Learning the runes

Before you begin working with the runes in any capacity you’d better have some sound knowledge of them. Going full force without a solid foundation will just lead to spinning your metaphorical wheels. So how to best get some knowledge?  Here’s a technique I use with my apprentices. It’s a pretty good technique and can be used by Runic veterans as well to gain insight. This is the way I wish someone had told me to learn the runes over two decades ago when I was a green newbie.

You will need a set of runes to provide as a meditation tool. You will want a physical representation of the staves to hold in your hands. This makes the runes more solid to you than just using your mind to recreate the stave shapes. They will also act as a grounding tool to help you stay centered.

Next get a copy of the rune poems. Many books have them reprinted as part of their information. I have found for myself the translations I prefer are found the the book Rune Primer. This book is available through Amazon as a Kindle edition as well as paperback format.

Once you have the rune poems in a translation that you respond to read them. Slowly and carefully. Try to get as much information out of them as you can. Particularly see what images occur to you as you read. Remember we’re building a foundation to place our structure on. Any time spent in this part of your learning process is time well spent.

Now meditate. Holding the rune in your hand and with the words and images of the rune poems in mind set yourself the task of discovering meanings for each stave. Write down all the meanings you can come up with. This is a discovery time. There are no right or wrong answers. The point is to find out how the runes speak to you. Again don’t rush through this.

Now turn to the meanings compiled by others. Books abound in this matter. The point is to compare and contrast your list of meanings with those of others. If you feel your meanings are just way off the mark repeat the process described above. Once you are pleased with the results you can move on to the next rune.

I have my apprentices work on this at a rate of two runes a week. That way there is nothing plenty of time spent on each rune.

And that’s how I teach the basics of rune knowledge. Try it yourselves and see what kind of results you get!

Author: vitkimusings

A fifty-something Vitki living in the suburbs of Chicago. Follower of the Nordic Path for the last fifteen years. Student of runes for the last 23 years and seidr for the last seven years. Always learning and growing!

One thought on “Learning the runes”

  1. Very solid advice here, thank you. I agree it is crucial to meditate on each rune and get a personal feel for them, journey with them, open up the channels of communication, as well as the rune poems, before reading other interpretations. After that I read what other’s have written and see if it jogs any further insight. They might mean something different to different people at different times, but if I seek truthfully and clearly, I get personal kennings.


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