Meeting the Tools: Elder Futhark

Before we begin on this challenge of daily posting, as I work towards both teaching and learning, I thought it best to introduce you – fair reader – to the tools I’m working with.

We’ll start off with the Elder Futhark – 24 runes, Norse in origin and commonly believed to have been brought to Midgard by Odin himself.

I’ll share my personal preferences below, but before then let’s go over some basics. There’s several ways to approach a rune set regarding what it’s made out of (wood, metal, semi-precious stones, etc), how it’s made (etched, stamped, filled, engraved, by someone else or yourself), and how it’s stored – bag, box, alter, etc.

There’s also variation in who you let touch your tools (Get your snickering out of the way, fellow 12-year-old minds), or even if you let anyone.

The important bit to remember is you do what works for you. There’s So MUCH variety because we are varied as human beings. A lot of divination work is Gut-Work – you’re going to have to learn to trust your instincts.

It’s not the most promising thing to hear, I’ll grant you that – especially if you’re like me and your Logic Brain is constantly at odds with your Magic Brain. Also, if you have Brain Weasel issues, it’s hard to be sure you’re hearing your gut and/or following it.

If you have these hurdles, fear not – I do as well, and we can certainly help each other.

If you don’t have these hurdles, good! \o/ I hope you’re here for the humor and the information because otherwise I might let you down ❤

My runes, such as they are, were not made by me. I’m not an artisan, I’m an artist. There’s a DISTINCT difference. The skills to manipulate lines and paint are very different from those required to sculpt and etch. I purchased my set, albeit customized. I recommend, if you don’t already own a set and are interested, trying out The Magical Druid. You can get a beginner set for relatively cheap AND support smaller business at the same time. You’re also welcome to try Etsy, but given the customization available in material and such, I suggest waiting until you’re sure you want to invest so much.

You can also buy blanks from Etsy and scribe your own.

Here, however, are mind – Maple wood because it reminds me of my birth town.

I’ve also put them in “order” per Diana Paxon’s Taking Up the Runes – which I highly recommend as it contains meanings from several sources, magic work, and a ton of academia.

To me, using these runes are akin to knocking at the doors of my gods and asking for advice. As such, I do my best to be proper and follow all the rules of dropping by mostly unannounced. There’s ritual, for me this is in ADF style – Fire, Well, and Tree – offerings for my ancestors, kindred, and my gatekeeper. I talk to My People™ as I like to collectively refer to them, and I give offerings and share in drink.

Sometimes I come to them with sorrows, concerns, curiosities, etc. But more often than not I’m simply curious to know what it is they want to tell me. What should I know, what should I be planning for, what do they just need/want to get off their chest? I talk, and ask, and all the while my hand weaves through the runes in the bag. The smell of incense and the maple from the runes takes over everything else – in a small way I’m sure I tend to dip my toe into the waters of Trance – and then I do what my gut tells me.

Sometimes that means setting the runes down with deliberation in a specific pattern, sometimes it means simply laying out a line of them, sometimes it’s grabbing a handful and tossing them onto my mat. On a few occasions I upended the entire rune bag even.

To that point however, reading the Runes is like having a conversation. I tend to avoid drawing just a single rune, because words and phrases have vastly different meanings based on context, and the runes are themselves a language. It wasn’t just the capacity for magic and divination that Odin meant to share with his people through his sacrifice, but also a means to record and communicate.


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