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Runework: Tradition

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Forums -> Norse Paganism -> Runework: Tradition

Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 1
"Do you know how to carve, do you know how to read?
Do you know how to color, do you know how to question?
Do you know how to ask, do you know how to sacrifice?
Do you know how to dispatch, do you know how to slaughter?"
-Odin (Havamal, S. 144)

In runework, many aspects are fairly flexible,especially when you when you get into bindrune work and galdrastafir. However, the runes are not witchcraft. They are a norse/germanic/anglo-saxon practice that rely heavily, if not entirely, on the cultural and spiritual customs of those peoples. Therefore several aspects of their creation simply cannot be ignored.

The runes were discovered by Odin, after hanging for nine days and nights on Yggdrasil, impaled by his spear. This is why understanding the spirituality around it is so important - they werent created by men, don't belong to men, and should not be changed by men.

Next, the life-giving ritual, where we give it life through shape, blood and breath. it's a nod to the way Odin and his brothers gave life to the trees. Through this new life, they connect to the wyrd (too complex to summarize properly. But essentially the force of fate) and, for divinatory purposes, reveals it, or in the case of binds and staves, manipulates it. They don't get "charged." they are given life of their own and their power comes from said life. Not your "energy." and though charging is a valid practice, it is not a valid method for the runes. Though, if you wish, you may certainly charge them before, after or during the life-giving.

The "do it however you want" approach is, at best, foolish and insulting and should not be taught to beginners. The understanding of the runes takes years of work, and i can guarantee you, that you will never know all or close to all there is. To call yourself a runeworker is a very serious thing that requires more than just one or even several books and a rune set.
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Re: Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 2
Very well thought out post, but with how many people have seen it without commenting, i figured I would give some input. I agree with many things in this, as well as disagree. Let's start with the agreements. I agree whole heartedly with the idea that runes have their own life. I agree with your discussion of "life-giving ", and i do agree that runeworking takes time, study, and practice to achieve, just as any other form of work, magickal or non-magickal. But I do not think it is a fair statement to call those who do not abide by Norse tradition in runeworking or crafting to be "foolish " or "disrespectful". Odin gave the Runes to man to be used as they wish, such as affecting wyrd. Repurposing them does fall under those lists of privileges. One of these such uses were written language, the Runes of the Elder Futhark (EF) have been called Anglo-Saxon written language, which would eventually evolve into the English language.
Runeworking as divination is another form of Repurposing, which you did mention in your original post. Divination with runes is a fairly new concept and as far as my knowledge extends, was not actually practiced by the Norse people. You may correct me if I am wrong. However there seems to be no issue with doing so, nor has it ever been called disrespectful.
Many of your claims are valid, but because you see it that way does not mean others do and it can misleading to some for you to say that how they practice is wrong.
I would have given citations but I had to hastily write this on my lunch break at work. Most of this is my opinion and what I can draw from my memory of runic research, and is not to be taken without a grain of salt or as fact. Thank you.
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Re: Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 3
Odin gave us a tool to be used in different ways, not to be changed. when we use them in a different way is different from changing what makes them live. the same way you can use a hammer to break bricks, but cant make one out of glass. and runic divination was mentioned, albeit briefly, by tacitus in the agricola and germania.
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Re: Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 4
What about one using them in spellwork, or charging their rune set, changes the way they live? The Runes still live as they always have if one "charges" them with some kind of purpose. If you look at the Runes as a living being, then one charging it with whatever energy they wish woukd be like sending out "good vibes" to someone else, not changing what they are but having an effect on what they could do.
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Re: Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 5
it changes the way they interact with the world, aye. but not how they live. when a rune is just charged with energy, it has energy, not life and is a sigil, not a rune. the distinction is small, but important.
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Re: Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 6
i misread that somewhat and would like to add that the runes are given life after theyve been given form, blood and breath. they dont live as soon as the shape is drawn or carved.

also, id like to add that its refreshing to have this debate with someone who isnt arguing to justify their laziness.
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Re: Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 7
Just curious, what is your example of a "life-giving " ceremony /process? When I made my runeset by hand, I adhered to each part of what you have said. Carving it into the wood gave shape, speaking it's name while carving for breath, and for blood I symbolically used a red paint with a high iron content (there was no way I would have enough blood for 24 seperate pieces of wood)
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Re: Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 8
well, thats essentially it, lol. the shape is carved, the carving is filled or at least lined with blood, and are given breath by singing their names. thats the cliffnotes version, at least
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Re: Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 9
ill go over it in more depth tomorrow when it isnt 2:30 in the morning :P
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Re: Runework: Tradition
By: / Novice
Post # 10
To acknowledge a previous part of the discussion, charging the symbol before "life-giving" would make it, in your words, a sigil. Subsequently, would charging them after the life giving, in your opinion, be considered disrespectful? Because by that point the Runes would have an essence of life, and therefore just be more positively or negatively swayed (for lack of a better term).
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