The Rune Othilia
Original Writing and Art by Kathryn Ravenwood
I enjoy making collages. Several months ago the art group I participate in was given an assignment of creating with shapes. I thought of the Runes and drew four of them, at random, to use as inspiration. Othilia was one of them and is especially pertinent at this time of isolating in a pandemic. It speaks to us about retreat; a snake that must shed its old skin. Drawing the Rune advises us to expect a radical departure from the old ways. (Rune wisdom from Ralph Blum.)
We are all on retreat to some extent. Old ways are coming apart. We are finding out not all growth is immediately rewarding and can be very painful indeed. The quote on the collage is from Joseph Campbell: “We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Could it be more clear than this? Many of us are dealing with our Shadow self - our fears. The monsters have come out from under the bed and are rampaging through the house. Will we continue to be afraid or face them and make peace with them? I am not immune to this process and was in a deep place of grief. Old buttons got pushed that put me into a funk of fear. I was walking down my hallway and I clearly heard a voice say, “you know, if you would just stop gripping onto the way you think you have to do this, we could give you something better...”
I was pretty stunned. I had to start looking at the basics of how I do my life in a whole new way. Othilia tells us that retreat and separation - shedding that old skin - gives freedom to become more truly who we are. That what it is we must give up is really not working anymore and is keeping us too confined in our soul’s journey. So I cried for a couple of days and then started to see that there really are better ways than what I have perpetuated for so much of my life. Spirit has been very generous and reminded me that “if you want to have a new way of being you have to start acting like it is already here.” It is about understanding that inheritance can only come from giving up something else.
We are in a time of enormous change. Cosmic law and order are overriding many of our systems. We see this in ecosystems, the weather, politics, economics, schools, personal relationships and in every part of life. Old skins are being shed. We are all having to give something up. Some people want to get the old ways back and running as as soon as possible and others are trying to vision a “new normal” that can support us in better ways. There is a sense of impatience - and much of that is based on economics which are very real and painful for many people - but also a sense of just wanting to do what is familiar again. Go shopping. Get a haircut. Meet friends for dinner. Othilia has an answer for this, too: “Wait for the Universe to act. Do without doing and everything gets done.”
We have gone deeper into the Age of Aquarius; the new energy is beaming down from the Universe. The old Age of Pisces is creating a last ditch effort to exert its influence even as it wanes away. Part of our new lesson is about supporting group efforts rather than individual achievement. Othilia reminds us it is a time to learn to benefit the self and others. The news is full of examples of this from community service to people coming up with ingenious ideas to support urban agriculture. We are learning how to connect in new ways even as our collective snake sheds it skin.
How can you benefit from retreat? Are you willing to accept radical departure from the known to embrace the unknown? Are you ready to become a new and better version of your self? Is your Soul trying to guide you along an unfamiliar path? Are you creating busy work to distract you from the process or have you been willing to embrace the monsters and wriggle out of your skin? Yes, some of this is really hard. People are dying. Bank accounts are empty and people are trying to pay the rent and feed their families. And, there are efforts to assist and give aid underway even they are not totally efficient. In the broad sense, the focus is shifting on how to create new systems of support.
There is so little we can actually control but we can definitely make our own choices. I encourage you to take this time of retreat as a gift and explore it - like a child opening a mysteriously wrapped birthday present and then curiously playing with it - finding out what can be done with it.
And remember, when the snake sheds its skin it does not try to carry it around with it; it leaves it behind and moves on.
....Kathryn Ravenwood 4/25/2020