mannaz : man, humankind
Phonetic equivalent: m
significator, self, family, community, relationships, social concerns
to represent a specific person or group of people; to establish social relationships
ASSOCIATED MYTHS & DEITIES:
Ask and Embla, Midgard
In its broadest sense, mannaz represents all of humanity, and therefore the entire realm of Midgard. In more practical terms, though, it is those with whom we have personal connections, from our immediate circle of family and friends to the wider community around us, reminding us of our nature as social animals. It also represents our connection with the Gods and with nature, through the two Norse myths of the creation of humans; the first where they sprang from Ymir’s body, and the second in which they were created from two logs by a river. It takes the raw energy of ehwaz and controls it through our social conscience, reminding us of those we affect with our deeds both magical and mundane.
The rune itself resembles gebo with its joining of masculine and feminine elements, but is much more complete. It is the entire web of human relationships, with the self at the centre, which mirrors the web of fate explored through raiðo. But while that web was more or less fixed, this one is mutable and alive. Past and present, male and female, self and other – all opposites are joined here and made whole. Mannaz is our home, and speaks for all those whose lives we touch when we use the gifts we have been given through the runes.
NINE OF SWORDS
doubting all will go well
making yourself sick over your troubles
going over and over an issue
feeling anxious and tense
getting worked up
regretting some offense
refusing to forgive yourself
wanting to turn back the clock
focusing on your “sins”
being hard on yourself
denying that you did your best
getting overwhelmed by remorse
feeling you’ve reached your limits
having sleepless nights
going through a dark night of the soul
wanting to cry
It makes sense that the figure on the Nine of Swords is in bed because it is during the night that our griefs and regrets come to mind most intensely. The quiet darkness strips away the distractions of the day, leaving us alone with our thoughts. Who has not lain awake at 4 A.M. filled with worries that refuse to go away? The Nine of Swords represents this unhappiness which can strike us at any time.
Unlike the pain of the Three of Swords which seems to come from without, the Nine of Swords represents the pain that we generate from within. What tortures we put ourselves through when our fears and doubts overwhelm us. Worry is probably the most common. Have I done enough? Will everything work out OK? What am I going to do? The thoughts go round and round – impossible to turn off.
Guilt is another source of pain. When we have done something that we feel is wrong or hurtful – or failed to do something we think we should have – the distress can be very real. It is worse when nothing we do relieves the bad feelings or makes them go away. Finally, there is just pure anguish. Sometimes the pain of life is so total that all we feel like doing is crying into our hands.
Needless to say, the Nine of Swords is not the most pleasant of cards, but it doesn’t always indicate major distress. Often it is just a sign of some element of unhappiness or trouble – a vulnerable spot in your life. This card is often a warning from your Inner Guide that the path you are going down may be a difficult one. If you approach the Nine of Swords in this spirit – as a caution sign – you will be able to use it constructively. Examine your situation carefully to be sure you are making the best choices. Even a small change can make all the difference.
Oh boy…I sure have been up at night…lots of nights. Can’t turn off my brain. I’m not looking forward to this “difficult path”, but it’s obviously coming, so I’d better try to be prepared.