Today I am out shopping for gifts. Gebo is sometimes translated as gift or giftbringer. It looks like the “X” that marks the spot on a treasure map; and don’t we all want our gifts to be treasured? Maybe that is why one of the most common gifts is money. I am getting graduation cards and will be sending gift certificates and checks-both of which are promises of treasure. But there is more to Gebo than a dance with Capt. Jack. (And yes, I did just watch Pirates of the Caribbean)
Why do we feel compelled to give gifts anyway? And who do we choose to begift? We give to those who have crossed our paths and marked our lives. To those that we have spent time with and want to spend more time with. Cross mark, and time are all indicators of Gebo.
Crossing paths is a place of connection and a place of choice. It is also a place of power. Where 2 become 1 doubles the possibilities available to each. Gebo is created during the tying of a couples hands together in a handfasting or wedding ritual. It signifies the merging of 2 into 1 and the gifts that each bring to the relationship.
Gift giving is a mark of friendship. We mark milestones in our live with gift giving–births and birthdays, weddings, graduations, promotions. A thank you or apology seems more sincere when marked with a gift. The gift giving in the deep of winter was a way to mark the return of the sun on the Winter Solstice. The longest night marks the turn of the year that brings the first of the lengthening days until we reach Summer Solstice and the longest day. During medieval times the deep winter was a time of death and loss. The huge feasts to honor the sun allowed the farmers to cull the animals that would not survive the winter–giving their share of fodder to the remaining herd as well as providing sustenance and celebration to the peoples.
And lastly I want to explore that time is a factor in this rune. We mark the passing of time with gifts just like Mama Gaia gives us gifts of the harvest every summer and fall. The berries, greens and early fruits of summer and the fall harvest of grains and gourds. They return each year as the wheel turns and mark the seasons. Jera is really the rune of the harvest, but Gebo is the gift of the wheel as it spins us inextricably into the future.
My immediate future is the seeking and finding of cute graduation cards to wrap my gifts. You know I’ll buy the ones that are marked with Gebo’s X.
Enjoy the gifts of Saturday!