Beginners Guide

 

When you begin your runic journey, you strictly speaking do not need any prior experience in other magickal systems. The runes are a complete system in themselves.

The runes are a way to transform yourself and to interact with the hidden powers of the nine worlds. They can bring you knowledge, power and wisdom.

Before you start down the runic journey prepare yourself for the actual work with the runes. Learn as much as you can about their origin and the mythology. Feel free to buy some books on that matter, however there are numerous excellent articles to be found on the web, just google yourself there. Don't bother with books on 25 runes as the blank rune is an invention from the 1980s or books that use the UTHARK or those that are militant feminists or similar. Ralph Blum eg is dead out. Not only does he cover the blank or wyrd rune, he also reorganised the entire system and relies mostly on his own interpretation on the runes which is far from historical traditions.

Additional to the various online sources Wikipedia offers a good summary on the history of the runes while both the Poetic and the Prose Edda are easily available online.

When you are familiar with both history and mythology, take up study of the runes themselves. A detailed description of the Elder Futhark can be found here. Learning the meaning of the rune alone is not enough however. While you are studying one of the runes I suggest you also use them in meditations to delve deeper into their  mysteries. This exercise is also useful for the additional skills you need if you wish to do rune magick, namely concentration, visualisation and breath control.

  • Breath control is used in many traditions, such as chi gung, tai chi, yoga and martial arts. A few methods to regulate your breathing can be found here.
  • Concentration is all about focusing your thoughts and efforts fully upon a single task. Concentration is important during active work with the runes as you will have to keep your visualisation intact eg.
  • Visualisation is the art of imagining things and controlling those images. While the eyes are the sense humans rely on most, you shouldn't just see it with your eyes, but also feel it, hear it and taste it. Visualisation along with concentration are necessary for the focus and direction of energy as it goes wherever your focused thoughts go. If you stray too much you'll diminish the effect of the working.

 During meditation, the name of the rune can be used as mantra.

While you are learning the runes you should also learn how to read and write them fluently, again the associated letters to each rune can be found here.

Once you are familiar enough with all the runes that are in the system you picked you can go and create your own rune set as described on this page. This is also an excellent exercise where you make use of everything that you have learned. This set of runes you can then use for divination.

Whatever you do in your runic work, I highly recommend writing everything down in a journal so that you can always refer to it later on.

Essential Tools for Runic Work

A red pen, or brush with red ink For colouring the runes. Alternatively you can also dye each rune in its specific colour.
Hobby knife For carving, if you prefer to make rune cards you'll need a pair of scissors instead.
Cloth bag As a place to keep the runes
Blank book Journal, to keep notes. If you do not wish to write in a book you can also use your computer and keep a diary there. Consider it a .doc of Shadows.
Wood For carving of the rune staves and later on talismans etc. If you prefer cards, substitute paper or cardboard for wood.
Table The table functions as working table during the carving as well as altar during rituals. Obviously it's best to have your own dedicated  space for the whole setup.

Additional tools for rune work are not strictly necessary unless you feel inclined to add sword, dagger, incense and all the other paraphernalia the tradinonalists are so fond of.

 

 

 

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