The Big Book of Runes and Rune Magic: How to Interpret Runes, Rune Lore, and the Art of Runecasting - Edred Thorsson 2018



All translations from Old Norse, Old English, and other old languages found in this book are those of the author. An attempt has been made to strike a balance between poetic and literal translations, but often favor is given to the literal for the sake of correct understanding. In such cases notes may be added.


Before Common Era ( = B.C.)


Common Era ( = A.D.)








Old English


Old High German


Old Norse








Thanks go to Paul Newell, Mitchell Edwin Wade, David Bragwin James, Robert Zoller, James Chisholm, Alice Rhoades, Anthony Looker, Ian Read, Ingrid Fischer, Adolf and Sigrun Schleipfer, Michael Moynihan, Ralph Tegtmeier, and Michael A. Aquino.



This book represents some of the very best and most popular of my early work as a researcher and operative rune magician. The work represents a distillation of the most essential knowledge one can have on the lore of the runes. If your interests are broad and run the gamut from historical information to the actual practical application of runic knowledge in working the magic of these symbols, then this is the book that will serve as a reliable resource.

When dealing with runes, or really any comprehensive, culturally authentic form of magic, there are essentially four levels of information and activity that students must be aware of and engage in. These are: (1) basic historical knowledge; (2) inner, or esoteric, knowledge; (3) knowledge of how to read the symbols; and (4) how to use the information in an active, practical way. One must know, understand, read, and write within the system in question. Historical knowledge is internalized and reflected upon to develop theoretic frameworks, then the world is read or understood according to these ideas before the stage of active creativity in that system is attempted. This book takes the student through all of these phases in the most basic and fundamental way. For this reason, its contents are divided into four parts: Historical Lore, Hidden Lore, Reading the Runes, and Rune Magic.

In many regards this text consists of a republication of earlier works, but I have taken the opportunity to update and expand ideas originally offered to make them more in keeping with my current understanding. I found very little to “change,” but there are some new ideas and resources that are beneficial to learn.

The greatest challenge in creating this new work was in keeping the tone and spirit of the original texts. The original works, written in the late 1970s and early 1980s, had a certain energy reflective of my stage of development at that time. That energy has been appreciated by my most loyal students over the years, so I have tried to keep it in the contents of this book. One of the interesting things about having a writing career that has spanned over forty years is the ability to see the different tones and energies present in earlier works that have yet to be refined and distilled as they would be in later works, but that very energy is similar to a sort of white lightning, which would be a shame to lose.

Edred Thorsson


March 20, 2018