Posts Tagged gifts
At this time of the year the word gift is prominently on people mind but have you ever given it any further thought? In the runic alphabet, the rune Gyfu has the meaning of gift. It is shaped like the Roman letter X and it was used to denote things dedicated to the gods. According to a rune poem Gyfu is “To people, giving is an ornament of value, and to every outsider without any order, it is substance and honour.”
Whether you believe in a divine being or not to give a gift always indicates a belief in something greater than yourself. For when you give a gift you are reaching out to something outside of yourself in recognition that something outside of yourself exists and the gift becomes the token of the desire to link yourself with that which you wish to honour in recognition.
Symbolically, Gyfu describes the gift of one’s own ability or talent in service to another. Ability itself, or talent, was viewed as a gift to the individual from the gods. When anything is given, a relationship is established between the giver and the receiver. In this world when we give a gift it is a direct reflection of our talent or abilities, for even in choosing a shop bought gift we are using our abilities to choose through our personal vision what the other whom we wish to honour might like. In other words we are looking at the other through our personal vision and are recognizing their uniqueness through the symbol of the particular gift. In reflection upon ourselves the gift is a symbol of what we have to give, thus our abilities and talents that we are able to give to the world.
Gyfu also signifies the unifying effect that a gift makes between the donor and the recipient of the gift. The gift thus expresses the qualities of linking seemingly separate people in a common bond, or even human with the divine. If you look at the symbol of “X” it is two separate lines crossing each other to form a new symbol in unity, thus expressing exactly the implications of giving and receiving. Each one of us has unique talents and abilities when joined with other talents and abilities becomes something greater than the than the individual. It is indeed in sharing our talents and abilities that they grow and mature and become a gift to the world. Yet, we need courage to express and give our talents and abilities.
Esoterically Gyfu is the quality personified in the Norse goddess Gefn or Gefjon, the bountiful giver, the equivalent of the goddess Abundantia, formerly worshipped in central Europe. This further elucidates the meaning of the gift, for we can only give something when we feel that we have something to give. It is only when we are able to give that abundance will follow.
In modern usage, Gyfu is the sigil used to represent a kiss. This is perhaps the most intimate form of the gift, for when we kiss another we truly give our being in union with another. So the fire of a greater passion fills body and soul possessed by the deepest desire for full embrace and intimacy, union – the fire of love is set ablaze, actual, real, full and true. So it is with a gift given in the spirit of love; we take the best of our abilities, of what we symbolically are and gift it to another to honour what they represent to us in gratitude of what their being in this world have brought to us. By simply knowing the other, we have grown and was given a new vision of being, a gift more precious than any material token can symbolize.
I will like to use this opportunity to give my deepest gratitude to all whom have crossed my path to form the symbol of Gyfu to my being; a gift to my existence.
Today is my birthday, and for me birthdays are like New Year celebrations; a time to reflect and to see what I would like to carry with me into the New Year. So, I wondered where the custom of birthday celebrations with gift giving actually originate from. It appears that long ago it was feared that evil spirits were particularly attracted to people on their birthdays. To protect them from harm, friends and family would to come be with the birthday person and bring good thoughts and wishes Long ago though, most people also did not know on which day they were born and it was mostly kings who celebrated their birthdays. Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor to require birth registration. In ancient Rome a child’s naming day was celebrated, and was called dies lustricus (day of purification). Both boys and girls were presented with the bulla, a locket believed to have magical powers to ward off evil spirits which they did not take it off until they reached adulthood.
Later, some Christians took to celebrating a “naming day,” on the feast day of person’s patron saint after whom the person was named. A patron saint was often chosen because of his or her feast day was on, or near the day a child was born, so a naming day customs became closely linked to the date of birth.
The naming and gift giving associated with birthdays evoked a train of thoughts in my mind.
What you are is God’s gift to you, and what you make of yourself is your gift to God.
On the day we are born we are born with the gifts of who we are. We are given names by our parents or care givers often inspired by what we represent to them, or what our being in becoming evokes in them. Our names can thus also be seen as a symbolic representation of what gifts we have received and what possible gifts we can carry to world. It is in this that perhaps we can most clearly see the “the word made flesh.”
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light; and there was light”
In the Kabbalah each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph-Bet) represents an energy-intelligence which is the foundation of creation. Thus it is said that to know the energy-intelligences represented by the twenty-two letters is to know the spiritual forces and spiritual principles upon which creation is founded, and thus to gain gnosis of the mysteries of creation. Each of these energy-intelligences is behind all things in creation. Every creature and everything in creation is a unique individual manifestation of these energy-intelligences. One can equate this to the elements of the periodic table; a small set of core elements from which the entire universe is created by combination and permutation.
If we look at the word Adam which represent all of humanity – the Human One; Adam is Aleph-Dam, spirit in the blood and Aleph-Bet means spirit in the house or the house of the spirit. When we are born we become the house of the spirit. The spirit in the blood – our genetic heritage and our individual personalities and abilities forms our house – that through which we interact with in the world. That is the primary gift we given on our day of birth. We are then given names which symbolizes our house of being in becoming.
am the silence that is incomprehensible
and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
I am the voice whose sound is manifold
and the word whose appearance is multiple.
I am the utterance of my name. . .
I am the hearing that is attainable to everything;
I am the speech that cannot be grasped.
I am the name of the sound
and the sound of the name.
I am the sign of the letter
and the designation of the division. . .
– The Thunder: Perfect Mind – Nag Hammadi Library, gen.ed. James M. Robinson, 1990
In Genesis Adam, the Human One, is called the “name giver,” for he names all creatures and all that appears in creation, both in the material dimension and the metaphysical dimension. To name implies to know and understand, and to know the name of something implies one has the power of that thing. Adam is, thus, the intelligence that perceives the essence and nature of things, the truth of things. Also according to Genesis, Eve is the Mother of All-Life, yet in Hebrew the name Eve (Havvah or Chavah) can refer to speech, as in the verse, “Night to night yeChaveh [will express] Da’at (knowledge)” (Psalms 19:3). Therefore, Eve, who was created by the Living Word of God, represents the power of speech, and the Supernal Eve is pure speech in which the Living Word (Logos – the pattern that connects) and Wisdom (Sophia) of God is expressed.
Many scholars believe the magic word "Abracadabra" derives from the Aramaic Avrah KaDabra, meaning "I create as I speak." According to Kabbalah each one of us are created as the Ratzon (Will/Desire) of God by speaking us into creation- naming us just like the ten utterances of creation in the Genesis. As we are created in the image of God; we too create as we speak. Our Will/Desire gives rise to thought, which arises as “voice” in the mind; then, speaking our thoughts we manifest them, and actions follow our speech. Our actions, or our movement in the world can be seen directly as speech as every move that we make is a word, for every action has a name. Do we bless or curse the world with our speech? Are our speech a gift to the world?
The moving finger writes; and having writ
Moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy tears wash a word of it.
Omar Kayyams’s Rubiyat
We are the authors of every sentence that we write and move that we make, Everything has a name, so everything is a word and so the world all around us is a book written of which we are contained within. When we read poetry, many of the words are clear and obvious, yet the meaning is often hidden in that which is most obvious. Letters and words do not exist by themselves; everything is in relationship with another. One can only understand the meaning of the words, when one reads the sentence as a whole. If every reaction is linked to its action and all words make sentences, then all that we see before us must be poetry or a story being narrated to us. In our unfolding understanding of who we are, we are still reading the book within which we are a word. Yet, we are also co-authors of this unfolding story.
In our culture and society speech is often devoid or purpose and meaning, could this not be a reflection of the general feeling of life as a meaningless existence? In light of the above I see birthdays from a different perspective. Perhaps the gifts that we receive on our naming days, or birthdays are actually a symbolic question directed to us. What are you doing with the gift you received and what is the gift that you bring to the world? Our birthdays should indeed be called dies lustricus – day of purification – where we sit down and purify our speech so that we may become gifts to the world.
To be human
is to become visible
what is hidden
as a gift to others…
— David Whyte
See also: What’s in a Name, Nexus of …
by Greg Kimura
You enter life a ship laden with meaning, purpose and gifts
sent to be delivered to a hungry world.
And as much as the world needs your cargo,
you need to give it away.
Everything depends on this.
But the world forgets its needs,
and you forget your mission,
and the ancestral maps used to guide you
have become faded scrawls on the parchment of dead Pharaohs.
The cargo weighs you heavy the longer it is held
and spoilage becomes a risk.
The ship sputters from port to port and at each you ask:
“Is this the way?”
But the way cannot be found without knowing the cargo,
and the cargo cannot be known without recognizing there is a way,
and it is simply this:
You have gifts.
The world needs your gifts.
You must deliver them.
The world may not know it is starving,
but the hungry know,
and they will find you
when you discover your cargo
and start to give it away.
Posted by Michael McKnight
Also see Hunger and Desire