Some Notes

(Perils and Pitfalls)

There has been an explosion of books and articles about The Runes since Ralph Blum published his book "The Book of Runes: A Handbook for the Use of an Ancient Oracle"  in 1982. However, modern interest in the subject probably goes back at least to Johannes Bureus in the 17th century, who developed a Runic system allegedly based on the Kaballah and the Futhark which he called the "Adulruna".

In 1902, Guido von List presented a "revealed" set of Armanen runes. His research sparked a German fascination in Runes and their links to German Nationalism which subsequently became the source of Nazi obsession with Runes. Nazi use included the adoption of the Sun Wheel (Swastika), and the double Sig Runes used by the SS (Schutzstaffel). However, their use of Runic symbols is just that; the twisting of existing symbols for political ends. The Swastika goes back thousands of years, and is found across India and Asia, while the Sowilo or Sun rune as the basis of the Sig Rune is also probably derived from the Sun Wheel.

As a personal note, I also have no time for people who think the Runes and Northern Spirituality are an excuse for prejudice, racism, or any other exclusion whether based on a person's gender, class, or sexuality. I believe we are called to live our lives according to the Nine Noble Virtues of  Courage, Truth, Honour, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self-Reliance, Industriousness, and Perseverance.  I see no room in those for hatred, prejudice, or an attempt to "exalt" ourselves by oppressing others.

Academic study of the Runic Alphabet, however,  has tended to discount their use for magico/divinatory purposes, and in the absence of much historical evidence, various authors have used what is known as a spring board for what they firmly believe.

Part of learning about The Runes is to also learn the bias of different authors. Comparing and contrasting different approaches, and also adding a dose of healthy scepticism is always useful. My approach is practical and conservative, and although I am happy to learn from a wide variety of sources, there are a few elements, such as the use of a "Blank" rune, that I cannot accept.

However, I have added a page of resources with my own books (and over time I will be happy to add other titles as they are recommended), and also a page with web-links which I believe try and find a healthy balance between using The Runes as a spiritual tool, but also trying to be faithful to the Elder traditions. Again, I would be more than happy to consider additional links sent to me.

Reikart Odinsthrall