Through this last week I’ve been preparing training for the current Runic Awakening cohort on making their own runes.  It’s also the half month of Thurisaz and it got me thinking about the way in which objects can hold on to negative energy.  If you’ve ever done psychometry you’ve probably practiced handing round bits of old jewellery to see what vibes you pick up from them.  Some things can give you one cracker of a headache if you’re not careful!

We’ve been looking at how to safely destroy a rune if it’s been created incorrectly and perhaps this led me to think about an experience I had which led me to make my second rune set.  

I was visiting a friend who had started university a year ahead of me.  I had, of course, taken my trusty rune set with me and had done readings for my friends and a couple of her closer friends.  While I was doing one reading a girl walked into the room.  She saw what I was doing and asked for a reading.  Something told me I didn’t want to but I was a shy 19-year old staying with people I didn’t know that well so I agreed.  Her reading was very clear that she was holding on to something that didn’t belong to her and that she needed to let go of.  When I finished explaining this she looked me right in the eye, scooped up my runes in her hands and threw them at me!  Then she stormed out of the room shouting that her friends had set her up for the reading.  It turned out that her boyfriend at university had split up with her a few months back but she was refusing to accept it and acting like they were still together.  

I emerged from this experience an older and a wiser reader but my runes were less fortunate.  They felt awful every time I picked them up.  No amount of ‘clearing the bag’ was getting rid of the sense of anger and betrayal that I picked up every time I touched them.  It took me a good six months to properly clear them.  They were buried, passed through flames and water and covered in salt.  They were laid out in sunlight and moonlight.  They were sung to.  They had the rune poems spoken over them.  Finally they emerged but I never used that particular rune set to do readings for another person again.  

Here are some of the learnings I took from this experience:

  • Do your readings from a place of strength.  If you don’t want to read, don’t.  When you charge your runes you give them a tiny piece of you (like a parent does a child) – so if you start a reading from a place of disempowerment they start from a place of disempowerment
  • Once you have named and charged a rune it’s like a little magnet.  It will draw in more of its own energy.  If that energy supply is cut of (e.g. because you aren’t giving your runes attention, or you agree to do a reading when you don’t feel the vibe) then they will draw in whatever other energy is available.
  • Some materials make runes that a more ‘porous’ than others.  Clay, metal and some stones are particularly susceptible to leaking energy and then absorbing whatever happens to be around them.  Wood maintains a clearer, cleaner energy for longer.  This is why I now use wood sets when I do readings for other people. 
  • Charge your runes up well when you make them (or after you purchase them).  You want them to be brim-full of delicious energy so they are powerful and less vulnerable to taking on other energy
  • If you charged your runes well when you first had them you will be able to restore their original energy – but it might take time

If you need to destroy a rune

The poem ‘Havamal’ includes a stanza about cutting, colouring, invoking , testing, reading, sending and ‘killing’ runes.  So how do you kill a rune? 

Creating a rune ‘wrong’ basically means making its shape incorrectly, invoking the wrong energies into it, perhaps calling on the wrong deity or spirit guardian to bless it and your work, or choosing the wrong rune for the wrong purpose.  You might also inadvertently imbue it with emotion you didn’t intend.  There are some excellent books out there on creating runes or you can, of course, join the Magin Rose Runic Awakening programme.

If you make a rune ‘wrong’ the most likely outcome is that it will be ineffective.  It’s possible that if you’ve really gone for it with raising energy, calling forth blessings and generally putting a lot of power into your ritual that it will backfire.  So do your research first and if you’re making a bind rune (i.e. a single symbol made out multiple runes) check it carefully to ensure you haven’t created any additional rune shapes in your bind rune that you don’t actually want to be there.

Intention is the purpose for which you are making a rune so is particularly important for runes spells.  When you do any form of magical work you’re creating an energetic ‘contract’ with the universe so make sure you haven’t put in any hidden clauses.  Most importantly, be very, very present to why you want to do the work in the first place.  ‘I want a new job that is more personally and financially rewarding’ is a very different vibe to ‘I like this job but I really, really hate my boss so let’s do a job spell to fix that’; the outcomes could be quite different.  For example, in the second version you’ve not said anything about a different job being better and, even more worryingly, the runes could easily assume that ‘job’ and the emotion of hatred are synonymous – so you could end up in a situation that’s even worse.  Look deeply and truthfully into your intentions before you set them.  Visualise the future you want – not the present you are seeking to change.  I personally transfer a bit of my Wiccan training over to my rune work and add in a clause ‘to harm none’ when I’m doing spell work – just to be on the safe side.       

The fix

To fix a rune that you’ve drawn, charged or instructed wrongly two things are needed.  Firstly, destroy the physical manifestation of the rune.  Use a tool or knife to scrape away both the colour and the indentation made from carving is required.  Secondly, perform an energetic ‘unwinding’ of the intentions and energy raising you did to create your rune.  For example, if you invited Odin to witness you making your rune – invite him to witness you un-making it.  Don’t try and ‘edit’ or ‘reprogramme’ the energy you raised – it won’t work.  I find the most helpful technique is to see it being pulled out of the rune like thread.  Visualise that thread collecting on the earth and then sinking down into it and dissipating.   

11 Replies to “When rune magic goes wrong”

    1. An interesting perspective Margaret (good name by the way, that’s my legal name too ;)). I would have to respectfully disagree. I’ve been consulting the runes pretty regularly for 25+ years and have received only blessings from the relationship. From my point of view they are partners who want to work with us (or to work with a truth larger than us at least). I would be interested to know which source text the person who advised you was drawing on?
      Has this put you off working with the runes?

  1. This is really interesting. It seems the relationship with runes is a very devotional and careful one. The story of the person throwing runes is very sad

  2. My wife and I are separated but b4 the separation we got the norse love for man and love for woman bind runes tattooed on our hands that we use to hold eachother. My rune has a infected sore next to it almost touching it that hasn’t gone away for 2 months now… there is a lot to my story… but some guidance would be greatly appreciated

  3. Would “undoing” a rune tattoo take the same steps? Tattooing over the runes to “destroy” them thus undoing their effect?

    1. Hi Rafael. As long as accompanied by the same energetic work to dissipate the force behind the rune as well as the form. This is perhaps the one time where you could also consider making the runes into something else where tattooing over won’t aesthetically work.

  4. When I was a beginner, I was advised to make my own rune and paint it with menstrual blood. I did it and never casted them again.
    I wanted to release them and destroy this set until I am wiser and more committed.
    Do you think I could respectfully “destroy” them?

    1. Hi Lis

      Yes, you can absolutely can. You will want to release the energy of the runes from the set and you can then destroy through fire or burial. Traditionally you would scrape the runes of the wood to release (see Egil’s Saga) but you can also work energetically. Here is an example: call the spirit of the rune into your space e.g. by chanting its name and/ or visualising it forming as a shimmering light in your space. Then take the stave with the corresponding rune and blow on it, sweep it with your hand or symbolically scrape the energy of the rune out of the stave and visualise returning it to the purely energetic form you’ve invited in. Then give thanks and visualise that rune departing. Repeat with the next rune.

    1. Hi Kate. How do they feel to you? The decision of whether you want to keep working with them is very personal. For some people the cracks enhance the magic, for others the set is no longer viable. For me personally there’s a practical issue in that you may be able to tell via the feel which rune is which – which can be off putting if you are a kinaesthetic reader. Ultimately only you can make this decision; if you decide not to keep them you may want to do a ceremony to release the rune energies before burying or burning them. AND – if the very thought of burying or burning them feels wrong, that’s a big hint that they are still viable for you to work with.

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