Types of Books on Runes

 

When you browse the web or bookstores for information on runes you'll come across a multitude of offerings, many of which are highly suspect mostly due to the fact that with magick and the occult becoming
mainstream more and more writers publish books for a quick buck or create homepages without conducting any actual prior research (which also goes for html coding and general over-use of graphics); failing that,
they just copy and paste it from some other writer and fill in a few ideas of dubious quality.

This all too common practice then results in texts being published that have little to nothing to do with any real runic tradition. Granted, original sources that contain detailed descriptions of how the Teutons
performed magick are hard to find, but some academics that are also interested in magick have reconstructed workable ways.

It seems that if writers whose background stems from a different tradition can't think of anything else to publish they go forth and write a book on something outside their original area of expertise and another book on runes is born. For some elusive reason it's frequently a splinter group of Wiccans, namely those that race their linage back to Atlantis, Lemuria or Mu - sometimes all three together, who are the main offenders. The interesting thing about this splinter group is that they will integrate any system they think is suitably old and features a bunch of gods which they claim were worshipped on one of the sunken continents. Sometimes it almost seems as if they have a research group sitting somewhere that studies ancient myths for references to gods and goddesses so those entities can be adapted into their particular branch of Wicca.

Course the original content of the sagas will largely be ignored and the gods and goddesses of the adapted system become aspects of the God and Goddess, both of which mostly have precious little in common with the new aspects.

For research they seem to use the same method as they do when they write books on Wicca which basically means that the researched pantheon or system is reviewed on the surface and then hammered into their chosen branch until it fits. Depending on said branch the book will then feature a total lack of the male aspect of runes or will be filled with things normally not in runic tradition such as the Wiccan Rede (showcasing a good misunderstanding of Buddhist karma and an abysmal representation of the law of Thelema), gods from different pantheons, long lost continents and how the inhabitants created or received the runes.

Additionally a whole new meaning is assigned to many of the runes, making them a tame force compared to what they normally are.

Also it is interesting that those writers mostly go for the 25 rune system, meaning they in cooperate the so called blank or Wyrd rune. This empty stone has been made popular in the 1980s by the books of Ralph Blum who claimed it was in a set he bought. More about this blank rune can be found here.

If you are extremely lucky you find an author who follows the Dianic path of Wicca that is totally feminist. They ignore Odins' rede completely and turn the runes into something entirely female - which in the Nordic path strictly speaking would have been Seidr.

In rare circumstances you'll find a ceremonialist writing a book on runes. Those are then filled with references to the Christian God as well as to Satan and assorted demons, Heaven and Hell and a bunch of saints thrown in for good measure. Needless to say that those are from a completely different paradigm which has nothing to do with actual rune magick nor for that matter with Teutonic tradition. Additionally the writers think you will need the full ceremonial regalia to perform rune magick, meaning sword, wand, athame, pentacle, chalice, incense, bells and numerous dribbly candles (which they all have in common with Wicca, but that's no big surprise as Gartner copied a lot from Crowley who in turn copied from the Golden Dawn). Taking his gear with him must have been a chore for the travelling vitki.

Many of the sample rites these authors showcase will also be structured like rituals straight out of the archives of the Golden Dawn. Including pentagram rituals, watchtowers and evocations of the Guardian Angel. Really offending is when the ritual starts with "Thine is the Crown, and the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, the Law everlasting, Amen" or when he features sigils of various angels such as Raphael.

All too often when reading a book that has been either written by a Wiccan or a Ceremonialist one can't help but wonder whether the writer actually worked with the runes or took one of his earlier works and substituted a few words so that it all sounds more Norse (or Celtic in some instances).

The next type of writer relies purely on intuition, these are mostly the New Age Fluffy Bunnies. Somewhere in the book they'll state they were gifted with a bag of runes or bought it off some Wise Woman (who was
wise indeed inasmuch as she got rid of her cheaply made 25 runes and got some money for them) and as they had no manual to teach them, they meditated long and hard on each stone and the meaning was revealed to them (or they drive along a highway and are hit by sudden inspiration). Usually they are a long shot off the traditional meaning.

Further it comes to no surprise when they deviate a great deal from the original FUTHARK order and rearrange the whole set. From a purely chaos magickal point of view their system works. For them and them alone at least.

Finally there are the rarest of writers, namely those whose books are worthwhile to read. They manage to inform the reader on the history of the runes, the sagas and stay true to the original system while still bringing in fresh and workable ideas without lecturing the reader on moral systems.

These books are rare gems that should be treasured.

 

 

 

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