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


Long have we dwelt outside the gates of the gard of our indwelling gods. We were not expelled from their knowledge by some irreversible transgression—but rather have only turned our backs on their troth. We can again turn to face their radiant power—but only by knowing the roadways of that journey. Those gangways are the runes—the mysteries of our path—and the keys to their own hidden dimensions.

This book is made up of four parts: the historical and hidden lore of the runes, knowledge of how to read them, and knowledge of how to rist them upon the fabric of the world. Taken as a whole, this volume is a complete course in undertaking the acquisition of active knowledge of the runes and their uses. This process begins with learning the historical and objective lore surrounding the runes from antiquity. The first part of this book makes up a sort of brief introduction to runology. Once the basic knowledge has been learned, the student, or runer, moves on to deeper esoteric contemplation of the symbolic, cosmological, and psychological world of the ancestors. This takes the runer to a new level of consciousness about the symbolic world surrounding us, its origin and purpose. The next level involves what has been called reading the runes: this includes forms of what is called divination, but also requires the runer to interact with the symbols of the runes and his or her own life events in an active way. Before the child speaks, it understands. Before it writes, it must learn to read. The passive skills are relatively easier to use than the active ones. These passive skills also incur less in the way of possible negative repercussions, or “unintended consequences.” It has been known for magic to work too well and too quickly—before the magician has had time to develop the life skills necessary to deal with that success. So, learning to read the runes aright is a major step in balanced development. Once the reading exercises are mastered, the runer moves on to active writing, or risting, into the very fabric of the universe. With the foundations already built, success is better assured.

In an elder age it seems we made a mistake. We rejected—slowly and incompletely to be sure, but nevertheless, we as a people rejected—the wisdom of our own gods. No wondrous “cure” will reverse this rejection overnight; no “grace” is forthcoming from Odin! Only our own hard effort will bring each of us back to the long-lost lore. To this difficult yet noble task, all of the efforts of this book are dedicated.

Although we lost much through our mistakes in ancient times, we have continued to lose more in recent years by some misguided efforts of limited vision at the “revival” of the old ways of the North. Again and again, would-be revivalists have rejected the timelessly eternal and positive vision of the Master of Ecstasy in favor of historical, limited schemes of negative ideologies. It is not who or what we stand against which defines us, but who and what we stand for. One of our most important works is to help shape a philosophical foundation for the growth of this positive vision of timeless relevance, that we may win by example and conquer the world from within our Selves. Personal transformation must come before world transformation.

In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries the runes have often been seen to serve what appear to be political ends. This spans the gamut from the Nazis, to the use of the “peace sign” in the 1960s to more recent use by right-leaning groups. The runes are first and foremost sacred symbols of an archaic culture with eternal values and meaning. It is this eternal meaning which operative runlogists of today seek to activate in their lives. As such we oppose holding these ancient symbols hostage to unprincipled present-day squabbles involving politics and virtue-signaling. The runes are powerful and must be used for the purposes they came into this world to serve.

The runes, and the ideology they encompass, serve a wide variety of ends, through both “direct,” or magical, means and more intellectual pathways. In the magical realms, runework is used for personal transformation, building wider consciousness, psychic development, healing, investigation of Wyrd, and shaping the environment according to the inner will.

While in the intellectual realms, the topic of the first few chapters of this book, runelore and rune wisdom can serve as a mental framework for the development of a new philosophy based on a timeless pattern and expressed through a potent meta-language. Many “traditions” have tried and failed to construct such a successful meta-language, with a precise and meaningfully beautiful grammar—for example, Christianity and Islam and their cultural variants. But these may be called failures because of the inherent weakness in their inorganic systems. If you work through the runic system and make it a part of your life, you will have given yourself a gift no one else could have bestowed: knowledge of thine own self—unique yet part of a whole. The runes will serve as a language with which you may “converse” with aspects of yourself and at the same time communicate this knowledge to others, which is a hard yet necessary test for any true understanding. This understanding can then be taken to a new level and activated in accordance with your will to effect changes in the world.

We must not only understand the runes as the ancients understood them—that is only the beginning—but we must come to a new knowledge of them. As they have transformed us, so must our comprehension of them be transformed. They were, are, and shall ever be eternally changing and eternally demanding of change. Therefore, those who wish only to reinforce their personal prejudices and who have little interest in, or indeed fear of, the transmuting powers housed in the runes should be warned now. The runes describe a road of metamorphosis, not a tower of justification.

Like all things worth knowing, these mysteries are stubborn secrets (and mischievousness is not beyond them). Often, they will wrap themselves in a riddle, but they will always tell more by their riddle than if they had spoken with a clear tongue. There is little grace in their characters, and their Master has even less. But this is as it must be. Anyone who says differently must indeed be a priest of the lie—for he would tell you that the only gain is by the gift, whereas we Odians know well that true wisdom must be won by the human will. This will and its attendant human consciousness is the only true Gift—it is the sword cast before infant humanity in the cradle. It is by this sword alone that our ways in the world shall be won.

This book is designed to facilitate an effective use of the shaping and imaginative intellect in conjunction with the most recent and best scholarship in the fields of runic studies and in the history of the old Germanic religion. It contains a detailed historical account of the development of ancient runic traditions and the ways in which runestaves were used in the elder age. These historical data are combined with esoteric investigations into the nature of the runes themselves—the ways in which they relate to one another—and into the realms of esoteric teachings of cosmogony, cosmology, numerology, psychology (soul-lore), and theology. This lore is then made active, both as a skill in reading the mysteries which surround us, and as a skill for writing our own wills in the world in which we live. It is hoped that the deeper runelore held in the pages of this work will open the way to a broader understanding of the runes and help to awaken that great god that lies sleeping within. Now its voice may be but a whisper, but with will and craft we shall awaken it, so that its voice becomes a roar—and we will know it more truly than ever before.