Philosophers, Warriors and Healers

pwh bindrune
The Philosophers, Warriors
and Healers Bind Rune

During August this year I attended Druid Camp and The Mercian Gathering as usual. Both were very enjoyable events and at each one I gave a talk entitled 'Philosophers, Warriors and Healers'. At the morning meeting at each camp there is a chance to tell peole about your talk or workshop in the hope of recruiting a good audience. This year my pitch went something along the lines of:

'In March this year I turned sixty years old and I had been getting rather jaded in my view of life. I do enjoy my life but I was starting to feel that I won't be around all that much longer and I won't be to sorry to leave this world and all the stupidity and delusion that seems to be so prevalent. Then two things happened which are forcing me to reappraise my attitude to the future. I discovered that I am going to be a father before the end of the year – our child may well see the beginning of the twenty second century. So, suddenly the future has become important to me in a way that it wasn't really before. At the beginning of the year I also created, or maybe I received (it depends upon how you look at it) a bind rune which I named the Philosophers, Warriors and Healers bind rune. Ideas, action and a lust for life are all well and good, but there has to be balance if we are not going to cause ourselves major problems. This bind rune can provide that balance, so, come to my talk and I will explain how the Norse archetypes expressed in this symbol, might usefully guide your thought and actions.'

In each case my talks were well attended and well received. The main teaching of the PWH bind rune is in the relationship between the runes at each end of each arm of the Hagl Hagl on which the bind rune is constructed. The centre line represents Philosophers, the word literally meaning lovers of wisdom. So, the top and centre rune is As As which stands for Odin the all seeing and all knowing one eyed Allfather of the Aesir. The line which starts at the top left is the warrior line and at the top is Tyr Tyr rune which represents the honorable and courageous Tyr, the one handed among the Aesir. Then the line which starts at the top right is the line of healers topped by Mann Mann, the rune associated with Freya, the Vanir goddess of love and passion. So here we have the mythological archetypes of wisdom, courage and generative life force. If you were simply making a list of examples of these three qualities in life then you might just stop there. However, the great value in a bind rune is that it creates balance by providing a second aspect to each of these archetypes. So, we can consider each of the corresponding runes and thus see a more complete picture. Ideas, knowledge and inspiration, as represented by As and Odin, can lead to the forcing of ideas of how things should be onto a reality even when these concepts are not helpful. Ideology can cause a great deal of pain and suffering. The great ideological struggles of the 20th century between Fascism, Communism and Capitalism, which are by no means over now, were examples of ideology clashing with actual reality. The rune corresponding to As is Nod Nod, the symbol of the Norns who spin the web of Orlog and understand the true nature of reality and the way of genuine harmony. To have true wisdom we need thought and memory as represented by Odin's two ravens. We also need quiet contemplation beside the Well of Wyrd where the true nature of the universe is revealed. We should exercise thought and memory, the characteristics of Odin, but also contemplate the Orlog as spun by the Norns.

Tyr may have had the courage and determination to bind the Fenris wolf by sacrificing his right hand. So, in one sense Tyr is an example of honour and self-sacrifice. On the other hand the whole story of how the Fenris wolf came to need binding is a sorry tale of mis–judgment and foolish risk taking. Tyr lost his right hand in order to resolve a situation which should never have developed in the first place. So, the warrior line is balanced with Ur Ur, representing Vithar, the strong, silent and blameless son of Odin who will finally slay the Fenris Wolf on the day of Ragnarok. Vithar will also be one of the few to survive the great battle and build the new world which will follow this one. Being a true warrior means knowing when to take decisive action and refraining from creating conflict at any other time.

On the third line Mann is balanced by Rei Rei is Hel's rune. As the queen of the dead Hel reminds us that there is no rebirth and new life without death first. Healers are naturally keen to restore health, vitality and vibrant energy to those who have been sick in some way. Healers must also remember that death is a natural part of life and death may be a welcome release when the time comes. Death also comes in many forms. Sickness may require a surrender to a period of rest and recuperation before there is a return to health. Illness may be caused by grief and anguish and it may be necessary to pass through a period of mourning before happiness and peace of mind returns. Much disease is caused by unhealthy addictions, habits and behaviour, such indulgences need to die their own death before an individual can return to genuine health and vitality.

Bind runes reduce a complex idea to six related principles. The philosophers, warriors and healers example may help you develop a considered and balanced response in our thinking, actions and health choices. I will be developing the idea further at the Rune Retreat at Midsummer 2020. Please see here for full details.

Graham Butcher, October 2019