I had always wanted to make my own, personal set of runes. Over the years I've seen a lot of sets that people have made out of wood with rune marks etched in with a wood burner, or made from clay, shells, even twigs, ogham-style. In my mind's eye my future set would be made of smooth black stones, roughly the same size, but not necessarily uniform. I didn't make an effort to find suitable material, I just put the thought out there into the trusty universe.
Last week I was puttering about in a local thrift shop when I happened across a clear, plastic sack sitting on a shelf, full of a nice set of.... smooth black stones! You know, thrift stores are full of random-ness but I still was not expecting quite this level of random-ness. I have no idea what the original intention or use was for these stones, I only know that when I saw that lonely sack sitting there, I knew they were my runes. So I purchased them for a hefty sum of $1 and brought them home. I sorted through the bag and chose twenty four that were of the right size and flatness, and scrubbed them carefully with soap and water, and set them out to dry. The next day I drove to a local art store and bought a set of metallic Sharpies. I wasn't sure which color would look best, but fortunately I had ten or so extra stones available for testing. I thought gold would be nice but in the end I found I much preferred bronze. So I sat quietly at my kitchen table on the night of the last full moon in 2014, and drew rune symbols on each stone, one by one.
After allowing them to dry fully (this didn't take long) I brought the stones together into a pile on my marble table top, closed my eyes, rolled them around between my hands, and thought, "What's next?" This question stems from the very palpable energetic tides that have been churning around and through my life for some time.
I chose a stone, and when I opened my eyes and looked down, I saw that I had pulled Beorc/Berkana.
My first reaction was to smile in gratitude (and probably relief!). This rune is quite a bit like the Empress in Tarot. Berkana is replete with mother energy, that nurturing, life-giving fertility that paves the way for rich new experiences to be born. Berkana is about "being pregnant" with creation (an idea, a project, a baby) but goes further to encompass the actual birth of something new. This rune corresponds to the birch tree, an ancient symbol of a new cycle of life beginning to unfold. Having pulled Death, the Tower, the 10 of Swords, the Fool, and the Wheel quite a lot over the past few months (and the Empress, too, once or twice!), I'm quite aware that times are a'changin,' but somehow seeing Berkana there staring up at me was like a calming, affirming whisper, quietly reminding me that indeed something new and good is on its way.