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Runes - Where to Start?


An Págánach
Does anyone have any helpful books to recommend for someone who has never worked with runes before?

Any help would be very appreciated.


Seeking Feeds
Yes, avoid any and all books on the subject of "rune magic", rune associations and rune interpretation. 99% is horse**** made up out of whole cloth by new agers. On the other hand, strictly archeological works are good, as are factual studies on how the runes where used as a writing system.

If you don't know about writing with runes, here's an introduction for the younger futhark: The Younger Futhark Runes: An Instructive Guide - Huginn's Heathen Hof

We don't know anything about the individual runes except some lines of anglosaxon poetry written about them long after they were in use as a magic system, but a take the general meaning of each rune can be revealed there. For ease of perusal, here's the wikipedia list of the runes, click on a rune's article and you'll see the associated poem on the page: Runes - Wikipedia

Then, read the eddas! It's shock full of instructions :) Most importantly is this line in the Vóluspa that tells of the various ways runes can be activated:

"Runes you will find, and readable staves,
Very strong staves,
Very stout staves,
Staves that Bolthor stained,
Made by mighty powers,
Graven by the prophetic God.

For the Gods by Odin, for the Elves by Dain,
By Dvalin, too, for the Dwarves,
By Asvid for the hateful Giants,
And some I carved myself:
Thund, before man was made, scratched them,
Who rose first, fell thereafter.

Know how to cut them,
know how to read them,
Know how to stain them,
know how to prove them,
Know how to evoke them,
know how to score them,
Know how to send them,
know how to send them."

And it is, of course, the last eight lines you'll want to take note of.

From there, it's largely experimentation. I've found using my shamanic and vølve practice helpful: I will use a drum to enter the otherworld, visit the rune in question and communicate with it.

Good wind on your way to work with the runes, and be careful.

The Kilted Heathen

Crow FreyjasmaðR
As Danish said, a lot of the books on runes are... drummed up. The systems of divination and magic that we have aren't ancient, they're modern, but that doesn't mean that it's all fake or that it never happened. We do have record of runes and staves being used in the past. I'm currently moving, so I won't have internet here for a bit on my computer (limited ability on my phone), but here are some good online sources:

How To Write Old Norse In Runes - Huginn's Heathen Hof
Reconstructing Pre-Christian Rune Magic (Part 1)
Reconstructing Runic Magic (Part 2) - Huginn's Heathen Hof (Part 2)
Galdrastafir: Icelandic Magical Staves and Symbols - Ægishjálmur, Vegvísir, Lukkustafir and others


An Págánach
Thank you both for the information and resources. This is all very interesting and helpful.
I'm kind of glad now that I didn't impulsively buy a book on it.


Seeking Feeds
You're welcome!

I take my cues from the eddas, which explicitly say that people used them to work all kinds of magic. We know, for instance, that after the christianization of Iceland, having runes in your possession would brand you as a sorceror!

If you want to talk runes again, we'll be here :)