Rune Magick Basics

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Forums -> Norse Paganism -> Rune Magick Basics

Rune Magick Basics
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 1
To use runes in magick, you must know them. This is the same in using any type of power in magick. Each rune holds a different power, and to utilize it, you must first understand it. Unlike gemstones, a rune's magick lies in its history, its name, and its symbol. You must familiarize yourself with these in order to harness their power properly.

The best way to get to know them is to use them in little ways. Make or buy a set of runes for yourself and pick one each day. The cheapest set of runes is one made from cardboard and a sharpie marker. Meditate on the rune or just hold it with you throughout the day. Read about what it can do and what it means and reflect on it. As you concentrate on this rune during the day (and perhaps even carry it with you), it should begin influencing the situations and activities you encounter. You may even write the rune on an inconspicuous place on your skin, like your ankle or under the sleeve of your shirt. Pay close attention to how it effects your day and you will receive a greater understanding of its power. Write down your findings.

You do not need to like every rune in the furthark, but it is good to learn about them all. Most people that use the runes in magick have only select favorites that they use all the time. You must find the ones that call out to you most. Be sure to try each rune at least once, otherwise, if you limit yourself to only a few, you may be missing out on other well rewarding ones.

Study the runes, you do not need to memorize them right away, but try to find them in nature. They are everywhere! Look in the tree branches, the cracks in cement, wood grain, or marble. I have even found them in architecture and graffiti on the street. Write them down whenever you can and just look at them and contemplate their shapes, names, and meanings.

Make a magick circle with them. If you have a set of runes you may set them up in order around you. If not, you may write each on a separate card or small piece of paper. Another way to do this is to write them on the ground with chalk. With each rune you place down, say its name, invoking its power. Let the name reverberate as you say it. Start in the north with fehu, then place uruz in the north east, put thurisaz in the east and continue around in the correct order. When you get to the north again, start with hagalaz in the north. Your third round should have teiwaz in the north. Work outward to inward. At the end you should have three circles of runes around you. The fehu circle should be on the outside, hagalaz in the middle, and teiwaz inside.

If you have memorized the runes and their order well, you can trace them around you in red energy as you invoke each. It is very hard to remember every rune, but very fun to do. If you would enjoy writing them with energy better, I suggest marking them down on a small piece of paper as a memory aid. When tracing runes in the air it is important to use long, large strokes. I suggest each rune be the length of the top of the head to the waist. Little strokes give little energy, you want power to go into those symbols so start moving with gusto! If you feel you want to give your runes extra umph, place your hand/athame/wand/etc in the center of the rune after drawing it and send more energy directly into it. Again, make sure you say the name of the rune as you do this.

It is important to know the correct order and way of saying the runes when using them in magick.

The right order, pronounciation, and literal translation of the Elder Futhark is:
Set 1
1 Fehu (Fay-oo) Cattle/Possessions
2 Uruz (Oo-rooz) Wild Ox/Aurochs/Male
3 Thurisaz (Thoo-ree-sahz) Thorn/Giant
4 Ansuz (Ahn-sooz) Good/Order/God
5 Radio (Ry-ee-doh) Journey
6 Kenaz (Kay-nahz) Torch
7 Gebo (Gay-bo) Gift
8 Wunjo (Woon-yo) Joy/Glory
Set 2
9 Hagalaz (Hah-gah-lahz) Hail/Hardship
10 Nauthiz (N-aw-thiz) Need
11 Isa (ee-sah) Ice
12 Jera (Yeh-rah) Harvest/Cycle
13 Eihwaz (Ay-wahz) Yew/Keeper of Flame
14 Perthro (Per-throw) Apple Tree/Pleasure
15 Algiz (Ahl-geez) Elk-Sedge/Defense
16 Sowulo (So-woo-low) Sun/Justice
Set 3
17 Teiwaz (Tay-wahz) Warrior/Judgement
18 Berkana (Bear-kahn-ah) Birch/Female
19 Ehwaz (Eh-wahz) Horse/Transportation
20 Mannaz (Mah-dn-ahz Hold your nose and say Man-nahz. Hear the hard dn sound? That's it) Man/Human
21 Laguz (Lah-gooz) Water
22 Inguz (Ing-gooz) Fertility/Hearth
23 Dagaz (Dah-gahz) Day
24 Othala (Oh-thah-lah) Inheritance

The first rune, Fehu, is at the top left corner of the picture.

Count from left to right. The sets are each horizonal row.

Using rune magick is all about invoking each rune's power. How do you do this? Well, how would you invoke an element? You may write it's symbol, use something to represent it (IE: a piece of Ice for Isa), speak a poem/invocation for it, sing, dance, or even make the symbol using your body (runic yoga).

You can combine many of these into a ritual or just use one in a short spell or charm. The more you know about the rune you are using the more creativity you can incorporate into your spellwork.

Whenever you write a rune it should always be spoken. If you cannot speak it outloud, do so in your mind or whisper it under your breath. Runes gain power through the vibration of thier names. Draw out the word, sylable by sylable. Say it normally, then draw it out again. Feel the word come from your lips, breathe the word to give it the power of your breath.

Runes are normally written in the color red, but gold, blue, black or white is sometimes used as well.

Runic symbols, bind runes (combining two or more runes into one symbol) and sigils are also very widely used in rune magick. I will post these in another topic in the near future.

--Pic and article by WhiteRaven
Originally created for my "family" at The Goddess Within board.
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Re: Rune Magick Basics
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 2
If you guys like this, I can bring more over. I was the moderator of the rune magick and divination forum on the goddess within board. So I wrote many original articles on the runes and their use in magick. The board died when the owner began to suffer from health problems. She was the glue that held us all together.
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Re: Rune Magick Basics
Post # 3
This is great thankyou Raven. Would yo also add your view on rune galdr, - vocal rune magick..? Thanks :)
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Re: Rune Magick Basics
Post # 4

I'd like some more!

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Re: Rune Magick Basics
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 5

Bind Runes, Rune Sigils, and Runic Formulae

Rune Sigils are rune-like symbols. They have rune qualities and norse symbology. Some of them resemble fancy runes, other look like odd bindrunes. Some would say these sigils were once runes or bindrunes that evolved into a unique symbol of it's own. If you look at them, you will notice similarities to certain runes within these sigils. They are used just as furthark runes, invoking their power by writing them on parchment or tracing them in the air while invoking their power through focus and speaking their names.

Bind runes are two or more runes morphed together to form one symbol. This symbol then holds the power of the selected runes and combines them into one force. When drawing your own bind runes it is important to invoke each rune singly as you inscribe it. After every rune has been written, declare the bindrune's power, be it protection, luck, etc. If the bindrune is from a different source and you are not sure of the runic combination, invoke the meaning of the bind rune instead. So rather than invoking "teiwaz...perthro...gebo", speak and focus on "love" as you inscribe the whole symbol.

(The "love" rune is not meant to make someone love you but for love to enter your life, good for those feeling lonely, depressed, etc)

Runic formulae are runes written out in a line. They can be a magick word written in the runic alphabet, empowered to hold certain magick. For instance, to write the word "Odin", one would inscribe othala, dagaz, Isa, and nauthiz, one right after the other, from left to right or high to low. This could be written to invoke the god's power or to name an object in his honor by inscribing it onto something.

Another form of runic formulae are similar to the bindrune concept, except instead of combining selected runes into one symbol, each rune is written out next to one another in a line. The order in which a formulae is written is important as well. It is similar to telling a story, a story that creates the result you desire. Each rune is invoked separately, but as every one is called the power of the previous ones intermingle to create one force. Mixing runes is like mixing a drink; mix the right ones and you get great results, but mix the wrong ones and you'll create a disaster. It is important to have a very good knowledge of the runes, their meanings, their opposites, and their compliments in order to make a good formulae.

One example of a short formulae, is that of a positive protection. I created this one myself about 5 years ago.

The order is ansuz, algiz, and sowulo. Ansuz is order and goodness. I chose this as the first rune because I wanted a strong positive foundation that no negativity can withstand. The next is algiz. I feel that defense is the most important measure to take with protection. Algiz protects mind, body, and spirit. It is also a positive rune, so I have no worry that it won't mingle with ansuz well. Sowulo is the sword of justice or the retribution of the gods. It is a positive offense rune, one that is considered a weapon. It is an instrument of light, therefore it cannot do evil. This would ensure that whatever harm tried to come to me, the harmer would be punished fairly, by the judgement of higher powers/divine/deities, whatever your belief. This is also a rune of health, so I know it will protect my health as a bonus. Sowulo is an extremely positive rune, so again, I know it won't conflict. By invoking all three together, I found that they all worked very nicely together and gave me the results I required.

Article and Pic By WhiteRaven
Bindrunes found from various sources

Addition created for Zebra

Incantations, or as they are referred to in Norse magick as galdr, are runic chant, similar to formulae, their sounds (as if used like an alphabet) when used together can be very powerful!

Thorsson speaks of a galdr which is ALU (aaah luuuu). Ansuz, laguz and Uruz which is used to seal bindrunes, formulae or any rune invocation. And is his runic variation of "it is sealed, so mote it be" -- truly it is representing the will of the gods (divinity, Odin, etc), ever flowing (like water) with unsurpassed strength (like the ox).

In the Poetic Edda, an ancient Norse script, Odin speaks about the galdr he knows and what they are capable of doing. He warns that to use galdr or runes in general properly one must KNOW THEM. I will post the edda and a few other ancient Norse literature pertaining to the runes shortly.

I do not suggest using galdr unless you are extremely knowledgeable of the runes and their meanings. They are powerful and the force of runes, from my own experience is like a charging boulder. Once released it will not stop until it is finished. It is not something to "play" with. Odin himself, in Norse legend, brough us the runes. He is not a forgiving god, and he is very particular about his "mysteries".
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Re: Rune Magick Basics
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 6

Runes As An Alphabet

Writing with runes is a nice way to add power and mystery to your magick. It is possible to write on or carve into tools, paper, candles, objects, or even in the air with energy. When writing with runes, the most popular chosen color is red. This is because red is a very powerful color in Norse/Germanic culture. It is connected to the color of blood, which is seen as the main life source and power of people and animals alike. Some runic magicians will even use their own blood or animals blood to write their magickal script. It is recommended that if you use your own blood to write with, add a drop of the blood into a batch of red ink. Make sure to use a sterilized pin to prick your finger with.

For the squimish that still want to use their own blood, do what I do, play with your cat until he/she makes you bleed. Then use this blood in your ink. Or wait until you accidentally cut yourself with a kitchen knife or prick yourself with the rose bush's nasty thorns. Why should good blood go to waste?

So what can be written? Anything. Some examples would be your name, a magickal word, prayers, songs, instructions, warnings, or your own spell. Runic writing can be used in any way that you use your language in magick.

Runes may be written them from left to right or up to down. They can be used to phonetically or fully write out words or to abreviate them. A fun way to use runes as a written language is to create a bind rune from your initials. A bind rune is a combination of two or more runes to make one sigil/symbol. This new sigil can be used as a personal seal on your magickal circle, you book of shadows, your tools, or as a unique signature to your holiday cards or letters. Have fun with it.

The actual rune may be written to create each letter desired or the coded method may be used.

The coded runic alphabet is the stick figures you see under the runes. It is thought that this way of writing was used to write secret messages. It is very easy to learn this type of runic writting when its pattern is understood. The elder furthark is divided into three sets of eight runes each. The horizontal lines on the right of each stick figure represents the aettir or set of runes the hidden rune is in. The aettirs in order from top to bottom are called Freyr (1), Hagal (2), and Tyr (3), after Norse gods. The horizontal lines on the right tells the translator the correct rune in that particular aettir. For example if I wanted to write Raido (the one that looks like a R) in coded runic, I would place a vertical line on the page. Now, I would look to see that it is in the first aettir. I would place one horizontal line on the left of the vertical line. I would see that it is the fifth rune of this set and draw five horizonal lines on the right of the vertical line. Easy right?

If you come across an old script in runic writing how would it be spoken?

Speaking the runes, you must use specific pronounciation.

TH as in "thick"
D is a hard TH like in "those"
U as in "you"
A as in "father"
O as in "ghost"
I is an "ee" sound like in "feet"
J is pronounced as a Y
G is always hard like "get"
AU as in "auspicious"
IE is an "ay" sound
AI is an i sound as in "ice"
EH is a soft e as in "guess"

--Pic and Article by WhiteRaven

I can't even remember the source of the stick letters...sorry =s I've been studying the runes for over 10 years! I'm getting old lol. I forget these things.
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Re: Rune Magick Basics
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 7
These articles are about four years old. I typed them on my computer, edited them, and created the images from a standard paint shop program.

I'm sure you can tell the difference in my writing when I am actually trying! I'm always on my phone when posting here. So I'm afraid my grammar is never perfect. It bugs me, but being a working, married mom, I really don't have time to sit down at a computer for a few hours.

I have a few more articles to move over here. But these are the "basics".
If anyone would like me to cover a specific area of runic magick, feel free to request it here or pm me. =)
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Re: Rune Magick Basics
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 8
thank you so much Rav3n i really enjoyed this
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Re: Rune Magick Basics
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 9
Great post, thank you.
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Re: Rune Magick Basics
Post # 10

I love this post. : ) Thank you, WhiteRaven.

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