Inspiration, Wood Carving

Rune of Courage

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In the weeks following the election I have been overwhelmed with fear for the future. I’ve had a difficult time finding words to describe how I feel, or discussing those feelings with friends and family. As a way to break out of this tail-chasing cycle of fear I began trying to imagine the courage I will need to move forward – trying to imagine what that would feel like. For inspiration I sought out voices that speak about courage, and I came across a quote by Susan Sontag on the Brain Pickings blog:

“Courage inspires communities: the courage of an example — for courage is as contagious as fear.”

From this thought process the idea of carving a rune of courage came to me – I thought the process of creating something that represents courage might help me move through the fear. I carved the rune shown above as an exercise – a meditation of sorts, and I can actually say that the process has helped me. I created this particular rune based on a runic alphabet that I designed for use in my artwork – you can see some previous examples in my Old Woman of the Night and Flow Back carvings. This rune is entirely invented – it is not based on any particular historic rune. It isn’t an entirely arbitrary design – I put some serious thought into it – but it does not posses any inherent mystical power, any traditional significance, other than what I as the maker or you as the viewer are able to ascribe to it. And that is the power I was hoping to find – to use this tangible object as a focal point outside of myself to manifest the courage that I already posses within.

I carved this particular Rune of Courage from a small piece of Alaskan Yellow Cedar – 3.5″ X 6″. I was inspired by an artist on Instagram who auctioned off a piece of her beautiful artwork and donated the money to charity. I offered my rune up on Instagram and Facebook in a similar way, to someone who was willing to make a minimum of $100 donation to a non-profit doing the good work that needs support (now more than ever), in areas of LGBTQ services, climate change, women’s health, and civil liberties. The response I got was that someone donated $400 – $100 to non-profits from each of the four categories. This too made me feel more courageous.

I have carved another Rune of Courage, shown below, and will offer that up in the same way. And when that one is spoken for I will carve another, and another, and I will keep making these as long as there is interest.

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Here’s how it works:

I am hoping that my small exercise in finding courage will find a way to become contagious.

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