What is a Vé?
A Vé is a special place for doing your rune work. The ancients always worked outdoors, most commonly in woods of Ash, Oak or Yew and a Vé in such a location is likely to be more effective. It doesn't really matter whether it's inside or outdoors, but it has to be set apart from the normal, chaotic world, clear of influence from other potentially evil sources, and attuned to your own psyche..
You do this by performing rites of separation, purification and consecration. The rites can be as simple or complex as you like, there is no dogma attached. Just so long as you address those three prime issues.
The Runemaker's Vés
Personally, I have two Vés. One is indoors - my workshop - where I make my rune wares and initiate the empowerment of runes at their moment of creation. The other is outdoors in a nearby wood of Ash, Oak, Hazel and Willow amongst other trees. This outdoor Vé is located on a ley cross, that's a spot where two positive earth-energy lines cross each other. If you want to find such a place for your own Vé, you will need to learn about Ley Lines and perhaps even enrol the assistance of a gifted dowser, as I had to do.
Equipment and Materials
To follow my rites you will need a runestaff or gandr (wand), some natural water, a few pinches of sea salt, and some incense suitable for protection.
I will deal with the creation of a runestaff in a future piece. It is a fairly complex subject requiring a deeper understanding of runic symbolism than I want to address in this article. You can still construct a Vé without owning a runestaff or wand - just use a stick that has been sharpened and charred at the pointed end.
By natural water I mean water that has not been processed or treated with the man-made additives found in ordinary tap-water or bottled mineral water. Water from a spring or well is probably best, but since that is not always easy to come by, you might consider using distilled water (distil your own or buy it from the gas station) as that will be as close as you can reasonably get to pure water.
If you live near the ocean you may prefer to gather your own sea-salt, but I won't go into that here. For most of us, sea-salt from the supermarket or drugstore will be quite adequate.
The choice of incense is entirely up to you. It is the symbolism of the fire and smoke that matters, rather than the actual ingredients or aroma. If you know of an incense formulated specifically for protection, that would be ideal. Otherwise, choose something you like that makes you feel comfortable and safe.
The Vé represents a sphere in space, half below your surface and half above. So the area you are going to mark out on the floor or earth will be a circle. It doesn't have to be a perfect geometrical circle, but the closer you can get to that, the better. If you are outdoors, you can mark the earth with your staff or gandr. Indoors, use chalk or some other material that will not damage the surface.
To get a circle, place a permanent upright of some sort in the center of your Vé (a stake pushed into the earth, or indoors, any heavy object that won't move will do). Now attach a length of string to it. The string should have a loop at each end and should be just the right length to reach the edges of your selected space.
Now attach the string to your staff or the chalk and walk around the area, keeping the string stretched taut and marking the ground or floor as you go.
I have heard of people successfully consecrating a Vé marked out with masking tape, but I have no idea how they got the circle right! If you know how to do that, let me know, would you?
First you have to consecrate the water. Pour a pint or less into a clean jug or bowl (wood is good, glass or ceramic is OK, but not plastic). Stir it with the first finger of your writing hand. You should stir it in a clockwise direction, starting at the North, then East, South, West and back to North. This is called a "sunwise" rotation. Speak these words, or invent your own incantation:
In the name of Kauno, into this water I direct the might of ond, that it will be pure and clean. In the service of all the Gods, so mote it be! >
Now take a level teaspoon or so of sea-salt and drop it in the water from your hand. Use the same finger to stir it sunwise nine times and speak this incantation, or one of your own devising:
In the name of Fehu, here is the salt of life to purify this Vé and keep it free of evil. In the service of all the Gods, so mote it be!
While you are doing this close your eyes and try to imagine the energy flowing from your fingers into the water. Picture the energy as blue-white light twisting its way from your fingertips, through the water surface and mingling with the clear water in swirls. At the completion of the ninth rotation the consecration is complete.
You can now use the water to purify your Vé. Staring at the North and progressing sunwise to East, South, West then back to North, sprinkle the water with your fingers. At each compass point speak these or similar words:
With water and salt, I purify this sacred Vé
Keep going around the circle until you have used all the water and repeating the incantation at each point. Now stand in the center of the Vé to light the incense. Take it around the circle starting at the North and progressing sunwise to each point. At every stop speak these or similar words:
With fire and air, I purify this sacred Vé.
Two or three times around the rotation will be sufficient, but leave the incense burning at the centre of the Vé until it goes out by itself. Now your Vé is purified.
While the incense is still burning (light a new stick if the first has gone out), carry your runestaff or gandr around the circle. At each point, speak these or similar words while pointing your staff or wand in the relevant compass direction.:
At the North:
I call upon Jera and the power of completion. So mote it be!
At the East:
I call upon Berkanan and the power of birth. So mote it be!
At the South:
I call upon Dagaz and the power of daylight. So mote it be!
At the West:
I call upon Kauno and the power of enlightenment. So mote it be!
Then return to the center of the Vé, face towards the North, point your staff or wand directly skyward and say:
I call upon the power of Mother Earth, Yggdrasil the tree of the world, and Mjöllnir the weapon of Odin to consecrate this sacred Vé. In the service of all the Gods, so mote it be!
As you do this, close your eyes again and imagine the sphere of the Vé above your head as a dark clear night sky.
As you watch it you will see the 24 runes of the Futhark appear as shining lights in a circle around the canopy aligned as shown in the illustration.
When this image is clear in your imagination, then your Vé is complete and ready for use.
In future articles I will discuss the Harrow (runic altar) and other runic paraphernalia.
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