Making a rune set out of clay is one of the easiest methods for making your own set: the ‘carving’ requires minimal skill and your material is forgiving should you go wrong. It isn’t, of course, traditional, but there is a nice passage in the Prose Edda which ties Yggdrasil (the World-Tree on which Odin hung to find the runes), clay, and the pool of the Norns (fates) together:
I know an Ash standing | called Yggdrasil,
A high tree sprinkled | with snow-white clay;
Thence come the dews | in the dale that fall -
It stands green | above Urdr’s well.
(Sturluson, The Prose Edda: Tales from Norse Mythology , pg. 30)
Unless you have a kiln you will be making your rune set from air-drying clay. I have found Newclay Reinforced Air Drying Modelling Clay to be particularly good as it doesn’t have the fibrous texture that a lot of air-drying clays are prone to.
- See Making a rune set: wood, for information on preparation, intoning, cutting and colouring before you begin.
- Separate your clay into 24 equal pieces the size that you want your runes to be, roll each one into a ball and then flatten them to the desired shape. You will want them to be as uniform as possible.
- Take a sharp tool and, chanting the name of the rune, carve it into the clay, visualising the clay filling with the energy of the rune.
- Once the runes have dried you can paint each sigil using the same intonation and visualisation as above while ’colouring’ what you have carved.
- You should either paint your runes or seal them (e.g. with good quality furniture wax or varnish) so that they don’t chip or leave white residue on your hands, bag and casting cloth when you use them.