I'd like to make a couple sets of runestones for divination and casting spells, but I don't know what conditions would make them most powerful, any suggestions?
I have a couple ideas, I could carve them out of wood or horn or bone or shape them from stones, but I think the most powerful would be to make them out of clay since I could stick a bit of essence in the middle of each before I fire them.
If that was the case, when would be the best time to gather the clay from the stream bank? During a new moon (so that it is lacking in purpose and as receptive to whatever I put into it as possible?), during a full moon (so it contains as much natural energy as possible?), during an equinox or solstace, during a flood or drought? Should I replace the clay I take with sand or cornmeal or some other ritual or gift? Do the qualities of the stream or the clay location matter? Is there a prefered bank of the river (north, south, righthand side while facing downstream, in an oxbow, under cattails, under a tree's overhang), where the irises grow? Red clay, blue clay, orange clay, brown clay? Does it matter how much I need to soak it to remove muck (imbued with the environment it came from), or should it be naturally as pure as possible (higher grade?)? When I let it dry, what conditions should be followed? Air dry or dried near a fire (or would that overpower it with the element of fire?)?
Does the number of days between gathering it and forming it and firing it have any significance? Letting it 'age' for thirteen days between forming the runes and adding the essence till firing the runes? Gathering the clay on a new moon night, keeping it outside through a thunderstorm and a blizzard, and then forming and firing the runes on a full moon day? (Would a thundersnow be even more potent? They're quite rare.) Does what I do before I fire the runes have a greater effect on their potency than after they're fired? (If a rite is preformed on them before they're finished, will it be more potent than the same rite preformed after they're finished? Does firing them, or perhaps some sort of finishing spell, lock in their magic?)
I want to try to try and make the set as complete as possible. Does it make more sense to try and balance the 'blanks' by exposing it to all the elements (earth and water in the clay, air and fire in the firing process, or perhaps mixing ash into the clay aswell) or to try and make each rune as potent in its force as possible. I tried to think of how to maximize each group dedicated to each element, but I can't really make a rune out of fire, and a rune made purely out of ice or blood isn't terribly practical...
And that's not even talking about the essences. I can put all sorts of things in them, various herbs or leaves, encasing an ember while it's still burning, ice, bone or organs, water from various sources, food, wine, beer, ale, or mead, claw or antler pieces, spells, air pockets, various gems, milk, shells, amber, metals or ores, dyes, ink, and so on.
And what to write on the runes? Individual letters from some alphabet or set? Futhark? Tarot symbols? Hebrew? Arabic? Greek? Alchemical symbols? Symbols representing the sun, planets, stars, trees, rhythms, various gods, luck, the zodiac, spirits, the four humors, emotions...? Or should I be more direct and have a word directly on it (love, wealth, fury, void), or perhaps describing an outcome (death, change, birth, stability), or a combination? But is there some way to possibly catagorize all of these to make a complete system? Or at the very least even if it cannot represent all qualities, a system capable of expressing anything? Would functions of prediction/casting need to have their own unique runes? (Future, past, mystery, truth, falsehood)
Do all the symbols need to belong to the same set? For example, futhark plus two more runes, one for the sun one for the moon.
What are all the magical forces at play? Night/day; North/South/East/West; cold/heat, the four (five?) elements, the planets, a pantheon, chaos/order, life/death, the emotions, the senses, numerology, the seasons? What best enacts each force, and must it be the same system for each class of force?
And which sets are aligned and which differentiated? For example, the group of runes corresponding to night and day also could correspond with those for chaos/order and life/death groups, or if they aren't aligned there may be a four way division night-chaos, night-order, day-chaos, day-order.
Do all of the stones have to fit into this matrix, or are some not applicable to it, more powerful perhaps? Suppose there's 16 stones, four of each element water fire earth and air, and in each group of four one is each stage of life (water-newborn, water-child, water-adult, water-elder, fire-newborn, fire-child, and so on) each imbibed with one letter of futhark, and then there's two extra stones. These two extra stones represent duality, however duality may apply. So one is the sun, one is the moon, or one is yin the other is yang, one is masculine the other feminine, one is creation the other destruction, and so on. Any ideas for what the most powerful complete set would be, and how to symbolize them?
What rites should be preformed over them in order to imbue them with the highest magic? If I use plant or animal matter, what is the best way to slaughter it? Cutting down a tree with an axe or burning through the base? Hunting an animal or catching it and stopping its heart Mongolian style? Kosher, bleeding out the throat? Or with a blessed arrow?
Just for ideas here's some of the resources I have access to, all of this I either gather or make myself or get from friends who have (including the alcohol and cheese);
Flora and fauna of the boreal forest
-herbs, like St. John's Wort, St. Benoit's wort, Wintergreen, Wild amaranth, Holy Basil, Rosemary, and so on
-shrubs and trees, red and white cedar, osier dogwood, various willows, tamarack, high bush cranberry, balm of gilead
-moose, deer, bear, cattle, goats, ravens, hare, beavers, muskrats, foxes, weasels, martins, vultures, hummingbirds, and so on. And that includes things like claws, antler, horn, feathers, blood, galbladder, brain, heart, and so on.
-various stones and crystals, amber, and shells, from mountain, cliff, river, lake, ocean, if that makes a difference.
-soils, sands, copper, iron, or zinc ore, native silver, iron sand, clay
-fire, embers, smoke, from any various potent trees (when firing the runes, is there a specific wood that's most potent (sacred cedar felled during a lunar eclipse?) or would it be better to burn one log each of alder, poplar, hemlock, birch, and cedar? Any ideas? Burning a smudge stick ontop the fire pit before firing the runes?)
As far as the spirituality goes, consider it nondenomenational magic. The sole thing I'm looking to do is to make the most powerful magical items possible. This is completely amoral (not immoral, mind you!), so if 'black' magic is more powerful then so be it. After all, wrath is a way to attain happiness according to Tibetan Buddhism. The goal is the end in itself- the objects, and not anything to be done with them (except perhaps to gain knowledge- oh if only I believed in Odin!)
Also note that while I understand several mental magics I firmly don't believe that the power of anything is solely reliant on the will of its creator, so this is strictly dealing the qualities of the items themselves.
Any opinions, theories, or ponderings would be appreciated, thankyou! And I apologize for the pedantic tone, I appear to be unable to speak without it on the best of times, let alone when I'm attempting to categorize all the minute details of a system like this...