehu, Berkano, and Elhaz will be at a peak. Therefore, they are bound together as a joint foci. Important decisions will be made now.
MIDSUMMER, Ehwaz: Ehwaz is the rune of partnership and cooperation. It bridges dyads and helps them work together towards a single goal. This can be a bridging of the metaphysical and physical. Magical steps and prayers taken towards prosperity will pay off; maybe more literally than you’d think. But other things can factor into this energy, too. Maybe you start working very well with a boss and get onto a promotion track. Maybe you start finding your groove in a new job, make some friends, learn some tips, and earn some new bonuses. Bottom line is, you don’t need the protection anymore. To act in accordance with this rune, look towards your networks for help.
LAMMAS, Dagaz: Dagaz is the rune of dawn and hope and the returning sun—kind of a big deal in Northern countries. One of the interesting things about experiencing such drastic changes is how much you appreciate the sun when it finally arrives out of the dark. The dark, then, more sharply defines the light. We’re definitely getting to a point of increased financial stability by this point, but we need to remember that we can’t fully appreciate security without struggle and that life’s going to be a shifting balance between the two. We’ve just discovered a new balance that we’ll need to adjust in the next cycle. Our challenge, then, is to start shoring up for lean times. Take the financial planning classes, contribute to retirement plans, fill up the savings accounts, etc.
HARVEST HOME, Sowilo: Finally, when all the harvest is coming in, we can take stock of the successes we’ve had over the year. Sowilo is a rune of illumination and movement and success. During the course of this year, we’ve brightened up our financial landscape and brought some fiscal fluidity back to our lives. Now is the time to take stock of what we did right. To act in accordance with this energy, we should reflect upon these successes, learn what made them successful so that we can continue to be so, and give thanks for the opportunities we’ve had.
SAMHAIN, Bind Rune: By the time Samhain rolls around, the energies of Ehwaz, Dagaz, and Sowilo will be at their peak. Just as we did in Beltane, we consider them together in a bind rune and allow ourselves to seriously plan how we can bring their energies into the next turn of the wheel. Our challenge, then, will be to set out a plan of action for the next year’s finances.
Once we got the story down, tested our planned materials, and ran a “draft” of the idea past our high priest, W. and I met up to take care of burning eight sets of runes and compiling eight spell kits. We figured it would be complicated enough to string them together and personalize them as a group: we didn’t need the headache of managing to share a couple woodburning tools in a small candlelit room full of naked people on top of all that. So we took a nice, sunny afternoon, cast a big circle, and took turns burning runes as we concentrated on our intent of prosperity and then concluded by raising energy to that purpose through a prosperity chant.
Once that was done, I assembled a bit of a kit for everyone in the group with the runes, an 8-foot length of leather cording, materials to mount the chain to a wall (a small Command hook, a Command strip, and a thumbtack), and a few “prosperity baubles” in case anyone was interested in adding that element to their chain. I included a golden dollar coin, a citrine bead, bay leaves, some “Sweet Success” incense (a coven tradition), and some green felt and green thread to make a bag if anyone so chose. I also advised those coming to the circle to bring items that meant “prosperity” to them to the circle, and I mailed our Atlanta and Eugene contingents their kits with an explanatory letter.
In circle, we all constructed our rune chains the way we wanted them to be (note to self: taper candles for more light in the future!), gathered up our items, discussed our plans for prosperity as we worked, and then charged up the items with our intent using a chant.
What I did with my own chain was to link up the runes. After the final one, I created a witch’s ladder knot spell to secure my intent (nine knots in which I bound my intent to the totem with the chant “by knot of one, the spell’s begun,” etc. I put all my items in a little leather pouch, which hangs at the base of it all. My intent to help myself act in accordance with the spell is to “check in” at the first quarter and full moons every month to evaluate my progress and to chart out a weekly-ish plan for how I will live in accordance. By combining short and long term goals with a healthy dose of magic, I’m confident I’ll turn my luck throughout 2015.