The world Down There is invisible now. A thick drape of cloud has descended, leaving only a crown of rock-ribbed summits, and us Up Here dallying with the unicorns and dragons. I haven’t been Down for a week, reclused as I am on my hill. And as the days thaw one into another, the magic amplifies. Deepens. Thickens. Flowers pop all over the dirt like Gaian stars. Wild horses appear and disappear. Cow bells chime, bees buzz, and butterflies flutter awake.
The woods beckon me closer, brimming with spirits. They brush over my lips and through my hair. “This is the Other World”, they murmur. “Do you remember us? Do you remember here?”
And somewhere I do remember being small and rummaging between tree trunks, sensing spells and auras and other worlds. Later I also remember them saying it was nonsense. Make believe. Just my imagination. I remember them telling me to focus on real things, like money in the bank and a career.
As I wander through the hazels and hawthorns, the spirits wind about me like incense smoke, and for no good reason at all I feel safe. It's all going to be OK. Because although the system is the one looking more and more make-believe today, the gaping cracks in our world are doors. Openings to another place where things happen in the most mysterious ways.
As I peer through the copse, I see I've stepped across the threshold. “Welcome home,” the wood spirits sing. “Welcome home.” Suddenly I realise, this isn't the other world. That is. The haste and panic and insecurity are in my imagination. The magic is the one that’s real.
The word Rune is derived from the root - run or runa meaning whisper or secret. In linguistic terms, runes are the symbolic letters of ancient Germanic alphabets, or even short Norse poems. Runes can be stones inscribed with magical symbols or 'spells too. Welcome to my runes. Are they symbols? Are they poems? Or are they spells? I'll leave it up to you.
Atulya K Bingham is an author, natural builder and lone off-gridder now lost in the hills of northern Spain.
"I consider myself a person who is connected to nature, somebody who respects the earth; this book has me walking through the world with all my senses opened." Emma Blas, editor Her Heart Poetry