Monday, May 20, 2013

Runes 102 - Book Review - The Runes in 9 Minutes

Simple.  Inviting.  Easy to follow.  The Rune in 9 Minutes, by Eoghan Odinsson speaks to its readers in a friendly, comfortable tone.  When you begin, you feel almost like you're having a conversation with the author, which is especially important as the book is geared toward those just starting out with the Runes and provides a gentle introduction to them.

Besides it's friendly tone, there are many things to like about The Runes in 9 Minutes.  For starters, the author provides you with at way to make your own set of Elder Futhark Runes, in case you don't have one.  I smiled as I read his instructions, because they sounded very much like what I did last summer when I was traveling and forgot my Runes, so I made a temporary set.  He also suggests other ways to make a more permanent set.

In addition, Odinsson gives good overviews of some key aspects of the Runes.  He explains some basic or common lay outs for Rune casts.  I especially like his explanation for the three-Rune cast or draw, likening it to the Norns (from Norse Mythology, the Norns represent past, present, and future).  Although I've seen this spread before, I have not tried it, but I'm going to give it a shot now.  The Norn cast idea is a nice follow up to the chapter he writes on quantum physics and wyrd; wyrd is fate.  Odinsson does a nice job of applying the idea of quantum physics to wyrd and linking it to probabilities to demonstrate that, while wyrd shapes our lives, we have the ability to manipulate it through our choices and the probably of outcomes related to them.

Before concluding the book, Odinsson outlines the origins and evolution of the Elder, Younger, and Anglo-Saxon Futharks and offers some insight into books to use for further study - Northern Mysteries and Magick, by Freya Aswynn; The Rune Primer, by Sweyn Plowright, and Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic, by Edred Thorsson - with his providing the basic essentials to get you started.

However, the two most interesting aspects of this book are the unexpected Hafskjold Rune casting chapter, and his chapter on how to read Runes.  The former is a truly original experience with the Younger Futhark, taught to Odinsson by his Stav instructor.  Stav is a body, mind, and spirit system that uses Runes and Norse Mythology.  The Hafskjold cast requires repeating the sixteen-symbol futhark three times over twenty-four Runes, so that each Rune has two characters on it, one on top and one on bottom.  This is another Rune cast I am looking forward to trying soon.

The chapter on how to read the Runes, though, might be what makes this book most handy.  Whether you're a beginner or intermediate Rune user, The Runes in 9 Minutes provides a wonderful chapter with each Rune in the Elder Futhark having its own page dedicated to its image and meaning.   While the meanings are minimal, this is an aspect I like, because it allows the Rune user to develop their own personal interpretation of each Rune, based on the original meaning of the Rune.  And, at the bottom of each page, for each Rune, is the Anglo-Saxon Rune poem on which the meanings of the Elder Futhark Runes are created.

If you're just starting with the Runes and looking for a simple and welcoming book to help you get started, Odinsson's book is definitely one to consider.


  1. Excellent review and thank you! This was one of the books I was looking at on Amazon..I like the writing style and down to earth approach of the author.

  2. That the Wurta (Norns) represent past, present, and future is a misconception that has been around and perpetuated so long it has become "traditional" "fact." It originates with early scholars connecting them to and seeing them as cognates to, or Germanic copying of, the Moirai and Parcae.