Saturday, June 30, 2018

Runes 102 - Book Reviews - Runes Plain & Simple

I struggle with books that are trying to teach the reader something, but have no reference section.  Such is the case with Runes Plain & Simple, by Kim Farnell.  The biggest issue I have with this book relative to not having any citations comes at the back in Tables 1 and 2.  These are magical correspondence tables, where Farnell has likened Runes to everything from specific gods and goddesses to colors, stones, trees, herbs, flowers, and more.  I have no faith in these tables without references and no explanation as to how they were derived.

I also struggled with the errors in her historical references.  Although I can't go into many, I can pick out a few.  The most egregious for me is claiming that Heimdall led the Vanir with Freyja and Freyr in the war against the Aesir.  Another one of her claims is that the Vanir beheaded Hoenir, when, in fact, they beheaded Mimir.  According to the text, Loki created a set of arrows, not the single dart that he actually created, and gave them to Hรถdr to kill Baldr.  When I began my journey with Runes, three Rune masters told me that I had to understand the culture and mythology from which the Runes came.  I spent years studying both and still recognize that there is far more for me to learn that I already know.

She does offer a chapter on making your own Runes, which is okay.  Some of what she says strikes me as fluff, and some of her "statements" strike me as personal preference more than actually being necessary.  She does offer information about different types of wood/trees, which is interesting, but I still struggle with it (and this is me personally), because she doesn't give any citations about the source from which she derived this information.  Within this chapter, she also has a section called "Consecrating Your Runes".  I would like this section better if her statements were suggestions, because there is no standard practice for how to make your Runes your own.  The same holds true with her comments on "activating" your Runes.  She claims that you should hold each Rune in your left hand, close your hand around it like a cylinder, and blow into it.  What?  There is nothing plain or simple about the processes she describes.

Although this book is called Plain & Simple, I would not recommend it to beginners.  Only someone with some level of expertise could spot the errors and questionable information in this book, and be able to discern the few pieces worth taking away from it.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Runes 301 - Making Your Own Runes - Repurposed Runes

I get a lot of questions about what to do with Rune sets that people no longer use.  Last November, I offered some insight into getting rid of old Runes as a starting point to addressing this issue.

While the previous post was about properly disposing of Runes, Runes do not necessarily need to be destroyed or passed on to someone else. They can be reused or repurposed.

Since last year's post, some of you have reached out with the creative ways that you have reused or repurposed Runes - the most common being using them on your alters and making them into jewelry.  Thank you for sharing!

One friend told me that she had made a set of Runes out of wood,  but she lost one.  Since she hadn't stained them with her blood, she made the remaining ones into jewelry - necklaces to be exact - and distributed them to friends and clients over the course of a year or so.  Others told me about how they incorporated Runes into art.  I'd love to see some of those pictures.  Still others served as medallions.

Your creativity got me thinking about some of the ways that I have repurposed Runes over the years.  Although all of the wooden Runes I've made that I no longer use have been burned and buried because I stained them all, as you can see in the picture above, I do have some Runes on my alter.  (I also still have a couple of bags of Rune sets  don't use on the shelf underneath my alter.)

The Runes painted on the shells were experiments to see which color I preferred.  The Runes I made out of shells ended up being an aqua color, blue too dark, white too light.

The other Runes were inspiration for a book that is in process.  Despite that set never making it to completion, each Rune that was completed represents the essence of character in the book - Raido, Uruz, Sowilo, Dagaz, and Jera.

I also have a few others that I use occasionally in rituals.

If you have repurposed Runes and are comfortable sharing how you did it with me, please do so in a comment or via email.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Runes 202 - Bind Runes - Focus on Health

I've been feeling a little blah physically for a couple of months, but with the warming weather,  now's the time to start incorporating more physical activity into my life.  To help me focus on my physical well-being, I decided to make a bind Rune.  Normally, I draw three Runes and bind those together.  This time, however, I chose the Runes instead.

I had two Runes in mind already - Algiz and Eihwaz.  Algiz was my first choice, because it is the Rune of self defense and protection.  By extension, it becomes about self care, for if you are defending or protecting yourself, is that not a way of caring for yourself?  Algiz has come to me in many Rune draws, but rarely fit as direct self defense.  Thinking of it as self care works in many instances, and it works here too.

Next was Eihwaz.  The Rune of the yew tree represents inner strength, a toughness that, in this instance, places the self care of Algiz at the center of attention.  Eihwaz makes it a priority, by recognizing its importance.

Choosing the third Rune was more of a challenge.  I narrowed it down to four - Fehu, Nauthiz, Jera, and Uruz.  Each presented me with a strong message for focusing on physical health.  Fehu, the domesticated cow is often likened to financial issues.  However, more broadly, it represents wealth, which can take many forms, thus prompting the question of value - placing value on physical health.  I do, but I didn't feel that I needed that reminder.  Nauthiz, the Rune of need and necessity, states unequivocally, that I need to take care of my physical health.  I agree, so this Rune was not a necessity.  Jera is always a great Rune, reminding us that everything is a process.  I almost went with that, because that is a reminder that I do need.  That's also why Jera is my guiding Rune...always.  So, again, not needed in the bind Rune.

Then, I considered Uruz, the wild ox.  It represents determination and, for me, the freedom to be who you really are - your true self.  Uruz recognizes my true self, acknowledges my inner strength (Eihwaz), and promotes my self care (Algiz).  And, through Uruz itself, I give a nod to my determination to improve my physical well-being.

Essentially, this bind Rune embodies the idea of the self caring for the self, because the self recognizes that the self is worth it.