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VivienMoon

Anybody else work with Runes?

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Hello everyone, 

Does anybody here practice with runes and use them for divination and spell work?  I have been studying the Elder Futhark for some time now and just read Edred's Thorsson's "Futhark A Handbook of Rune Magic" and "Runecaster's Handbook". Both great books full of information. My question is: Is it necessary to follow each ritual exactly the way Thorssen describes them? I find the rituals a bit overwhelming not to mention it's very hard if not impossible to exercise a few of them based on where I live. I kinda live in a concrete jungle and share a house with a few others, not to mention a coal fire in  wee hours into the night on my patio would have me arrested quicker than you can say hello. :embarased: So performing some of the rites would be a bit hard if you know what I mean. :wallbash: However, I do have great respect for the runes and anything spiritual so I don't want to upset the gods or the universe. I also paint and carve my own runes as well. I would love to hear what you all think and any advice regarding using runes in spell work along with the success would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again guys      :wickedwitch:

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Hey, Vivien. I've not yet read those two books, but I have worked with runes enough to hopefully pitch my two cents in, here. No matter whose ritual it is, I strongly contest that one would need to do exactly as another prescribes to bring the power and gifts of the runes into their life and needs. In today's age, we have very little hard knowledge of how, exactly, the runes were utilized way back when, and so anyone's rituals or instructions concerning them is, at best, based on what felt right to them. In my own experiences, the runes require little in the way of external trappings or demonstrations---the runes themselves are the power that they represent, and it's more a matter of a person familiarizing themselves well with the runes and their applications that will bring about their utility.

 

I haven't used runes in structured spellwork yet, but as an unemployed student running on very little means for quite some time, now, I found that Fehu was very applicable in my life. When I decided that I wanted to engage the rune and try and work with its energies, I remembered that a friend of mine had gifted me a set of wooden casting runes a few years prior, so I unpacked them all. Though I only intended on utilizing one of them at the time, it felt proper to honor each of them as a whole. I studied the Runic Poems and the meanings/lessons of each, and upon familiarizing myself with one, I cleansed and blooded it before moving on to study the next until they were all familiar and red with my offering.

 

To work with Fehu, I intone the rune, and I draw the rune on my person and on things related to my need for the rune (inside my wallet, candle sticks for drawing, coins for wishing-wells). I feel like voicing the sound of the rune is important, so I intone it regularly--on my walk to class, while showering, whenever. To me, it works. I have no income, and before I began working with Fehu, getting by was definitely a struggle. Since I began several months ago, I have noticed that I come across more windfall financially than I ever had, in the past. It's nothing particularly cushioning, but I don't have to skip meals, and I can go on about my day with some confidence that I'll be able to cover the payments that I really need to on time.

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I work with the runes for divination and my own brand of seidr/Northern shamanism.

 

I haven't read the books you mentioned, but they are on my reading list so I may return to this thread at one point with more specific insight. However, I usually adapt rituals to what I have available. Really, it's the meaning that you give to the rituals hat causes them to be effective more than the exact words and recipes.

 

That being said: there are a few things I try to remain true to with rune magic. If the ritual requires blood, use blood. If it requires sacrifice or offering, try not to skimp or be stingy. If you're calling on Norse deities, it's a good idea (and polite) to take seriously what other practioners recommend that have worked with them. Adapt your spells when you need to but don't do it careless or lazily. Find the *heart* of what makes the ritual meaningful to the working and make it your own.

 

I hope that's not too harsh...and some here might disagree with me, saying its not the things you do but the intent alone that works the magic. But in my experience, the very nature of seidr and runework has at its heart that any magick worth doing is worth making sacrifice for, whether that be pain, or blood or sweat, or time, or energy or prep work, or your word.

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I personally would feel right staying as close to the spell as possible unless I was crafting my own and using them for a bit of guidance or inspiration.

 

They are the way they are for a reason. Putting in the extra effort to work them properly (given its possible and there truly is nothing major preventing you) is a big step on intent and having the mental mindset where it needs to be.

 

With that said.. Many say that you can substitute and have similar or same results. It all comes down to what feels right for you! I see nothing wrong with taking inspiration from something and making it your own.

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Thank you all so much for the thoughtful responses. RapunzelGnome- Not harsh at all. In fact you response was very direct and to the point. Bran- Yes, the rituals are still a mystery. I guess that's why it's a bit overwhelming. Maybe I am just over thinking and should construct my own rituals using ideas and techniques that my ancestors once did. Have any of you used bind runes? I am trying to figure out once the runes are chosen for a specific spell can you combine them forming your own bindrune or is there a specific formula? Thank you all for your responses. ????

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Go with what feels right for you.  If your family has a traditional way of working with the runes, do that.  I am sure the rituals written in the books worked for the people who did them, but that doesn't mean you have to do them that way, in order for the runes to work for you.

 

The way I approach my path is to ask myself, what would a witch have done 2,000 years ago or more?  I am sure not every use of a magical tool required long, drawn out and complicated rituals.  I'm pretty sure the majority of magic would have been done in the moment, with whatever was at hand.  I read once that most would not have had an athame, as knives were hugely expensive and it was ridiculous to think the average illiterate, poor person could afford to spend money on a knife just for magical purposes.  

 

I don't know if you work with gods or not, but if I was looking at doing this and working with gods, I'd research the gods in question and work out what symbols or sacrifices would be appropriate, then find a way I could incorporate those into what I was doing.

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Aaah, bindrunes---no hard formulas for those, that I have seen, though it's advised to construct them with care as it's easy for runes that you don't intend to utilize to sneak their way into the bindrune by accident. Nauthiz seems to be especially easy to mistakenly slip into one, due to its design. I use a bindrune for household protection and well-being, but haven't explored beyond that one yet.

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I have yet to read the books you mention, but have done some casting and divination involving Runes and they are a wonderful tool. Most lesson books on craft work are also wonderful. That said; do what works best for you. You can try and follow the author's ritual and set-up but since you live in an environment where less is better modify it. Create your own ritual, choose which items work the best for you etc. Instead of a bonfire try a candle(the authorities may look more kindly on that).  If you dont live near any bodies of water put some water in a bowl. The tools of the craft are symbols which relate to the elements and energies you are calling on. They don't have to be exact  to what the author of your book says to use. There is always a substitution item or herb you can use. Your craft is what you make of it, so you have the right to make it yours. :)

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I am going to see if I can res this topic. What runes are you all most connected with? What casting methods do you use?

 

I do not follow a set ritual and have not read those books. I would like to read up on some rituals though.

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I am big on using runes. I think they hold great power, as they were used in old magick, which I also believe holds great power. This could also be partly because half of my ancestry is Norse. The other half is polish and I really haven't looked too far into that. I probably should. Anyway, I draw close to old viking magic, to seidr magic. I find it full of potential and runes, full of power. Just thinking of it gives me chills honestly.

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I use runes in divination and certain ones as charms on my altar. I don't have a ritual per se. I like the idea of blooding the runes as a sacrifice and as a connection to yourself. My favorite rune is probably Ansuz.

 

As a sidenote, has anyone any experience with Ogham fews?

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runes are pretty far from my primary practice most of my practices roots stem out of hoodoo

but i use algiz and raidho alot and uruz has the energy easiest for me to call. though working with the runes for the past two or three years

i dont seem to really understand the full abilities of a rune or how to use and czll there power until i either have a relevant life experience to that rune 

or a very potent meditation or dream about that rune and its spirit.

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I have only ever had runes or oghams appear to me in ritual. However, I plan on getting a runecasting set in the near future. I've had a good deal of overtime and feel like treating myself to something nice... with the permission of my husband. Runes are read from right to left, in most cases. There are charts on how to read runes, but I believe that right is future, middle is present, and left is past. So, with that in mind, just be sure to read from right to left. Every rune has a meaning and a reverse meaning. You use the reverse if the rune is upside down. 

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I will also say that you can create your own rituals. You don't have to follow anyone's specific ritual unless you feel like you're not able to create your own. As long as you follow the general guidelines of runecasting (like I stated above), you should be fine.

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As a sidenote, has anyone any experience with Ogham fews?

 

******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

 

I've started to work with them.

My way is to research them one at a time, draw them as a 3-D 'few' in their appropriate colour (as per JMG's info) and then draw and water-colour the Tree as a whole, its leaf and flower (if it has one) and write it's main meanings. Over-all each of these create an A5 artwork.

So far I have completed the first 3 and am working on the fourth. A ways to go yet :D

Initially I found them hard to connect with, but in researching each tree and meditating on meanings I find myself better able to appreciate them.

Eventually I hope to have all the trees that they represent planted in the forest I'm putting in on my property :wub:

 

Edited to add (so I'm more on topic); I use the elder Futhark in divination, talismans and sometimes as an alternative to english (ah la theban). Hope to do more when my new book arrives (Helrunar, by Jan Fries)

Edited by FrozenThunderbolt

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I know I'm late to this topic, but I'm also new to the forum. I hope my thoughts are coherent here!

I work a lot with runes, and have for a long time. There are a lot of books and teachers out there with different perspectives and currents that they offer. By current, Ii mean that they work with runes gives a very different outcome and energetic practice. Thorsson is definitely a prominent name in the area, and he spearheaded a lodge type organization that focuses on rune study. 

As people have mentioned, no, it's not critical to follow his trajectory- unless you want to engage with the style he is working in. His background is in Set-ian magic, which has it's own flair, and it reflects in the work that happens with is rituals. They are a decent starting point if you are brand new. If you go deeper in his thread (and most of the deep internet chatter with some norse magic focused groups) you'll hear the words over and over again that you need to learn old norse and such to really get it. I don't subscribe to that personally, but there is a trend towards academic leanings in runic circles that can get overwhelming. 

I actually found that Jan Fries' book 'Helrunar' was more suited to my own style and practices- much more of a freestyle craft with more room for innovation and expansion in my own way, as opposed to the ceremonial tactics used by Thorrson. 

I'm curious how your experiences have gone with this trajectory!

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Thanks for the input Birka!

 

I had Helrunar arrive recently, but it came with all of Jan Fries other books, Mastering witchcraft by Paul Huson, and Traditional Witchcraft by Gemma Gary. And I'm getting married 1st of October . . . so I haven't found time to delve into it very deeply yet.

 

I'm glad you endorse Helrunar, I'll try an post back here in a couple of months time with my impressions.

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I use them in spell work and I am beginning a galdr routine and writing small "songs" for the Norse gods. 

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The runes can be a bit tricky, but not impossible. Most of the texts really look at working with them from a deity perspective/working with deities to learn them (most often Odin). 

I think one of the most complicated parts of trying to find information on rune work online is that there is a lot of trolling that happens around it, though it seems that some of the bigger trolls are quieter now (or I've just stopped going to those sites, not sure which!) But, I found that when I started Helrunar was good, and I really resonated with some of the materials that are seen as 'soft' and less historical at first, and after a year or so gravitated to more of the concepts of rune work. I'd also recommend getting a good copy of the Elder Eddas, even though it's not specifically about the runes, I find that grounding in the mythology helped me a lot. Also, the rune poems are definitely useful. 

Good luck!

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great information here!

I am going to start my path on learning about runes and how to use them.

 

but my question to all of you on here if I may is that I don't really have the cash to go into a decent quality set so I was thinking about making my own from deer and elk antlers and just engraving the runes into each slice of antler but I wasn't sure if this was appropriate beings that im just learning this craft? 

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great information here!

I am going to start my path on learning about runes and how to use them.

 

but my question to all of you on here if I may is that I don't really have the cash to go into a decent quality set so I was thinking about making my own from deer and elk antlers and just engraving the runes into each slice of antler but I wasn't sure if this was appropriate beings that im just learning this craft?

I think you will have a very special bond with your Runes if you make them yourself. With each one you carve, learn it's meaning and meditate on it while carving.

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great information here!

I am going to start my path on learning about runes and how to use them.

 

but my question to all of you on here if I may is that I don't really have the cash to go into a decent quality set so I was thinking about making my own from deer and elk antlers and just engraving the runes into each slice of antler but I wasn't sure if this was appropriate beings that im just learning this craft? 

 

Definitely make a set. Antler would be really nice. Making them is a chance to study them and remember them. 

Edited by Holdasown

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I agree with what Onyx and Holdasown have said. And think how much more intrinsic value they will have than anything you could buy! There is no threshold of experience for making something like runes— these symbols, while rich in symbolism and depth that you could plumb for a lifetime, are simple. They connect us to our ancestors and to our own unconscious. Making them seems very natural. Go for it!

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