I have called the following texts ‘exploratory’ because I think they are useful texts for the practitioner seeking to research and explore the runes further (rather than them being inherently ‘exploratory’ themselves). Most of these texts will not assume prior knowledge of the runes on the part of the reader and so provide basic introductory information as well. As the power of the runes you work with is founded on your own deep understanding of their nature, it is really important to get as many perspectives as you can so you have rich material to draw from – extensive reading also means you can compare a variety of sources and critically evaluate them.
Click here to buy Northern Mysteries and Magick: Runes, Gods and Feminine Powers from Amazon
This book has the subtitle ‘Runes and Feminine Powers’; its sixth chapter focuses specifically on feminine powers, with the earlier five covering the Northern Tradition, Elder Futhark, divination, magic and god-profiles. Aswynn looks at magickal uses for each of the runes in turn and also considers shamanic techniques, ritual structure and rune correspondences with the Norse gods. When I got this book I feel in love with the black and white pictorial illustrations given for each of the runes – they encouraged me to use my own creativity to get to know the runes better.
I have sought to emphasize the power held in the feminine Mysteries as well as expand the focus I have taken on the matriarchal aspects of the Northern religion…More insight is given on the magical practives of women (Seith, Spae Craft) and also on the roles of less well-known goddesses and other feminine beings who have contributed to the tradition. Preface to second edition.
Click here to buy Rune Lore from Amazon
Runelore is comprised of two sections: an in-depth account of the history of the runes, including Elder, Viking, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary periods as well as runic codes, divination and the source poems; and ‘Hidden Lore’, a very interesting discussion of rune energies, cosmology, numerology, psychology (or soul lore) and gods.
Long have we dwelt outside the gates of the gard [home] of our indwelling gods. We were not expelled from their knowledge by some irreversible transgression – but rather have only turned our backs on their troth ['truth']. We can again turn to face their radiant power – but only by knowing the roadways of the journey. Those gangways are the runes – the mysteries of our path – and the keys to their own hidden dimensions. Introduction.
Click here to buy Taking Up the Runes by Diana Paxson from Amazon
Taking up the Runes is an inspiring book. Paxson summarises the information available about each rune in the key texts and builds from there. The book is based on the work of a study group Paxson led, and the exploration of the runes is structured through working with them in pairs – this provides a really interesting perspective on the way in which the runes can be combined and their relationship with each other. After discussion of the runes, Paxson provides a ritual outline for each rune pair, providing meditations, music and workings. At the end of the book a graduation and initiation rite are given.
Effective use of the runes requires both the old wisdom and the new. A sound grasp of traditional culture and mythology will enable the rune reader to draw on the power invested in runic symbols over the years. But all magic flows through the mind of the maker and must have meaning in terms of his or her personal symbol system as well…The study must not only consciously study the meanings ascribed to the runes by earlier scholars, but must internalize them. Introduction.
Click here to buy Teutonic Magic: A Guide to Germanic Divination, Lore and Magic from Amazon
As the title of the book suggests, this book is not just about the runes, but about the Germanic tradition of divination, lore and magic. In addition to sections on each of the runes, it includes sections on the Gods, magical creatures (or ‘wights’), and a number of short rites. Importantly, the book includes meditations for each of the runes which are both powerful and interesting. As a word of caution, I have found it necessary to modify these meditations when using them with my students; they pack in a lot of extremely powerful imagery and myth into a very short space of time and the content of some meditations not may be to everyone’s taste – this aside, they certainly demonstrate the author’s extensive grasp of myth and rune lore.
Click here to buy Rune Rede: Wisdom and Magic for the Life Journey from Amazon
When I am lacking inspiration this is the book I turn to. It contains lots of interesting correspondences and focuses on the runes’ relationships with particular deities in the Norse pantheon. For me, myth and story-telling is an immensely important part of runecraft; stories can provide a much richer tapestry for the runester to draw on than dry tables of correspondences. Grimnisson then goes on to cover making a rune set, a number of different rune spreads, and magickal applications.
Helrunar, Jan Fries, 1993 & 2002
Click here to buy Helrunar: A Manual of Rune Magick from Amazon.
discussed below in that it provides personal insights which are very inspirational to the runester looking to form their own deeper understandings of the runes. The book is broadly divided into three sections covering history, practice and source material. There are lots of techniques to try for the courageous runester who doesn’t flinch from ‘moving abot physically, making (sometimes) loud sounds, and overcoming the embarrassment of acting like a fool in private’ (Preface) – in this alone it is worth its weight in gold as RuneCraft really doesn’t benefit from inhibition. Fries is a student of multiple magickal schools and brings a treasure trove of experience to rune practice.
‘Helrunar… describes a person who ‘runes’ (speaks, sings, whispers) with Hel/Helja, the goddess and realm of the underworld. ‘Hell’, in its original meaning is the hidden realm, the dark and foggy place where the dead and unborn dwell…In reading this book and exploring the runes, you are raising the dead spirits of a forgotten magick of the past. (pg. 114)