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:
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
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
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.