Ruis is the tree of the Norns. The Norns are the Northern Archetypes of the prophetic goddesses that Southern Europe called the Fates. They are the old woman who looks to the past, the young woman who lives in the present, and the veiled woman who sees the future. Another one of their descriptions is the one who spins, the one who draws the thread, and the one who cuts the thread off. When we select three runes to answer a question, this is called «asking the Norns» because the Norns are spiritual council-givers, and we get one piece of advice from each Norn.
Elder is the tree of Ruis. It has a shrubby, multi-stemmed growth habit. When it is trimmed it grows back many new trunks from the original roots. The message of Ruis is to remember the circularity of life, that the beginning and the end are parts of the same whole. There is no reversal of this card just as there is no reversal of a circle. One of the lessons that any of the sets of Triple Goddesses teach us is that life progresses and changes. The Irish Triple Goddess shows us appropriate models for the different stages of life. As we age, we step naturally into the next persona and learn the wisdom of that Goddess. The Norns show us how all stages of life can co-operate and achieve their goals together. The message of all the Goddesses is that change is natural and we should change with it.
The Elder has little white flowers like flakes of snow that turn into dark-staining berries. A covering of snow changes the appearance of things and elder berries make a purple dye; thus the rune paired with Ruis is Rad, the rune of transformation. Elder berries can also be made into wine, effecting physic transformation. When there is change, we must look under the covering of snow, through the dye, and beyond the effervescence to the reality.
The bird of Ruis is the grackle, the North American equivalent of the rook. Grackles fly in big flocks, all turning and wheeling together as one in the same way that the Norns each understand the purpose of the all and act together simultaneously.
Ruis is one of the oracular trees, but the message it sends is often not a specific one or one easy to interpret. Ruis sends the message of right balance; to find the center of the circle and spin there, aware of the all.
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