Friday, September 11, 2015

Making Runes

make   yEur   runes


runePublication1.jpgBefore deciding what to make your runes out of, it is worth considering which alphabetical system to use.  These follow several forms, but most runes will use the common German Futhark symbols.  However, if you feel you have an affinity with ancient English, a little alteration will produce slightly different symbols.  As you learn more about runes and read more about their usage, you may find that you end up with several sets of runes, all using different symbolism.  Make sure, however, that you keep each set of runes separate and do not mix the systems.

There are many substances you can choose to make your own runes.  If you want to make them out of pebbles, try to ensure that the pebbles are similar in size, and be very careful to copy the symbols exactly.  Also make sure that you use a paint which will not flake or fade, preferably made from a natural pigment. It is said that the Vikings often used blood to stain their runes; I wouldn't recommend this, but I would suggest that a red pigment is used, red having a strong association with the God Thor.  Those who wish to use the color associated with Odin should use blue.  Or green for Freyr. Traditionally it is suggested that the pebbles used should be gathered from the seashore during a storm, so bear this in mind should you live near or be visiting the seaside!

People who are keen on pottery or have access to a kiln may like to try to make their runes out of clay or ceramics.  Try gathering clay from around your home.  This is especially useful as a starting set, or if money is scarce.  Each runic card should be around 1" wide by 2" long at least.

Those who are able to carve might like trying to make a set of runes out of one of the traditional woods, such as hazel, birch, ash or apple.  Ash is a strongly runic tree, being the tree in which Odin hung, and birch is also a wood traditionally used for rune-making.  Apple wood is often used because of the connection with the Goddess Idunn, who kept apples in a basket which, it is said, kept age at bay.

rune CA25DTDA.jpgSome rune masters suggest that it is acceptable to make runes out of yew, but others suggest that, to the Vikings, the yew was a tree of death, and so should not be used.  This stems from the fact that its bark, leaves, roots and fruit are all poisonous.  However, it can also be seen as the tree of life, as it stays green throughout the year, and can be regenerated by its own daughter-tree growing in the soil inside the dying trunk.  It is therefore up to the individual to decide whether to use yew or not.

Tradition suggests that wood should be cut from a tree during the waning of the moon, and chopped into the 25 pieces immediately.  It is important to ask permission of the tree before doing this, explaining the purpose behind your action.  The tree is a living thing and should be treated with respect. It is of course equally important that you ask permission of the tree's owner, should it not be in your own garden!  Some traditions also suggest that you should leave a silver coin somewhere within the tree for payment, but this is up to the individual concerned.

Each piece should be flattened and smoothed before the symbols are carved, and sharp tools used.  Any paint put onto the carving to darken or further distinguish the symbols should be made from a natural pigment.  Another way of marking the runes could be burning the letters, but this should be done with care and by someone who knows exactly what they are doing.  Likewise it is important to be fairly confident, when making your own runes out of wood, firstly that you have enough wood for the job, and secondly that you are capable of the task.

Odin hung from the world tree, Yggdrasil, impaled on his own spear, for nine days and nights in order to gain the knowledge of runes.  As it is said that Wednesday connects with Odin (Woden's day -Woden being another form of Odin), you may decide to embark upon making your runes on that day.  They can be drawn, craved, pained, stained, burned, or even used on the computer. 

"...remember to bear in mind that we are not playing at re-enactment, we are seidrfolk, living in the now and as such may feel free to use whatever tool we have around us that is most durable and best suited for our needs."   ~ Runic John, The Book of Seidr your runes, yours.  No fancy expensive tools and materials needed.  I have seen chiseled river stones, stained with ochre and linseed oil.  Or a broken apple tree limb after a storm can be cut into slips and a wood burning tool adds the runes.  Stored in a homemade bag of pigskin and a cord tied with a boars tusk.  One friend had pencil drawing of the runes.  She would take one rune a day, on one piece of paper.  During the day she would draw the rune into a scene or whatever image came to her about that rune.  Rune cards are similar to this, but her rune book has great energy.  My first set was a fallen birch branch cut into chips, held in a cotton bag. 

Just making the runes can be a spiritual practice.  After made, the most common way to use them is drawing of lots.  Some call this runecasting, but generally they can be used to help guide some question. Or if just learning runes, draw (paint, carve...) one rune a day and focus on that one for the day.  This will help you learn and develop your senses of that rune.  Oh, last note, have fun.  This is not a final exam to stress about.  This should be done with positive energy. 


Rune Chant

Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz,
The runes I sing and him who found them
Raidho, Kenaz, Gebo, Wunjo
On Yggdrasil whose roots are unknown
Hagalaz, Naudhiz, Isa, Jera
The runes I sing and the nine nights´ hanging
Eiwaz, Perthro, Elhaz, Sowilo
Of sacrificing self to Self
Tiwaz, Berkana, Ehwaz, Mannaz
The runes I sing and the Rider of Yggdrasil
Laguz, Ingwaz, Dagaz, Othala
The runes I sing and him who found them


Runes: A Beginner's Guide (Headway Guides for Beginners)

By Kristyna Arcarti



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